Couple Story: Allen & Pamela
You reach a certain age where most, if not all your friends are married, and all their friends are married; you gave up the bar scene years ago; dating your coworkers becomes a really bad idea, and it seems like every fix up is with someone who’s single for a reason. What is an eligible, attractive man or woman to do but turn to online dating. Neither of us were new to online dating, and each had our share of “unsuccessful dates.”. We were both at the point of re-evaluating if we would have to compromise on our “must haves and can’t stands” when we met each other. Like their ads say, Match.com really does deliver.
Allan’s family is from Ghana, and their marriage traditions are quite different from us Canadians. First off, there is a vetting process where both sides’ parents meet and get to scope out the prospective in-laws before any sort of engagement is even proposed. This was done Thanksgiving 2014. I, as the future daughter in law, underwent an interview like process, and the entire Kutuadu family was provided an opportunity to weigh in on if I would make a good candidate for Allan to marry. Luckily I passed this stage with flying colours. I appreciated the honesty and openness of the family I would be entering. Secondly it’s not uncommon in Allan’s culture for you to be engaged Friday and married Saturday. So the wedding planning is pretty much done before the “engagement” occurs. This means that Allan and I had the venue booked, budget agreed upon, guest list tentatively set, bridal party and even colours selected months before the question was even popped. Third, the custom is that you follow the customs of the bride, meaning Allan has to do whatever my cultural customs are. If I was of Allan’s tribe I would have gotten a dowry, that’s right, he would have paid to marry me…. paid anything I wanted and anything my parents wanted. However…being 5+generation Canadian, any ties to my Celtic or Scottish heritage are long gone and the only engagement custom I’m aware of is “the ring” and parental blessing.
Allan and I had already looked at rings, and I was pretty confident on the final 2 options I would be getting when he decided to propose. I had taken Allan for a drive months prior, and my mom had me read Allan her list of expectations for marrying her daughter. On that day in June, he asked for a “formal blessing” before they left for their trip to Europe. In September of 2015 I had a conference to attend in Ottawa and Allan was going out to visit his family in Mississauga. We had planned to meet up in Ottawa for a few days, then drove to stay with his folks a few days before heading to Niagara Falls for a getaway. I fully assumed he would “pop the question” in Niagara, but he caught me totally off guard. I had spent a very hot day walking around Ottawa myself, then went for a massage, so I was not only sweaty and oily, but was wearing yoga pants and a tank top. Allan wanted to go out for dinner and our hotel was in downtown Ottawa.. so we had our pick of every restuaruant you could imagine. Every place we walked past he said he didn’t like, finally we got to this Castle looking hotel, and he picked it as the one he wanted to eat at…with me in sweaty yoga pants and oily hair. By some miracle they let us in. Allan ordered appies, a meal and dessert…which he NEVER DOES, and he kept asking me if I needed to use the washroom…something was off for sure.
After dinner, I noticed I had left a ring my parents had given me at the spa and Allan just broke me the news he would not be coming to my sisters wedding with me, as he had a major family engagement the same day in Mississauga. I was bummed to say the least. He was antsy, and it was a very odd moment. Then he reached into his jacket (which I had questioned why he had brought to begin with, it was almost 30 degrees out?) and put this perfect, pretty, purple box on the table (that’s right, the Michael Hill purple box). I immediately knew what ring it was. And Allan said the most real words he could…”here you go, yes or no?” Of course I was gonna say yes, but being the girl I am, I needed a little more “romance” than that, so I took him by the hands, and calmly said “Allan, when I tell the story of how this all went down, cause people are going to ask, what would you like me to say that you said? Is there anything more you want to say to me than “here you go….yes or no?”
Thankfully he gave me all the right lines about us and how he feels. He told me I could only look in the box if the answer was yes. There were no hysterics, just a beautiful, calm, private, real moment between us in our corner booth.
Photographer’s Note: Allan & Pamela were married at Willow Lane Barn in Olds, Alberta, Canada on October 22, 2016 with 110 of their closest family and friends. They said their vows overlooking the corn field and sealed the deal with the tying of God’s Knot and a very steamy, sweet kiss. Pam spent the ceremony in her first dress which was traditional and flowy, then slipped into her second dress which had a very unique, tribal twist! They ended the night dancing away with their loved ones, and Allan’s family even surprised everyone with a traditional African dance that had everyone out of their chairs!