This year has been the year of the Asikara Weddings! It has been my privilege to dress, style and accessorise brides, grooms & their parties. I love a good wedding as I'm sure you do too, so i've interviewed the stunning Martin and his bride the breathtaking Lizzie to find out more about their African wedding featuring Asikara!
Meet Martin & Lizzie
Martin - Hi, my name’s Martin, I work as a Graphic Designer and filmmaker, I have a huge passion for film, design and music. I was born in Bromley, lived in Kent and went to school in London until the age of 8 when we moved to Wiltshire. The remainder of my childhood was spent in Bath (where I went to school) and Bristol (where we went to church and met many of my amazing friends!).
My heritage on both sides, journeys back to Jamaica, where my mum was born, my Dad was born here. My dad's brother did some research into the family history and found that our roots pre-slavery go back to Ghana. Ever since then, my curiosity to know more about heritage both in Jamaica and Ghana has grown and both were represented in our wedding in some way alongside Nigeria too.
Lizzie - Hey, my name is Elizabeth, but everyone calls me Lizzie (or Lola, as my family refer me as). I am originally from Nigeria. I grew up in Belvedere, Kent but spent the first thirteen years of my life in Peckham. I currently work for an amazing charity as a Senior Membership & Volunteering Officer. I love creative writing, reading and hanging out with my friends.
What a beautiful couple, i'm already intrigued! Tell us your love story, how did it all begin?
Martin - It’s funny, I was living in London at the time and was at the point where I was looking to settle down. One evening, I was catching up with Tad, one of my best friends from school (and one of the best men at the wedding). He told me about this dating site that was meant to be ‘mathematically one of the most accurate’ out there and that we should sign up to it.
The following morning, Tad came bounding into my room with a laptop and said ‘Right! We’re both setting up an account!’. When it came to writing my profile, I decided to just keep it all the way honest, no sales pitch, just me - and it was well received then…great! I didn’t need to live up to anything other than just being myself if I was to meet anyone.
2 weeks go by and I decided, let me take a break from this and pray on it. One evening, a couple days later, I felt like the Holy Spirit was saying to give it another try.
Within minutes of signing in, I received a notification to say that this particular person had viewed my profile and from what I could see from the thumbnail picture, I was impressed! She was stunning! Needless to say, when clicking on her profile, it just got better as I read though. Before I had even finished reading, she had messaged me! See how God’s got jokes? Lizzie introduced herself and asked me about my love of cooking and what I liked to cook and from there it just flowed!
Within a few days we spoke on the phone for the first time and it felt like going on the first date! Nerves and all! It’s like meeting somebody backwards, starting out with a profile and messages (and from that you build an idea in mind about what you think the other person sounds like, their mannerisms etc.) Those nerves soon disappeared and three hours later, we were still on the phone! That was the first sign that there was something there! Conversation flowed with mutual interest, it was like a cognitive jam session between two kindred spirits.
Our first date was a surreal experience too, because we had a connection already but hadn’t met yet so when we did meet and hug each other for the first time, it felt familiar even though it was our first time meeting. After a month or so of dating, I was certain Lizzie was the one. It was so easy to be my authentic self with her without feeling judged, we just clicked, our purposes are in sync and she’s beautiful!
Lizzie - I met Martin online on a bank holiday Monday in May 2015. A day after I attended my church’s three-day women’s conference and literally poured out my heart to God to send me a husband. At this point, I had been online dating for a year without any success. The funny thing is, when I logged onto this particular online dating site that bank holiday Monday, I thought I would have a final browse around and deactivate my account. And that’s when I stumbled across Martin’s thumbnail. To be honest, he looked like he was eighteen in his profile picture, so I was very close to not even viewing his profile. But praise the Lord I did, because I was very impressed by Martin’s bio and his other super cute photos - where he looked at least my age, thankfully.
I made the first move, by messaging Martin. I think I said something along the lines of, ‘I noticed on your bio, you said you like to cook. What is your speciality?’ And the rest, as they say, is history. Come to think of it, that message was life-changing! I knew Martin was the one very early on. He possessed all the qualities I looked and prayed for in a husband, and more. He’s kind, thoughtful, considerate, funny. And not to mention, he is incredibly husband. At first, I did not want to admit that Martin was the one, as I feared I’d jinx things and he would go cold like most of the guys from my past. But when we started dating, I felt like God wanted me to be all in. And part of that meant accepting that he was the one, and fully embracing him.
It's actually so lovely hearing both sides of the story for once. From what I can see you seem like you are made to be together. What is your favourite thing about each other?
Martin - Lizzie makes me laugh, a lot! Her goofiness is one of my favourite things about her because, I can be myself around her and have a laugh. Lizzie is very driven and focused especially when there’s a goal she’s aiming for which is brilliant. Another jewel quality about her is the fact that she moves intentionally in her purpose as a writer, friend, and family member. Lastly, I’d say her beauty, Lizzie really taught me what beauty really looked like, through being herself, which is an amazing human being - she also happens to be very attractive! I learned the difference between someone being good-looking and someone being beautiful – she defines the word for me.
Lizzie - This is a hard question, as I feel like ‘Martin’ can be used as an adjective! But if I had to pick one thing (amongst many) I would have to say his heart. Martin is the most generous, kind-hearted man I know. He treats homeless people with so much humility and is always happy to give. I also love that Martin consults God about anything and everything. He inspires me to build up my faith, never settle for less and keep pushing. I also love his sense of humour and that we can goof around with each other. And of course, he is handsome, and has to die-for eyelashes.
I have no words, it's actually beautiful reading your responses. Now you're married what is marriage like? #issawife
Martin - We’ve been married for 6 months now and thoroughly enjoying it! I think the amount of quality time together is definitely a huge plus, given that we didn’t live together before we got married. Also, the phrase ‘Thank God it’s Friday!’ has a whoooole new meaning for me as a married man. There is nothing quite coming home on a Friday, knowing that you have the whole evening and the weekend to hang out together! It’s an amazing feeling! Don’t ever settle for anything less than marrying your best friend! It’s the best decision I ever made!
Lizzie - Everything! Words cannot describe how it feels to do life with my best friend. From waking up in the same bed, to catching the train to work together, to cuddling up on the sofa watching a movie, hosting dinner parties . . . the list is endless! I also love that whenever I feel anxious, confused or down, I can turn to Martin for advice. God always gives him the right words to say, to lift me up. We are currently in the stage of building our home together and that’s been pretty fun. In fact, trips to Ikea and B&Q have become date nights!
Someone to do life with, my heart, i'm clearly a hopeless romantic! Back tracking a little bit - The wedding day, how could we miss that out? What was that like?
Martin - The day itself was crazy! There were a few surprises for Lizzie that I had planned for the ceremony, so I think I was more focused on making sure that they worked out well first. Thankfully, they all came together, and I was able to relax completely and let the rest of the day really flow. One of my work colleagues gave me a great piece of advice which was...
‘Be mindful of the fact that this is probably the one day in your life, where you will experience having all of the people that mean the most to you in the same space at the same time’
We both tried to soak up each moment and make sure we took some time away from the buzz of everything to soak it all up (something we’d been advised to do by colleagues and friends and it made all the difference!). The food, décor, wedding coordinators and media teams at the reception was nothing short of amazing! Sarah (Deluscious Catering), Mary (Event Décor Hire), Dean (VNV Live) and Franklin (ListnTicked) have been blessed with gifts that they are using to their fullest potential and they gave us their best, as I’m sure they do for every couple! I can’t recommend them highly enough! They were instrumental in making the day really special for us.
I couldn’t ask for any more in terms of the moments, memories and experiences that all played out on the day, it was a blessing!
Lizzie - The wedding was such an amazing day. I could not have imagined it, even if I tried. It’s one of those days, that stays with you forever. Those days which regardless of where you’re at, when it comes to mind, it brings a big, cheesy smile on your face. It was such a beautiful and spiritual experience seeing all my friends and family under one roof - some of whom, I had not seen for years - and declaring my vows to the man I wholeheartedly love. My favourite part of the day, had to be when Martin serenaded me with his smooth keys playing, accompanied by the incredible vocals of the acapella jazz quintet, Vadé. It literally brought tears to my eyes!
That is so romantic! I'm so glad you enjoyed every minute of it. I notice that this wedding was not just a fusion of you two but a fusion of cultures - how did you manage to achieve that?
Martin - Given Lizzie’s Nigerian heritage, there were a number of traditional Nigerian customs that we incorporated into the wedding as key parts of the Nigerian culture. For me, it was important to bring both the Jamaican and Ghanaian heritage elements into mix so that the cultural representations were evident on both sides.
The cultural aspect really highlighted just how much we lost in the middle passage in terms of heritage as Caribbean people; and it wasn’t until we were organising the wedding and going through Nigerian traditional elements, that it really hit home just how much was lost during slavery. Of course, as Jamaicans, the Ghanaian roots are still evident in our food, but I wanted to have a visual representation too, hence the Kente Bow Ties.
I suggested to my family to consider wearing Kente fabric in some way with their outfits if they so wished, to represent our pre-slavery lineage too. My brother, Dad, Grandad, some of my uncles, cousins and friends, all wore Kente fabric as part of their outfits. It was amazing to see my family wearing Kente cloth across multiple generations.
Lizzie - Since Martin and I didn’t have a traditional Nigerian wedding, we decided later on in the evening we would change into matching Nigerian attire. This included me wearing a gele (Nigerian head tie) and Martin wearing an Agbada - a flowing wide sleeved robe worn by men in much of West Africa. The outfits were beautiful and made us look like royalty. And of course, there was the food. We had both Jamaican food (rice and peas, jerk chicken, curry goat) and Nigerian food (jollof rice, fried rice, pounded yam, egusi). Shout out to Deluscious Catering who did a magnificent job!
As the woman behind Asikara I am so proud to say I was a part of this beautiful day, what made you decide to incorporate Asikara by Laura Jane into your wedding?
Martin - The colour palette for the bridal party was Navy, Gold and Grey and Purple, the bridesmaids were all going to be wearing purple, so I figured why not have a range of colours for the groomsmen’s suits to complement the bridesmaids’ outfits.
I really wanted to incorporate some elements of my heritage into my outfit. Given Lizzie’s Nigerian heritage, there were many traditions and customs, that are still honoured and passed down, some of which were part of the wedding process.
That led me to looking for Bow Ties made from Kente cloth on Pinterest and one of the images from your site came up, it was perfect!
It then led to continuing the theme with the other groomsmen, who all wore Bow Ties from Asikara by Laura Jane. Three of the groomsmen wore the amazing purple Ankara print Bow Ties with light grey, three-piece suits, the best men (my brother, Louis and Tad) both wore navy blue three-piece suits with Bow Ties which represented their heritage too. Louis wore a Kente Bow Tie and Tad wore a custom made Bow Tie that Laura had so kindly put together on-request.
I had read on the blog, that you had bought some fabric during your time in Zimbabwe, Tad’s place of birth and asked if it would be possible for you to use the amazing green and blue patterned fabric she was using for headscarves to make a Bow Tie and pocket square for Tad and Praise God, you said yes!!
Lastly, I really opted for a two-tone, purple suit that was custom made from the awesome guys at Moss Bros. on Oxford St. Their range of fabrics for custom-suits is great and their customer service is second to none! For any grooms out there looking to buy their suits, go and see these guys! The purple went perfectly with the newer range of Kente Bow Ties that you had in stock (both Louis and I wore those). My Dad, Grandad and uncle also wore Kente Bow Ties from the Asikara range.
This has made my day, i'm so glad I said yes! What advice would you give to others planning to incorporate their culture and heritage in their wedding celebration?
Martin - I would say it’s important to remember that the wedding should be a reflection of you both, so you can incorporate elements of your heritage in a wide variety of ways. On one end, you can go fully traditional with certain stages of the wedding OR alternatively you can go with more subtle tones. That could look like traditional fabric being used in Bow Ties, Headwraps, Waistbands and even in the smaller elements like the favour boxes and napkins.
A key thing to be mindful of when intertwining traditional wedding styles with Ankara print/fabrics, is making sure the colours that you choose for your wedding colour scheme also give you room to add those amazing Ankara patterns to the mix without them clashing.
Lizzie - I would say less is more. In Nigerian culture, we tend to do things big, bold and loud; and so, all that was needed, were a few subtle pieces to pay tribute to our heritage. I would recommend sharing your ideas and vision to your wedding vendors and set up a Pinterest board.
You guys are beyond cute! Thanks so much for sharing your day with us, for allowing us to be a part of it and may God bless your union!
Well we hope you enjoyed Martin & Lizzie's love story! Who doesn't love a good wedding? How would you incorporate your heritage into your wedding? We want to hear from you comment below.
Photography By - T Philips
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