The moment Kester Osaigbovo met Amira on a chilly October night at a pub in 2013, he was “intrigued” with her. He’d come with his friends to the spot so that one of them could meet up with his girlfriend. That girlfriend happened to be a good friend of Amira’s. When she introduced herself to his group, Kester was captivated Amira.
“Her confidence, poise, and smile caught me off guard,” he tells ESSENCE. “I sensed ‘it.’ Something I needed to dive deeper for.”
After mulling over a plan of action, he approached her later, only to end up catching an accidental backhand to the face from her.
“Kester came back up to me and as I turned to face him, I accidentally hit him in the face with my left hand,” she says. “I apologized profusely and then he said, ‘It’s okay. Now you have to dance with me.’ I thought ‘Oooo that was smooth.'” They proceeded to dance together and share that drink. By the end of the night they exchanged numbers, and more than seven years later, they said “I do” in front of family and friends.
But the road to the altar wasn’t an easy one. After a heartfelt proposal during a fifth anniversary trip to the Catskill Mountains, the couple bought a home and started planning to tie the knot on April 23, 2020. By March 1, Amira had her bridal shower and was hopeful that as their big day approached, it would go off without a hitch. But as the days passed in that month, we know that the coronavirus pandemic shut down just about everything, including weddings.
“On March 26, Kester and I finally sat down and had a conversation about our options,” she says. “After speaking with our venue and hearing that they had closed indefinitely, we were left with no choice but to postpone our wedding.”
But the actual date, 4/23, still head great significance to the couple as it neared. It was tied to their favorite Bible verse, Psalm 23:4: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Also, they’d waited years to have their special day, were unsure of what the future would hold, and felt an even stronger bond as they watched the world in turmoil. So in the midst of the pandemic, they married in the middle of their home with their pastor officiating over Zoom. No one was present but the couple and God, and it was perfect.
“It’s so crazy how much we all plan to get married in front of hundreds of people until we are faced with having no choice but to do it with just us and God,” she says. “That moment made it very clear that in a marriage when things go bad, that’s truly all you will have, just your significant other and God.”
Thankfully though, things would get better, and the couple was able to also have their white wedding in front of all of their loved ones, just as they initially planned, this time on April 15, 2021. But for both parties, the best thing about the big day was getting to see and still have one another.
“The most memorable part of the wedding day for me was finally seeing my wife. That moment was the literal manifestation of our lives for the past year. We are survivors!” he says. “We went through the wedding process while also being first-year homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic. We did that, and we made it.”
The joy of “making it” can be seen throughout Amira and Kester’s beautiful wedding photos. See the images from their day, which also featured a mini traditional ceremony to honor their Nigerian roots at The Legacy Castle in New Jersey.
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When They Knew They Found “The One”
In addition to her determination to meet her goals and an ability to adapt and roll with the punches, Kester knew Amira was the one “due to her unrelenting love for those that she cares about. She will always seek your best interests at heart, even in moments of fatigue or stress. She seeks joy in every aspect of life and strives to conquer any form of negativity with it. For that, I am thankful. For that, I’d be foolish to choose any other partner.”
For Amira, Kester was her perfect partner because he stood by her during not-so-pretty moments.
“It’s easy to find someone who will like you and love you but it’s hard to find someone who will be there when things go bad, and Kester made it clear that he was ride or die,” she says. “Over the years we have grown to become best friends, soul mates who can literally read each other’s minds, and now we are lifetime partners as husband and wife.”
According to Kester, he got down on one knee for 10 minutes during their anniversary trip to the Catskill Mountains in New York State.
“Immediately after we finished dinner, it was time to propose. I gave her a random shirt as a fake anniversary gift. As she glossed over the shirt, I unboxed the ring. I told her who she was, and still is. Amira is a boss, a friend, a leader, an inspiration, and soon to be a wife. I dropped to one knee and there I stayed for 10 real-time minutes. I think I finally fried her brain with this one as she refused to believe this was finally happening.”
After wanting the moment to happen for so long, Amira said she was in utter disbelief.
“I always tell Kester that he shouldn’t have been such a phenomenal boyfriend to me for five years and then I wouldn’t have been so anxious to marry him,” she jokes. She eventually said yes. In fact, she said “Yes, duh!”
“Kester and I always said that we consider ourselves to be royalty so when we went to visit The Legacy Castle we immediately fell in love with the details, colors, and architecture of the castle,” she says. “It was truly fit for a king and queen. Because we chose April as our wedding month we went into the planning process anticipating a chance of rain so we cared more about how the inside of our venue of choice looked versus the outside. We also always envisioned having a fairytale wedding so finding a castle in the middle of New Jersey was truly the perfect backdrop for our wedding day.”
An American Meets Traditional Wedding
Many Nigerian couples have a traditional wedding ceremony, usually the day before the “white wedding,” however, the couple did two in one for their big day.
Amira is Yoruba while Kester is of the Edo tribe. She wore the traditional attire of his culture, while he honored hers, getting the emblems from Edo culture sewed into a Yoruba agbada, a popular wide-sleeved robe.
The Traditional Train
Kester is seen in his agbada, dancing out with his groomsmen and “train” members.
The Asoebi Girls
Amira danced out with her bridesmaids and “Asoebi” girls, family and friends she asked to accompany her during that special moment, who also changed into traditional Nigerian custom outfits.
The Most Memorable Moment
For Amira, getting to see Kester at the end of the aisle, the two in tears, was the most memorable moment of the wedding day for her.
“When I walked down the aisle toward Kester I immediately started crying because I was so overwhelmed with happiness that the day was finally happening so beautifully!” she says. “Seeing him standing at the altar felt like a literal dream.”
Shining and ready for forever!
Their COVID Wedding
The couple was still excited for their big day this year, despite choosing to marry last year. Both ceremonies hold a special place for them.
“We had no idea what the world would look like a year from that day, but we knew we would have each other no matter what,” Amira says. “It was a challenging first year of marriage battling quarantine, working from home, and adjusting to our new newlywed lives from home but we truly made it work and we grew so much throughout the entire process. We are blessed that we were still able to have our dream wedding despite COVID and the day was pure perfection as we were able to incorporate our cultures and finally celebrate with our family and friends safely.”
The impeccable floral arrangements and decor was put together by Daphnee Lauren Events.
The Bride’s Tribe
The bride wore Sena Masoud while her bridesmaids looked lovely in shimmering gowns from Revelry.
The Groom’s Men
Loving the setup of this image of Kester and his groomsmen.
The Bride and Groom
Away from guests, the bride and groom shared a special moment in the reception hall to take photos.