This Airy, Dusty Blue Wedding in Arizona Was a Family Affair
Enyo, who grew up in Nigeria, and Etienne, who was raised in Alaska, found each other through a student-athlete bible study at Minnesota State University in 2017, where Enyo ran with the track team and Etienne wrestled. The bride was raised in Nigeria by her parents who run a Christian orphanage, notes the groom. "I came to admire her faith," Etienne shares.
When the groom-to-be felt ready to pop the question three years later, he picked a meaningful spot: The top of Alaska's Pioneer Peak, which the couple reached after a grueling 12-hour hike. "The engagement was a very real representation of what Etienne had envisioned for the life ahead," says the bride. "To climb a mountain together was both difficult but left you surrounded by beauty."
The duo agreed on the Palm Valley Golf Club in Goodyear, Arizona, for their 100-guest wedding they planned for April 18, 2021. The location, near some of Etienne's family and a fun destination for their friends and family from all over the world, offered unforgettable vistas that sealed the deal. "I looked at so many," says Enyo. "The item that really won the venue for me was the mountain view." They chose a modern palette of dusty slate blue with accents of rose, gold, and leather brown, and created a relaxed atmosphere for their guests. "We planned our wedding so quickly, and some of that was because we were pressured with time constraints—we had to finish school and we knew that Etienne would be going into military training," says Enyo. "So, the advice that I would give another bride is that everything will work out beautifully, no matter what the planning process is like or how short it seems to be. Etienne and I both knew that in the end, the most important thing was getting married and both of our families coming together."
Since they were unable to travel to Nigeria for a traditional ceremony, the couple incorporated Enyo's heritage throughout the event, including during the rehearsal dinner with outfits in a striking red print that offered an intentional contrast to the pale blue of the big-day color scheme. "There are various patterns and colors of celebratory clothing we wear in Nigeria called ankara," says Enyo. "My mom and a friend picked several options for us from a market in Nigeria, and Etienne immediately loved the red-and-white pattern when he saw it. We picked that one to be sewed for our rehearsal." Enyo also chose a pearl-embellished headpiece, called a gele, that coordinated with her veil. "I am a sucker for pearls," she says. "Even before meeting me, Etienne wanted to incorporate African clothing into his wedding, so it worked out well for him to marry a Nigerian."
While she originally found herself drawn to lace wedding dresses, Enyo quickly realized she preferred a more understated look—"I really just wanted something simple and elegant," she says. "I liked the buttons on the back that went all the way down this dress from Allure Bridals." The parents of the bride and groom also chose looks that combined traditional garb with the color palette. "It was important for us to bring in my Nigerian heritage through some of our outfits," says Enyo. "Since I always wanted dusty blue, our parents tried to create outfits from that desire."
Enyo added a pearl belt and a long veil, also decorated with peals to her elegant gown. "I also wore a bracelet that my sisters have worn for their weddings," she says.
Simple white sandals with a thick heel completed her look.
Into the Blue
Etienne chose a light blue suit from Calvin Klein, and added a crisp white shirt and brown leather shoes. He kept his accessories minimal—no tie, but a timepiece with a sentimental history: "He wore a watch that was a gift given to him by our preacher in Mankato, Minnesota," says Enyo.
A tiny succulent defined the groom's boutonnière, which was positioned perfectly on his blue lapel.
Their Private Vows
The couple's intimate first look became one of their favorite moments of the day. "I felt nervous, but in a good way," says Enyo. "Etienne revealed to me that during that time he was trying to hold back his tears. We had an inside joke, though—I had told him that he couldn't cry because then I would cry." Enyo and Etienne took a few moments to exchange private vows during this first meeting. "We said things that we felt were meant to stay between us," she says. "It was a very special moment for both of us."
Victorian Gardens created a loose, garden-style bouquet of roses, delphinium, lisianthus, succulents, and eucalyptus for Enyo, and similar—but more petite—bunches for her bridesmaids.
The couple's littlest attendant wore an outfit from Haggar that matched the groomsmen's, while the flower girl paired her white dress with a multicolored Nigerian basket for her petals. "The ring bearer had a 'ring security' box and my junior bridesmaid helped walk him down the aisle, as he is only a little over one," says Enyo. "They did a great job!"
A white runner led to the couple's ceremony space on a raised platform under a wooden arbor; white chairs with wooden aisle markers offered plenty of seating for guests. The aisle signs were a group effort: Enyo and her sister chose the wood, Etienne painted the background color, and a friend added the script.
An asymmetrical installation of hydrangeas, roses, lisianthus, and eucalyptus adorned the wooden arbor under which the couple said their vows. "The only word that I had in my head was that I knew I wanted the florals to feel elegant," says Enyo. "When our florist showed us her ideas for our wedding, we knew that we wanted to work with her. She knew exactly what we were aiming for."
Get with the Program
Ceremony programs, adorned with a simple printed sprig of eucalyptus, doubled as fans.
Two Become One
After Enyo's dad offered a few words at the service's start, Etienne's father officiated the couple's religious nuptials. "We are both Christians and wanted our Christian values to be shared with our friends and family," says Enyo.
"For us, it was important to bring in our traditions. A lot of my friends had mentioned how much time we spent in prayer and how God centered our ceremony was—we really wanted to start our marriage to start with God placed in the middle," notes the bride.
So in Love
After the ceremony, the newlyweds snuck away for portraits during sunset in the venue's cactus field, where they were able to relish the joy and love that surrounded them during their wedding. "One of Etienne's favorite moments," says Enyo, "was the realization that our two families were coming together, and that he was grateful for the families that we had both grown up in."
Coming Up Roses
At the reception, white tablecloths and rose-colored napkins accented low centerpieces—which included roses, alstroemeria, delphinium, and Queen Anne's lace—set in dusty blue compotes.
Enyo and Etienne asked one of her aunts to create their white-frosted lemon cake. "It wasn't perfect and it was a little rough around the edges," says Enyo. "It was exactly what I was hoping for."
For the couple's first dance, Etienne chose "This Magic Moment" by The Drifters. "We love the words to this song," says Enyo.
As Enyo and her father danced to "Daughters" by John Mayer, he surprised her by inviting her mother and sisters to join them. "He did a song via improv in the moment, and in our native language," says Enyo. "He was saying a blessing—God bless my home, that it will be full of happiness and love."
Photography, Jenny Shipley
Second photographer, Staci Ann Moore
Venue and Catering, Palm Valley Golf Club
Event Planning, Wedgewood Weddings Palm Valley
Flowers, Victorian Gardens
Videography, Epicture Films
Music, Rafael Rosas
Bride's gown, Allure Bridals
Bride's accessories, JJ's House veil; Lulus shoes
Bridesmaids' dresses, David's Bridal
Flower Girl dresses, Amazon
Groom's suit, Calvin Klein
Film developer, PhotoVision Prints
Rings, Wedding Day Diamonds
Programs and seating chart, Marry Me Paper Boutique
Welcome sign, The Sunshine Garden