California Love: Meet The Ilegbodus!

Bride: Rashida Bridges, 25
Groom: Benahi “Ben” Ilegbodu, 27
Occupations: Bridges, strategic consultant; Ilegbodu, web developer
Homebase: California
Wedding Date: September 5, 2010
Wedding Location: Ceremony: Abundant Life Christian Fellowship; Mountainview, CA Reception: Biltmore Hotel; Santa Clara, CA

Friends Before Lovers Rashida and Ben met while students at Standford University but as college kids their age difference seemed enormous. “He treated me like a little sister,” recalls Rashida. Ben agrees but adds, “I had a couple of girlfriends in college that prevented us from getting together back then.” After Ben graduated he became more active in their church and the two began to see each other regularly. “In college she wasn’t the type of girl I was interested in but post-college that changed,” he admits. Rashida shares, “His involvement in our church impressed me. We both taught Sunday School and it naturally rekindled our friendship.”

A Child Shall Lead Them Since they are both committed to the youth in their church, the pair started spending a lot of time together. “Our friends noticed the chemistry and were just waiting for something romantic to spark,” says Rashida. After she helped Ben with a move, he offered to thank her by taking her to dinner. Rashida agreed but asked that they go to a vegetarian restaurant. “I don’t like vegetables but I went,” reveals Ben. “He suffered through eating a bunch of soy dishes for me,” Rashida remembers. From there the relationship evolved. “It was just a natural progression. It never felt forced,” Rashida explains. “Rashida and I are both laid back so we’re content staying home doing nothing but she also stretches my interests like suggesting we go to the park for nature walks,” Ben says.

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All images, excluding honeymoon pic, by Lynds Photo.

Family Friction As their relationship grew, the twosome discussed their future together and enrolled in a pre-marital/engagement class. They both sing the praises of the class and agree it prepared them for life’s obstacles as a couple. For instance, Ben’s father has not been supportive of their union. “We sent him a wedding invitation and never heard back. It devastated Ben. We’re both still trying to understand why he wouldn’t want to see his only son get married,” whispers Rashida who adds that her own parents have been married for over 30 years. “I don’t want to harbor any bitterness toward my father. It was good for Rashida to experience this before the wedding so she knew what she was getting into,” Ben says.

A Tale of Two Soles Ben incorporated his and Rashida’s Sunday School classes to ask for her hand in marriage. During the heartfelt proposal their students asked, “Ms. Rashida will you marry Mr. Ben?” Rashida said yes and the couple began planning their nuptials. Ben says he knew Rashida was the one because they continued to grow even as they were faced with challenges. Rashida knew Ben was the one when he asked if he could pray for her during one of their late night phone conversations while dating. The theme of their day was fittingly A Tale of Two Soles in tribute to the couple’s love of shoes. Their fun-loving spirit was captured in the ceremony and reception. And since Ben is Nigerian there were numerous cultural touches that made their wedding unique. Rashida sums the day up nicely, “It was great having our friends and family there to celebrate but also hold us accountable for this new union.”

Rashida’s Money Saving Tips for Future Brides:

Let Them Eat Cupcakes: Don’t feel obligated to purchase a colossal wedding cake for your reception. Rashida and Ben had a small cake for picture taking but served mini-cupcakes afterward. “They were definitely money savers,” says Rashida.

Frugal Fashion: Rashida purchased her first wedding gown for significantly less than the retail price thanks to her mother’s savviness. “My mom researched dresses online and found the exact same dress [I fell in love with at a boutique] for wholesale so it was much cheaper,” she explains. For her second dress of the day, Ben’s aunt in Nigeria constructed her ensemble.

Let Him Help: Ben, who is the self-proclaimed financial planner of the duo, was instrumental in ensuring they got the most bang for their buck during the wedding planning process. It was his idea for the couple to email guests a save the date video in lieu of traditional paper styles and thus they saved a hefty amount on invites and postage. The newlyweds were also able to enjoy a Mexican vacation by allowing loved ones to give monetary contributions towards the trip via a Web site. “That registry pretty much paid for our honeymoon,” shares Ben.

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