In Real Weddings

Engaged in West Africa, Married in Mississippi

Marriage brings families together, blends cultures, creates new traditions and often takes couples on journeys to unexpected places. Olumide and Rochelle Kolawole met while attending medical school eight years ago in Ghana. Their paths merged and brought them across the Atlantic to Jackson, Mississippi, where Olumide is completing his residency. Their incredible engagement and wedding photos tell a story of love that crosses cultural and international boundaries.

How They Met

Rochelle recalls, “I was moving into the building across from his with some of my girlfriends, and he caught a glimpse of me from his window. We quickly became the best of friends and after two years, it became obvious to us we were in love and wanted to be together.”

How He Proposed

“He didn’t actually propose to me…he proposed to my dad!

“Being from West Africa, the concept of ‘getting engaged’ is a bit different than in the U.S. We knew we were going to get married from the time we started dating. Culturally speaking however, the biggest deal where we come from is getting each set of parents’ approval so, after Olu got my dad’s permission, our families organised our customary engagement ceremony.

“Now this is where it gets interesting. We are from two different countries which means his entire family had to fly from Nigeria (his country) to Liberia (my country) for the engagement ceremony, which was a beautiful and colorful blend of our two cultures.

“It was a pretty elaborate affair complete with a formal marriage proposal from his family to mine, outfit changes (see photos below), traditional African drumming, dances, exchanges of gifts, fine cloths, spirits and a dowry payment that included a live cow…yes a live cow!”

Family members surround Rochelle Kolawole during the engagement ceremony in Liberia, West Africa.

Olumide’s family offers a formal marriage proposal to Rochelle’s family.

Rochelle and Olumide

Engagement Ceremony Photography by Momento (Ghana)

The Wedding Ceremony

On February 17, Olumide and Rochelle were married in Saint Richard Catholic Church in Jackson, MS. “From the church ceremony to the reception….everything was just beautiful and fun!” Rochelle said. “The best part for us was how intimate our wedding felt throughout. We had one hundred of our closest family and friends who traveled from overseas and all over the country. We were surrounded by an overwhelming amount of love and that really made every moment feel special.”


Olumide’s tuxedo was custom made by Jackson designer Patrick Shell.

The groom with three lovely flower girls

Beautiful bridesmaids in gowns of gold

The alter in St. Richard Catholic Church

Young wedding attendants patiently wait for their cue.


Rochelle is stunningly beautiful in her custom gown by LaceMarry!

Olumide and Rochelle with their parents

The reception took place at The Lake House in Ridgeland on the banks of the Reservoir.

Wedding cake by For Heaven’s Cake

Rochelle’s gown was handmade by LaceMarry, a private studio of three generations of dressmakers who design beautiful custom, vintage-style gowns.

One of the best things about being a flower girl: skirts that twirl

The wedding party got this wedding party started with a dance entrance!

Cheers and many happy years to Olumide and Rochelle Kolawole! – IDY

Photographer | Martha Grace Gray Photography
Ceremony Venue | Saint Richard Catholic Church
Florals, Rentals & Catering | Top It Off Events
Reception Venue | The Lake House
Cake | For Heaven’s Cakes
Music & Entertainment | DJ Baggins, Maryland
Bridal Gown Designer | custom made by LaceMarry Atelier
Bride’s Makeup | Joshua White from Jai Lee Faces Makeup Artistry
Tuxedo | custom made by Patrick Shell
Guest Transportation | LeFleur Transportation
Invitations | Poy Talata, Ghana (West Africa)
Guest Accommodations | The Hilton Jackson/Courtyard Marriot
Videographer | Harold Lyle’s Videography
Engagement Ceremony Photographer | Momento (Ghana)


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