The British-African couple Evonne and Sean wanted their wedding to be a fusion of both their cultures: British and Sierra Leonean. So they combined their wedding traditions and tried new roles for each of them. It’s hard to find two countries more different in temperament: where British people are conservative, restrained, and pedantic, Sierra Leoneans are open-hearted, cheerful, and easygoing. How could these bride and groom make such a wedding work?!
“I think it's important to keep cultural traditions alive. Being sort of British-African, we wanted something that combined both cultures together”, says Evonne, the bride.
“We wanted to have Anglo-African fusion because that's what we are, but also for a little boy as well. He's a mixture of the two cultures”, says Sean, the groom.
“If I sort of think about what Sean's mom has said to me, she said, I love African culture, I'm getting to experience African culture, and combining it with the British culture is just amazing”, adds Evonne, the bride.
4 hours till “I do”
“There's a lot of value with appreciating what different people bring to each other, and there's a lot of fun about it. Having other people understand that no culture is better than each other. It's about understanding both sides and respecting both sides”, says Evonne, the bride.
“What’s touched me was that Sean accepted extended family. Which, we coming from Africa, we're very unique in our extended family. Because, coming from Africa, there's always this cultural background. But they blended in well together”, points out Brendaforde, bride’s mother.
Mothers of the bride and the groom
“Yes, I totally agree with that. It's very different and it's been really interesting, learning about Evonne’s culture”, says Stella, groom’s mother.
“The thing I'm going to be most nervous about is the speeches because I know that I'm going to feel quite emotional on the day. My son and my best man are doing the speeches”, adds Sean, the groom.
10 minutes till “I do”
“I'm a practicing Christian and so it was important that I spoke to the vicar and it was done in a church. We are going with a harp and flute player because it'll be something quite sentimental. Lots of bright colors – burnt orange and purple – some prints that really give that Africaness”, narrates Evonne, the bride.
“Just looking at my baby daughter in white, I just couldn't imagine. The love in their eyes, it was just out of this world”, says Brendaforde, bride’s mother.
“The elusive nature of love itself means that today is a gift. Love is what we've come here to witness today. Love of these two”, says Brandon, bride’s nephew, in his speech.
You may kiss the bride.
“Where I'm originally from is Sierra Leone. It's all about music, it's all about dancing, and drumming is a significant part of that. There's also dancing in, dancing in will be very important”, says Evonne, the bride.
“Mide wants it done in a certain way. So, I asked Sean, “For you to enter the hall, you have to at least dance or something”. And he’s like, “No, I'm just gonna stroll”. And we’re like, “No. Just Moonwalk in or something?” And he said, “Nope”. I'm like, “Come on man, you just have to move. Work with me here!”, explains the announcer of the wedding party.
“Lots of music, lots of dancing, lots of African food is going to also be really important. There's a particular sweet we have in Sierra Leone called “Granat cake”. Basically, it's peanut. We've got a lady who knows how to make huge sculptures out of it. Sean and I saw it and were like, wow, this is absolutely spot-on”, narrates Evonne, the bride.
“Grown up with significant people in our lives – Sean's dad and my brother – and they've passed away, so one of the things we are going to have at the wedding is remembering those individuals were quite close to us”, adds Evonne, the bride.
“Within Sierra Leonean culture, we also have godparents that will be guardians of your marriage. The idea is that they’re the individuals who look after your marriage and if you ever have an argument, they're the people that would be supporters. We've gone with two godmothers. They're both my aunts and they both love Sean, so I don't think I will ever be supported – they'll be supporting him”, jokes Evonne, the bride.
“I was quite happy with the choice of godparents”, adds Sean, the groom.
“What they tend to do in Sierra Leone is something called “giving of water”. Both mothers would give water to the bride and groom and give them their blessings”, explains one of the rituals Evonne, the bride.
“Whether your family has embraced us, this real sort of community feel and openness of feelings and emotions – it's not really a very English way of doing things”, says Sean, the groom.