Start Slideshow View Grid Start Slideshow 53

An English Wedding with Nigerian Elements at Buckhurst Park

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Photography by Ben & Kadin

Isabel Paulus, who works in marketing for Sotheby’s, and Ope Runsewe met at a mutual friend’s fancy dress party on New Year’s Eve. The pair had been dating for around two-and-a-half years when he proposed during a holiday in Sri Lanka with “Will You Marry Me?” written out in bamboo leaves on their bed. “It was honestly so pretty, and the smell of all the flowers is something I will never forget. I burst into tears (sobbed out a ‘yes’ to his question) and continued to cry for the next five hours!” Isabel says. 

The bride always had a clear vision of how she wanted her wedding to look. She wanted it to reflect their English and Nigerian roots. Dusky pink and sage green became the main colors—“I even dressed my bridesmaids in mix-match dresses, including one in sage, so they looked like a bunch of flowers!” she says.

After trying on around 20 dresses, Isabel realized that she wanted to go the custom route. She found Emma Beaumont on Instagram, and together, they created a look with a pearl mikado top and huge tulle skirt with a 4.5-meter train. The veil was heavily embroidered, and she snuck in “I&O” for a hidden, sentimental detail.

The groom wore a grey Hackett morning suit with a pale pink linen waistcoat from SIRPLUS and a dark green, knitted tie. He completed the look with an antique sapphire and pearl tie pin, which Isabel gifted him as a wedding present.

On September 7th, the church ceremony was held with 175 guests in attendance. A sermon was given by the wonderful Pastor Agu of Jesus House Church, and a gospel choir performed “Blinded by Your Grace” by Stormzy, after the couple said their vows, and “Stand By Me,” together with everyone. Following their first kiss, the newlyweds made their getaway in a vintage car to Buckhurst Park

Drinks began in the front of the house, and then the newlyweds drove in to meet their guests. “We felt like royalty!” Isabel says. Everyone had more drinks in the back of the house, until dinner was ready on the lower lawn, where a Papakata marquee with round bar and decorated with flowers was waiting for them. A three-course meal was served, and then cheese boards with homemade chutney, a sweets station, and an ice cream bike kept guests happy as they danced the night away. 

The seven-piece band, Central Avenue, with a roaming saxophone player, had everyone on the floor all night. The roaming sax player was a non-negotiable from Ope when we started wedding planning!” Isabel explains. The couple had their first dance to Tiesto’s remix of John Legend’s “All of Me.”

Once the reception formally came to a close, an impromptu after-party started at the maid of honor’s house. I was there with Ope until about 2:30a.m. in my wedding dress eating pizza in her kitchen!”