When Mary-Ann and Ofuje first crossed paths, they were connecting to celebrate their shared culture. The year was 2019 and they were guests at the 28th Annual Edo National Association Worldwide (ENAW) Convention in Washington, D.C. For those unfamiliar, the Edo people, also known as the Bini, are a group found in Southern Nigeria. Ofuje was part of the planning committee to put together events for the young adults, and he helped bring to life a mixer on the convention’s opening night that his future wife would end up attending.
“During the mixer, we engaged in conversation and quickly realized that we were connected in multiple ways,” Mary-Ann recalls to ESSENCE. “It was a déjà vu moment. We both felt like we’d known each other forever.”
Following the convention, the two remained in touch, soon realizing they’d found something special in one another. “I knew Mary-Ann was the one because she brought me peace and joy,” Ofuje says. “Talking to her was a breath of fresh air and I couldn’t stop thinking about her.”
“I knew Ofuje was the one because we were in sync,” she adds. “Our connection was magical.”
A little over a year after they first met, or 413 days to be specific, Ofuje asked Mary-Ann for her hand in marriage. He did so in Las Vegas at The Strat, the second tallest building in the Western hemisphere, on a warm fall night surrounded by an endless sea of lights. It would be the first time, but not the last, that the two would be surrounded by bright lights and great pomp to honor their love.
The second time was on June 4, 2022, when the pair became Mr. and Mrs. Daniyan, marrying at the Renaissance Hotel in Maryland. The celebration included multiple gowns, stunning sunset-inspired decor, a display of the beauty of their culture of course, and a chance to celebrate their union with the people most behind it.
“I really enjoyed every single moment,” says Mary-Ann. “However, my fondest memory was dancing with family and friends. It was amazing interacting with everyone and sharing our special day with them. We truly felt the love and support.”
Check out the gorgeous images from their special day and learn more about their planning process in this week’s Bridal Bliss.
“My wedding dresses were very intentional, and both thoughtfully curated by Valdrin Sahiti,” Mary-Ann says of her two looks for the big day. “Since I was getting married in a Roman Catholic Church, I wanted my ceremony dress to be more conservative with a cathedral train inspiration. I later changed into my second dress during the reception.”
The couple’s wedding ceremony took place at the beautiful St. Anthony Catholic Church.
The couple shared their first smooch as husband and wife at their ceremony.
The pair are captured celebrating while heading to their reception in a not-too-shabby Rolls-Royce.
The reception took place at the Renaissance Hotel in Baltimore. “We visited multiple venues in Maryland and the Renaissance Hotel was the most aesthetically pleasing option for us. It also best aligned with our décor vision. Additionally, the venue had a very spacious cocktail area that featured a spectacular panoramic glass roof with natural lighting,” says Mary-Ann.
The new Mr. and Mrs. were captured in memorable fashion by celeb photographer Stanley Babb.
The Daniyans were captured in front of their gorgeous decor ahead of guests being let in for the reception.
“The theme for our wedding décor was sunset hues,” Mary-Ann says, enlisting the help of their planner, 3sixteevents. “The wedding colors as seen in the décor featured a unique color palette inspired by the hues of the sunset in an ombre effect. Sunsets symbolize happiness and romance and that’s what we wanted our guests to experience during our wedding. We also wanted our décor to reflect our personalities, so we went for bright and bold hues with gold accents!”
The Daniyans were introduced at the reception, with the bride changing into her second look. “I wanted a more relaxed, elegant and fun dress that showed off my personality!’ she says. “Valdrin Sahiti really understood the assignment and nailed it!”
Large engagement photos of the couple were displayed for family and friends at the reception as part of the decor.
The bride is seen being sprayed by guests, a common practice in Nigerian weddings that is seen as showering guests with good fortune and wealth, of course.
“We are so blessed to have found each other! We are looking forward to achieving shared goals and motivating each other to achieve our individual goals,” says Mary-Ann. “We are also looking forward to growing our love and expanding our family.”
Planner – @3sixteevents
Photographer – @tunjistudio and @stanlophotography
Cinematographer – @bricksgroup
Bride’s Makeup – @rennyvasquez
Bride’s Hair stylist – @hairbyestylez
Bridal robe – @vtabi_official
Bride’s dresses – @valdrinsahiti
Floral & Design – @bcgevents
Dance floor, stage, welcome area, cold sparklers – @phemstar_event_productions
Hors d’oeuvres – @chopsbyrera
Dj – @claudedimartian