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Photographer: Photos Edge Ceremony Venue: Liberty Memorial Reception Venue: Union Station Wedding Planner: Eco-Posh Events Gown: Ramona Keveza Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse Hair: Naturally Unique Salon Makeup: His & Her Salon Invitations: Indie Olive Cake: Small Cakes Catering: Pierpont’s DJ: Platinum Productions Rentals: All Seasons Flowers: Eco-Posh Events Videography: Winding Willow Transportation: Horizon Limo
Marco & Asona’s Love Story
Marco & Asona met in college, at Washington University in St. Louis. One night Asona and her friends decided to attend a party thrown by Marco’s friends. As it turned out, they had known a lot of the same people throughout most of their time at WashU. Marco saw Asona from the across the room, sitting on the couch with an open seat next to her, and went over to introduce himself.
The conversation flowed easily right from the start as they started finding out more about each other, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. By the end of the night, they had discussed religion and politics, views on family and money- all of the things that you’re not supposed to talk about on a first date. Marco cooked dinner for Asona a few days later, and from then on out they were inseparable.
Marco completely surprised Asona on one of their many trips to Chicago to visit family. He knew that her entire family was going to be in town from Topeka, Kansas and chose this weekend to ask the question for which she had been waiting for! They flew into Chicago and immediately went to Marco’s mother’s house for dinner. After some family time, they were expected to meet some friends for drinks. When they left, Marco suggested that they take a quick detour through the park. As they took the usual route past his favorite childhood climbing tree, Asona noticed a candlelit area and said, “Oh, how sweet! Someone is having romantic picnic.” As they got closer, she heard the cello begin to play. Seeing that it was a dear friend playing, she realized that there was no one attending the picnic but her. She finally put it all together and started to cry. Marco guided her over to the blanket and made a wonderful speech about how in all his years of playing make-believe, right there in that spot, he had never imagined a life as amazing as the one that he shared with Asona. As soon as he put the ring on her finger, their friends came out of hiding to offer their congratulations.
Marco and Asona knew they wanted to hold a unique wedding that blended the four cultures represented by their parents. With people coming to Kansas City from across the country and around the world, they knew they would need help pulling it off. Asona knew that she wanted an outdoor ceremony, an unconventional dress and lots of purple, the rest they had to figure out. Marco and Asona are both drawn to classic and ornate architecture, so they looked for a venue with a special historical feel. The beautiful green lawn of the Liberty Memorial is an oasis in the middle of the city and can be seen from the doors of Union Station, making it an easy choice for the site of the ceremony. In an effort to keep the guests cool in the July heat, they decided to hold the outdoor ceremony in the late evening. With the later start, they had time to host cocktail hour before the ceremony, making the wedding a part of the celebration. After the ceremony, they led the guests back to Union Station for dinner and dancing until midnight.
The wedding was circular, with the ceremony taking place in the center, following the Quaker tradition of the Mother of the Groom. She and her siblings sang Dona Nobis Pacem at the start of the ceremony, which they have done at all of the weddings in her family for many years.
Renowned civil rights attorney, Pedro Iregonegaray officiated the wedding, translating most parts into Spanish in acknowledgment of the Father of the Groom’s Guatemalan heritage.
We made use of the time-honored African-American tradition of “jumping the broom” at the end of the ceremony, after which the female members of my father’s tribe the Kakwa’s of South Sudan, yelled the ululation and at that moment we were pronounced husband and wife.
The Groom’s Favorite Part of the Day
My favorite part of the wedding was all of the personalization we added to our day. We didn’t follow any script from any one culture, we designed each part of our wedding exactly the way we wanted it, incorporating only what is most special to us and our families: Quaker, South Sudanese, Guatemalan, and African American traditions that are most closely aligned with our beliefs and values. From jumping the broom, to a community signing of the marriage certificate, and around sung in Latin. Our day was a true representation of us.
The Bride’s Favorite Moment of the Day
I loved our vows. Rather than follow traditional vows or say things that we were promising each other, we instead declared all of our reasons for loving each other and told some of our favorite stories to our guests. We sealed the vows by displaying our secret handshake in public for the first time.