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Sindara & Deji’s Magical Wedding Weekend in Accra, Ghana

In the heart of vibrant Accra, Ghana, a love story was cemented, where the warm ambiance and gentle tropical breeze set the scene for the culmination of an exciting, romantic journey. This enchanting tale revolves around Sindara and Deji, two souls destined to be together, leading to a weekend of pure magic at the luxurious Kempinski Hotel.

The couple shared this captivating journey, from the first meeting with each other's parents to the heartfelt moments of their unforgettable wedding day.

This is their story:

Sindara Oyekola & Deji Johnson

Meeting the Parents

Sindara:

The first time I met Deji’s parents was at his mom's birthday party. Before that, we'd chatted on the phone, and she'd shared heartwarming stories about her and Deji. When I saw her at the party, my first thought was, "Wow, she's stunning," and it was clear she adored birthdays. I really, really wanted her to like me. At the birthday, his parents began introducing me as “Deji’s girlfriend,” and were incredibly warm and loving. That's when I felt like I was fully welcomed into the family.

Deji:

Meeting Sindara's parents, I was more curious than nervous. My first impression was that they were lovely and very structured people who clearly adored their kids. Of course, I wanted them to like me, but I wanted it to feel natural. I also put in some extra effort to build a great relationship with Sindara's sister. It felt like a gradual process, with our engagement marking level one, the introduction at level two, and our wedding, well, that was the ultimate level — the "you're officially family now" stage.


Yoruba Bride

Nigerian groom

The Proposal


Sindara:

Did I suspect the proposal was coming? Well, we'd been through pre-marital counseling, and our parents knew we wanted to get married, so we both knew the wedding was in our future. But the surprise came in the "when.” I thought we might skip the Western-style proposal and go the traditional Nigerian route, so I would say the proposal caught me off guard. Deji, how did you set the scene for the proposal, and what did it look like?


Deji:

Alright, so we'd already discussed our wedding plans with Sindy's parents, so there were no secrets there. We took the traditional route in that regard. But I wanted to add an element of surprise. Fortunately, we had a trip planned to Dubai for Sindy's birthday, which made it the perfect setting for the proposal. We had already decided that it was the perfect location for our pre-wedding pictures, and I wanted that to be a grand affair. As we tried to decide where to stay, I found that the Anantara The Palm Dubai had a beautiful dining spot by the beach.

Then, through some research, I found a fantastic photographer. I told the photographer that the pictures were for a pre-wedding photoshoot and asked her to arrive early to scout the best spots. After the photoshoot, I told Sindy that I wanted us to go out to dinner. She changed, we took a caddy to the other side of the resort, where she saw a red carpet leading to a tent with a whole dinner setup overlooking the Persian Gulf.



Sindara:

I can't quite recall my exact emotions at that moment. I had expected the proposal to happen during our pre-wedding photoshoot, which didn't happen, so I was genuinely surprised when it occurred at the beach. I was thrilled, and the ring was absolutely stunning. In Dubai, FaceTime doesn't work well, so we had some difficulties connecting with our parents and friends immediately afterwards but I did my best. We ended up taking pictures and sending them, which was easier.

Since I knew about the engagement photos, I had taken a day off from our holiday to have my locs retwisted in Dubai. It was a bit of a detour from the vacation, but it was worth it. My makeup artist, @flairbywinnie, did an amazing job, and the photos (from the shoot and engagement) turned out stunning.


groom with groomsmen

Nigerian bride with bridesmaids

The Wedding Venue


Sindara:

The most exciting part of planning our wedding was choosing the venue. When we arrived in Accra, my aunt who lives in Accra suggested three options: Movenpick Hotel, Labadi Beach Hotel, and the Kempinski Hotel. The moment we stepped into the Kempinski, we knew we’d found our place. We both agreed that if we were getting married in Accra, it had to be at the Kempinski.


wedding backdrop

wedding backdrop

Wedding Planning


Sindara:

The most stressful aspect was orchestrating a destination wedding. Trusting others to carry out our vision and manage vendors from a distance was challenging. We selected the venue during our December visit and didn't return until July for the wedding. In the meantime, we had to trust my aunt and the wedding planner to choose the right people and they did!


Regarding compromise, Deji and I were mostly on the same page. Deji especially avoided strong opinions on most things. Following advice from our aunts, we chose a few key elements that we were passionate about and left everything else to our parents' discretion.

We deliberately avoided trends and aimed for a more intimate, private wedding.

Picking a menu turned out to be harder than expected especially because we honestly didn’t have high expectations of hotel food. The week of the wedding, Deji and I did a food tasting and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of food and how well the different meals on the menu complimented each other. I was over the moon.


happy African bride

African groom

Blending Cultures

Sindara:

As for blending our wedding cultures, it involved constant communication especially because the traditional and white wedding were all on the same day. I come from Yoruba and Ga backgrounds, while Deji has Yoruba and Edo roots. We wanted to honor all these cultures in a single-day event. I chose to incorporate Kente into my outfits, and we decided to have an Edo change of clothes. Ultimately, we had four outfit changes, and the challenge was managing them while enjoying the day without feeling overwhelmed. Our parents had concerns about timing, but we stuck to our vision, had fun, and didn't let stress get in the way.


Edo bride and groom

Edo bride and groom

Edo bride and groom

To be honest, Deji and I initially only wanted to wear traditional clothes but our parents convinced us to change into “colonial” clothes for the white ceremony and I’m happy I did, I loved my dress! Planning the white wedding was the easiest part.


black bride in white dress

black groom in tuxedo

bride and groom at wedding altar

The Wedding Weekend

Sindara:

Planning the wedding weekend, was quite a unique setup for us. We had intentionally planned our wedding to be the day after my grandma’s 90th birthday. This meant that our entire family would already be in town to celebrate her birthday and then attend our wedding the following day. But we also wanted to create an environment for our friends to meet and build relationships.

I'm a bit of an introvert, so I wanted to offer the kind of experience I'd want at a wedding if I only knew one other person there. We decided to have a pre-wedding cocktail, where people could mingle in a relaxed setting. Deji, being a 'vibes' person, added more fun by arranging trips to lounges and other chill activities. On Thursday night, one of Deji's friends organized our outing to Front Back, on Friday, we had our pre-wedding cocktail at The Mix Restaurant and then went out to Twist. On the night before the wedding, We threw a 'mothers’ night’ event which was essentially another opportunity for a party and a barbecue. So, we had various chances to laugh and spend time with our family and friends, making the weekend feel much longer.


first kiss at the altar

confetti thrown on couple

To ensure everyone was on the same page about the events happening over the weekend, Deji's friend put together an itinerary. We also set up a group chat once people arrived in Accra, so everyone knew where to be and what the logistics were. Since we were all staying at places close to each other, we also organized a bus to take us to the activities we had planned together. This helped with logistics, especially for those who were visiting Accra for the first time.

Choices You Are Proud Of

Sindara:

One choice I'm particularly proud of is the bridesmaids' outfits. For the traditional wedding, my friend T.Mfabrics provided the fabric, and for the bridesmaids' dresses at the white wedding, we used Ibilola Ogundipe RTW. I absolutely loved the fabric textures and colors, and how the dresses turned out. Each dress was a hit. One thing that really worked well was having a tailor come two days before the wedding and the day before to do last-minute alterations for the bridesmaids. Since most of their dresses had been made in their absence, this made a big difference.

Our choice of makeup artist for the bridesmaids was fantastic too. We had four makeup artists for eleven people, and we probably should have had five, given that we fell slightly behind schedule. They managed to match everyone's skin tone with the foundation, and everyone looked phenomenal.


Traditional bridal party

The bridal party

Deji:

Having multiple photographers was a great decision. It allowed us to capture different moments simultaneously. Also, creating an itinerary with events every day, starting from Thursday for our friends. Each day was planned by my best man and my friend, Anna.


Sindara:

Oh, and another important choice was having all the wedding events at the Kempinski hotel. We had three events, so guests didn't have to drive to different parts of town. This was especially helpful as we were running on a very tight schedule with the traditional and white wedding happening on the same day along with the reception.


Sindara Oyekola & Deji Johnson

Wrapping up…..


Advice for Couples Starting Their Wedding Journey

Sindara:

The most critical decision you'll make is choosing your wedding planner, especially if it's a destination wedding. A planner can make or break your events. Initially, we considered getting married in Nigeria, and my mom offered to be my planner. However, I wanted my mom to enjoy the wedding planning process as my mom, not as my planner. It was essential for me to have an independent party planner that I could be honest with. My planner understood exactly what I wanted and was skilled at managing communication with my mom regarding wedding-related matters. It often involved me sharing my wishes with the planner, and her conveying them to my mom. It was about balancing that relationship.


Sindara Oyekola & Deji Johnson

My wedding planner, Paola Magazinovich, who runs the business "PM the Planner," was instrumental. I met her through a friend who is well-connected in the Ghanaian social scene. I asked Paola to show me pictures of her previous work, and after seeing her impressive work at the Kempinski, we decided to work with her. Her pricing was reasonable, and I liked her energy.

She was incredibly helpful, like when I needed a makeup artist who understood my skin tone, she would reach out to them and request pictures of their work on dark-skinned individuals. She was organized and used Google Drive to manage documents, which was crucial, as most of our communication happened via WhatsApp and phone calls. Paola was also flexible in terms of figuring out a communication rhythm since I was five hours behind her. We established a pattern where we would talk early in the morning as I was heading to work or upon arriving at the office. By the end of my workday, she would have sent options and updates. It made the process smoother and more manageable.


Father-daughter dance

To Conclude…..


As they reflect on their magical wedding weekend, Sindara and Deji offer valuable advice to couples embarking on their wedding journey. The key to a successful destination wedding, they emphasize, is choosing the right wedding planner. For them, Paola Magazinovich of "PM the Planner" played a crucial role in making their dreams come true. Her extensive experience, reasonable pricing, and flexibility were instrumental in ensuring their big day ran smoothly. They recommend engaging with a wedding planner who truly understands your vision and can help manage communication, even in the most delicate situations.


mother-son dance

tearing guests

From the heart of vibrant Accra, Sindara and Deji's love story unfolded with warmth, laughter, and unforgettable moments. Their magical wedding weekend at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra, will forever be etched in their hearts, a celebration of love and unity in a tropical paradise. As they begin this new chapter together, they look forward to all the adventures and blissful moments that life has in store.


Thank you Sindara and Deji for sharing your unforgettable moments with Adaaba. We won’t forget it.

wedding rings

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