Nigerian and Catholic Weddings in Columbus and Cincinnati

Two weddings and a baby for this Columbus couple

Sept. 4, 2021 & June 11, 2022 | You might recognize Samira (Azeez) and Matt (Bartko) Bartez from our story on creating a new last name. But their backstory and wedding days are just as interesting! 

The pair first met in October 2019, a month after they matched on Bumble. Matt was living in Cleveland and Samira in Columbus; she traveled the two hours for their first date at Lucky’s Café. “We were hooked from day one,” she says. “I didn’t know it, but Matt bought my engagement ring two months after.” 

Matt got to use that ring in his proposal during the first day of a summer road trip in August 2020. Their first stop was in the Hocking Hills, since Samira had never been. “I had a feeling he was going to propose on this trip, but it was still so incredibly surreal when Matt got down on one knee, professed the sweetest proclamations of love and commitment, and asked me to marry him,” Samira recalls. “We spent the rest of the trip all over North Carolina celebrating our engagement.” 

Their wedding plans were complex, to say the least. In the span of about a year, the couple hosted two weddings and bought a house; Samira worked through her doctoral program; Matt moved from Cleveland to Columbus and got a new job; and the couple got pregnant with and saw the birth of their daughter, Juliana. “But having Matt by my side, along with an amazing support system,” made the difference, Samira says. “We wouldn’t change a thing.” 

The first wedding, on Sept. 4, 2021, was a traditional Yoruba ceremony that honored Samira’s Nigerian roots. The Columbus event included a gender reveal for their yet-unborn child and a guest list of around 700 people. 

“We wanted our American wedding [to be] a bit more intimate, so we spread them out,” Samira says. The American event—a Catholic ceremony that also served as the legal wedding on June 11, 2022—took place in Covington, Kentucky, and across the river in Cincinnati. Their daughter, then 4 months old, was able to attend in person instead of in utero. The couple shared a traditional pre-ceremony first look and vow exchange, which Samira credits as being one of the most memorable moments of the day. 

Another such moment took place at the reception, where Matt and Juliana shared a father-daughter dance to One Direction’s “I Want to Write You a Song,” played live by the Bluewater Kings Band. “It was truly the sweetest moment and the highlight of my day,” Samira says. “I was in tears, as was almost everybody else in the room.” 


Nigerian Wedding (Columbus) 

Photographer and videographer: Emily Schutz Photo & Video 

Planner, florist and rentals: B3 Events 

Ceremony, reception and caterer: Hilton Columbus at Easton 

Cake: Short North Piece of Cake 

Stationery: Minted 

Bride’s attire: Custom Nigerian dress 

Bride’s hair and makeup: Hair by Eryn Harris, makeup by Moments with Musu 

Groom’s attire: Custom Nigerian dress 

Rings: Ashcroft & Oak 

Wedding party attire: Custom Nigerian dress 


White Wedding (Covington/Cincinnati) 

Photographer and videographer: Emily Schutz Photo & Video 

Planner: B3 Events 

Ceremony: Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption (Covington, Kentucky) 

Reception and caterer: Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza 

Desserts: Tres Belle Cakes and Queen City Cotton Candy (both Cincinnati) 

Florist: Robin Wood Flowers (Cincinnati) 

Rentals: B3 Events and All Occasions Event Rental (Cincinnati) 

Music: Bluewater Kings Band 

Neon sign: NeonChili on Etsy 

Bride’s attire: Ysa Makino gown from Mira Couture (Chicago), Maggie Sottero gown from Bridal and Formal (Cincinnati), custom veil 

Gown cleaning/preservation: Dublin Cleaners 

Bride’s hair and makeup: Hair by Eryn Harris, makeup by Moments with Musu 

Groom’s attire: Tuxedo from Men’s Wearhouse 

Bridesmaids’ attire: Gowns from Lady Black Tie (Hudson, Massachusetts)  

Flower girl’s attire: Etsy 

Groomsmen’s attire: Tuxedos from Generation Tux