Childhood sweethearts Tonie Mai King and Jimmy Andrews became husband and wife on January 3, 2009. The Liberian couple traveled back to their native continent for the fabulous nuptials and used the breathtaking “sundowner” as their backdrop as they tied the knot.
Zimbabwean makeup artist Yasmin Shambare uses her magic to get Tonie Mai extra pretty for her big day. The bride and her husband met while they were only teenagers on the Ivory Coast and have practically been inseparable ever since.
Jimmy is flanked by his boys as he waits for his bride to meet him at the altar. The handsome groom recalls the couple’s first impressions of each other.
“She just was not impressed! There was lots of eye-rolling. I guess she thought that I could only be trouble since I had a ‘reputation,’ so she just turned her nose way up. But I did think she was cute. I love a challenge.”
The groom gets anxious waiting for his bride. The young couple dated for nearly a decade before making their love official at the historical Hotel Cardoso, which overlooks the beautiful Maputo Bay in Mozambique.
The newly wedded couple were high school sweethearts who stuck out their long-distance relationships even when they left Liberia to pursue their dreams. Tonie Mai traveled to Philadelphia to study at the University of Pennsylvania and Jimmy trekked to Paris to join the army.
The rich hues typical of an African sundowner were the inspiration behind the flowers selected for this couple’s wedding cake. The tasty layers included fruitcake, carrot cake, caramel and vanilla butter. Tonie Mai explains that fruitcake is traditionally served at West African weddings.
Tonie Mai and Jimmy had some guests who traveled 10,000 miles to witness their big day! To show their appreciation, the creative couple included luggage tags in their welcome baskets. Also included in the baskets that awaited visitors in their hotels were Swazi candles (made in Swaziland), Amurula Cream Liquor (a creamy South African beverage) and a “What To Do In Mozambique” guide.
While many long-distance romances dwindle away, the obstacle helped make Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love stronger. Even while Tonie Mai left Africa to study at UPenn and later Columbia and Jimmy moved to Paris, the twosome stuck it out.
“As the sun set behind us and I looked into my husband’s eyes, I was truly happy and blessed that indeed, through thick and thin, this would be my man,” says Tonie Mai.
“My husband and I began our love affair about a decade ago in West Africa where we both grew up. Although young and perhaps naive, we endured a cross Atlantic romance for six years. Finally, we were bound in holy matrimony under the perfect African sun,” reflects Tonie Mai.
The newlyweds were ecstatic to show off their gorgeous homeland to loved ones from far and wide. While the actual wedding was on January 3, many guests arrived a few days before to bring in the new year in Mozambique.
“I got my African sunset!” exclaims the bride. She adds: “It was very important to both me and Jimmy to go back to the continent of Africa for the wedding.”
The couple’s unique week-long wedding celebration included safari trips to Krugar National Park to spot the Big Five, a Bilene beach excursion to take in San Martin Bay and the Indian Ocean and a rehearsal dinner with Ethiopian cuisine.