It was designed and packaged as a knowledge-sharing and
networking platform exclusive to professionals who were looking to deepen and
expand their professional networks. However, as most spontaneous love
beginnings go, it quickly became the place where the stars aligned for two
individuals who were previously unknown to each other.
And so began the beautiful love story between handsome,
Davide Bertelloti, a London-based Italian IT expert and the sweet, sexy and
smart, Gbemisola Ayininuola who works with Credit Suisse Bank, in the United
Computer Engineering at The University of Pisa, Italy and works at the London
Stock Exchange as an IT Expert. Gbemisola on the other hand is an alumnus of
the popular Adesoye College, Offa, Kwara State, Malvern Girls College, UK,
where she did her A-levels, the prestigious
Imperial College London and Cass Business
School, London where she bagged a Master’s Degree.
Their love story had all the trappings of excitement: a
chance encounter, swapping of telephone numbers and a life changing
relationship that has now evolved into a happy home.
Ovation learnt that Davide, who is quite the charmer,
stepped into the networking event in London and sat in an entirely different
part of the hall. Looking around, it wasn’t long before his eyes spotted the
gorgeous, slim-built ebony beauty, Gbemisola.
What followed next wasn’t part of the plan when he was
preparing for the event early that morning. Their eyes met and their souls
bonded and the rest as they say is history.
Their parents and loved ones were soon in the know and
following some years of blissful courtship, the lovebirds decided it was time
to seal the deal.
parents, Mr. Sam Ayininuola, Managing
Director of Energy Bank, Ghana, and Mrs. Ikoliba Ayininuola who owns the
top-of-the line Fundamental Lingeries at The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki, Lagos,
were super delighted that their first daughter had found her Mr. Right and were
determined to give their baby girl the best wedding treat ever. Davide’s
parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alessandro Bertelotti were no less excited.
Planning for what everyone hoped would be a colourful,
classy and captivating traditional engagement ceremony therefore, got into full
swing. The operative themes during planning were ‘great attention to detail’
and ‘uncompromising commitment to excellence.’ Who else was on top of the arrangements
but the ever-cheerful bride’s mother, Mrs. Ikoliba Ayininuola. She was at her
efficient best, little wonder the whole ceremony turned out superlative.
Nothing trumps a traditional wedding ceremony in
Nigeria-renowned for their elaborateness and always certainly full of culture,
colour and glamour.
It was naturally imperative for the bride’s family that the
very best hands in the wedding planning business be recruited to make
Gbemisola’s special day as magical as possible. It was no surprise then that
the Ayininuolas went all out and spared no cost in hiring some of Nigeria’s
best wedding vendors whom they charged with the task of making the event
Moji Gbadamosi’s Culinary Wok Catering were contracted to
provide an array of sumptuous continental and local dishes for the esteemed
guests while Sekinat Amala, experts at making the local Yoruba staple Amala,
which is made from yam flour, were also recruited. Olugbuyi Ogunnaike’s Ice Box
would serve ice-cold exotic drinks while Olayinka Williams’ Sweet Harriet got
the family’s nod to supply cocktails and dessert. Samuel Ohio was charged with ensuring there
was more than enough grilled fish and barbecue for the esteemed guests, with
Emmanuel Ojo’s Larry Spice providing all kinds of tantalizing finger foods. For
music, the high-on-demand Sharp Band was contacted, led by Anesi Ivharue.
Yewande Rwang-Dung’s Sara O Events’ expertise was trusted for the overall
planning, coordination and delivery of the picture-perfect ceremony.
A perfect venue was also chosen to host the
ceremony-Landmark Events Centre in Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos. And so when
D-day eventually arrived, it was as though a royal banquet had been planned and
laid out to celebrate the couple’s union.
The charming scenery illustrated the pleasurable moments
that were in the offing. This colourful event was a fine display of
cross-cultural love playing out like a well-rehearsed play which in line with
Yoruba tradition, featured two coordinators who represented both families: the
Alaga Ijoko (the sitting MC) for the bride’s family and the Alaga Iduro (the
standing MC) for the groom’s family.
The ambience inside the Landmark Event Centre was convivial.
The upscale chandeliers were at full blast, the tables set for guests were
decorated with flowers and glittering white table cloths while the couple’s
gazebo stood out. The traditional attires donned by the guests added glamour to
The ceremony kicked off with an opening prayer by a joyous
Deacon Samuel Olagbaye, who remarkably, also officiated during the bride,
Gbemisola’s christening many years before. Immediately after the opening
prayer, the bride’s family sat and awaited the arrival of the groom’s family.
Gbemisola and Davide were absent at this point.
The proud parents of the bride who sparkled in their special
outfits were filled with immense joy. While the pretty mother of the bride wore
a beaded orange sequence blouse on a royal purple silk George wrapper complete
with an exquisite matching head gear, her calm and collected husband wore royal
purple. Agbada, made of Aso Oke.
Not a few wondered who the bride actually was between mother
and daughter. It was not hard to see where Gbemi got her delectable looks from.
When the Bertelottis eventually arrived at the venue, the Alaga
Ijoko, in the company of women from the bride’s family, made for the entrance
to welcome them warmly (Davide’s parents could not make the trip to Nigeria but
they were well represented).
In deference to the
dictates of the bride’s Yoruba customs, the Bertelottis came bearing numerous
gifts comprising varied items including yam tubers, baskets of fruits and
several other items that constituted part of the bride price. After they were
introduced, the groom’s family knelt and prostrated before the family of the
bride. The two families then sat on opposite sides, while the Alagas stood
in-between to coordinate proceedings.
The Alaga Iduro presented a proposal letter brought by
Davide’s family which stated their intentions to take Gbemisola’s hand in
marriage, to the Alaga Ijoko who received it on behalf of the bride’s family.
An acceptance letter which spelt out the bride’s family’s joy and willingness
to give their daughter’s hand in marriage to Davide was read, according to
tradition, by the bride’s younger sister, Abimbola, a Masters student at a
London University after which she handed over the document to the groom’s
family amidst cheers and applause from all present.
Dashing Davide who looked splendid in his agbada attire was
required to dance forward with some of his friends and to prostrate before his
in-laws four separate times with both families stretching out their hands to
pray for him on each occasion. It was all an unfamiliar territory for the
Italian lover boy but it was one assignment he was very delighted to perform
for the love of his life.
Once Davide and friends had taken their seats, the gorgeous
bride who shone like a zillion stars in a matching combination of champagne
gold buba, (Blouse) and a rich royal purple aso-oke wrapper, danced in,
accompanied by fair ladies -friends and family.
Her flawless makeup
which was done by Banke Meshida-Lawal’s BM-Pro shone through. She knelt before
her parents, who prayed for and blessed her. She then took off her veil and
joined her Prince Charming, first kneeling before him as he prayed for her
after which he in turn lifted his lovely queen up to the delight of the guests.
Both families were overjoyed.
Guests were thrilled
with sumptuous dishes and exotic drinks complemented with breath-taking music by
the Sharp band. There was also an after party in a dedicated part of the venue
where the newlyweds and their friends danced and had so much fun.
Esteemed personalities who witnessed the memorable event
included Ovation Publisher, Bashorun Dele Momodu, GMD Energy Group, Barrister
(Dr.) Jimoh Ibrahim, CFR and wife, Modupe, former GMD, Union Bank; Dr. G. A. T
Oboh and wife, Mary, renowned Legal Practitioner. Chief F. O. Fagbohungbe, SAN
and wife, former Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos; Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe,
Managing Partner Sulaimon & Associates, Alhaji Idris Sulaimon and Alhaja
Sulaimon, Directors of Energy Bank, Ghana – Mr. David Adom and wife, Prince
Adedamola Aderemi, Mr. Wale Folonosela, Mr. Emmanuel Jepede, former Directors
of Union Bank, Senator Kola Bajomo and wife ,Roselyn, Mr. Segun Olusanya and
wife Dele, Mr. Mike Okonkwo and wife, Bridget, Mr Lai Alabi. Dr. John Akinleye,
former Managing Director, Afribank, Mr. Patrick Akinkuotu, business mogul.
Prince Adelowo Adedeji and wife, Managing Director, Equity Insurance, Mr.
Dolapo Balogun and wife Lamide, and business magnate Rex Ijebor and wife,
renowned Architect, Mr. Femi Majekodunmi and wife, Victoria.
Weeks later in Viareggio, located in Northern Tuscany, in
the Coast of Italy, ‘Gbemi and Davide said “I do” and formally exchanged
wedding rings at a very intimate ceremony in the presence of family and