Meet the US Couple Behind This Majestic African Wedding
Hakuna matata, what a wonderful phrase. It means no worries for the rest of your days.
The Lion King's "problem-free philosophy" perfectly sums up Corey and Lynette Perkins' magnificent wedding held on Nov. 30 at the Chengeta Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe, Africa.
Although it wasn't the first wedding for the couple from Mechanicsburg, Pa., it was the first Lynette's parents, who are from Zimbabwe, were able to attend.
"Because her family couldn't make it over to the states, and we were in the middle of a green card process so she couldn't leave the country until that was completed, we had a small ceremony in Pennsylvania," Corey told GoodMorningAmerica.com of their intimate ceremony three years ago. "We had a small wedding with just my close relatives. It was only my side of the family."
The couple knew they would one day do a big ceremony incorporating Lynette's entire African family, they just didn't know when, until a unique work opportunity came up for Corey, who is an event planner for an international ministry.
"I was able to do humanitarian aid project for the ministry in Zimbabwe," he explained, finally being able to solidify plans for their exotic excursion. "So we planned this huge three-week trip."
Corey and Lynette first traveled to Bulawayo, where they built a five-bedroom safe house for young girls who have been abused. Once the project was completed, the couple traveled to Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, with bridal gown in tow, where the actual wedding took place.
Extremely difficult to plan from the United States, Lynette's Zimbabwean family helped the couple prepare for their big day.
"We made the decision early on to have a mix of a westernized wedding and the traditional African wedding," Corey said of their 150-person ceremony. "We told the people attending to wear African attire and we had traditional African dancers which people really enjoyed."
Lynette wore a white wedding gown, standing alongside Corey in his suit, but all the bridesmaids wore gowns made from African material by a family friend.
The safari lodge provided the elephants for the nuptials, and the couple chose the big fig tree as their location to say "I do," Corey explained, "Because it's so beautiful."
"One of the coolest things was throughout the entire ceremony and reception, everyone from Lynette's family, even her 98-year-old grandmother who just had hip surgery, was dancing the entire time," Corey said of their magical day.
But the majestic trip didn't end there. The newlyweds flew to Victoria Falls for their honeymoon, staying at another safari lodge where elephants and other African animals set the scene for the perfect ending to their perfect trip.
Corey admits, however, the best part of the entire exotic experience was simply the fact, "Everybody was so excited and so happy to be a part of the wedding," he said. "It was amazing. The people in Zimbabwe were the most welcoming and loving people I've met anywhere."
And although the ceremony was the very first time Corey had ever met Lynette's parents in person, he added, "It feels like I've been part of the family this entire time."