Incredibly Colorful Wedding in Africa by Jonas Peterson

After meeting at a costume party in Stockholm, Sweden, and getting engaged Namibia, this beautiful couple have dreamt of getting married in Kenya since it holds such a special place in their hearts. The bride works closely within the Kenyan community photographing lions and working toward conservation in the area. They waited a few years to marry- after welcoming their first child. Keep reading for more about their incredible Kenyan wedding.

From the couple:

Mother Nature was with us every moment of the wedding. Approaching the ceremony site in our safari land rover, the clouds were building up to an unusually dramatic storm, yet on the other side of the horizon, the sky was perfectly blue and the sun was shining. As we walked down the aisle, the white rose petals at the center of the ceremony had attracted a number of white butterflies that circled around us on the ground. As we had just finished our vows a bird flew up to us, stopped for a second midair, and then continued up in our tree. At the end of the ceremony the sky was almost black. As we were walking back down the aisle, a herd of wildebeest stormed across the savannah and the wind started blowing. Mere minutes after we had walked up the aisle the storm hit us and the strong wind lifted the veil. Just as we got into our car the sky opened and huge raindrops started falling. The groom wondered  (as did some guests) whether the love of his life had made a deal with Mother Nature… The ceremony was nothing but amazing – nature and love united in something completely breathtaking and almost surreal that is impossible to put in words.

There were so many details that it is hard to convey in words – from hats and Maasai shukas for all guests with the symbol of the wedding (a lion’s profile), to old African bed time stories placed in guest’s rooms in the evening, small bouquets of locally grown roses in each room, weekend adventure folders with information on almost everything (guests, weekend timeline, animals to look for on game drives, photography advice and so on), custom printed canvas bags with the lion, custom labeled water bottles, brass animals and tea stained manila tags as escort cards for the wedding dinner, suede ribbons, rose petals in custom printed paper bags to toss, custom printed guest book with lion, Maasai bracelets beaded with each guests name in colorful beadwork (used as escort on rehearsal dinner), notes on glasses to inform guests about wild animals “beware of the wild lions, do not pee in the bush”… In the ceremony we used some of the local traditions from the Maasai; the arch is a traditional symbol used in the Maasai culture, the bride wore traditional Maasai necklace and bracelets and the groom carried a beaded Maasai stick. The officiant had a Maasai shuka as stole, which were all gifts from the Maasai. 

We, and especially Nina, are very passionate about lions and wildlife in general. Nina is currently working on a big photography and book project about the world’s last wild lions, called Book of Leon, which is what initially connected us to the Maasai Mara. The situation of the last wild lions in the world is getting worse each day. Today there are only some 15.000-25.000 wild lions left in the world, which is a drastic drop from just some decades ago. Despite the drastic decline and the challenges we are faced with the leading big cat experts of the world are still optimistic. We hoped to share this special place with our most beloved ones so that they also would fall in love and want to contribute. In lieu of gifts we also asked our friends to make a contribution to the leading big cat organization of the world – Panthera (Nina is their Senior Marketing Advisor). In total all guests together made a significant contribution that will have an impact for the world’s last wild lions. We are so happy that our big day also made a difference for them.

Photographer: Jonas Peterson | Cinematographer: friend and photographer Pieter ten Hoopen | Wedding Planner: Vanda High Events and Gina Vuolo | Wedding Coordinator: Local | Bride’s Dress: Vintage Elie Saab | Veil from iHeartBride | Bride’s shoes: Valentino Rockstud | Bride’s Jewelery: Maasai beadwork necklace and bracelets given as a gift from the local Maasai. Earrings from Ole Lyngaard | Groom’s Suit: Tom Ford and Groom carried a Maasai beaded stick that was given as a gift from the Maasai in Masai Mara | Groom’s Shoes: Lanvin | Bridesmaid’s gowns: Diane von Furstenberg Summer 2014 Collection | Bridesmaids Jewellery: Maasai beadwork from the local Maasai community | Flowers: Tom Cawley and Priscilla Schaeffer from NYC. Old style garden roses and eucalyptus from Oserian in Naivasha, Kenya. In collaboration with local florist Peris Njeri | Stationery & Paper Goods: REGAS (Save the date and invitation), The Rye Stationer (all other print materials) | Ceremony Venue: Meticulously chosen tree on Paradise Plain, Masai Mara | Reception Venue: Governors’ Camp Masai Mara | Celebrant/Officiant: Peter Green | Ceremony Music: Sandra Wikström sang three songs, first to symbolize the past “I was made for loving you” by Desmond Child, Paul Stanley, and Vini Poncia, second to symbolize the present  “All of me” by John Legend, and finally “He lives in you” by Lebohang Morake to represent something greater and the future | Reception Music: DJ Daniella Johnsson | Caterers: Governors’ Camp with the lead of Tracy Wolmarans | Cake: Tracy Wolmarans | Transport: Governors’ Safari Vehicles