Bride: Camille, 32
Occupations:Camille, director at non-profit organization; Uchenna, attorney
Homebase: New York City
Wedding Date: January 24, 2010
Wedding Location: Westbury Manor, Westbury, New York
High School Sweethearts…sorta: A high school art history class brought newlyweds Camille and Uchenna together. While the two were friendly, there was no budding romance. “I immediately thought she was attractive but we were just friends at that point ,” admits Uchenna. Soon both students headed off to colleges in different parts of the country. Once returning home for grad school, Camille started to wonder how her former art class buddy was doing. “I called a mutual friend for his contact info and we began hanging out from there,” explains Camille. The pair started spending time together frequently and before long, they became more than “just friends”.
To Love and Protect: While dating, the duo realized they had a connection but Camille still had reservations about getting serious. Uchenna was patient but when he headed off to law school on the other side of the country, Camille had a change of heart. She missed Uchenna terribly and called him up to express her feelings. “I was shocked because Camille didn’t believe in long distance relationships,” says Uchenna. The couple made their love official and while courting, Uchenna discovered what was hiding behind Camille’s tough girl facade. “We were sitting in my car in front of her parent’s home and she pointed to their house and said, ‘Those two people in there [referring to her mother and father] are the only people in this world I trust completely,” remembers Uchenna. He adds, “It was at that moment I knew I wanted to make her my wife and protect her.”
All photography (excluding honeymoon pic) provided by Steven Saldana
Back to Our Roots: When Uchenna (who is Nigerian) decided to propose, he and his family followed the Nigerian tradition of going to Camille’s family home to officially ask for Camille’s hand in marriage. “In lieu of palm wine (Nigerian tradition), Hennessy cognac was poured out to lift up the spirit of the ancestors,” says Camille with a chuckle. Although Camille had a hunch about her Nigerian proposal, she didn’t have a clue about Uchenna’s surprise proposal at their former high school. The crafty Uchenna coordinated an intricate scheme with their alma mater to pop the question to his sweetie in the very halls where they had met over ten years before. Camille was overwhelmed with joy that Uchenna had gone through such great lengths and quickly accepted his thoughtful proposal. “My career was great but I knew I wanted more in life. Uchenna was there all along. It was about me getting ready for him,” she reveals.
Culture Club: The couple chose the sophisticated venue, Westbury Manor located in the Long Island suburb of New York City, for their ceremony and reception. The catering and reception hall has a traditional Western feel but the couple was adamant about incorporating their cultures into the wedding as well. The bride’s good friend and wedding planner Claire Simon helped bring the couple’s vision of their dream wedding day to life. A wonderful time was had by all and now that the dust has settled a bit Uchenna says, “I’m just looking forward to spending my life with Camille.”
Camille’s Budget Bridal Tips for Future Brides:
Seasons Change: The months between May and September are notoriously expensive for weddings. Take this savvy couple’s lead and tie the knot during an off-peak month like January for maximum bang for your bridal buck.
Sunday’s Best: Who says Saturday is the only day to get hitched? Camille and Uchenna jumped the broom on a Sunday afternoon and saved a whooping $20-$30 per person because of it according to Camille’s estimates. Use your savings to cover expenses that mean the most to you and your honey. “I wanted to spend my time, effort and money on the photographer and videographer,” Camille points out.
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