A Wedding Story: Keena Ferguson & Ajamu Frasier

Featured Sliders / Stories / July 17, 2015

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An actress, dancer and writer in Los Angeles, Keena Ferguson returned to her hometown to marry Ajamu Frasier, a clinical therapist who’s also a freelance illustrator of comic strips and animated films.

The couple met at Ohio State University, “we’re both Buckeyes,” said Ferguson. “He was a senior and I was choreographing a fashion show he was in but we didn’t see each other again until nine years later,” A mutual friend on social media “hooked” them up and phone calls ensued. Ferguson said, “We dated almost five years before we were engaged.”

The rehearsal dinner was held at Canterbury Hill Winery & Restaurant; the wedding and reception were held at La Maison, a private destination event venue 15 minutes outside of Jefferson City. “My parents and I were very happy that I chose to get married in my hometown where I was raised and where they still live,” she said. It’s also a central location for our friends and guests throughout the U.S.”

Both of her parents are now retired after long careers at Lincoln University. Her mother, Theressa Ferguson, served as Lincoln University’s vice president for student affairs and artistic director of the Dance Troupe.  A government and community relations director at Lincoln University for 35 years, her father, Kenneth, was also a former first ward councilman and mayor pro temp.

“As much as your wedding is about you, it’s also about your parents,” she said. “I wanted everyone to come and let loose and have a really good time. It was a mixing of so many people important to me and I wanted my friends from Los Angeles to meet my family and friends here.”

ABOUT THE BRIDE

Keena Ferguson began performing at a very young age. Her dance lessons started before kindergarten at Jefferson City Dance Academy and then continued at Dancer’s Alley. Then she moved into acting, too, at the Little Theatre. After graduating from Jefferson City High School she headed to Los Angeles and her dance talents landed her gigs at various award shows for singers such as Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony and Nelly, as well as appearing in videos with Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg.

She’s also part of the Brown Betties, the only burlesque/cabaret show of its kind in Los Angeles. The brainchild of Pepper Chambers, one of Ferguson’s bridesmaids, it’s a show about a woman looking for love.

Her acting career took off, too. Soon, she crashed an audition and was selected to be the co-host of a new BET show, “The Way We Do It,” and was seen in national commercials for Home Depot, Coors Light and Direct TV. She also appeared in television shows, including “Two and a Half Men” and “Boston Legal.”

She’s also starred in several films and wrote, produced and starred in her own film, “Kai” and has directed plays, including “Sunday Mourning” and “The Marriage Chronicles.”

What she’s most proud of though is her one-woman show, “Keena Unbranded,” that chronicles various stages in her life that have shaped her as a person and performer. She wrote the show, stars in it and uses her acting and dancing talents, too.

“It’s the most amazing thing I’ve done,” she said. “It’s a way to take control of my career that’s not about ‘please someone book me,’ but a way not to be boxed in, branded and labeled.”

She plays 12-plus characters in the show that draws from her different experiences. One character is Ferguson in the fourth grade when she intentionally loses her first spelling bee. Another is a characterization of one of the first girls she met in Los Angeles who epitomizes everything stereotypical about Hollywood.

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Keena Ferguson in her custom wedding dress.

THE DRESS

A custom-made Linda Stokes design, the dress featured a semi low back with a beaded and lace bodice. The bottom of the dress is a mix of tulle and lace that cascades down to a long train with slight beading. Her jewelry came from Saffees. Her Betsy Johnson shoes were “blinged out Cinderella shoes” with rhinestones.

WEDDING CONSULTANTS

EDesign Event Planning

Michelle Anthony – Slice of Grace Bakery Boutique

Amanda Andrews

THE GROOM

Ajamu Frasier wore an all white mandarin suit

THE CAKE

Slice of Grace Bakery Boutique – Richmond, VA

HONEYMOON

Grenada, Midwest Travel in Jefferson City

“We were off the grid, we did a lot of nothingness,” she said.

WEDDING FAVORS

Mini bottles of BBQ sauce from Gates BBQ in Kansas City and Scentsational Soaps from Los Angeles.

THE PHOTOGRAPHERS

Travis Duncan

Rae Dixon Photography

Images Above in Columbia served as the videographer and used a drone and a crane for aerial photography.

THE MUSIC

Ashley Nelson-Ross’ Harmonia Strings performed during the ceremony. Dr. Larry Ross and the Jazz Kids played during the cocktail hour. She flew in DJ Hearsee from Loz Angeles for dancing.

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Keena’s eleven bridesmaids and Ajamu’s groomsmen

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Ashley Nelson-Ross’ Harmonia Strings provided music.

THE BRIDAL PARTY

Her 11 bridesmaids, including two maids of honor and one matron of honor, wore long dresses, flared at the bottom in variations of red and purple. The bridesmaids’ jewelry was handmade by Mildred Glasper of Jefferson City.

THE MENU

Food stations featuring Chicken Piccatta, Shrimp Diane and prime rib with rosemary sautéed carrots and baby potatoes.

THE FLOWERS AND DECOR

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Place settings in the wedding colors of red, purple, and white.

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Floral centerpieces

Stacey Halstead from Florissimo. An independent florist, he handled the flowers for the bride, bridal party and for the ceremony.

Bridal Bouquet, a cascading ombre style of white peonies, red roses, eggplant calla lilies and purple Mokara orchids. Bridesmaids carried hand-tied bouquets of ivory roses, mini Gerbera daisies and white mini  calla lilies. Red and purple pomanders, each made out of 80 red, white and purple carnations lined the purple to white ombre walkway. Items for the archway, the chandelier and walkway, came from Reinhardt Circle.

Decorations include huge manzanita branches, hanging candles red and purple pomanders, silver rhinestone wrapped vases and pearl fillers. The low centerpieces were purple hydrangeas and red carnations, while the elevated centerpieces featured manazinta branches sprayed silver, Mokara orchids and strands of gems with hanging votive candles.

Story by Shelley Gabert | Photos provided by Travis Duncan





Alvin Leifeste




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