jennifer + dominic’s intercultural wedding celebration at the citadel theatre

edmonton dutch ghanian wedding at the citadel theatreimages by FO Photography

this special couple celebrated the joining of two cultures as they tied the knot in an intimate wedding ceremony at the Citadel Theatre. photographers Funmi and Adrian of FO Photography were there to capture all of the details, and they share about the experience below…

‘When Atlanta Silverbacks Soccer Player Dominic Oppong and Registered Dental Hygienist Jennifer Veldhuis contacted us to take their engagement and wedding photographs, we were beyond thrilled. Their 5 year old son, Max, his grandparents, aunt and uncle formed their very intimate wedding of just eight people. Jennifer is of Dutch Canadian heritage whilst Dominic is of Ghanaian Canadian heritage. Jennifer’s outfit consisted of a white jumpsuit and a wedding skirt made of Ankara, a fabric worn by many Africans, and tulle. Dominic thought that Jennifer would choose a western design for her wedding dress so he was very pleasantly surprised at their first look. It was a beautiful day, full of cultural details, surprise, laughter,  and love.’

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Who designed and made Jennifer’s wedding outfit and bouquet? 

I designed my outfit and my mom turned it into a reality. She is not a professional seamstress but made a lot of our clothes growing up. This was definitely the most ambitious project she has taken on, but it turned out better than I could have imagined. She told me upon completion that she is now retired from sewing! My sister designed and made the bouquet, which included antique brooches from my grandmother’s jewelry box as well as a birthstone ring I received from my aunt and uncle for high school graduation.

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What were the highlights of your wedding day?

It’s really hard to pick one! We loved our first look. One of our memorable moments was when that group of women stopped to take a photo of me just as Dominic was walking up to stand at his corner. It made him even more nervous to see me because he wondered why all the commotion. Another memory is Max dropping one of the rings… Just as he did as a ring bearer at my sister’s wedding 2 years ago. It’s an accidental tradition for him!

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How and when did you meet?

We met 10 years ago totally by coincidence. Dominic was in Edmonton for a soccer tournament, and we had mutual friends. We were going out to a nightclub and Dominic decided to be nice and volunteered to ride in the car where he would be the odd one out and a stranger to the others he was riding with; this was the car that was picking me up. I had to sit on his lap because the car was full. If anyone else had volunteered to ride in that car, we would never have met!

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What was the proposal like?

We didn’t really have a proposal. We had been talking about it on and off for a few years because we travel quite a bit with Dom’s career and it would be easier to make it official for visa requirements and such. It was never something that was important for our relationship to put it on paper, but eventually we just said to each other “we should just get married.” “okay.” And that was it. We are so happy we did it, not just for legal reasons but even though we didn’t expect it to, it has made our relationship stronger.

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Please tell us about the planning process!

We began planning in the middle of March, looking at rings first because we both knew we would like unique custom designs. We knew from the start that we wanted a small ceremony. We considered eloping but knew that our parents would appreciate being included. Our planning was really easy compared to most weddings. Because it was a Thursday we were pretty confident from the start that all the vendors we wanted would be available, which is exactly how it worked out! Google is our friend, we found each vendor by randomly clicking here and there and we feel like we found a great mix of people to help make our day perfect for us. We are the type of people that when we see something we like, we know it instinctively. Since we didn’t have a vision for what we wanted our wedding to be, it was easy to put it together just by seeing what we could find.

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Was there anything you were worried wouldn’t work, but turned out awesome?

We really didn’t have our hearts set on a specific plan for the day, or anything that needed to happen a certain way. We are easy-going people and are used to making things up as we go along and rolling with whatever happens. That was our approach throughout from the planning process to the wedding day. It was amazing that it didn’t rain because the forecast had been looking a little iffy – but that’s Edmonton weather! We were prepared with fashionable umbrellas and I styled my hair to work with any extra humidity if need be.

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What is the significance of the sharing of the bread? What is the official name for that tradition?

The Dutch word for honeymoon is “wittebroodsweken,” which means “white bread weeks”. It is the time after the wedding when the couple are especially attentive to each other and enjoying their new life together. My mother remembered that when she went to the Netherlands to meet my father’s family for the first time, my father’s sister and her husband had been married for 4 years, my parents for 2 years. My auntie Margriet had said “our white bread days are old now, but they still taste sweet.” It was something that always stuck with my mom. The blessing in our ceremony was “may your white bread days last long after this, your wedding day, and continue to taste just as sweet.” My mom thought of including a breaking bread ceremony at 5 am the morning of our wedding, and got up right away to bake the loaf!

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Got any advice for couples planning an Edmonton wedding? 

We suggest that you keep an open mind about what you want included in your day, there are lots of local vendors who can offer a unique and personalized experience. When you find one vendor you would like to work with, find out what other vendors they have collaborated with before – everybody has connections that can lead you in a direction you might not have considered.

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Which vendors made your day awesome?

photography: FO Photography! Seriously. We loved the way they work together. It made our wedding day so relaxed and we were so so so happy that they were available to capture our day, especially since they were the ones who spent the most time with us during the planning process and on our actual wedding day. We really appreciated their help in planning a rough schedule for our photos and suggesting locations, because one of the faults of our easy-going personalities is that we had a hard time nailing down what we wanted for our photos.

officiant: Meaningful Ceremonies

makeup and lashes: MakeupAndMeg

bride’s rings: custom design by Johan Rust

groom’s ring: Deluxe Bands

wedding brunch + first look: Madison’s Grill

ceremony venue: Citadel Theatre

got an edmonton wedding or engagement session you’d like to see featured on yegwed.com? get in touch! we’d love to hear from you. 

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