MARRIED FOR LIFE: Celebrating African Traditional Heritage Overseas Nigerian born American lovers, Software Engineers showcase Yoruba, Igbo Culture to Marry in Philadelphia *Met by destiny, dated for nine months, began romantic relationship in New York *In honor of Yoruba traditions, AMOS AKINOLA and his groomsmen laid flat on the floor, at the feet of his future in-laws, to show respect *As an Igbo bride, OBIAJULU ‘Ajulu’ ADIGWE had her “igba nkwu,” or wine carrying, during which she received a cup of palm wine from her father, who then instructed her to go into the crowd, find the man she wanted to marry, and bring him back. When she found him, she presented the wine, which Amos drank *Couples danced non-stop to various Nigerian music and live performances by invited entertainers *“Our wedding is rich, cultural, heartwarming-and unforgettable”-Couple after marriage *BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN Senior Investigative Editor

MARRIED FOR LIFE: Celebrating African Traditional Heritage Overseas

Nigerian born American lovers, Software Engineers showcase Yoruba, Igbo Culture to Marry in Philadelphia 

*Met by destiny, dated for nine months, began romantic relationship in New York

*In honor of Yoruba traditions, AMOS AKINOLA and his groomsmen laid flat on the floor, at the feet of his future in-laws, to show respect

*As an Igbo bride, OBIAJULU ‘Ajulu’ ADIGWE had her “igba nkwu,” or wine carrying, during which she received a cup of palm wine from her father, who then instructed her to go into the crowd, find the man she wanted to marry, and bring him back. When she found him, she presented the wine, which Amos drank

*Couples danced non-stop to various Nigerian music and live performances by invited entertainers

*“Our wedding is rich, cultural, heartwarming-and unforgettable”-Couple after marriage

*BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN Senior Investigative Editor

THEY LOVE, ADORE AND CHERISH each other so deeply. AMOS AKINOLA, a Yoruba man and OBIAJULU ‘AJULU’ ADIGWE are both Nigerian born Naturalized Software Engineers. Destiny made their paths crossed, they held onto the opportunity without letting it slide. They exchanged phone numbers and continued their romantic relationship in New York, United States. These two lovers finally agreed to take their love affairs to the next level in celebrating the Nigerian tradition in a pomp and glitzy marriage that had every invitee dancing in Philadelphia.  The couple honored their Igbo and Yoruba cultures at their traditional ceremony.

While South Philly software engineers Amos Akinola and Obiajulu (“Ajulu”) Adigwe were friends in passing for years- they met during their church’s bible study-they say their “spark” really began in 2018, when they were helping teenagers at a summer SAT prep class.

“I personally thought she was way out of my league,” says Amos, who was born in Lagos, Nigeria. As for Ajulu? “He was always the nice guy,” says the Upper Darby native.

Shortly after that first “spark,” in October of that year, Amos joined Ajulu for a day of errands in NYC. After the tasks had been completed, they started talking over coffee, lost track of time- and missed the bus back home. Rather than wait around for the next one, they took a walk by the Hudson River, where Amos asked Ajulu to be his girlfriend. And in January 2021 while on a trip to Acadia National Park, Amos asked Ajulu to be his wife.

Nine months later, the couple said “I do.” It was important to both of them to honor their African backgrounds-Amos is of Yoruba heritage and Ajulu is of the Igbo culture- so their festivities began on October 29, 2021 with a traditional union at Regal Banquet Hall in Pennsauken Township. Here, they combined the most important parts of their respective cultures’ ceremonies into one.

For example, in honor of Yoruba traditions, Amos and his groomsmen laid flat on the floor, at the feet of his future in-laws, to show respect. While he did this, her family prayed for him. As an Igbo bride, Ajulu had her “igba nkwu,” or wine carrying, during which she received a cup of palm wine from her father, who then instructed her to go into the crowd, find the man she wanted to marry, and bring him back. When she found him, she presented the wine, which Amos drank. He then put a monetary offering into the cup to present to her father. More prayers came from the bride’s parents, then the couple received a blessing from the groom’s parents. Throughout it all, family and friends showered them with money-a practice that signifies well wishes.

The day afterward, 210 guests joined Amos and Ajulu for their modern wedding and reception at Please Touch Museum at Memorial Hall. While the couple didn’t have a particular theme- they say they chose the things they loved-the children’s museum was delightful for all.

“What really blew us away was how pretty everything turned out to be,” says Amos. “We had visited the Please Touch Museum a couple times, and every time we wondered how things would turn out. The folks at Brûlée Catering did a fantastic job.” 

The food, naturally, was a highlight, with appetizers including bourbon-braised short ribs and smoked tuna tacos, a signature amaretto sour cocktail, and a dinner with choices such as roasted acorn squash salad and seared salmon.

But for the bride, her favorite wedding detail was keeping her dress a secret-not only from her groom but also her attendants. “The morning of the wedding, I lined all my bridesmaids up and had a first look,” recalls Ajulu, who donned a Pronovias gown and carried a bouquet of white tulips wrapped in white ribbon. “Having that moment on video was so special.”

The first dance, to “Only Wanna Be With You” by Samm Henshaw, was equally poignant. “I had always been anxious in front of so many people, but sharing that moment with Amos to such a beautiful song made me feel like [we were] the only ones in the room.” The rest of the dancing included Afrobeat music in a nod to their heritage.

Ask the couple to describe it all, and they call it rich, cultural, heartwarming-and unforgettable.

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