Henry and Dorcas sipping champaign in Mexico

Real Weddings: Dorcas and Henry

Inside a three-part celebration that took place in Nigeria, Brampton and Mexico

Henry Beedie, a 29-year-old business system analyst, and Dorcas Etim, a 27-year-old business operations manager, met after both moving from Nigeria to Mississauga for boarding school. The couple started dating a year later, and after nine years, Henry proposed at a cottage in the Kawartha Highlands. Between 2022 and 2023, they had a three-part wedding consisting of a traditional Nigerian ceremony, a civil ceremony at Brampton City Hall and a destination wedding in Mexico. Here’s how it all came together.

Dorcas and Henry in front of a dock in Mexico

Henry: In 2012, I was on a flight from Nigeria to Toronto. I was 18 and going to spend Grade 12 at Bronte College, a private boarding school in Mississauga. I was with two girls who were also headed there from Nigeria, and one of them was showing us photos of her friends. One friend was an innocent-looking girl named Dorcas who would be joining us at Bronte. I thought she was cute, but the moment passed pretty quickly.

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Dorcas: I was 16. I don’t remember the first time I met Henry, but I definitely noticed him around school—it was impossible not to. He was very loud and talkative. Everywhere I went, I saw Henry chatting with someone. He’s quite bubbly.

Henry adjusting his bow tie on wedding day

Henry: We had a lot of friends in common, so Dorcas and I would hang out in larger groups. But it wasn’t until the summer after we graduated, in 2013, that we started spending one-on-one time together. We would walk to Starbucks and the café at Trillium Hospital, since Dorcas really liked their chocolate cake. At first it was friendly, though I definitely wanted it to be more.

Dorcas: But we were about to start university in different cities.

Henry: I was going to the Brantford campus of Wilfrid Laurier, and Dorcas was headed to the University of Toronto Mississauga. It didn’t feel like the right time to start a relationship, so we went our separate ways for our first semesters, but by December I realized how much I missed her.

Dorcas at their wedding in Nigeria

Dorcas: Our friends from high school had planned a group trip to Ottawa for winter break. My campus dorm was shutting down over the holidays, so I went to stay with Henry the day before the trip. I got to his place late at night during a snowstorm. When I arrived, Henry asked me to be his girlfriend. I said I would have to think about it. I knew I had feelings for him, but I wanted to be sure. I’ve never been one to agree to something on the first ask. Two days later, after we were in Ottawa, I told Henry to ask me to be his girlfriend again. We had our first kiss shortly afterward.

Henry: We did long-distance while we finished university. We’d see each other every two weeks. I’d go to Mississauga once a month, and she’d come to Brantford once a month.

Dorcas: In between, we did a lot of video calls. We’d leave Skype on while we were both puttering around. We’re both big on video games, so we played a lot of Mortal Kombat and Call of Duty together.

Dorcas and Henry together at their wedding, in a white dress and a white tux

Henry: A year after we graduated from university, in 2018, we moved into a two-bedroom condo in Mississauga together. There were some adjustments. I’m a morning person—I get up at 6 a.m.—but Dorcas is a night owl. She’d want to watch a movie with me at 10 p.m., but I’d fall asleep after a few minutes. We eventually solved that by doing something more active while we stayed up, like playing cards or a board game.

Dorcas: I knew Henry pretty well before, but I learned a lot about him after we moved in together. For example, the first thing he does when he wakes up every morning is read his Bible and check in on his family. It showed me that he puts God first and is family-oriented—two things that are really important to me.

Henry: I always knew Dorcas was the one for me. We had talked about marriage, but we were waiting for the perfect moment.

Dorcas: We had just gotten out of school and were starting our careers. We wanted to be in a more stable place before we got married.

Dorcas and Henry together in Mexico

Henry: By early 2021, we both became eligible to apply for permanent residency in Canada. We’d been living together for a few years, and it felt like the right time. I’d met Dorcas’s parents by then, and I always knew that she would want me to get her parents’ blessing before asking her to be my wife. So I called her father, who was back in Nigeria, and he approved.

Dorcas: Henry already knew the type of ring I wanted—an emerald cut with a diamond halo on white gold.

Henry: By April, I had the ring ready. Next up was planning the proposal. I knew I wanted to do it by the water. Our friend Megan has a family cottage next to a lake in the Kawartha Highlands. We decided to plan a group trip up to the cottage in September, and I’d propose while we were there. My friends were all in on it, and they were a big help. They got there a day early to decorate.

Dorcas and Henry at their Nigerian ceremony

Dorcas: Henry told me that Megan was hosting a dinner party at her cottage, so I had to arrive dressed up. When we got there, the sun was starting to set. I got out of the car and saw that there were rose petals on the driveway. Then I saw pictures of me and Henry tied up along the walkway next to the cottage. That’s when I realized it was happening. I started crying immediately.

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Henry: I took Dorcas down to a deck overlooking the lake. It took me a while to get the proposal out because I was so emotional. But, eventually, I got down on one knee with the ring and she said yes.

Dorcas and Henry wearing pink in Mexico

Dorcas: After celebrating the weekend at the cottage with our friends, we got to wedding planning. We knew we’d go back home to Nigeria to do a traditional ceremony for our parents and their friends. We thought about doing our “white wedding,” the ceremony where I’d wear a white dress instead of traditional Nigerian clothing, in Nigeria too. But white weddings in Nigeria are usually really large—we’re talking 800 guests. That wasn’t what we wanted.

Henry: Doing our white wedding in Toronto would’ve been pretty expensive, even though our guest list was only about 75 people. We wanted our wedding to be more of an experience, especially since people would be flying in from Nigeria, the US and across Canada. That’s when the idea of doing a destination wedding in Mexico came up. Mexico was the first place that Dorcas and I went on vacation together, so it was a special spot for us. We chose the Fives Resort in Playa del Carmen as our venue and started planning everything for August 2023.

Dorcas and Henry kissing at the wedding in Mexico

Dorcas: Our two other ceremonies came first. We did the Nigerian wedding in December of 2022. We wore traditional attire that represented our tribe, the Efik people. I wore an onyonyo ball gown and Henry wore a beaded cap, waistcoat and shoes. Everything was very regal and colourful. Most of our guests were our parents and their friends back home.

Dorcas and Henry during their wedding in Nigeria

Henry: We actually bought our outfits for the Mexico wedding while we were in Nigeria.

Dorcas: I bought a custom-made sparkly satin dress with a sweetheart neckline.

Henry: I didn’t want a traditional suit, so I got a white tux with black lapels. Then we had a small civil ceremony at Brampton City Hall in April 2023. That one was very intimate—we could only have six of our friends there because of space limitations.

Dorcas: He wore a black suit with a purple tie, and I wore a two-piece lilac suit. Afterward, we invited 20 of our close friends for dinner at a Milestones nearby.

Dorcas and Henry walking together in Mexico

Henry: Then came the destination wedding. In the end, most of our guests opted to stay with us at the resort for a full week.

Dorcas: We hosted a welcome cocktail party on the third day of our stay, August 7, then our wedding ceremony was on the fifth day, August 9. We arranged to do the ceremony in an open garden overlooking the beach.

Henry: By this point, Dorcas and I had gotten married twice already. But it felt different because this was the first ceremony with all of our closest friends and family members.

Henry at the microphone during the wedding ceremony

Dorcas: I’m a crybaby—I’d already started tearing up at the welcome party. I was really emotional at the ceremony, but it was exciting too. We got married under a gazebo that was decorated with white roses and baby’s breath.

Henry: For the reception, we moved into one of the resort’s indoor ballrooms. We served a three-course meal with a choice of steak, chicken or salmon. The reception was so fun—there was lots of dancing. I loved getting to watch our friends and family enjoy one another’s company. It was amazing, but I did feel some relief after it was over. Planning three weddings in the span of two years is a lot!

Dorcas and Henry dancing together at their wedding reception

Dorcas: I thanked God that everything went as smoothly as it did. I felt accomplished. I don’t feel much different now that we’re married. We’d been together for ten years, and we’d already moved in together.

Henry: Now we get to plan the next steps of our lives together. We’re in the middle of our Canadian citizenship applications. We want to buy a house and have kids soon.

Dorcas: At first, we thought that Mexico would be our honeymoon, but after we got back home, we decided to do another trip. We’re still unsure about where to go, but we’re thinking Jamaica sometime this year. We want another chance to get away together.

Dorcas and Henry dancing with sunglasses on

Cheat Sheet

Mexico Wedding
Date: August 9, 2023
Venue: The Fives Hotel and Residences, Playa del Carmen
Photography and videography: F10 Studio
Florist and decor: StyleMe Events
Catering: The Fives Beach Hotel and Residences
Cake: The Bake Box
DJ: DJ Havil
Entertainment: ReneyTheMC
Guest favours: The Souvenir Concierge & Panash Events
Welcome sign and menu card: Delaine Design
Bride’s makeup: Deebeauty Artistry
Bride’s hair: JoBelle Hair Mastery
Groom’s main outfit: Kimono Kollection
Groom’s reception outfit: Jax Grehman

Nigerian Wedding
Date: December 17, 2022
Venue: Calabar, Nigeria
Photography and videography: Raremagic Gallery
Planner: Hanae Events
Decor: Styled by Ruvent
Cake: Savory Chops by Nessa
Bride’s hair: Efik Hair Boss
Bride’s makeup: Sunshine Makeup Artistry
Bride’s main dress: Ehi Ehii
Bride’s second outfit: VSpangles
Groom’s first outfit: Faultless Trend
Groom’s second outfit: Sparks & Splendour