I got married and graduated all on the same day

Half of Anu’s wedding party followed her from one ceremony to the other

A Birmingham City University student was treated to a day of double celebration after she was married and graduated all on the same day. And to top it off she got a first.

Anu Yusuf, 26, went to Birmingham Register Office at 10:40am to conduct a civil ceremony with her now husband, Joseph Kolawole Ola, 27. At midday she was married at Perry Barr Methodist Church, Anu’s church of choice. After that, Anu changed out of her all-white wedding attire into the traditional cap and gown and headed to Symphony Hall for 2pm to receive her LLB, along with hundreds of other students being awarded their degrees.

Anu and Joseph at the Register Office

Anu and Joseph (who studies at LIFE Church College in Bradford) met four years ago in Gombe, Nigeria whilst working as part of Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and their engagement was prolonged while she went to study in the UK.

She said: “My husband often joked that he would whisk me away after my graduation to marry me because he can no longer wait. So, we decided to marry on my actual graduation day.

“Romance aside, it certainly worked well logistically too, as it meant that our relatives only had to travel once for both occasions. We both have family all over the UK and we were conscious of taking up too much of their time and for all the added expense in making the same journey twice.”

Anu in her graduation outfit

The couple’s fifty wedding guests were treated to take-away meals, prepared by friends and members of Anu’s church, while their wedding cake was made by her husband’s pastor from Liverpool.

Half of the wedding party followed Anu to graduation, although she was only allowed the maximum four guests. Those not allowed in waited outside where they could enjoy their take-away meals, which were traditional Nigerian fare:  jollof rice with chicken served with salad, along with gizdodo (gizzard and plantain), moi moi (made from black-eyed peas), and poundo yam with vegetable soup.

Anu was exhausted but elated come the end of the day: “I’d be lying if I was say it wasn’t a relief to get to the end of the day, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. It was so special to have my family and friends present for not one, but two of the most significant milestones in my life, and being able to share it with them all is something that I will treasure forever.”

Anu has supplemented her Law degree with part-time work at the University’s International Office as a Marketing and Communications Assistant.

Parmila Murria, Assistant Director at the University’s International Office, said that Anu’s colleagues were “so happy for her and really proud.”

Anu hopes to further her studies with a PhD in Law.