With the Afrobella Bride series, I’m going to feature businesses that cater to your special day, ideas for your special day, and photos FROM your special day. So bellas, please give a warm welcome to my first ever Afrobella bride!

Kiwana is a jewelry designer and soap maker, among many other things! Check out her wares at Aquababie.com, and she’s also on Twitter!

On their wedding day, Kiwana and her husband chose to blend African with African-American traditions.

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Kiwana on her wedding day!

My husband and I were born and raised here in Mississippi. Most folk who have seen our pictures do assume that one or both of us are directly from the Continent. We chose African attire because we felt it reflected how we feel as a couple of African descent.

When we first talked about what we wanted in a wedding, we both decided we wouldn’t want a “traditional” wedding that most people are used to seeing. Our wedding was really a hybrid of African and African-American traditions. Our families and friends were happy to comply with our wishes for making our day truly ours, including wearing African garb.

afrobella bride, afrocentric wedding

We had African dancers and drummers who participated early in the ceremony. Our neighbor who happens to be a Yoruba priestess performed our libation and prayer. Our officiant performed a Kemetic (African-Centered) ceremony. We had a “tasting of the elements” ritual, which was adapted from Yoruba tradition. We had a lighting of the Mishumaa Saba (seven candles) of Kwanzaa representing the same principles of the holiday we want to be represented in our marriage. And at the end we jumped the broom.

We used adinkra symbols throughout the wedding including our invitations and programs, our wedding rings, and our wedding cakes.

The headdress is called a Gele. I worked a few weeks to get it right and I still thought it wasn’t big enough! My attire including the headdress was purchased from Dupsie’s. They were absolutely wonderful! I wore my hair in comb coils underneath the Gele. i’ve been natural for 13 years.

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We were married in Jackson, MS at a private home. My husband’s cousins were gracious enough to let us have the wedding & reception at their home. We wanted it small and intimate. We had about a total of 75 guests. Their backyard was the perfect venue for us and the weather cooperated beautifully.

The first thing we decided was the budget. We kept it small and inexpensive, not spending over $4000 total.

Having everything in a private home helped to save us on our budget. In choosing details, we did decide like most people what colors we wanted. Things fell into place from there.

I decided what flowers I wanted and chose to buy those online to save floral costs. Sam’s has beautiful flowers and it wasn’t difficult at all to prep them before doing the arrangements. I had a family friend and another family member who have experience doing arrangements help me with the flowers. This included the bridal bouquet, family flowers and floral arrangements for the tables.

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Sam’s also makes delicious cakes. My husband decorated them himself. He also decided to make a black cake after I told him about one at a friend’s wedding.

If you’re crafty, you can do lots of projects yourself. My husband, who is an artist and musician, created our invitations and programs. We assembled them ourselves. I made my own jumping broom myself from a pine branch from our backyard, natural straw i purchased, cowrie shells, flowers and ribbon.

bride, african american bride, jumping the broom

Since I create my own jewelry, I created pieces for myself and my family in the wedding.

[In planning the wedding] I visited The Knot quite a bit. I used two books, Jumping the Broom and The Nubian Wedding Book. Dupsies for clothing, From Cairo with Love for our wedding rings. I basically did plenty of internet research for decor ideas and flower arrangement ideas.

Kiwana’s best advice for surviving the big day was both practical and loving.

Remember the day is about you and your soon to be husband. I think plenty of men are left out of the day (maybe by choice, maybe by the bride to be). Sitting down and incorporating your mate into your decision making can be fun. Heck he might even bake you a cake!

Ask for help! You don’t have to do everything yourself, even if you are on a budget. More than likely friends and family are willing to contribute work to make your day happen.

Planning a wedding doesn’t have to take forever. We planned our wedding in 8 weeks. We picked a day and went full steam ahead.

Having a “Day of Coordinator” comes in handy, even if you don’t use a wedding planner. Your DOC directs the ceremony and takes care of the issues you shouldn’t have to worry about.

Now that Kiwana has been married a while, I had to ask for her best marriage advice.

This make sound boring, but keep the lines of communication open. You have to be able to talk to each other. And don’t forget just because he’s your husband, doesn’t mean you can’t date him. Have a date night!

Thanks to Brice Media for photos and videos.

Thanks for sharing your special day, Kiwana!!

If you want to share your Afrobella Bride photos and story, shoot me an e mail. What’s your FAVORITE thing about this beautiful and unique wedding, bellas?


DJ Diva says:
July 13, 2011, 11:54 am
This was so beautiful! Congratulations and thank you for sharing with us Kiwana! (and Bella LOL)
SoFrolushes says:
July 13, 2011, 11:55 am
very nice. I have been to many African weddings in the UK most christian ceremonies but the elegance the culture is definitely worth celebrating. congrats to the couple
Minacakes says:
July 13, 2011, 12:03 pm
Beautiful! I love this. Congrats to the happy couple!
aquababie says:
July 13, 2011, 12:11 pm
afrobella, thanks for letting me share my special day with everyone!!
Sheera says:
July 13, 2011, 12:14 pm
This was beautiful; thanks for sharing ... This just rocked my world on how i could do a wedding ... If that ever comes to pass since I've never seen myself doing the "traditional" thing & I'm nowhere near getting married. I liked the use of the Kwanzaa principles (those are awesome principles to build a relationship & family on) & everything about the ceremony (the tasting of the elements sounds especially like it was interesting)
Tania says:
July 13, 2011, 12:19 pm
Yay Kiwana!! I'm so happy that you got featured!! Congrats to you! :)
Christine says:
July 13, 2011, 12:30 pm
Bella, thanks for this awesome feature! Kiwana, your wedding seems absolutely gorgeous and I LOVE your wedding attire from the headdress to the details on your skirt: Stunning!
Tina says:
July 13, 2011, 1:01 pm
Ki, beautiful!!! All of your love, elegance and natural beauty was shown through your ceremony!!! Love ya!!
Nat Gi says:
July 13, 2011, 1:07 pm
This was a beautiful story. It inspired me to bring these ideas up to my mwanamume also!
nolagirl says:
July 13, 2011, 1:08 pm
Thanks for sharing, I love your flowers, and you look so happy! ( i think the look of love is my favorite part of what you shared, but I do like everything you did to make this your ceremony.)
Lynnieluve says:
July 13, 2011, 3:25 pm
Absolutely beautiful!!!
Sharron says:
July 13, 2011, 9:59 pm
what a beautiful ceremony! Congrats to the both of you!
Sylvia says:
July 14, 2011, 1:17 pm
Kiwana, still so very lovely to see again. What a great feature...may you and your hubby continue to be Blessed!
warrior11209 says:
July 15, 2011, 5:15 pm
Kiwana what a beautiful wedding-thank you for sharing this with us. My husband and I are thinking of doing a renewal ceremony and this time I may do an African inspired ceremony. Afrobella -great feature
Purple says:
July 16, 2011, 4:46 pm
Lovely. Happy to see them embrace Mother Africa :)
NinaG says:
July 16, 2011, 6:38 pm
Beautiful! that vid made me smile
Gray Livin' says:
July 17, 2011, 5:46 pm
Congrats! Beautiful bride. I love the new series, Afrobella. Can't wait to read more.
bumbee says:
July 19, 2011, 3:50 pm
amazing photographer! I love the video with badu in the background. this wedding was original and they look truly happy. Great ideas and beautiful ceremony. God bless Ki!
BlackBloggersConnect says:
July 20, 2011, 10:20 am
This is a beautiful wedding! Congrats to the bride and groom. I love the African attire with the gold and white.
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