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Our Met Gala-themed wedding cost nearly £500K – Yahoo Lifestyle UK

9 minutes, 34 seconds Read

Afrika Chao, 27, is an influencer and fashion designer. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Anthony Osorio, 34, a personal trainer and owner of a vegan supplements brand. The couple married in June 2022 in LA and had a stunning Met Gala-themed wedding.

Afrika Chao says fashion is her 'biggest passion' so she wanted her three custom-made dresses to take centre stage at her wedding. (Michael Anthony Studios)

Afrika Chao says fashion is her ‘biggest passion’ so she wanted her three custom-made dresses to take centre stage at her wedding. (Michael Anthony Studios)

I met my husband Anthony in 2018 when I was looking for a personal trainer. He was already a well-known name on social media, so I sent him a message on Instagram to see if he could fit me in.

I love that we met this way, because not only did he get to transform me physically, but he played a huge part in my development as a person. I was 21 at the time, so I was very young. I was finishing my degree in business at University and he came at a pivotal point of my life where he was that person I needed to guide me in every direction. He first became my friend but we quickly fell in love with each other.

Because we both had our own large social media followings, the internet was in a frenzy about us, and they loved us together.

I quickly started helping him grow his business since I had a degree in the subject, and we began to build our empire together – me as a fashion designer and fitness influencer, and him as a personal trainer. We both came from nothing, so where we are now is one of the most beautiful things ever.

When it came to the proposal, it was all very non-traditional. For a while, we had talked about getting married and eloping before our main wedding with all our family and friends. So one day, we went to the City Hall to get information on ‘how to elope’, as we were both clueless.

But, we accidentally signed the wrong forms and ended up getting married there and then. I don’t think they understood what we were asking, and because it was busy, they wanted to get people in and out.

The clerk said to us: “Fill in that document on the computer,” so we did, and when we went to hand it in, she said: “Congratulations!” Our first reaction was utter shock and disbelief. The whole thing was such a whirlwind. So straight after, we headed to the City Hall chapel to say our vows.

Every detail had to be related to the Met Gala in some way, whether it was the fashion, hair, makeup, nails, or the entrance. After all, it’s the biggest night in the fashion calendar, and my wedding was the biggest day of my life.

We were in sweatpants and on our way to the gym, which was very on-brand for us considering our entire empire is around fitness and health. I was in my hoodie and my leggings, no makeup on and had my hair scraped back in a bun, and Anthony was in his sweatsuit.

After accidentally getting married, Anthony said to me: “So, how about we go and choose the ring now?” So, the same day – 13th February, the day before Valentine’s – we went out and bought my dream wedding band.

He then proposed very intimately on one knee and asked me to be his wife even though technically, I already was. It was a very funny story!

Afrika Chao's wedding was held at a famous historical property in LA called Vibiana. (Michael Anthony Studios)Afrika Chao's wedding was held at a famous historical property in LA called Vibiana. (Michael Anthony Studios)

Afrika Chao’s wedding was held at a famous historical property in LA called Vibiana. (Michael Anthony Studios)

Even in the early planning stages, I knew instantly I wanted Lisa Lafferty to organise my dream wedding. She’s one of J-Lo’s top planners and the best in the industry, so I knew she’d be able to cater to my taste.

I’m obsessed with fashion and it’s my biggest passion, so I needed to incorporate it somehow into my wedding – the Met Gala theme seemed like the perfect way.

After first meeting Lisa, straightaway I knew she was going to be the woman to bring my concept to life for my wedding on 11th June. I knew from the start that my wedding wasn’t something that had been done before and would need fresh, out-of-the-box ideas.

Because of the Met Gala theme, I had to make sure that it was in a historical, well-known place, that has also hosted a lot of celebrities, weddings and major pop culture moments.

We eventually decided that an incredible property called Vibiana, a former cathedral in Los Angeles, would be the venue. Because of the Met Gala theme, I had to make sure that it was in a historical, well-known place that has also hosted a lot of celebrities, weddings and major pop culture moments. For example, Beyoncé filmed some of her music videos there, so it’s definitely iconic!

Every detail had to be related to the Met Gala in some way, whether it was the fashion, hair, makeup, nails, or the entrance. After all, it’s the biggest night in the fashion calendar, and my wedding was the biggest day of my life.

Because it was a once-in-a-lifetime wedding, I didn’t want to focus on one theme either, so we combined different years, notably the Golden Era and the American Fashion Era.

In terms of the costs, Anthony and I paid for everything ourselves – there were no sponsorships at all. Overall, I think the wedding itself, which included the venue, catering, Lisa’s incredible work, my glam team, custom dresses and the ring came to around $600,000 [around £478,000].

It may sound extravagant, but it was well worth it because these memories will last a lifetime. We’re so happy that we will be able to look back at our wedding to share with our future kids and future grandkids for years to come.

The wedding was my own version of perfection. I knew I wanted lots of bridesmaids because I wanted to cover the different themes of the Met. The first concept was a majestic, opulent black and white entrance. I was in a beautiful white dress and all my bridesmaids wore black dresses with long, black opera-style gloves.

Instead of having traditional flowers, we had huge, sculptural arrangements made that were five times the size of me. My husband is also extremely tall, so I wanted them to even top him.

When they walked down the aisle, I wanted them to act as if it was a runway [catwalk] so they strutted down one at a time before I made my big entrance.

I even hired paparazzi-style photographers to take pictures of us as if we were at the event, and had a reconstructed version of the iconic Met Gala stairs made for when I changed into my red ‘Met’ dress later on in the evening. This was my favourite look, so it needed its moment!

Afrika Chao says her red 'Met' dress was her favourite look, which she changed into in the evening. (Michael Anthony Studios)Afrika Chao says her red 'Met' dress was her favourite look, which she changed into in the evening. (Michael Anthony Studios)

Afrika Chao says her red ‘Met’ dress was her favourite look, which she changed into in the evening. (Michael Anthony Studios)

Our guest list was filled mainly with our closest friends and family. I did invite a lot of influencers who share the health, wellness and fashion space with us, but we wanted to ensure we still had a touch of intimacy, and that things didn’t get lost in the extravagant set-up. Essentially, I didn’t want just anyone there – only the people who genuinely wanted to celebrate my and Anthony’s love with us.

Afrika Chao even hired paparazzi-style photographers to take pictures of her and guests, to create a Met Gala vibe. (Michael Anthony Studios)Afrika Chao even hired paparazzi-style photographers to take pictures of her and guests, to create a Met Gala vibe. (Michael Anthony Studios)

Afrika Chao even hired paparazzi-style photographers to take pictures of her and guests, to create a Met Gala vibe. (Michael Anthony Studios)

Every detail was meticulously planned and had to be over the top and extra – even the menu – which was printed on crocodile-style leather. The food was exquisite – our guests had the choice of cauliflower steak, chicken breast or beef short rib for the second course, and sticky date cake for the dessert.

Instead of having traditional flowers, we had huge, sculptural arrangements made that were five times the size of me. My husband is extremely tall – 6ft 2ins – so I wanted them to even top him!

The decadent dinner setting was meticulously planned, with huge flower arrangements. (Michael Anthony Studios)The decadent dinner setting was meticulously planned, with huge flower arrangements. (Michael Anthony Studios)

The decadent dinner setting was meticulously planned, with huge flower arrangements. (Michael Anthony Studios)

When it came to our first dance, it was everything I could have dreamed of. The song we chose was very personal to us because it was one of the first tracks Anthony ever dedicated to me. He’s such a hopeless romantic.

One night when we had just started dating, he covered the bathroom floor to the bedroom with rose petals, hung flowers from the ceiling to create this beautifully romantic set-up and played the song Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur. It was such a special moment that meant so much to both of us, so it felt right to pick it as our first dance.

The whole atmosphere was amazing – there were so many people on the dancefloor. My husband, who is 6ft 2 and a pretty big guy, was even being thrown up in the air by our friends.

After our moment, it was time for the party to really start. The whole atmosphere was amazing – there were so many people on the dancefloor that there was no room for anyone else. There were circles of crowds and guests huddling in the middle dancing, having the time of our lives. My husband, who is a pretty big guy, was even being thrown up in the air by our friends in celebration.

Afrika Chao says after their first dance, the party got going. (Michael Anthony Studios)Afrika Chao says after their first dance, the party got going. (Michael Anthony Studios)

Afrika Chao says after their first dance, the party got going. (Michael Anthony Studios)

During the evening, there was one little delay, when the band didn’t start on time. But it all worked out for the best, as the bar extended their cocktail hour meaning we all got to party for longer.

My third wedding outfit was a gold dress by a British designer, Lena Berisha – I was joined by two dancers in peacock dresses, whose costumes were also custom-made.

For the whole night, everyone was dancing, no one was sitting down, and as I looked around the venue, it was the most beautiful sight. I couldn’t have asked for anything more than to have everyone that I love living their best lives together. It’s definitely something I’ll never forget.

Afrika Chao pictured in her third custom-made dress with husband Anthony Osorio and two 'peacock' dancers. (Michael Anthony Studios)Afrika Chao pictured in her third custom-made dress with husband Anthony Osorio and two 'peacock' dancers. (Michael Anthony Studios)

Afrika Chao pictured in her third custom-made dress with husband Anthony Osorio and two ‘peacock’ dancers. (Michael Anthony Studios)

After the wedding, we jetted off to Europe and spent two weeks in Italy and France.

We stayed at the Four Seasons in Florence which was probably my favourite. It was so intimate and like an oasis. Then we went to Tuscany, where we booked a wine tour, followed by Pisa and Rome, where we explored cathedrals and drove around the streets on scooters.

We also stayed in Paris – it was our first time visiting, and being our honeymoon it felt like a dream.

Everywhere we went, we were just so happy and high on life. We were still in our wedding bubble and bouncing off the energy of our love. I’ve never felt so grateful.

Read more

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What to wear to a wedding (and what to leave at home) (Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read)

I was a multi-millionaire by 25 after growing up in poverty (Yahoo Life UK, 8-min read)

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