Inside a surprise engagement and intimate celebration at a Vaughan photo studio

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Lolade Oyefeso, a legal assistant, met Michael Egere, a freelance videographer, at a friend’s wedding. In January 2021, they were married in a small civil ceremony at the same spot where they got engaged a month earlier. Here’s how their wedding came together.

Michael: I first saw Lolade in spring 2018. I was teaching myself photography at the time and taking some photos at my friend Nasser’s church service at RCCG Jesus House in Scarborough.  Lolade was an usher, and after I took a photo of her, I thought, Wow, she’s beautiful. When I asked Nasser about her, I learned that Lolade was going to be a bridesmaid at his wedding in September—where I was scheduled to be a groomsman. So they paired us together for the ceremony.

Lolade: We got to know each other at the wedding rehearsal. He was nice, down to earth and funny. The day after the wedding, we met up after work and grabbed a bite at Jolibee, which was one of Michael’s favourites that I hadn’t tried before. Then, we saw each other almost every other day after that. We have a lot in common, partly we’re both from Nigeria—Michael moved to Toronto in 2014 and I moved here the following year.

Michael: In the months following the wedding, we’d go to the movies, out to restaurants or stay in and make dinner at home. We live about 20 minutes away from each other in Scarborough. I share a house with friends, and Lolade lives in an apartment with a roommate. We’re saving up to buy a home soon.

Lolade: At the end of 2019, we started having conversations about marriage. By then, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.

Michael: I started thinking about proposing in February 2020 and found the ring she wanted—rose gold with a princess-cut diamond. But then the pandemic hit. I work as a wedding videographer, and almost everyone cancelled. It was stressful. Thankfully, by summer business started to pick up with small and distanced ceremonies.

Lolade: There was a moment during the early months of the pandemic when we really felt each other’s presence. I lost my job in May, and Michael was there for me physically, emotionally and financially—which really confirmed that he was my person.

Michael: In the fall, I decided that Lolade and I would start doing couples’ photo shoots every month to keep our relationship fun during a tough time. I have a lot of friends who are photographers, and we did a one in October and again in November. By the time December rolled around, I thought a photo shoot would be a good time to propose because she wouldn’t be expecting it. I booked a studio in Vaughan, and I invited a few of our closest friends to wait outside. An hour into the shoot, I got down on one knee and took out the ring. Lolade started screaming in excitement, and that was the cue for our friends to come in. Everyone was wearing masks and keeping their distance, except for the two of us.

Lolade: I was so surprised and happy. I didn’t expect it at all. We both wanted a big wedding because we have large families, but they’re all over the world right now—mostly in Nigeria and the U.S.—and we didn’t want to wait around forever. So we decided to go ahead with a small civil ceremony first, and then have a bigger celebration when everything is back to normal.

Michael: In January, we booked the same Vaughan studio where we got engaged.

Lolade: It was nicely decorated, but we added some neutral florals and a rose-gold arch, as well as a few floral arrangements for the makeshift aisle. For my wedding outfit, I wore a knee-length ivory dress that my friend had presciently gifted to me over the summer in case I got married. Another friend, who works as a makeup artist, came over to help me get ready.

Michael: I don’t like wearing suits. So, for my wedding outfit, I enlisted a fashion designer friend, Zalahari, to make me a kaftan. It had a clean design but was still really traditional.

Lolade: We only had three guests—my brother and two of Michael’s friends, plus the officiant and a photographer. We set up a Zoom stream for our parents to tune in. While walking down the aisle, I felt chills—good chills. I was nervous and shaking. Then, when I got to the end, and I was standing next to Michael, I couldn’t stop smiling.

Michael: I started smiling, too. I was filled with joy. I was like, Finally, this is happening. The ceremony lasted for about 30 minutes. Everyone was wearing masks and keeping distanced. After the ceremony, we did a short champagne toast, and then we took some photos. It doesn’t feel too different being married because we had already been planning our futures together.

Lolade: We’re saving up to buy a house, so we’re still living apart and renting; we’re hoping to get a place by the end of the year. The only difference in our lives now is that I get to call him my husband.


Here’s some more photos from the day: