Met Here. Married Here.
Aja Gibson and Onochie Ochie
Southeastern's Student Union
Ballroom and Breezeway
Aja Gibson and Onochie Ochie's courtship began almost literally on the basketball court at Southeastern's University Center in 2016. Both earned scholarships to play for the Lions, but it wasn't until the end of their athletic careers that a new relationship began.
Onochie admired Aja's "game" as a basketball player and Aja was impressed with his athleticism. She recalls watching Onochie "sky through the air and dunk with ease."
Here's the story of how the two came to be Mr. and Mrs. Ochie on March 31, 2018.
How old were each of you when you first met?
Onochie:I was 18 years old, fresh out of high school.
Aja:I was 19 years old, beginning my redshirt-freshman year.
Where was your first date?
Aja: Our first "official" date was September 2, 2016. We went to El Agave, a popular Mexican restaurant in Hammond.
Describe your spouse on your first date:
Onochie: Aja was quiet and seemed shy. We did not have too much eye to eye contact on that date. I think Aja was thinking “This is definitely my husband.”
Aja:Onochie was very polite and a gentleman. He made sure I had a great time. I think Onochie was thinking whether to kiss me or not, and I believe he was wondering if I enjoyed myself…….and I did.
When and where did you first kiss?
Onochie: Our first kiss was outside in front of Aja’s apartment in July of 2016. Aja kissed me on the cheek after we left the movies. My head was spinning!
What was it about your spouse that made you realize that they were “the one”?
Onochie: I knew Aja was “the one” when I realized that I felt like the luckiest man on the planet when I was next to her.
Aja: I knew Onochie was “the one” when I realized that I could not stop thinking about him and when the feeling of wanting to tell him that “I love him” would not go away.
What is your favorite thing about each other?
Onochie: It is impossible to name only one thing that I love about Aja, but one of my favorite things is her love and desire to serve others.
Aja: I have too many to pick from, but one would be his desire to put others first.
Tell us your engagement story.
Aja: We went home to Memphis, Tennessee to visit my parents. Onochie told my dad that he bought the ring and wanted to propose. The following night my dad set up a family dinner and Onochie proposed to me in front of my entire family. Sad to say I saw it coming because my family gave it away (lol).
How long did you date before becoming engaged and how long was your engagement?
We dated for 7 months, and were engaged for 11 months.
What was the most difficult part of wedding planning?
The most difficult part of wedding planning for both of us was finalizing the guest list.
The Big Day
Where was your ceremony held?
Aja: We wanted an outdoor wedding, and the Breezeway of Southeastern's Student Union offered a place for the groomsmen and bridesmaids to line up away from our guests, and we were able to have them walk down the staircases as part of the ceremony. It worked out great!
Why did you choose Southeastern for your ceremony/reception location?
Onochie: Since we both had basketball scholarships to Southeastern, and we met there, it only made sense for us to take a look at what Southeastern had to offer for our wedding. We chose the Student Union Grand Ballroom after visiting several venues. We felt that the Union had the most to offer. Aja personally knew Cally Berner (Director of Event and Conference Services at Southeastern) and Cris Cochran (Director of Catering at Southeastern) from the work they have done with Women’s Basketball, so we knew it would be a smooth and stress-free process.
How many guests did you invite to the wedding?
Did you have a unique theme for your wedding day that you’d like to tell us about?
Aja: Our wedding ceremony was a traditional wedding. But, the reception turned into a Nigerian reception because Onochie’s family is from Nigeria. We both changed clothes into a Nigerian outfit made and shipped from Nigeria.
What was the funniest thing that happened on your wedding day or a favorite moment you’d like to share?
Aja: I would say one of the funniest moments would be when our families danced in to the reception. They had a planned routine to enter the ballroom. They really kicked off the party!
What song did you choose for your first dance?
Perfect Duet by Ed Sheeran featuring Beyonce
What did you serve at the reception for guests?
Chicken alfredo pasta, grilled vegetables, grilled chicken, salad, plantains
Which bakery did you choose for the wedding/grooms’ cake?
Mandi Ricobonni made our cakes. The wedding cake was 4 tiers of Strawberry cake with cream cheese icing. They were both delicious!
Happily Ever After
Best wishes for a happy and healthy life together!
Aja and Onochie honeymooned in San Diego, California. They currently reside in Tickfaw and hope to add to their new family in the near future. Aja is employed at Southeastern as the Assistant Women's Basketball Coach for the Lady Lions Basketball team and Ochie is the Athletic Director and Physical Education teacher at the SLU Lab School. In their spare time, they like to go to movies, bowl, travel, attend church, and, of course, hang out together at home.
Special thanks to the Ochies' wedding vendors:
Todd Shockley Photography
Edmonson Photography (Videographer)