Have you ever seen a photograph that captured happiness so simply, so clearly?
If you look at even just one of the photos below taken by photojournalist Marcus Parham, you will realize that Ashley Whitfield and Prof. Raimi Gbadamosi had a blast at their December 2012 wedding at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History! Ashley and Raimi met when they were involved in social justice issues in London. She’s a youth worker and curator; he’s an artist.
Ashley and I met during college at the University of Michigan. Doesn’t she look radiant? I love that Riana, one of the bridesmaids and another college friend, was a flower maiden!
Tell me about your love for Detroit.
I have an affinity for Detroit for many reasons. It has helped to raise my community – some of my most dear family and friends. Detroit is a center for radical histories and contemporary social justice struggles. And I love the culture that seeps through it all from gator shoes to Dilla!
Venue: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Photographer: Marcus Parham, photojournalist
Gown: Runaway Bride budget friendly sample dress store
Catering: Jackson’s Five Star Catering
Cake: Holiday Market, plus a dessert table with peach cobbler and cheesecake
Flowers: Goodness Gracious Flowers
Favors: Art pieces created by the groom!
DJ: DJ Sicari
Ring: Sculpted by Mark Woods
Make-up: Shalonda A
Hair: Meatta B
Officiant: Hon. William G. Lipscomb, Jr (Ashley’s uncle)
How did you incorporate Detroit into your wedding?
I was fortunate to have my wedding at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History a national but also local gem. The Wright Museum is an essential part of Detroit’s landscape. Also, I requested a set of some of my all time favorite music: Detroit Ghetto Techno (DJ Snowflake & DJ Assault). Finally, our lovely guests were some of my favorite Detroiters.
What socially or environmentally conscious choices did you make during the wedding planning process?
I was determined to stick to a modest budget. We donated flowers to a nursing home after the wedding. I felt uncomfortable with the history of certain “traditional” wedding elements such as the wedding veil, so I did not wear a veil, toss a bouquet or have my groom find a garter belt! All accessories (except my shoes) were family heirlooms: my mother’s headpiece and great-grandmother’s earrings. Finally, I asked my friends to select their own dresses.
What was your favorite moment of the wedding?
My four favorite moments were: (1) Dancing with lifelong friends to some of my all time favorite music: Detroit Ghetto Techno! (2) Seeing one of my best buddies, Riana Anderson, walking down the aisle as the flower maiden (she always teased about wanting to be a flower girl). (3) Our first dance to Wayne Shorter’s Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 from the album Alegria. (4) Being ‘sprayed’ with money, a fun Nigerian custom.
What words of advice do you have for those planning their own Detroit weddings?
Relax and enjoy the process. Allow space for the incidental. Many of my most memorable details emerged organically!