Black Bride Magazine: The Beauty Issue

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The Ultimate Resource for Before and After “I Do”


Beauty The



the skin you are in and feel beautiful both inside and out!



Real Weddings & Inspiration

The Beauty Issue / Volume 6

Cover Story


The Beauty Issue Embrace the skin you’re in and feel beautiful both inside and out.

First Comes Love: Real Engagements



Stephanie & Joshua


Myasha & Emmanuelle


Shenesia & Stephen


Kenyatta & Lamar


Eunice & Chris

Atlanta, Georgia

Indianapolis, Indiana Chicago, Illinois

Zachary, Louisiana

Florham Park, New Jersey

Then Comes Marriage: Real Weddings



Myisha & Armon


Raegan & RamĂłn


Yazmin & David

Portland, Oregon Houston, Texas

North Hollywood, California

102 Krystle & Akino

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

108 Natalie & Michael


Miami, Florida

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In Every Issue



40 Hottest Trends and Global 114 The Perfect Romantic Angle to Wedding Menus Outdoor Picnic

Editor’s Letter

6 Note from Features Editor 19

Real Engagements


Real Weddings

136 Our Events

Beauty & Health

Executive Chef Everton Clarke


Marriage Planning: Pre-Marital Counseling


Get Personal with Your Wedding Guest

and CEO, Mielle Organics shares hair care tips


Editors’ Picks


Expert Beauty Influencers


The Ultimate Bridal Beauty Roundup

A curated collection of our favorite must-have items Share beauty tips

From nails to makeup, bath & body, fragrance and more

16 Health and Wellness

You are the priority during wedding planning?


Glowing Skin on Your Wedding Day

Dermatologist Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd

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DIY Personalized Agate Coasters

Enjoy warm summer nights under the stars

116 Your First Year of Marriage

How to prepare for marriage with Deona M. Frierson, MSW, LCSW

7 How to Achieve Beautiful 46 Unique Wedding Venues Wedding Day Tresses Around the World Monique Rodriguez, founder

After the Aisle

5 tips to thrive the first year and beyond

118 Couples Who Cook Together Stay Together

Four reasons why it’s healthy


Finding the right venue to say the two most important words ever

120 Honeymooning in Seychelles


Styled Shoots

126 Aruba Nuptials

Get inspired by superbly styled bridal photo shoots: Modern Day Love, Indian Summer and Modern Glam at the Majestic

Fashion 62

Call Her Classic’s 2018 Lagos Bridal Fashion Week


Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week

Lagos, Nigeria’s first ever bridal fashion week

Spring Trend Report from Barcelona


Inspiration Boards

Colors: Grey Greenery, Something Bleu and Sweet Lemonade

A hot honeymoon destination A dream destination for a wedding and honeymoon

128 Say “I Do” in Singapore

For the bride who loves luxury

130 Guadeloupe

Discover the Caribbean’s hidden gem

132 Honeymoon Travel Essentials

Don’t leave home without them

Bridal Suite 133 Collection of Fine Vendors

Resource Guide

on the cover ModeL: Aneesah hanan, Click Atlanta

Volume 6 MARY CHATMAN editor-in-Chief/publisher

photogrAphY: Antonio (tony) Minifield, Ynot iMages

SCOTT CHATMAN Chief Financial officer

VIdeogrAphY: Andre Brown photography

C.K. ALEXANDER JEAN Senior Features editor

LIghtIng: Jerome Smedley VenUe: park Studios

CORTNEY MOORE Associate editor

FLorAL ACCeSSorIeS: Stems Atlanta

AMBER SPENCE Sales Manager

MAKeUp: B. gandy, B For Beaute.Co



For More, Subscribe Online Today published by BLACK BRIDE 320 town Center Avenue Suite C-11 Suwanee, gA 30024 Copyright © 2018 Black Bride. All rights reserved.

Everything you need to plan your dream wedding: Inspiration • real Weddings • Fine Vendors SOCIALIZE WITH US! /blackbride1998



/blackbride | 3

editor’s letter

Hello Beautiful!


elcome to the Summer Issue of Black Bride Magazine, the beauty issue. Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials, we are so happy and excited for you! There can never be enough inspiration and encouragement about love, life, beauty and self-care. Which is why we dedicate this issue to you. In the world we live in today, external beauty and skin tone is often the focus while inner beauty, morality and the heart of a woman are not as appreciated. As you prepare for your wedding journey and marriage, I invite you to embrace your natural beauty, love the skin you’re in and focus on your inner glow. Fall in love with you, own everything about you and accept yourself for all the special ways you honor those around you. Park Studios in the heart of Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia provided the perfect atmosphere and backdrop for the summer issue cover shoot. While on the set, I was moved by how the models embraced each other and owned their beauty. Everyone worked together to deliver the Black Bride magic that we love so much. The models are glowing in the cover story wearing gorgeous Maria Elena Couture Headpieces and custom floral crowns created by Stems Atlanta.

“ We want to hear from you! Send in your ideas, topics for discussion, and what you’d like to see most in the next issue. Email me at:”

We received a personal invitation to attend the first ever Lagos Bridal Fashion Week (LBFW) in Lagos, Nigeria created by fashion agency, Call Her Classic. We’re excited to share International bridal fashion trends with you straight from the runways of Lagos, Nigeria and Barcelona, Spain! And be inspired by the real engagements, weddings and styled shoots we’ve curated for your viewing pleasure. I am a hopeful romantic in love with love. In this issue, I decided to dust off my love bug writing skills to write about love and romance in the After the Aisle section of the magazine. After all, it’s what brought me to Black Bride, which is now a part of the history of the company. Read how cooking together can keep you close and celebrate your love all summer long with romantic outdoor picnics. Finally, if you missed the announcement in the winter issue, we’ve reached a huge milestone this year. We are celebrating 20 years of business! Black Bride is the longest running website for women of color before and after the aisle. Whether you are looking for resources and inspiration to help you plan your dream wedding in our digital magazine, on our website or at one of our bridal events in a city near you or looking for tips on keeping the love alive and well after the I do’s, we’ve got you covered. We hope as you flip through the pages of this issue, you’ll be inspired by what we’ve curated for you. Have a fun, safe summer. Happy planning. Cheers!


Mary Chatman Editor-in-Chief | 5

note from features editor

Hello Gorgeous!


elcome to the beauty issue! The summer season has officially begun and we can all start to work on that coveted sun-kissed glow, which is one of my favorite perks of the summer. Yes, it’s glow season and no one shines brighter than a woman in love. Which is why we wanted to dedicate the pages of this issue to all the beautiful brides who are on that special journey to matrimony. Speaking of glow, we pulled out all the stops for a cover feature that’s all about embracing the skin you’re in. We wanted women of all skin tones to fall in love with their skin and embrace their natural beauty. When it comes to true beauty, the bulk of the work starts within. We got a chance to catch up with brooklyn based Wellness Coach and Yoga instructor Sabine Smith, who shares how committing to health and wellness can help you shift into living your best, and most beautiful life! It wouldn’t be a beauty issue if we didn’t share our top picks for some of the best beauty products for soon-to-be blushing brides! We’ve tried everything from refreshing toners to brightening serums. Even Rihanna’s Fenty foundation made our list of favs! Looking good on your wedding day requires that you are flawless from head to toe, but we all know it’s all about the dream dress. For this issue, we traveled to Barcelona to bring you the hottest trends fresh off the runways at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week. After seeing these hot Mediterranean fashions, all we can say is muy caliente! We know you’re in the throes of wedding planning. So, allow your mind to escape to paradise as we whisk you away to Seychelles, Africa for an unforgettable honeymoon experience! Plus, we’ve taken the hard work out of packing by including a list of hot honeymoon essentials for a romantic newlywed getaway! As you flip through the pages of this issue, we hope that you enjoy the experience and learn valuable tips to help you in your planning process and in your new life as a Missus. We would love to hear from you, so please be sure to follow us on Instagram @BlackBrride1998 and email us at and let us know what you think of our summer issue. Enjoy! XOXO,


C.K. Alexander Jean Senior Features Editor

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Must read on the lastest trends and expert advice for the wedding season

How to Have the


Wedding Day Hair by Monique Rodriguez A beautiful wedding day hairstyle might be the goal, but how you treat your hair leading up to the big day is equally important. See the Insider Tips to PREPARE YOUR HAIR Photograph by Christian Maxwell, Mielle | 7


How to Take Care of Your Hair Before Your Wedding Day Award-Winning Beauty Brand Mogul Monique Rodriguez of MIELLE™ Organics Has a Few Pointers To Achieving Beautiful Wedding Day Tresses


very woman looks forward to her wedding day! Marrying the love of your life, creating memories with family and friends, and, of course, looking your best! When I say looking your best, I mean from your hair down to your feet. The style of your dress, shoes, manicure, pedicure, makeup, and, of course, a fabulous

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hairstyle. Everything is well thought out and planned to perfection. After all, this is the day you have been dreaming about since you were a child and it’s finally going to happen! All eyes will be on you, and there is no way this day is not going to be picture perfect. Planning a wedding can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Being as

prepared as possible will elevate your confidence and will give you peace of mind. One thing you can prepare for well in advance is your hair. Here are some helpful hair tips using Mielle’s Mongongo Collection that will take away some of the stress and help you be well prepared for your wedding day:

1. Consult with a stylist: Decide on what hairstyle you want and consult with your stylist. Having a consultation with your stylist in advance sets the foundation for your experience and gives you the confidence that this style will be executed to perfection on your big day. I would also suggest bringing an image of both the hairstyle and a picture of the wedding dress to be used as a reference. By doing this, you can get a professional opinion from your stylist to ensure the right hair style matches your dress neckline. Some dresses pair better with conservative or moderate hairstyles while other dresses look best when hair is pulled back from your face. Your stylist will be best to assist you in making your final decision. 2. Prep your hair: Begin to maintain your hair. Start by shampooing with a clarifying shampoo. Mielle offers a Mongongo Oil Exfoliating Shampoo that removes buildup from products, dirt and oils while adding moisture and softness. This effective yet gentle shampoo does not strip the hair of moisture. Follow by conditioning with Mielle Hydrating Conditioner. This ultramoisturizing and PROTEIN-FREE conditioner is perfect for achieving soft and silky hair and is formulated with Sub-Saharan African Mongongo Oil for Intense Heat Defense™ and Curl Pattern Protection™, restoring health and shine.

3. Protect: As we all know, heat can be very damaging to your hair. Mielle has the perfect solution to protect hairstyles requiring both direct and indirect heat. It is essential to apply a heat protectant on the hair to prevent the hair from being damaged. Mielle has designed the Mongongo Thermal Heat Protectant Spray specially formulated to protect the hair from extreme heat temperatures. Should you decide on a no-heat hairstyle such as perm rods, or flexi rods, Mielle has the Mongongo Oil Style Setting Spray. This product sculpts indirect-, low-, or no-heat stretched styles with light hold and luminous shine. 4. Moisturize: Adding moisture to your hair regimen is critical to maintaining a healthy scalp along with repairing and protecting the hair from everyday factors. Mielle has the Pomade-To-Oil Treatment, which is the perfect solution for soothing a dry scalp and adding an impeccable shine. Apply prior to wrapping your hair at night to seal in moisture, giving you the perfect look the next day! 5. Trial style: Schedule some time with your stylist to have your hairstyle done prior to the wedding so you can make any changes beforehand. Mielle products will take away the stress of worrying about your hair so you can be worry-free on your big day!

Monique Rodriguez, Mielle Organics Founder and CEO, has over nine years of experience as a registered nurse. Her background inspired her to share her regimen of healthy, tailbone-length hair with the masses. She is dynamic and multi-faceted with a true love and appreciation for all things beauty-related. Earning the self-proclaimed title of “A True Creative Maven & Innovator,” she has a vibrant media presence and has shared her brand story and entrepreneurial journey in several magazine features and on national television appearances such as The Real and The Wendy Williams Show. Find out more at (Left) Photography by Clif Ellis | 9



Editors’ Top Picks

Here are a few of our favorite things for the season.


NEST Fragrances, Black Tulip Eau de Parfum, $72;


Sophia Webster Heels, $650;



Blushing Cherry Blossom Earrings, $120;

Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Crush Body Fragrance Mist, $32;



Fujifilm, Instax Mini 9 Instant Film Camera, $59.99; Lifetime of Adventure Together Map, Couple Passport Holder Set of Two, $34.99;

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Gabriela Fringe Earrings, $48;


Anniversary Wine Box, $150 – $190;


Courvoisier XO, $150;


Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer, $18;


Urban Decay Beached Eye Shadow Palette, $34;

A great spirit for gifting and toasting. One of the finest XOs in the world.


Cult Gaia Watermelon Ark Clutch, $278; | 11



Beauty Influencers Share Their Secrets!


By Cortney Moore | These tips will keep you looking amazingly fab. Brittnie’s Tips:

}} Tip #1: The hardest part about any trip is packing. Luckily, a lot of brands are starting to make travelsized products, which helps a ton! However, always pack liquid and cream products in ziplock bags to avoid spills.

Be Bold Like

Brittnie My name is Brittnie Anderson and I’m cocreator of YokoCoco, an amazing lifestyle blog. We serve to inspire women to step out and experience the world through our travels. As someone who documents their journeys regularly, I have to make sure I look the part. For that reason, I’ve developed a beauty routine that keeps me camera-ready. Here are my tips and tricks for looking your best during any baecation!


}} Tip #2: For flawless skin, drink lots of water. I also advise stocking up on sheet masks since traveling can dry out skin. I typically use one after every flight, then every couple of days when I’m out and about.

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}} Tip #3: Booking a couple’s massage is a great way to sneak in a treatment while on vacation. I convinced my boyfriend to get a fish pedicure with me! Brittnie’s Favorites

}} Regarding skincare, the products from Sisley-Paris have saved my skin. They’re expensive, but totally worth it! I recommend the HydraGlobal Serum for newbies since it packs a thirst-quenching punch for a supple and glowing complexion. }} Sunscreen is a must. I love Image Skincare’s Prevention+ Ultra Sheer Spray [2] because it smells great, doesn’t leave streaks, and can use makeup. }} To get makeup to stay on all day, I use setting sprays and powders! My go-to is ColorDuJour’s Prime & Set Spray. Even in the most humid of climates, it keeps everything in place.

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}} In terms of makeup, I absolutely love AJ Crimson [1]. He makes great foundations for women of color.

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}} When it comes to hair, I’d probably be bald without Manetabolism Hair Vitamins [4] and Olaplex No 3 [3]. Follow Brittnie’s adventures on!

Be Radiant Like


My name is Rachel Hill. I’m a travel writer and an influencer digital strategist for By the age of 27, I retired from my corporate job to travel the world. I started my blog to share my insights about travel activities, and it took off from there. Having traveled the world, I’ve learned that beauty can actually be quite natural and simple. Whether you’re flying solo or handin-hand, here are some tips that’ll get you looking like a goddess.

Rachel’s Tips:

Vanessa’s Tips:

}} Tip #1: Makeup doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you’re always on the go like me. To keep things light, I recommend using a moisturizer as a primer, concealer to even you out, a little bit of powder to avoid creasing, and some bronzer [6]. Add in a fun blush, a bold lip and volumizing mascara when you’re feeling fancy.

}} Tip #1: Sunscreen. There’s no better way to care for your melanin than to protect it. All over. Every day. Just because we have melanin does not mean we are protected from the sun. I wear sunscreen religiously, and it’s the first product I pack.

}} Tip #2: I have natural hair, so I pick products that I know will work best in certain types of climates. I use more humectants when I go to colder areas, which draws the moisture out of the environment and into my hair. When I go to tropical places, I’m heavier-handed with product to prevent frizz and dryness. }} Tip #3: Doing a spa treatment alone or as a couple is great because it builds trust and communication. Don’t want to spend a lot of money? Make sure your skin is exfoliated because your significant other obviously wants to feel your touch. If you’re at a beach, use the sand in the ocean to give yourself a body scrub. And then shower later, put on a nice oil or a body butter and get it poppin.

Be Vibrant Like


My name is Vanessa Buenger and I am head of Growth Marketing and Filmmaker Communications at Love Stories TV, a website dedicated to watching and sharing real wedding films. Beauty for me is self-care. So, while I prioritize my skincare routine, I also try my best to prioritize my mental and emotional health. If you need help on finding your balance preand post-nuptials, check out my bridal beauty tips.

}} Tip #3: Your honeymoon is not the time to overthink your beauty routine. It’s time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Learn to flaunt your natural beauty. It will save you time, which frees up more room for unforgettable experiences. Vanessa’s Favorites

}} Right now, I am really loving Glossier’s Soultuion [11] for exfoliation and pretty much any sheet mask for instant hydration.



Rachel’s Favorites:

}} I can’t live without this Atlantabased brand called Iwi Fresh [5]. They make amazing, natural cosmetics sourced from their garden. From facials and scrubs to creams and body oils. Even better, it’s black owned!


}} When I go to African countries, I’m really big on body butters because that’s how they protect their skin. So that really inspired me as far as incorporating a lot of cocoa and shea butters [8] into my routine.

}} I know many women of color struggle with hyperpigmentation, so I recommend a product that specifically targets dark spots. My go-to is Caudalie’s Vinoperfect Serum [10]. It completely changed my skin in the months leading up to my wedding. }} When all else fails, I use a product recommended by my mom: Neutrogena’s On-The-Spot Acne Treatment. I use it to this day, and it works for getting rid of blemishes every time! }} My makeup musts have to be Jouer’s Luminizing Moisture Tint [9] and Cindy-Lou Manizer’s Cushion [12] from The Balm.

}} I really love Fenty Beauty’s Stunna Lip Paint [7]. The liquid-to-matte look wears all day and looks great when you’re taking your Instagram photos. Keep up with all of Rachel’s journeys on!

}} Tip #2: I hired a makeup artist for my wedding, which I highly recommend all brides do. It’s important to have a pro that can put on the finishing touches and make your look last for your big day. So, that’s my secret. Hire a makeup artist you trust to put your vision first.

}} I have fine, curly hair. I co-wash it and detangle with some Shea Moisture, and then comb and style. My hair looks so defined afterwards. 12

View all of Vanessa’s favorite real wedding videos on! | 13



Summer Beauty


By Auset Parris | Whether you’re heading to a tropical destination for your wedding or taking a break from all the planning with a fabulous honeymoon or bae-cation, you’ll want to have the right beauty products to keep you looking flawless all season long. These 16 beach-ready beauty essentials will help you prep your makeup bag for the summer, no matter where your travel plans take you.


Gabrielle Chanel Eau de Parfum, $135 : This fresh floral scent will have you feeling confident around hubby with only a few spritzes.


Black Radiance True Complexion BB Cream, $5 : Do not hesitate to try this major bargain! It’s best for daytime excursions where you don’t want to wear too much makeup, but still look flawless for photos.

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4 Dermalogica BioLumin-C Serum, $87: This serum is a great investment to revitalize your skin. Apply daily when your face is damp for the best results.


Iman Luxury Pressed Powder, $9: This pressed powder will melt into your skin and have you looking flawless and matte in a matter of a minute.


Benefit Porefessional Face Primer, $31: This primer creates a thin layer over your skin, protecting your pores from absorbing all your makeup.

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Fenty Pro Beauty Filtr, $34: This light-weight foundation is great for oily to combination skin. It’s a great long-wearing foundation, especially for traveling to hot locations.

Mario Badescu Glowing Skin Essentials Set, $75: This skincare line will have you addicted, leaving you feeling refreshed and moisturized.


Nars Radiant Cream Concealer at Sephora, $30: With this concealer, you can define your brows and cover blemishes seamlessly.



Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray at Sephora, $32: Set it and forget it. This setting spray doesn’t make your makeup look caked on and will make your beat last longer than other sprays.

Glossier Clear Lip Gloss, $14: A quick gloss perfect for the day to day!



Juvia Nubian Eyeshadow Palette, $20: The perfect subtle gold tones for women of color. It will really make your nighttime look pop.

Mac Cosmetics Ruby Woo Lipstick, $18.50: This is the perfect red lipstick for any time of day; best applied with a deep colored lip liner.


OPI Aphrodite, Pink Nightie, $8: Need a new nail color? Try this flirty and fun color, perfect for any occasion.


Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, $95: Often noted as the best beauty product by celebrities, A-listers, and the media alike. This toner exfoliates, hydrates, and balances the pH of your skin.

16 Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick, $42: Woah! This highlighter gives such a natural glow and won’t have you looking overly made up.


Essie Speed Setter Quick Dry Topcoat, $10: The perfect topcoat if you have to do your own nails and you don’t want a smudge, or a lack of shine. | 15



for Your Wedding Journey and Beyond

It’s time to meet the healthier and happier version of you! By Sabine Smith


ummer is here, and so is wedding season. So that means you’re either crushing your 2018 health goals and seeing results, or you’ve become completely overwhelmed and said, “to heck with this, this year just ain’t it.” If the latter sounds like you, don’t stress. There’s still hope! If not, congratulations to crushing your goals! Wherever you are on your journey, here are some to things to consider as you continue to progress towards a healthier version of yourself.

What’s Your Why? The big day is here! You’ve the secured the dress, now you must secure the look. Realistically, if you do put in all of the work to get fit for your wedding, why let all that work be washed down the drain? It’s like finishing a degree and at commencement saying, “Hey, I actually don’t want the sweat, blood and possibly tears that went into accomplishing this feat.” Find a deeper reason to connect to why you want to 16 |

Photography by Courtney McKnight

Photography by Myesha Evon | Your own wellbeing should always be your top priority. Making small changes in your daily routine and commiting to selfcare will result in better health.

change your body to make this a real and sustainable lifestyle shift. Research shows a direct correlation between sedentary lifestyle and increased cardiovascular risk and diabetes. In addition to that, the activity level of children partially depend on their parents’ level of activity. People of the diaspora are hereditarily plagued with both life-changing diseases. So, dig deep for your reason. That way, when things get challenging, you’ll have a solid foundation to keep you strong throughout.

mix. I’ll say it again! Try new things to figure out what you do like! You really don’t know until you try it. Boxing or pole dancing classes look intimidating until you try a class out and realize how happy you are that you took the plunge. For long term sustainability, the bottom line is to seek out the food and physical activity that you genuinely enjoy that makes you both feel and look good.

Check Your Mindset

Old habits are like a mosquito bite on your knuckle, just plain annoying. They don’t go away overnight, but keep tending to them, and they’ll eventually disappear. Be diligent, but also be very patient with yourself as you respect your journey on all fronts. With balance being one of the pillars of your lifestyle shift, I suggest gradually making small changes. This month, focus on trying a new physical activity and incorporating more green foods into your meals. Without judgement, evaluate your progress and joy and then you decide what you’d like to explore next. Think of your journey to a holistically health-

Does the idea of working out or eating vegetables feel like a flashback to your least favorite childhood chore? Bump that! Find a way to love it! The phrase “fake it until you make it,” is very applicable here! I’m not encouraging you to eat anything that doesn’t bring you joy, but I do encourage you to speak things into existence. If you’re on the fence about freshly made nutrient-dense dishes, head to yelp with an open mind or find a cooking class and discover things that you do like. Very soon, you’ll be eating maple syrup-roasted Brussel sprouts and blending chia seeds in your vita-

ier you as a huge project that will get you to that next level in your life, but it has a five-year production timeline. Map it, visualize it, and get it done. Lastly, make time for your health. Re-evaluate your priorities and take your workouts and food choices as seriously as you do your day job. Staying healthy is work until it is embedded into your lifestyle. Take a deep breath, put in the work, and enjoy the journey to a healthier you!

Slow and Steady Always Wins the Race

Sabine Smith is a Functional Nutritionist & Movement Consultant specializing in Clinical Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Pilates, and Yoga. She’s passionate about empowering others to live a holistically healthy lifestyle. Find out more at | 17


HoW to Get a

Gorgeous Glow dermatologist dr. heather Woolery-Lloyd shares tips on how to treat your skin before your wedding day. By C.K. Alexander Jean Planning a wedding can be a very hectic time in your life, which can wreak havoc on your skin. Miamibased board-certified dermatologist Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd is an internationally recognized skincare expert who specializes in the treatment of cosmetic concerns common in skin of color. Dr. Woolery-Lloyd, who is also the creator of Specific Beauty skincare, says brides should make skincare a priority. “You want to start your skincare regimen at least eight months to a year before your wedding day,” said Dr. Woolery-Lloyd. “You want to give yourself time to address any major issues like acne and give yourself time to heal after treatment.” Here are 5 tips from Dr. WooleryLloyd on how to achieve flawless skin on your wedding day. Work with a Pro!

You want to make sure that you’re working with a professional and a board-certified dermatologist. Most board-certified dermatologists will have this information listed on their website and you can also look up doctors at the American Academy of Dermatology in order to find a doctor who is legit. You also want to make sure that the dermatologist that you choose has experience in dealing with your skin type. Give yourself time

Don’t wait until the last minute to start treating your skin. You want to start 18 |

“I am a strong a believer that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on skin care to get really good results,” said dr. Woolery-Lloyd.

your skincare regimen at least a year prior to your wedding day. If you are trying to control acne or hyper-pigmentation, those issues require several treatments, which will take a few months for you to start to see results. Use the right products

If you want to achieve the look of glowing skin, prescription retinoid, which is a medication that is primarily used for acne, can be used to increase your glow. You can use an over the counter retinoid like Differin Gel that can be used to address acne and rough skin. Also, lotions and creams with Salicylic Acid or Glycolic acids that you can get over the counter are really good at exfoliating the skin and providing that glowing affect.

keep your skin moisturized

Make sure that your skin gets a lot of moisture. Ceramides are natural lipids found in moisturizers that form a barrier on your skin and helps to keep it hydrated. Moisturizers with ceramides are also great for irritated or damaged skin. Mind your nutrition:

What you consume can definitely affect the quality of your skin. A Low glycemic diet, which consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and proteins will lend itself to more clear skin. Diets with a high glycemic index, like things that make your insulin spike, influence your skin in a negative way and can cause acne and other skin issues.

Real Engagements how real couples k new they were the “O ne� for each other. | 19

first comes love

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P h oto g r a p h ed b y E d H a f i z ov o f Zor z S t u dios

Stephanie & Joshua S

tephanie and Joshua’s love story began in June 2016 when they found each other on One could say that it was love at first click. The happy couple have been together ever since and celebrated their wedding day in the Dominican Republic.

was going to grab the marshmallows. When I brought the tray, one of our four-legged kids dove onto the tray out sheer excitement, and the marshmallows got jumbled into a pile. Everything happened so fast, that I didn’t know what to do. So, I just proceeded with a simple proposal. Without hesitation, she said yes.

The Proposal {His Story}

Stephanie is a low-key person, so I decided to try to make her breakfast in bed with some homemade hot cocoa. She wasn’t hungry that morning, so I proceeded with preparing the cocoa. The night before, I purchased all of the ingredients and cups just for the proposal. I wrote on a tray with marshmallows "Marry Me?” with the ring at the end of the question mark. I delivered the hot cocoa to Stephanie and told her I

What was the theme of your shoot?

The theme was an otherworldly, picturesque, natural theme. Were there any memorable moments during the shoot?

The memorable moments of the engagement shoot was getting there. We landed in the evening in Las Vegas and proceeded to drive three and a half hours to our | 21

first comes love

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nation. Stephanie slept while I drove. In Arizona, they have raised pavement lane markers in center lanes in the road. So, if I hit one while driving, Stephanie would wake up and say, “You’re swerving, pull over so I can drive.” That happened about 10 times on our trip driving through the mountains. Each time, she would fall back asleep about 30 seconds later. We arrived at the hotel about 2:30 am and had to be up for the shoot at 5:30 am. We hiked through the canyon, climbed up mountains, and scaled the sides of cliffs to get those beautiful shots. And Ed Hafizov’s (our amazingly talented photographer and friend) vehicle was stuck in the desert sand at one point for hours.

What makes your love special?

It’s been said that when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. We met in June of 2016, engaged in January of 2017, and got married in June of that same year. Our love is special because it’s not ordinary. It’s one of a kind. What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?

Having that partner in crime to grow old with and someone to share life’s precious moments.

Bride: Dr. Stephanie Denise Bell, 38, Biomedical Research Groom: Joshua Allen Hunt, 32, IT Professional Place of Residence: Atlanta, Georgia Engagement Shoot Location: XXX, Arizona Wedding Date: 06/23/2017 | 23

first comes love

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P h oto g r a p h ed b y Ad a m O pris P h oto g r a p h y

Myasha & Emmanuelle E

mmanuelle and Myasha met during a business meeting and have spent the last five years together. The two are planning a lavish silver and white wedding affair with over 200 guests in attendance at the bride’s father’s estate.

The Proposal {His Story}

First, I talked to God to reassure me that I was making the right decision. After that, I moved forward with my plans. I told Myasha that we were going to my aunt and uncle’s anniversary party, and that we had to dress nice. She excitedly agreed, and I moved on to the next part of my plan, which was gathering our family and friends together. Assuming she would say yes, I created everything, including the décor and the cake. Once all of the details and arrangements were confirmed, I retrieved

her engagement ring from the safety deposit box. The day of, despite some minor set backs, we got dressed for the “Suit and Tie event.” Myasha looked so beautiful, I couldn’t wait to ask her to be my wife. We finally make it to my aunt and uncle’s house, which is two and a half hours away from where we live. Everyone was there, and I knew that I had to move fast. I played a song that I wrote and sang for her on the speakers. She looked away for a slight second because she recognized the beginning of the song. That’s when I dropped down on one knee. I popped the question and she immediately said, “yes!” I jumped up and kissed her as if we were at the alter! What makes your love special?

Emmanuelle: What makes our love special is the genuineness, the laughter, the way | 25

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we handle the storms of life, the pain as we grow together, the friendship, and our bond with each other. Myasha: What makes our love special is how pure it is. It comes so freely and peacefully with no strings attached. The loyalty we share for one another, the ability to be ourselves, to talk about anything openly, and to be loved unconditionally. What was the theme of your shoot?

“Epic Moments, Happiness, Passionate Love, Fun and God’s Power.” Were there any memorable moments during the shoot?

Myasha: When we were shooting the water shot in the river, I forgot my shoes at the top. So, I was barefoot, and I slipped on one of the rocks. Before my other foot moved, my honey caught me, and pulled me close to him.

Emmanuelle: A memorable moment during the shoot was when we were doing a shot near some wildlife, and Myasha needed a different pair of shoes for her outfit. So, I headed out of the dressing room and I was faced with an alligator at the bottom of the steps. At that moment, I knew that I would die for Myasha, because I am terrified of any wildlife. But all I could think about was making sure she got her shoes. What are you most looking forward to about your wedding?

Myasha: I’m looking forward to joining together as one in Christ and the joy, happiness and fun that will take place during this joyous occasion. I would like for it to feel like an oasis of peace, love, fun and happiness in the air. I want it to be an experience that we will remember forever!

Bride: Myasha “Mya” Smith, Business Owner Groom: Emmanuelle Edmonds, Business Owner Place of Residence: Indianapolis, Indiana Engagement Shoot Location: Miami, Florida and Boca Raton, Florida Wedding Date: April 21, 2018

Emmanuelle: I’m looking forward to marrying the love of my life and consummating our relationship. | 27

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P h oto g r a p h ed b y O l u jr P h oto g r a p h y

Shenesia & Stephen D

espite attending the same college, The University of Illinois, Shenesia and Stephen’s paths didn’t cross until much later. The two met through mutual friends in 2013, hit it off, and never looked back. Their first date was a comedy show at the House of Blues in Chicago. The two laughed the entire night. Ever since then, it’s been five blissful years of love, adventure, and romance.

Engagement Story

Our engagement took place while in Havana, Cuba during March of 2017, in the historical square — Plaza de Vieja. It was the weekend of our four-year anniversary, and we spent time sightseeing and learning so many wonderful things about Cuban culture and architecture. My most memorable moment was peering down at the fish in the fountain and looking up only to find Stephen

kneeling behind me, ring in hand. It was such an unexpected and beautiful surprise that rendered me speechless. I was overjoyed that I was able to share the moment with my closest friends who joined us on the trip and we were able to capture some “in the moment” pictures. After the proposal, we made a quick stop by a restaurant, which was bustling with live music and dancing. Once the band found out about our engagement, they brought us on stage to perform a celebration song. The Proposal {His Story}

Although I had brought the engagement ring with me to Havana, I did not have a specific plan about the proposal. I carried the ring everywhere I went for the first couple days of our trip, never really finding the perfect moment. The group then decided to take a horse and carriage ride | 29

first comes love

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around Havana. We stopped at a few places along the tour, yet I still did not feel like I’d seen the perfect place. Next, we stopped at the Plaza de Vieja, where we saw a beautiful fountain. Immediately, I knew this was the place. But most of the group had wandered off. I quickly called everyone back to do a “group photo” near the fountain. But in reality, I knew it was the perfect place and time. What makes your love special?

We share the same passions for food, humor, and travel — which is the perfect combination. We are a very easy-going couple and base our love on communication, trust and enjoyment. A key element to our relationship is the focus we have on our “love languages,” which help us to keep our connection strong and thriving. What was the theme of your shoot?

which represented the city we are from and love — Chicago.

Bride: Shenesia Benniefield, 35, Senior Project Manager

Were there any memorable moments during the shoot?

Groom: Dr. Stephen Watson, 33, Ophthalmologist

There were quite a few memorable moments. We had a scene where we danced freely in front of the graffiti wall mural to soulful R&B songs, which we really enjoyed. It gave us the freedom to do whatever came natural to us. What were you most looking forward to about your wedding?

We look forward to the party portion! We love music and dancing, so we couldn’t wait to hit the dance floor as husband and wife. We are also looking forward to a moment of silence and giving thanks to our parents that are unable to celebrate this joyous occasion with us.

Place of Residence: Chicago, Illinois Engagement Shoot Location: River West, Chicago, Illinois Wedding Date: 09/09/2017

We wanted a vibrant, urban chic theme | 31

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P h oto g r a p h ed b y S o u t h ern Amore S t u dios

Kenyatta & Lamar


enyatta and Lamar met in July of 2009 at a night club in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Kenyatta was enjoying her night with friends, when she noticed a handsome man staring at her from across the room. She noticed that he kept looking at her throughout the night, and finally smiled at him, which gave Lamar the courage to walk over and introduce himself. She couldn’t resist his charming personality, and the two decided to exchange numbers. And, like they say in the movies, the rest is history. Kenyatta and Lamar have been together ever since and are planning a fall wedding. Engagement Story

On October 12, 2016, I was at work, where I was given a booklet and a beautiful bouquet of red roses. I was so happy. I read a

tender love letter from Lamar and I was so emotional. I cried excessively. Lamar does not express his feelings a lot, so for him to share his thoughts really meant a lot. Later, that night, I met with him, and he had me read the booklet again. He even provided additional pages for me to read in front of him aloud. While I was reading, it stated, “I am asking you to be my wife, the future Mrs. Lamar Smith Jr.� I was so emotional. I immediately said yes, and thanked God. What makes your love special?

Our love is special because it is consistent. We will always be there for each other even when we feel like the world is against us. Speaking life into each other keeps us strong and motivated to grow in the spirit of God and love. Our love will be enough forever. | 33

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What was the theme of your shoot?

Classic Novel — which means no matter what happens in the middle of our story, our classic marriage will stand the test of time. Lamar loves old school cars, so we incorporated an old car into our pictures. In addition, Lamar's father was an auto mechanic. His father passed in 2017. So, when he looks at our engagements pictures, he can always think about his father. Were there any memorable moments during the shoot?

Our most memorable moments were looking in each other’s eyes, communicating through the photo shoot without saying a word. We both were saying, “The hunt is over. Our journey starts here.”

What are you most looking forward to about your wedding?

At the actual wedding, I’m really looking forward to walking down the aisle to him. It’s going to be a profound moment, I can already tell. I also look forward to our vows. We’re already really entrenched with each other, but the vows are going to be so personal. Have you started planning your wedding?

Yes! I started looking at the venue about a year in advance. We booked it the weekend after the proposal. The following week, I found my dress on the first day I went shopping. I just knew it was the one.

Bride: Kenyatta Avery, 36, Counselor, East Baton Rouge Parish School System Groom: Lamar Smith, 36, South Eastern Freight Lines, Professional Truck Driver Place of Residence: Zachary, Louisiana Engagement Shoot Location: LSU Rural Life Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana Wedding Date: 10/13/2018 | 35

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P h oto g r a p h ed b y Am y An a i z P h oto g r a p h y


Eunice & Chris

t’s incredible to believe that the love of your life could exist just a few doors down. Eunice and Chris both work and met at the Short Hills Mall. Chris, an Executive Chef for a Northern Italian restaurant, and Eunice, a Retail Manager, were introduced by a mutual acquaintance in January of 2014. The two met at Chris’s restaurant when Eunice stopped in for lunch one day. Chris went over to seemingly introduce himself, but blurted out, “So you’re the one who walks around this mall with your nose in the air?” instead. Who knew that his confidence, charm, and humor would win Eunice over. Four years later, the happy couple are planning on forever!

rants, and one he had taken me to during our first year dating. He worked with the restaurant to curate the evening. And when it was dessert time, Chris had the menu personalized especially for the occasion. On the front of the menu was an insert that expressed what Chris described as the moment he knew I was the woman for him. I thought I was in a dream reading this beautifully scripted story about him and I. When I finished reading the front of the menu, I flipped to the back and one of the dessert options, in bold letters, read “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” Filled with emotions, I anxiously said yes! The Proposal {His Story}

Engagement Story

On April 26, 2016, date night turned into the most beautiful proposal. Chris had made dinner reservations at Stone House in Warren, New Jersey. It’s one of our favorite restau-

I knew I wanted to create a memorable moment and surprise Eunice in a way that she wouldn’t expect. I selected the Stone House at Stirling Ridge as this was a special place to us both. I had taken Eunice and | 37

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her mother to this restaurant to celebrate Eunice’s 26th birthday two years prior. That was the first of many great celebrations, so I thought to create another milestone moment there. A friend of mine happened to be a server at the restaurant and assisted in bringing my vision to life. The night was perfect as our son, who was 10-months-old at the time, got to witness his father propose to his mother. What makes your love special?

Our love is authentic and genuine. Our love is special because God has hand selected us for each other. We have felt his grace from the moment we met and in everything we do. We have placed a great amount of happiness into each other’s lives throughout the years while creating a beautiful life together. Our souls are in sync. We laugh, love, empower each other, and build together. What was the theme of your shoot?

When we began looking for the perfect location, we really wanted it to coincide with the vibe of our wedding day. Classic, romantic, regal opulence, and an enchanting

garden were on our vision board for our big day. The Botanical Garden and the Conservatory Garden in Central Park were two options that we had in mind. After sharing our vision with Amy, she recommended that Chris and I check out Untermyer Park and Gardens. We are so glad that we trusted Amy. Untermyer was more than we could imagine.

Bride: Eunice DeHoyos, 30, Retail Manager

Were there any memorable moments during the shoot?

Engagement Shoot Location: Untermyer Gardens Conservancy, Yonkers, New York

Our most memorable moment was having our 2-year-old son be a part of the shoot. We knew that it would be a lot of work trying to capture the moment while chasing after him, but everything fell into place perfectly.

Groom: Chris Prosper, 42, Executive Chef Place of Residence: Florham Park, New Jersey

Wedding Date: 06/07/2018

What are you most looking forward to about your wedding?

We are so looking forward to our families joining and celebrating our love together. Having our son witness his parents committing themselves to each other before God and our family is just a moment we will cherish forever. | 39

Pl an ning h o w t o g e t i t a l l d o n e b e f o r e t h e b i g d ay

Expert Insight:

Wedding Menu Trends Hottest Trends and Global Angle to Wedding Menus | By Executive Chef Everton Clarke


hroughout the 20+ years of his career, JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America Executive Chef Everton Clarke has traveled the world and created hundreds of menus for weddings big and small. Whether an intimate wedding or a large, religious affair for hundreds of family and friends, Chef Clarke has seen the wedding industry evolve, with the following trends making their way to the top of any bride-to-be’s wish list. 40 |

Hundreds of brides and grooms are opting for more live, interactive stations with global inspiration. Menus now either highlight a specific global style of food or even take guests around the world in a combination of host favorites. Mexican street tacos, chicken tikka masala, pasta stations and more are intriguing happy couples during the planning process. Guests are asking for more unique canapes including mini keema pav, chicken

65, sheik kabab and mini hummus on pita crisps. Appreciation for variety in food is also important, satisfying many preferences across the board. Variety of food doesn’t have to mean buffet style. Many wedding planners and couples alike are opting for a large setting restaurant feel for their big day. With this comes larger menu requests, with more options for the main course and creative plating options are a must. No longer do brides have to

Photography courtesy of JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America | JW Marriott Minneapolis has an on-site planning team to assist brides and grooms, ensuring every detail of the wedding is perfection.

settle for the catered feel of a banquet hall. They can enjoy the hyper-personalization and creativity with more options for guests to choose from. One of the biggest trends we are seeing in wedding catering is the complete departure from the wedding cake tradition. Wedding cakes are not important to brides and grooms because non-traditional desserts are becoming increasingly common and are easily individualized for a couple’s preferred tastes. A variety of miniature desserts such as cupcake towers and chocolatedipped fruit are more popular. Wedding menus aren’t just about having unique items. They now require boundary-pushing designs. Technology plays a huge part in wedding menu trends for the execution of Pinterestworthy creations such as the donut wall, the pretzel wall, or the cupcake wall, which are all becoming more popular and important to execute. Chefs are seeing many more requests for sophisticated, out-of-the-box dessert designs and structures that give another photoop to any wedding, giving guests a night to remember and covet.


What inspires your menus?


What is your favorite part about being a chef?

My menu inspirations come fr the four seasons. My inspiration also comes from my travels and collaborations with different colleagues and what I've seen throughout the world as an executive chef in incredible places like Jordan and Dubai.

I get to meet new people almost every day and mentor the next generation of chefs. Additionally, I am constantly learning new things about trends, spices, herbs, cultural experiences and more. Most of all, I get to make our guests happy when they try my dishes and share my passion with them


Based on your experience, how are wedding menus different across the world? Western wedding events tend to be earlier. But South Asian and Middle Eastern weddings tend to go way into the morning before the food is consumed. Western menus tend to be what the bride and the groom likes. And for Middle

Eastern and South Asian weddings, there must be specific dishes on the menu or the wedding is not a wedding.

Chef Everton Clarke draws his inspiration from his 23 years of experience with Marriott Hotels and Resorts, including serving as Executive Sous Chef of Banqueting at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai Hotel. Before moving to Minnesota, Chef Clarke worked at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, JW Marriott Desert Springs, and more. | 41


Plan a Dream Wedding and Prepare to have the Excellent Marriage Marriage Planning: Pre-Marital Counseling Tips By Deona Frierson Photograph by McCardell Photography

“Plan a dream wedding and prepare to have the excellent marriage� is a tagline I often use to send a message loud and clear to brides and grooms throughout the world that wedding planning and marriage preparation can take place simultaneously. Ardently, I believe that with these tips you can begin to build a foundation to have the excellent marriage.

Define Marriage

How you view marriage is important and it is paramount that your partner understands, too. Be as detailed as possible. Remember, this is your marriage. No two marriages are alike. Your marriage is unique. Having an understanding of what your partner believes about marriage is imperative to walk together in agreement. Vision

Vision is important in marriage 42 |

because it gives you an idea of what your heart desires in and through your union. With vision, you begin to visualize and plan your future together. It allows you to develop long term and short-term goals. We create plans for different areas in our life (financial plan, business plan, and wedding plan) but marriage planning (vision) seems odd to many. Creating a vision for your marriage will also allow you to talk about external and internal factors that could impact your marriage.


Communication is about more than talking and listening. Communicating with your beloved should allow you to see the world through their eyes and understand what they are experiencing. Communication requires intimacy, vulnerability, showing up in your marriage, seeing your beloved and allowing yourself to be seen. Take Care of Yourself and One Another

Wholeness — your spirit, soul and body

Marriage is like a beautiful, unique and exquisite painting. You are both artists.”

are all important. If you are struggling in any area, it will manifest in your interaction with one another. Do not allow a wounded soul, unhealthy body or lack of self-awareness to wreak havoc in the very relationship that can provide healing. When you are whole, you show up in your marriage as your best self. The more you learn about yourself, the more you are able to live, move and be, while giving and receiving love. Prepare for the Storm

Storms will inevitably come. Despite our best efforts to avoid them, it is a part of the journey of life. During these times, ask yourself “What is it that I know for sure?” Answer this question with truth. Truth is anything aligned with who you are spiritually. If the storm is negatively impacting your marriage, allow unconditional love, commitment and your vision to be the lighthouse that guides you. Depend on one another and hold each other close. It may also be beneficial to see a licensed therapist. Be open to listen, validate and empathize with one another to have a greater awareness about what your partner is experiencing and what may be needed. Your, faith, love and commitment to one another will be the umbrella of protection that you need while weathering the storm. Marriage is like a beautiful, unique and exquisite painting. You are both artists. Enjoy exploring your canvas; imagining, hoping, and dreaming while adding your experiences through the years. May unconditional love be the nucleus of your journey together and you experience the true essence of self and your beloved.

Photography by Lauren Cowart Photography Storms will inevitably come, depend on one another and hold each other close.

Deona Frierson, MSW, LCSW is a prominent marriage therapist, relationship expert and founder of The Excellent Marriage. Based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, she enjoys spending time with her husband David and their children Malik, Isaiah, and Hannah. For more information, please visit | 43



Agate Coasters By Karley Hall These cute little coasters double as place cards and favors. They’re perfect if you’re looking for something to wow your guests. I used foil iron-on and my Cricut EasyPress to create this project. I found my coasters online from a variety of retailers. Depending on how big or small you want them, you can find agate coasters in all sizes to fit the budget you’re working with. I ended up choosing agate gems that had about a 4-inch diameter.

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how to create Materials: 1. Agate Coasters 2. Gold Foil Iron-on 3. Weeder Tool 4.Cricut® EasyPress Note: Hover over the product names to find out where to buy these items.

Photography courtesy of Cricut/Kate Lacey

1. Create the Names in Design Space

3. Weed Design

Open Cricut Design Space on your computer and choose any font to begin typing your guests’ names. One of my favorite parts of using my Cricut Maker is that I can use any Cricut or system font in Design Space. I chose a script font and paired it with a thin sans serif font to highlight the elegance of the agate coaster.

After your cut has finished, press the flashing “Load/Unload” button and remove your material from the mat. Remove the unwanted pieces using a weeder tool. It is usually easiest to move from the inside out while weeding.

2. Cut Out Your Design

Click on the “Mirror” icon on the left side of Design Space. This will horizontally flip your image. When using Iron-on, you will place the shiny side (liner side) down. This way, when you flip it over, your image will appear in the correct orientation. Click the “Continue” icon. Choose the material you plan to cut. I chose “Foil Iron-On.” Load your material onto your mat and make sure the mirror option is turned on and your material is placed shiny side (liner side) down on the mat.

4. Transfer Design to Agates

Place your weeded names on the agate coasters. Start in the center and move out toward the edges. A craft stick or the Scraper from the Cricut Tool Kit can be used to burnish the tape onto the vinyl. 5. Finish Application

Use your Cricut® EasyPress, or an iron and press cloth, to apply the gold foil iron-on. Let the plastic liner cool before removing. I used a heat setting of 340°F for 30 seconds. Afterwards, I let the coaster cool down for several minutes before peeling off the liner. Be careful! The coaster retains heat for a while. | 45


Unique Wedding Venues

Around the World Finding the right venue to say the two most important words ever, “I do” can be quite a task. So, we turned to our expert photographer friend, Courtney Cobb from Eliza Jane Photography to round up some of the most unique wedding venues from around the world.


s a wedding photographer with a serious case of wanderlust, I’ve had some incredible opportunities to see some beautiful places all around the world. From dreamy locales to historical sites, there are so many unique locations all around the world where you can celebrate your love. Here are a few places that I think would be a fabulous venue for your wedding.

Tower of London London, United Kingdom

The Tower of London is a fortress that is steeped in hundreds of years of rich history and has housed many British monarchs. If you are looking for a venue that’s versatile, has an industrial feel, and can easily be transformed into anything, the Tower of London would be just right for you. Photography courtesy of The Tower of London

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Quinta da Regaleira Sintra, Portugal

A picturesque estate located in Sintra, Portugal, Quinta da Regaleira is filled with many gems that would transform your wedding day into a gothic inspired fantasy. The grounds of the estate contain a chapel, the Initiation wells, a palace, hidden tunnels, and expansive gardens that will make your fairytale wedding into a reality. Photography by Courtney Cobb

The Majestic Los Angeles, California

This spacious, historic venue in the heart of Los Angeles is sure to provide you with an elegant, glamorous feel for your wedding day. The high ceilings, gorgeous chandeliers, columns, and arches will allow you to celebrate your wedding day with sophistication, style, refinement, and class. Photography by Courtney Cobb

Plaza de EspaĂąa Seville, Spain

Built in 1929 as a landmark to celebrate Spanish culture and achievement, this stunning plaza in the beautiful city of Seville would provide a gorgeous backdrop for your wedding day. With moats, bridges, beautiful tiles, and Renaissance and Moorish architectural influences, the Plaza de EspaĂąa is sure to enchant you. Photography by Courtney Cobb

Four Seasons Resort: The Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru Baa Atoll, Maldives

The overwater Wedding Pavilion at the Four Seasons Resort Maldives is one truly unique wedding venue (and one of my dream destinations!). With space to accommodate sixteen guests in addition to the wedded couple, the overwater Wedding Pavilion is only accessible by boat. If you are planning an elopement or small intimate wedding ceremony, this place is perfect. An added bonus: the glass floors allow you to see below into the ocean. Photography courtesy of The Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru | 47


Sky Garden London, United Kingdom

Celebrate your union with breathtaking views of London at the Sky Garden. The three-story venue in the heart of Central London is filled with botanical gardens, lounging areas, and floor to ceiling glass windows that give you a spectacular 360Âş view of the city. It would truly be a magical place to have your wedding day. Photography courtesy of The Sky Garden

Taj Mahal Agra, India

An expression of an emperor’s love for his wife, the Taj Mahal is a very famous location. With its beautiful white marble walls, colorful gemstones, and intricate designs, the Taj Mahal is a place that will set the bar for your wedding day. Photography by Courtney Cobb 48 |

Courtney Cobb is an international destination wedding photographer based in Los Angeles, California. She enjoys traveling around the world and connecting with people from all walks of life and documenting their love and lives. Find out more at

Styled Shoots

I nspiration for your photo session . N o rules , it ’ s all about your love and your style ! | 49


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Photographed by Samantha Clarke Photography

Modern Day Love T

his styled shoot was inspired by the love of traditional and modern weddings. This look was achieved through the use of modern furniture, beautiful lush florals, and luxurious accent pieces. The traditional elements are showcased through the bride and groom’s attire featuring North American and African fashions.


Modern rose gold frame, white and pink florals with white candles Place Settings

Rose gold cutlery, crisp white plates, and dinner menu

Shoot Location: Royal Ambassador Banquet, Caldeon East, Ontario, Canada Color Combinations: Nude, blush, tan and rose gold Favorite Details: The pink wedding gown


Floral pink invitations


Blush linens made of satin | 51


Photography: Samantha Clarke Photography Cinematographer: Olivia Leung @olilaloy Venue: Royal Ambassador Banquet Bridal Gown: Sharleez Bridal Kaela Kay, Bride’s Hair: JouJou Hair Studio, Bride’s Makeup: Neo's Beauty, Bride’s Accessories Ilieana George Couture Groom’s Tux: Eaden Myles Tytan Ties Wedding Rings: Alexis Gallery Fine Jewelry Wedding Planner: Leigh Events Cake: Succulent Chocolates & Sweets Flowers: Delta Dawn Floral Stationery: So Pretty in Print Calligraphy: Mandy Calligraphy & Design Favors: Whitebox & Co. Décor: Dream Creations Décor

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DĂŠcor: Luxe Soiree Events Furniture Rentals: Cre8ive Studios Detailz Couture Champagne Flutes: Bmade Luxe Handmade Creations Tableware: Event Rental Group Vinyl Flooring: Exotik Wrapz | 53


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P h o t o g r a p h e d b y C h r i s ta H i t c h c o c k P h o t o g r a p h y

Indian Summer T

he most beautiful time of the year in Indiana comes during the fleeting weeks between summer and fall. When the days are warm, and the nights are cool. This shoot features warm, ethereal tones mixed with modern gold and quartz. Linens

Blush cheesecloth runner Centerpieces

Merlot candlesticks, floral runner, and modern gold decor

Place Settings

Gold-rimmed china, gold-foiled pears, and gold flatware Stationery

Greenery halo with gold accents

Shoot Location: Traders Point Creamery, Indianapolis, Indiana Color Combinations: Merlot, mauve, and peach Favorite Detail: The floral tree!

Unique Detail

Wine and cheese provided fresh from Traders Point Creamery; Autumn of Isibeal Studio created custom corsage cuffs and a floral tree | 55


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Photography: Christa Hitchcock Photography Venue: Traders Point Creamery Bridal Gown: LuxeRedux Bridall Bride’s Accessories: Salame Jewelry Designs Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Something Blue Stylists Bridal Party Attire: Bella Bridesmaids Wedding Planner: Plum & Poppy Weddings Cake: The Cake Bake Shop Flowers: Isibeal Studio Stationery: Jupiter & Juno Rentals: Violet Vintage Rentals | 57


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Photographed by Eliza Jane Photography

Modern Glam at the Majestic T

his shoot combines classic elegance with modern elements added to the dĂŠcor. The Majestic was the perfect venue for this vision. It was originally a bank built in 1924, which has been historically preserved by the National Register of Historic Places.

chrome tables were used for the guests and cake.


The stationery designer created black invites to play on the elegance of the overall event.

The florist created a round floral structure to complement the overall design utilizing the bank vault door. Linens

The sweetheart table was lined with velvet black linen; Black tempered glass and

Place Settings

Silver glass charger plates were paired with scalloped dinnerware to complement the black stemware and flatware used for the table settings.

Shoot Location: The Majestic, Los Angeles, California Color Combinations: Hues of purple, fuchsia, burgundy, and black Favorite Detail: The dance floor and the bank vault


Ceremony DĂŠcor

Velvet purple piping and drapes were used along with purple lighting, which evoked a soft romantic atmosphere. | 59


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Photography: Eliza Jane Photography Venue: The Majestic Bridal Gown: Casablanca Bridal Bride’s Hair: Kylar Handy @forlove____ Bride’s Makeup: Diamond Beauty Hair & Makeup Groom’s Tux: Friar Tux Wedding Planner: Erika’s Elegance Weddings & Events Cake: Truly Scrumptious Cakes Flowers: Oceanic Flowers Stationery: Azure Couture Stationery Monograming: The Sweet T Design Entertainment: OMG – Ocdamia Music Group Furniture Rentals: MTB Event Rentals Dance Floor: HCD Portable Dance Floor @hcd_portable_dancefloors Lighting: Backspin Entertainment | 61


S t r a i g h t f r o m t h e r u n w a y, y o u r m u s t - h a v e f a s h i o n g u i d e

Call Her Classic:

Lagos Bridal Fashion Week By Moyosola Jolaolu

The First Celebration of Nigeria’s Billion-Dollar Wedding Industry Nigerian weddings ought to become an offering of the cultural tourism sector in Nigeria. Even Hollywood stars like Lupita Nyongo and Danai Gurira would agree. The pair, who recently took a visit to Africa’s most populous country, insisted on attending a Nigerian wedding before they left. It stands to reason that Lagos announces its first ever Bridal Fashion Week installment. We’re not missing it!

Photography courtesy of Emmanuel Oyeleke 62 |


The three-day show, organized by the Call Her Classic fashion agency, took place from May 4–6, 2018 at the Federal Palace hotel on Victoria Island. It offered a truly holistic experience true to the world of Nigerian weddings. Besides the runway show, which featured several Pan-African fashion designers, there were other features. The Bridal Boutique featured curated vendors retailing bridal dresses, fabrics, accessories and shoes. The Bridal Dressing Room gave brides the opportunity to try on dresses and consult with stylists for free. The consultations offered brides-to-be the opportunity to meet with designers from outside of Nigeria to speak about bespoke wedding dresses for their big day. One of the most distinctive attributes of the runway shows was the seamless marrying of elements from both African and Western cultures. It wasn’t a rare sight to find the use of indigenous fabrics such as Aso Oke, a hand-loomed cloth woven by the Yoruba people of western Nigeria. Every bridal personality, from the demure to the bold, was well represented. Designers played around with silk, ornaments, lace, and Swarovski stones to create unexpected effects and edge. See some of the trends we loved.

David Tlale

Brides by Nona

Brides by Nona

Virgos Lounge

Valerie Davids | 63


Silk Silhouettes The contrast between silk and masculine frames does an amazing job of concealing the typical hardness most often portrayed in male fashion. David Tlale did an amazing job of offering an alternative to the regular ‘suit and tie’ by giving a refreshing take on other options for the fashion-forward groom.

Exaggerated head ties From indigenous fabrics to fascinators, exaggerated headgear was a popular pick on the runway.

Imad Eduso

Imad Eduso

Shadiat Alaasoke

Toju Foyeh 64 |

Mazelle Studio

David Tlale

David Tlale

Poosh Bespoke Day

Architectural Agbadas The Agbada is a popular name for a flowing wide sleeved robe worn by men in West Africa. This was a popular favorite on the runway as the men were made to look distinguished, staying true to the cultural implication of this signature outfit.

Asymmetrical Shoulders Collarbones really are the new cleavage. Asymmetrical outfits with an edgy twist ruled the day. A lifted leg hem, a mismatched sleeve, and a one-shoulder strap were all thrown into the mix to create some magic.

Imad Eduso

Imad Eduso | 65




Barcelona bridal Fashion Week

One of the major themes for this season’s Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week was skin! Now that winter is over, we are seeing designs that offer a little more for the eye on the runway. You can expect to see more sheer gowns and high splits than you’ve ever seen before. We’ve scanned the latest runways from this season’s Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week to bring you some of the hottest trends of the Spring/Summer 2019 collections from the biggest names in bridal. Here are five trends you’ll want to wear down the aisle.



Sheer Perfection: Last season, we saw the beginning of the barely-there bridal gown revolution. This season, designers alike dared women to embrace their curves with gowns that hint at transparency while others leave little to the imagination such as gowns by designers like Reem Acra and YolanCris.

Jumpsuits & Pants: Many designers like Isabel Zapardiez and Sonia Peña have departed from just gowns and have included both jumpsuits and pants in their collections. However, these looks are anything but masculine. Designers have created ultra-feminine looks that can be worn as an alternative to a wedding gown or at pre-wedding events.




five hottest runway trends By C.K. Alexander Jean High Slits: Now that Spring is here, full voluminous skirts can be left in winters past. The sensual, thigh revealing, high slit styles ruled the runways this season, as it offered a subtle yet sexy element for the bride who wants to show off their legs. Spanish designers like Pronovias and Rosa Clara mastered this sexy look.

Romantic Details, Feathers & Florals: Luxurious romantic details like bold floral prints, exquisite beading and lots of feather details were a glamorous addition to the designs on the runways. Many designers like Alejandra Resta and Marco and Maria, incorporated intricate flora and feathery details into their bridal gowns for a unique twist.

Dramatic Sleeves: Sleeves were the focal point of many of the designs featured during Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week. The flirty styles added a dramatic flair to modern silhouettes. Designers like Isabel Sanchis and Simone Marulli incorporated statement sleeves into their bridal looks, which added a bold touch for brides.

Photography courtesy of Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 66 |





By Jomuelle Anicet It is possible to have a wedding that is elegant yet fresh. Fresh of greenery, that is. This theme is effortlessly sophisticated, and it does not take away from the bride and groom on their wedding day. The foliage provides a natural touch and helps to create a secret garden for you and your guests.

1. 9. 8.



5. 6.


1. 200 Spring,; 2. Sugar Ruffles,; 3. Rosemary Gimlet by David Lebovitz,; 4. Photographed by Jemma Keech,; 5. Marshall Pierce & Company, Diamond Tennis Bracelet,; 6. Manolo Blahnik, ‘Hangisi’ Jewel Pump in Grey Satin,; 7. MMD Events,; 8. Butter London, Sterling,; 9. Monique Lhuillier, Isabel, | 67





Bleu By Jomuelle Anicet

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and, of course, something blue. This “serenity blue” theme is just what you need for your wedding. Not only will it bring you luck, it will also help to calm your heart and mind. Having something blue may help with a prosperous marriage, but you also have one less thing to worry about.








1. Elizabeth Bower, Blossom Drop Large in Periwinkle,; 2. Garden Party,; 3. Platinum Margarita by Rael Petit,; 4. Hands On Sweets,; 5. Dior, Junon,; 6. Darling + Pearl,; 7. Harriet Wilde, Amy Blue Blossom,; 8. Photographed by Anna Roussos,; 9. Sisters Point, WD-21 Dress, 68 |




lemonade By Jomuelle Anicet


It’s not only sweet that you’re marrying your honey on your wedding day, but you are also showing that sweetness through your wedding décor. From your dress to your shoes, and even your nail color. Of course, your wedding can’t be without a signature cocktail. It is just the bee’s knees, literally.







7. 1. Tiffany & Co., Lucida Pendant,; 2. Photographed by Johnny Miller,; 3. Something Bleu, Bow-Topped Sling Backs,; 4. Photographed by Piteira Photography,; 5. Lavender Bee’s Knees by Cask & Hide, caskandhide.comt; 6. Butter London, Lemon Drop,; 7.Cupcake Graphics,; 8.Wendy Kromer,; 9. Leanne Marshall, Thea, | 69


cover story

S k in d ee p

E mb r ac e Y o u r G l o w! W R I TTE N b y C.K. Alexander Jean p h o t o g ra phy by Y NO T I M AGE S

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Every bride is beautiful! Embrace your beauty and shine from the inside out. Get the glow with these natural, golden and bronze makeup looks and bright jewels. | 71

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eauty and bridal go hand in hand. As more and more brides embrace their inner beauty, we are seeing bridal beauty trends follow suit, with minimal makeup and bronzy tones that puts natural beauty on display instead of hiding it. Your wedding journey is not only a journey of the joining of two people that will become one. It’s also a journey to discovering who you are as a woman and as an individual. A part of that exploration requires you to embrace love, embrace wholeness and happiness, and accept yourself completely. True beauty is extremely hard to create or duplicate. Real beauty comes from the inside out. Although there are many products on the market that will enhance your natural beauty, nothing can compare to the beauty that you will exude from accepting and embracing who you are, embracing your skin tone, your body type, your mind and your unique spirit. Loving yourself deeply, and accepting everything that makes you uniquely you, causes you to radiate a glow that transcends the best highlighter on the market. Believing that you are enough, exactly the way that you were created is the beginning of experiencing beauty that will not fade with age. As you seek to enhance your beauty for this special time in your life, consider the intangibles: joy, kindness, love and truth. As you grow to embrace your inner beauty, you will see that your outer beauty will shine brighter than ever before. Remember, you are loved, you are beautiful, you are enough, you are radiant. Models: Aneesah Hanan, Mikayla Jackson, Mikhol Morris and Nikia Wilson of Click Atlanta, and Taylor Simone; Photography: Antonio (Tony) Minifield, YNOT iMages; Videography: Andre Brown Photography; LIGHTING: Jerome Smedley; Venue: Park Studios; FLORAL Accessories: Stems Atlanta; Makeup: B. Gandy of B For Beaute.Co, Krystal Rae Artistry; Hair: Alicia Igess and Tori Slays. 72 |

Skin is Always In

Aneesah was the perfect canvas for this multidimensional skin. Her skin and natural bone structure were highlighted using Black Opal True Color Skin Perfecting Sticks in Walnut, Hazelnut, and Truly Topaz. When looking to create the most naturally flawless foundation application, consider using more than one shade to mimic natural complexion variations. | 73

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Staying within the skin theme, Taylor’s complexion and was played up and paired with hues of plum. MAC “Sketch” eyeshadow was used in the outer crease of her eye to add depth. Finished off the look with a soft sheen of NARS Monoi Oil and OMGLO “Koffee” mist.

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Glamorous Girl Next Door-

Mikayla’s look was achieved utilizing monochromatic flesh tones. Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge in Summer Pink on the lips and cheeks generate a soft flush of color. Cream blushes are a great multi purpose product that can be used in various ways to create an effortlessly glamorous look. Try sweeping your favorite shade across your lips, eyes and cheeks for the perfect “I woke up like this” look this summer! Top it off with a few coats of your favorite mascara like MAC’s Extended Play, as used on Mikayla and you’re ready for some summer fun! | 75

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Nikia’s medium complexion called for a subtle warmth with the focus on her golden tones. The perfect spring/summer look always includes pinks. She has a nice mauve eyeshadow and lip color to enhance her golden undertones. The look was finished with a soft sheen of Melanie Mills “Peach Deluxe” and OMGLO “Incredible” mist.

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An overall hydrated look with the perfect touch of sun kiss. The focus was nice warm tones and radiance with the use of bronzer in the hollows of the face and along the parameter. The look was finished with a soft sheen of NARS Monoi Oil and OMGLO “Incredible� mist. Tip: Bronzer can give you the perfect amount of color and leave a natural look to your overall makeup. | 77

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Color Craze

Inspired by a fun-filled summer, a festival-inspired look was created for Aneesa. Many women struggle with ways to spruce up their day-to-day looks. Here’s a tip! Add a colored eyeliner to your bottom lash line for a quick & easy transition from work to play to wedding day this summer! Here, Revlon’s Color Stay Eyeliner was used in the shade of teal. 78 | | 79

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you are loved, you are beautiful, you are enough, you are radiant. | 81

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Real Weddings

See how other brides made t h e i r “ B i g D ay � t r u ly t h e d ay o f t h e i r d r e a m s.

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Photographed by Zha Zha Design

Myisha & Armon M

yisha and Armon’s journey began in San Francisco. Myisha’s company was hired to plan the launch event for Armon’s company, Impactflow, an eventticketing platform. They went to one of Armon’s favorite restaurants for Taco Tuesday, and from that moment on, the two have become inseparable. Armon and Myisha love design and architecture. They incorporated these aspects into their wedding celebration, which took place at an HBO movie set and $190 million cathedral in Oakland, California. What makes your love special?

We are not in love with the idea of one another. We understand that on this second plane of emotion and feeling, love is tremendously beautiful, but also very delicate. It is life-changing, and we honor that daily through our actions for one another.

The Proposal

“Can you help?” That's how Armon Moore started his email, to the planning team at Aire de Fiesta, six months before his surprise proposal to Myisha Chapple last January, at the La Guarida rooftop restaurant in Havana, Cuba, which has an amazing view. Myisha had made a dinner reservation to celebrate Armon’s birthday. But little did she know, this would be one of the most magical moments of their life. Once they got to the restaurant, the staff led them directly to the terrace. Armon had rented out the entire restaurant and had a 30- piece orchestra waiting on the rooftop. They played a rendition of “All of the Lights” by Kanye West, before he got down on one knee. The Wedding {Her Story}

It was to date one of the most fulfilling | 85

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experiences I’ve had with another person! I was nervous, but also so calm. It was just “us” in the church. And all I could see were his eyes while I was walking down the aisle. Seeing him for the first time that day in my dress and him in his tux was beyond what I had dreamed it would feel like. The Wedding {His Story}

It was the happiest day of my life! I’m not sure if I will ever experience that type of joy again. We celebrated our love for one another that day, and I enjoyed every moment. Memorable Moment

Myisha’s favorite moment was when the couple presented their gifts to each other in front of all the guests. Armon gifted Myisha with a ballet performance, featuring 20 ballerinas dancing to “Wolves” by Kanye West. During the performance, the groom performed his own written verse to his new bride. Myisha gifted Armon with a custom life-size painting of himself called “My King” by Maxwell, one of his favorite artists. Armon’s favorite moment was designing the family logo! The couple incorporated the logo on every piece of print collateral and highlighted the meaning in their custom magazine, which were handed out to their guests. Wedding Song

Jesse Boykin III recorded a personal interlude to the bride and groom, congratulating them on their nuptials. They danced to his song “Great Idea.” The lyrics perfectly describe how they think about and treat one another. Favorite Wedding Detail

All of it! Honestly, everything came together so perfectly that day! All of our guests raved about how much detail we put in to planning each part of the day. They told us, without a doubt, this was the best wedding they had been to! What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?

Building a legacy together and, most importantly, enjoying the journey. Wedding Day Advice for a Bride and Groom

Plan for you! It’s a day to celebrate your love for one another, so you should definitely put your unique stamp on it! Get a team you can trust to execute your vision. The clearer you are on what you want, the better!

Bride: Myisha Moore, Brand Manager Groom: Armon Moore, Tech Founder Place of Residence: Portland, Oregon Wedding Date: 10/21/2017 Wedding Location: Cathedral of Christ the Light and 16th Street Train Station Oakland, California Wedding Theme: Architecture paired with Kanye West’s music video “Runaway” Honeymoon Location: Puerto Los Cabos, Mexico | 87

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Photography: Zha Zha Design Videography: Northbound Films Ceremony Location: Cathedral of Christ the Lights Reception Location: 16th Street Station Bridal Gown: Kay Porter, @kayturestylings Brittany DeShields Bride’s Veil: Simply Bridal, Bride’s Hair: Kanica Nicole, Dream Diva Salon @dreamdiva1117 Groom’s Tux: Henry Coffie, Well Groomed Man Jewelry: ABC Jewelry, Wedding Planner: Sheila Dizon, Event Solutions Caterer: Chef Safia, Mai Catering @maisplacecatering Music: DJ Just-IN, Ballet Performance: Frankie Lee III, Flee Dance @fleedance Canvas Art: Maxwell Dickson Flowers: Greenery a La Jcap Stationary: Brown Printing Company Transportation: Turo,

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Photographed by Blanca Duran


Raegan & Ramon

he night that Raegan and Ramon met was a night they will never forget. It was the night before Thanksgiving, and Raegan was supporting a friend at a wine mixer event. She tried her best to be a wallflower that night, but a tall, handsome stranger struck up a conversation with her. Ramon and Raegan exchanged numbers that night and stayed in touch. That New Year’s Eve, Ramon asked Raegan to bring the New Year in with him and suggested that they begin their night at church. Raegan knew then that Ramon was not like any other man that she had dated before. What makes your love special?

Our love is special because Ramon inspires me to be my best and give my best to the world every single day. Ramon and I also have very different backgrounds. We both bring out the best in each other and, coming from different walks of life, we discovered in each other what we both valued in a partner.

The Proposal

Ramon insisted that I tag along on a sudden work trip to London. Ramon had planned a fancy dinner for our last night in London, but he wanted to watch the sunset. So, we pulled over to a bridge that his coworker recommended for us. As we took in the romantic view of the Thames River, a guitarist in the park was there playing music for tips. He then turned to us and serenaded us with my favorite song “All of Me” by John Legend. I turned to Ramon to tell him how wonderful the guitarist was, then three bystanders appeared with signs that read “Raegan, Marry Me?” I was so stunned and overcome with emotion. I turned to Ramon, and he was already on bended knee. I later learned that Ramon had planned the entire proposal for months. The location, the guitarist, the ladies with their signs and all of the photographers. The Wedding {Her Story}

My wedding day felt like a dream! Everything | 91

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that we worked hard on and planned was executed beyond perfection. I was marrying the man of my dreams. The entire day was filled with so much love, and it just felt like pure magic. The Wedding {His Story}

The big day was everything I thought it would be and more. I was marrying the love of my life, and all our families and friends from all over the country were able to witness our profound love for one another and our union of becoming one. Memorable Moments

Bride: My most memorable moment was standing arm in arm with my father before the chapel doors opened. It felt like time stood still in that moment and I just savored all the love in the room. I knew after today, my life would be forever changed. Groom: My most memorable moment was waiting to be joined as husband and wife. And seeing Raegan, the woman of my dreams, walk down the aisle. She emitted a beautiful glow. I just remember thinking how blessed I was. Wedding Song

John Legend’s “So High” was chosen as our first dance song, it was the perfect song for us. “On Cloud 9” became our “inside Joke” and our wedding hashtag #ONCloudCarey Favorite Wedding Detail

Our custom designed monogram with our initials R&R and an elaborate iron garden gate was my favorite detail. Ramon’s favorite detail was the N.O. Hustlers Brass Band surprise entrance for our guests and the personalized, second line hankies. Looking Ahead

Starting our own family business and beginning our own family traditions. Family, legacy and giving back is important to both of us. We are most looking forward to planting roots in our community. Wedding Day Advice for a Bride and Groom

Make sure you enjoy the moment because the big day is filled with so much excitement. It goes by very fast. Take time to savor the moment. Also, find some time to have some moments with just you and your partner.

Bride: Raegan Allene Boutte, 40, Philanthropist & Director, Oriska Foundation; Houston Style Magazine, Entertainment, Arts & Culture Writer Groom: Ramon Ronald Carey, 39, Editorial Quality Manager (Commodities), S&P Global Platts Place of Residence: Houston, Texas Wedding Date: 10/07/2017 Wedding Location: The Bell Tower on 34th Street, Houston, Texas Wedding Theme: Romantic Gated Garden Estate Honeymoon Location: Phi Phi Islands, Thailand | 93

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Photography: Blanca Duran Cinematographer: Alex Duran, A&B Motion Ceremony & Reception Location: The Bell Tower on 34th Street Bride’s Gown: Lazaro, Weddings By Debbie Boutique, Bride’s Shoes: Sophia Webster Bride & Bridal Party’s Hair: Margaret FahnBulleh, Fab Salon Your Fab Fairy, Bride’s Makeup: Cami’flage Makeup & Artistry by Camille Lawrence Bridal Party Attire: Jenny Yoo, Groom’s Tux: Harris & Howard, Bespoke Tailors Wedding Planner: Fabulous Beginnings by Delcina & Co., Caterer: The Bell Tower on 34th Street Cake: Wedding Cakes by Tammy Allen Favors: Custom Monogram Handkerchiefs by Carla Buchanan, Pralines: Brennan’s of Houston Stationery: Invitations by Vivian Jade Music: LG Entertainment, Cigars: Houston Cigar Rolling

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Photographed by Andrew Thomas Clifton

Yazmin & David


azmin and David met at the J Davey/ Def Sound tour at the Key Club in West Hollywood, California on March 13, 2011. They connected with mutual friends and hung out as one big group. That night was the start of a five-month long friendship that rapidly evolved into a long lasting romance. The couple shared their first kiss that July and have been together ever since.

loved the beach, so he knew the significance of that location. Since it was his birthday, I had no idea what he had planned. It was an incredible meal at The Marine Room while watching the sun set. After dinner, we went for a walk on the beach and he surprised me with his grandmother’s ring saying: “Light of my days, warmth of my nights, love of my life...will you marry me?” Obviously, I said yes.

What makes your love special?

The Wedding {Her Story}

We're a team. We’re dedicated, supportive, and we complement each other well. We bring out our best selves.

The day after our wedding I wrote the following in my journal: Hello sun. Hello marriage. Hello blue sky with my love dressed to match. Hello perfect dress, made at the hands of a black Parisian woman. Hello sand, bare beneath my toes. Hello love, it’s so good to see you. At long last you are here. Hello present. The gift of great friendship. My girls and guys and gender

The Proposal {Her Story}

For David’s birthday, he surprised me with a weekend getaway down the coast to La Jolla and Coronado Island. I spent a good portion of my childhood in La Jolla and always | 97

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non-conforming in between. Hello growing family, who sailed from all across the world to gather. Hello woman. Hello joy. Bonjour. Je suis Madame Vieux. I am here. This is life. And what a celebration. The Wedding {His Story}

My wedding experience was a beautiful whirlwind, getting to share these moments with our people. I was nervous, excited, and joyful. When I saw Yazmin walking down the aisle, the nerves went away completely. The way it all came together was magical for both of us. Memorable Moments

My favorite moment was after the ceremony but before dinner, my husband and I took a short breather, just the two of us. It was so nice hanging with him for a bit, just he and I staring out into that wild blue yonder, that vast and never-ending sea. He said just breathe with me, and we did. Wedding Song

Al Green “Simply Beautiful.” Favorite Wedding Details

Wedding Party Gifts: Since my bridesmaids rocked with me for my bachelorette parties in Paris and Barcelona, I got my girls a sweet, seaside bachelorette house for the wedding to rest and relax in and to cut their overall costs for the wedding. Wedding Guest Gifts: Candles with our engagement photo and the phrase “La Grande Aventure” based on a quote from David’s grandfather who proposed over 50 years ago asking, ‘will you join me for the great adventure?’ Menu Item: Dorade! It’s my favorite fish dish in the South of France. I’m so happy my friends and family got to taste it!

Bride: Yazmin Monet Watkins, 30, Actress/Poet

A Sweet Surprise

Groom: David Alexandre Vieux, 28, Writer

Our wedding was pretty non-traditional, but we did jump the broom and had a traditional French wedding cake called a Croquembouche. I didn’t actually try it prior to the wedding, but it was so delicious. It was such a sweet surprise! Looking Ahead

Place of Residence: North Hollywood, California Wedding Date: 07/22/2017 Wedding Location: ACD, Sete, France

We are most looking foward to the adventure ahead.

Wedding Theme: South of France Beach Wedding

Wedding Day Advice for a Bride and Groom

Honeymoon Location: Mauritius

Make sure to eat and hydrate! | 99

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Photography: Andrew Thomas Clifton @andrewthomasclifton Ceremony & Reception: ACD, Bridal Gown: Violette Tannenbaum Bride’s Hair: Lindsey Noelle Jackson @lindsey_noelle_jackson Bride’s Makeup: Florine Bellay @manzel_floww Groom’s Tux: Kenneth Cole Wedding Planner: Charmaine James Caterer: ACD Music: DJ Smiles Davis Flowers: Cléflorale

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P h o t o g r a p h e d b y M o s a i c B y MG P h o t o g r a p h y


Krystle & Akino

rystle and Akino’s love story began on Facebook. Akino sent Krystle a friend request after he noticed she was wearing a New Orleans Saints jersey, which is his favorite NFL team. He said to himself, “Not only is she gorgeous but she must know a thing about football. A winner, right?” The truth was that Krystle didn’t know anything about football. Akino followed up his friend request with an email that expressed his interest and shortly after, their love journey began. The happy couple celebrated their union with a romantic New Orleans wedding last fall. What makes your love special?

Our love for one another is constantly evolving and continues to blossom through challenges and milestones. The Proposal

Three weeks leading up to our proposal,

Akino sent chocolate-covered strawberries from Edible Arrangements to my job because I was having a tough day at work. That evening, he went to my parents’ house to ask my Dad for his blessing to marry me. Three weeks later, he planned a surprise engagement dinner in New Orleans at Bourbon House, which is the same restaurant we dined at for our first anniversary. He had arranged for my parents, my sister, and close friends to all be at the celebration. He had collaborated with my cousin to invite me down to New Orleans for a double date for the weekend. I had no clue that it was a set-up. He had a bible in his hand and a ring attached to it. The bible was open to the scripture Proverbs 18:22 (KJV). He said to me on one knee, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord” before proposing. Of course, my answer was yes! | 103

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The Wedding {Her Story}

My overall wedding experience exceeded my expectations! There is nothing about our wedding day that I would change or do differently. It was perfect! The Wedding {His Story}

I was pretty relaxed because Krystle had everything under control. I was not giving her a hard time about whatever she wanted because I just wanted to hurry up and get married. The day of the wedding, I enjoyed hanging out with my boys. It wasn’t until I waited for her to walk down the aisle that my heart began to race. She is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on! Memorable Moment

My best memory of our wedding was seeing the smile on Akino’s face as I walked down the aisle! I wish I could relive every moment of it again, especially the second line band. Wedding Song

“Why I Love You” by Major, this song was chosen because there are no words to describe to anyone else in the world how we feel about each other. There was so much emotion felt in this song when we first heard it together. In the months leading up to our wedding, I would tear up every time it played due the anticipation of our wedding. Favorite Wedding Detail

Our favorite wedding detail was our cake. From the top layer to the bottom layer, the cake had our wedding date in roman numerals, our monogramed initials, and an orchid, which was the flower we chose for our wedding. It was absolutely breathtaking, not to mention delicious! What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?

To be honest, when we first got married, we were looking forward to traveling the world together. We have now realized that life itself has a way of putting things into perspective. We are currently looking forward to becoming new parents to our baby boy, Akino Jr. in August of 2018. Wedding Day Advice for a Bride and Groom

The best advice I could give other engaged couples is to keep God first. Also, hire a legit wedding planner right after you say yes!

Bride: Krystle Dionne Brumfield, 34, Registered Nurse Groom: Akino Raziel Brumfield, 32, Systems Engineer Place of Residence: Baton Rouge, Louisiana Wedding Date: 09/30/2017 Wedding Location: The Champagne Palace, New Orleans, Louisiana Wedding Theme: Glamour and Romance Honeymoon Location: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic | 105

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Photography: Shagari Mi’chelle Gerard Wedding Location: The Champagne Palace Bridal Gown: Eddy K. Couture at Bridal Boutique of Baton Rouge Bride’s Second Dress & Flower Girl Dress: Todd Patrick Designs Bride’s Hair: Dominique Hamilton, Bride’s Makeup: Courtney Folds @loveyourlookmua Bridal Party Attire: Barijay at Bridal Boutique of Baton Rouge Groom’s Tux: Fellow Wedding Planner: Flare Event Design Caterer: The Champagne Palace Cake: Intricate Wedding Designs @intricateweddingdesigns Favors: Sweet Tooth Cree8tions by Dricca @sweettoothcree8tionsbydricca Stationery: Simply Beautiful Stationery Décor: Fire Fly Ambiance Music: DJ Kicks, @dj_kicks Second Line Band: Willie McCorkle & The One Mind Band

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P h o t o g r a p h e d b y S u z a n n e D e l awa r

Natalie & Michael N

atalie and Michael’s love story began on the campus of the University of Georgia in 2002. At the time, they lived in the same dorm and would greet each other in passing. However, it took a couple of years for their romantic relationship to blossom. The two reconnected after college and realized that true love was right down the hallway all along!

What makes your love special?

I feel our love is special because it’s completely organic and from the very beginning, we could be open and honest. Our love for music, laughter, and travel keeps us constantly engaged. We will forever enjoy spending quality time together. The Proposal {His Story}

I love traveling and had wanted to go to

Paris for many years, but I wanted to save that trip for someone special. I caught a glimpse of an engagement photo shoot in Paris a couple of months before me and Natalie’s first date. When I started thinking of where and when I wanted to propose to Natalie, those beautiful pictures I saw earlier came to mind. I sat down and talked with her father who gave me his blessing and kept quiet about what was really going to go down in Paris. I told Natalie that we were going to have a photoshoot early in the morning the day after we arrived in Paris. The photographer, Christian Perona, had us meet him at the Trocadero Platform with an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower and started our photoshoot. Initially, he had us standing face to face, and then, sensing that the moment was near, he had us turn our | 109

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backs to each other. After another photo, he signaled to me to ask if I was ready, and had Natalie take two steps forward. I pulled the engagement ring out of my pocket and got down on one knee, and when our photographer had Natalie turn around I saw joy, excitement, and pure bliss written all over her face! Natalie said ‘yes’ and we began charting out our life together in the “City of Love.” The Wedding {Her Story}

I was pretty calm. Even when our wedding planner came to me and said there was a chance of rain, I wasn’t too upset. I really just wanted to walk down the aisle to the man of my dreams. The Wedding {His Story}

I was a little nervous, but excited to finally see my love looking like the queen she is on our wedding day! I was also excited that the stress from the wedding would finally be over. Memorable Moments {Her Story}

My most memorable moment was when Michael removed his vows from his jacket. I was in awe of how much he had written, and the awe became even greater when I started to hear what was coming from his heart. I have never felt so sure about another person and knew that this man loved me just as much as I loved him. Memorable Moments {His Story}

My most memorable moment was watching my soon-to-be bride walk down the aisle. Wedding Song

Bride: Natalie S. Adeleye, 36, Sales Merchandiser

“Endless Love” by Luther Vandross with Mariah Carey. The title says it all!

Groom: Michael A. Adeleye, 37, Pediatric Anesthesiologist

Favorite Wedding Detail

Place of Residence: Miami, Florida

The traditional Nigerian clothes that we wore during our reception. Looking Ahead

Wedding Date: 03/10/2018

We look forward to creating new memories together and growing our family.

Wedding Location: St. Regis Bal Harbour, Bal Harbour, Florida

Wedding Day Advice for a Bride and Groom

Wedding Theme: Modern glamour

Relax. Talk to your guests, have fun, and really soak in the moment as your wedding day will pass by faster than you know it.

Honeymoon Location: Bora Bora, French Polynesia | 111

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Photography: Suzanne Delawar, Videography: Petit Four Films, Wedding Location: St. Regis Bal Harbour Bridal Gown: Lazaro, Nordstrom Aventura Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Mia Farah Beautique, Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin Bridal Party Attire: Adrianna Papell & Us Angels Bridal Party Robes: Flora Nikrooz Groom’s Tux: Hugo Boss Groomsmen Attire: Calvin Klein Tuxedos, Men’s Wearhouse Bride & Groom Reception Attire: Aso Oke, @Bimms24 Wedding Rings: Tiffany & Co. Wedding Planner: Jessica Campbell, Officiant: Rev. Charles Taylor, Caterer: St. Regis Bal Harbour Groom's Cake: Kupcakerie, Music: Damian Sanchez, DJ Olu Favors: Etsy, Flowers: Petal Productions, Stationery: Minted, Photobooth: Miami Event Photoboth,

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After the aisle w e h av e s a i d “ i d o . ” n o w w h at ?

Planning a Romantic Outdoor Picnic Here are some tips on how create an outdoor oasis |


t’s time to relax and enjoy warm summer nights with romantic outdoor picnics for two. No distractions or interruptions—just you, your honey, and a blanket of stars above. Keep things simple. Focus on romance, enjoy delicious light bites and your favorite libations together. Here’s how to get started.

Planning Preparing the perfect romantic outdoor picnic requires planning. What essentials will you need? What time do you want to get started? What sort of theme (if any) and food will your 114 |

By Mary Chatman

picnic center around? Have fun and be creative. A Hawaiian luau, fiesta, Mardi Gras, western, safari or a beach theme are just some fun ideas. If you’re not in the mood for a themed picnic, just pack a picnic basket and make other plans. All you’ll have to do is step outside and let the fun begin! Try not to go overboard. And remember: it’s all about the romance. The main ingredients are you and your sweetie.

experience. If you have a backyard, lanai or deck, make the most of your private outdoor setting on a pleasant night. Consider extending your date night into the early morning hours to watch the sunrise. If you are feeling adventurous, bring sleeping bags and set up a tent and pretend you're camping. Bring a blanket to sit on and another one to snuggle under as you talk and do a little star gazing.


The Essentials

You can choose either your backyard or the beach. Choosing the perfect location is essential to your outdoor

Be sure to have bug spray, a flashlight and trash bag so you don’t have to keep running in and out of the house.

Will you need a table, or will you just use blankets? Chaise lounge chairs work as well. Is there an electrical outlet to hook up a portable speaker system? Select your romantic music ahead of time. If there is no electrical outlet, be sure to charge up your electronic device ahead of time or use fresh batteries.

Food and Beverages You can be as creative as you like in this category. French baguette slices, spinach dip, fresh strawberries and grapes with mascarpone cheese. The world is your oyster! If you want to stay simple, some fresh figs with a simple platter of various cheeses and fruit are visually stunning and delicious. A cold crab dip with crackers works well. And if you’re allergic to shellfish, you can always go for sliced deli meats. You can also drop by your local grocer and pick up a ready-made salad, a rotisserie chicken, and a bottle of wine. Choose something that requires minimal preparation and clean up. This way, you can focus on enjoying your picnic as well as each other’s company.

Decorating Set the mood for your party with candles or lanterns. This will create a pretty summer scene. Use fresh flowers, candle votives, and pillar candles to create a warm and inviting centerpiece for your table. Don’t forget to throw in several Citronella candles to help keep the bugs away. Assorted colors and fragrances will help set the mood for a fun and festive party.

Activities No activities needed for this romantic evening for two. Our lives are full of daily activities. I suggest you focus on spending time together, listening to music, or the crickets and night frogs. Most importantly, it’s a perfect way to take time out for talking, reconnecting, and renewing.

Photography courtesy of Reginald of Glam Girl Guide Productions (Ashley and Reginald JeanJacques) | Focus on romance, enjoy delicious light bites and your favorite libations together.

What to Wear Wear something comfortable like shorts and a tank top for ladies and for men, shorts and a t-shirt. Ladies, if you want to dress up a little and still be comfortable, wear a comfy short dress or sundress. You’ll want to have easy access later when the fire ignites!

The Element of Surprise Think of something special to do that invokes spontaneity into your romantic picnic, making it even more enjoyable and memorable. Hide a small gift in an obvious place for your spouse to find. We all love surprises! You’ll also be creating memories that will last a lifetime. The beauty of planning a backyard picnic will allow you to combine romance with the familiarity and comfort of your home. A picnic at home also gives you the ability to concentrate on what’s most important...each other. Talk about raising the roof and have some fun! You don’t need Lionel Richie to get it started, just think–there is no roof, you can be as frisky as you want and when the flames of passion ignite, you won’t need to call the fire department!

Mary Chatman is the CEO/ Editor in Chief at Black Bride Magazine, a romantic decorating specialist and founder of Love Life Designs, LLC. Mary is also a love and romance marriage advocate. She has been featured on CBS Better Mornings, Good Day Atlanta, and Every Day with Marcus and Lisa. Mary has also been featured in Black Enterprise, Huffington Post, Ebony Magazine, Uptown Magazine, The Knot Magazine and more. She is also a relationship and romance writer. Find out more by sending an email to mchatman@ | 115

after the aisle

5 Tips to Thrive in your First Year of Marriage and Beyond By Cullen and Elitia Mattox

Photographed by LaJoy Photography


hough every marriage experience is different and comes with its own unique challenges, over the course of our career, we’ve found that the top 5 obstacles to thriving in a healthy marriage have remained pretty much the same. In no particular order, they are: Ego, Impaired Communication, Unforgiveness, Non-Malleability and Justice-Seeking. Continue reading as we share how these obstacles show up to disrupt your marriage and our top 5 tips to combat them.

Ego Ego is that force within you that needs to win, to be right, and to be superior. As you can probably imagine, this is particularly disruptive to the health of your marital relationship. Keep in mind, your new marriage is an organism which thrives off service to one another. But because the Ego’s identity is connected to things about you that are constantly changing, it’s always busy and fearful of annihilation. As a result, the ego shows up as constant disruption in your inner peace and the peace between you and your partner. Tip #1: Stave Off the Ego: The good news is, to beat the ego, you need only be aware of it. Awareness is the Ego’s nemesis. Over time, you will learn its tricks and recognize its many iterations.

Impaired Communication We believe it’s good to abide by the rule: silence is golden. Here’s another quote: don’t speak unless what you have to say is more beautiful than silence. However, we are absolutely against the type of self-censorship that keeps you hiding in plain sight. Whether you stopped talking just because you want peace, or because your partner wins the debate 116 |

even when he/she is wrong, or for some other reason. This is an unhealthy sacrifice that ultimately does not move the bar. Tip #2: Maintain Unbridled Communication: The best gift you and your partner can give each other is the ability to speak freely about anything, especially the stuff that pisses you off. It’s in that free speech where the biggest opportunity is for growth. It’s where unconsciousness is seeking to become conscious. Resist punishing your partner for shares that are harsh, but fair. And remember: sharing is better than being shut out.

Unforgiveness Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Unforgiveness not only imprisons us to our past, but it poisons all forthcoming conversations and interactions. You may be stuck here because you fear forgiveness will forfeit your right to hold your partner accountable. But this simply isn’t true. Tip #3: Non-Reactivity: The Real Forgiveness: After you’ve forgiven, and are free from the effects of the poison, you can communicate with level and drama-free truth. Instead of getting even, now you can focus on getting results. Now you have a clear path to involve your partner in a creative solution. Once we’ve coached our clients to purge themselves of unforgiveness, we then introduce them to the model of true forgiveness...which is nonreactivity.

Non-Malleability To be Non-Malleable is to be non-committal to change, growth and evolution. And to be in a relationship with someone that isn’t malleable is like being hostage in a never-ending rerun. In life, things change without our permission and even as we age, we change without our permission. Evolution isn’t

vain. It is absolutely necessary. If your relationship challenges are evolving, you must keep pace. Don’t show up at the gunfight with a slingshot.

for-tat, or the general overall analytics of your relationship’s activity, then you’ve missed the point. Accounting and Analytics are full-time jobs.

Tip #4: Have a Paradigm Shift Around Disagreements: Being Malleable is a commitment to evolution and to life. You and your partner grew up in two different households, with different beliefs, rules, and different overall upbringings. Malleability allows the fusion of your two worlds to create something greater. This is the true meaning of “two becoming one.” Your needs, wants and dreams are unique. But within your marriage, you have an opportunity to co-create a relationship from the ground-up, with specs that are customized around you and your spouse.

Tip #5: Choose Love Leadership Over Justice: If you’ve vetted your partner before marriage and you know they love you, then give them space to be. Stop watching their every move to see that things are even. Be a love leader and create the culture you want in your relationship. Take comfort in knowing your love is deep within you and can never be lost, and that your partner’s love is simply a reflection of yours.

Justice-Seeking As we mentioned briefly in the section on ego, relationships are highly dependent on partners serving one another. If you are consumed with justice, tit-

We would be remiss if we didn’t tell you that the tips above are in no way a substitute for how we support our clients along their relationship journey. Instead, they represent a sample of our work with PreWed and After the Aisle couples. Review them as often as possible as you both work to infuse love and healthy habits into your relationship. Love is a Habit. Practice it. Cultivate it.

Cullen and Elitia Mattox are a husband and wife team of relationship coaches and the creators of Harlem-based, WhenLoveWorks Inc. (WLW), a relationship coaching service founded in response to a disheartening and persistent need in their immediate community for relationship support that wasn’t being met. WLW offers PreWed services and coaching support throughout the rest of your relationship journey. Find out more at | 117

after the aisle

Cook Together A Why Couples Who

Stay Together

Here are four reasons why it’s healthy for your relationship to tie on your favorite apron (or not) and start cooking together. Photography by Andre Brown Photography (Sarah and Lewis Lampley) 118 |

successful marriage can be determined in many ways. The truth is, people have different ideas of what it means to be in a quality marriage. Trust. Friendship. Financial stability. Mutually satisfying physical intimacy are certainly high on the list, with communication being the most essential. You can do a lot to nurture a long-lasting marriage, like chatting it up about each other’s day, hugging and kissing, expressing gratitude, date nights, occasional surprises, saying “I love you” often, and more. But do you ever cook together?

Create Together

Whether you are simply preparing a meal together, working on a home project, a new business venture or creating a baby, what makes it special is doing it together. At least once a month on the weekend, schedule time to cook a sweet intimate breakfast. If you want to sleep-in, you could do brunch. Start planning the night before to make sure you have all the ingredients. How about creating the most amazing waffle recipe complete with all the toppings? You know the saying, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? Well, women

feel the same way. Spending time in the kitchen together will create an experience the two of you can share. The experience is different each time you prepare a meal together. Uninterrupted Time Well Spent

Spending uninterrupted time together in the kitchen is a great way to create memories. Modern busy lifestyles often lead to couples feeling disconnected from the lack of spending quality time together. Just like taking time out of your busy schedule to exercise can be challenging, taking time out to have fun can be, too. It may sound cliché,

but spending time together is essential to your relationship to avoid separation and resentment. Communication is Key

Food is a universal love language. Cooking together requires communication if anything will get done. "Pass the butter babe", "taste this honey", "more salt or sugar"; you’re communicating on another level. Remember: you’re creating together. Let the intimacy begin! Intimacy

Cooking together is an activity that allows you to connect on an intimate

level. Throughout the dating and engagement process, you know how important sweet moments, gestures and kind words meant to you. Hopefully, the chemistry you have formed early on in your relationship will naturally carry over into your marriage. Creating a meal together also allows you to nurture each other’s movements. Whether you’re smiling and chatting it up with each other, whispering sweet nothings, or feeding each other, you are keeping the love and intimacy alive and well within your marriage. | 119

T r avel M a r k t h e o c c a s i o n w i t h a g r e at t r i p

The Seychelles Islands: The Ultimate Romantic Escape Fall in love all over again on this small slice of paradise in the Indian Ocean where all of your honeymoon dreams can become a reality. By C.K. Alexander Jean If you’ve never heard of the Seychelles islands, that’s no coincidence. This string of islands is hard to place on a map, but it’s far from unforgettable. The Seychelles islands are made up of 115 islands located off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean, and has everything you’d ever want in a honeymoon. From crystal clear beaches to luxurious resorts and hotels, this secret gem has it all. Seychelles is known for being home to some of the best beaches in the world and many of nature’s wonders, which have been preserved in this mini utopia for many years. No need to worry about the weather, either. Seychelles enjoys a pleasant tropical climate all year long. The moment you step foot on the main island of Mahé, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into another world. If you’re looking for romance, adventure, culture, nature, and fun in the sun, we invite you to embark on a honeymoon journey that you will never forget.

Photograph courtesy of Footprint Fotos 120 |

A Seychelles honeymoons is the perfect destination to enjoy your first days of marriage. Stay at The Four Seasons Resort and Spa in Seychelles.

Where to Beach: The Main Islands & Fabulous Beaches

With so many beautiful islands to explore, we recommend organizing day trips and overnight stays at various islands during your stay in Seychelles. If you are looking to travel from Mahé to Praslin, the Cat Cocos ferry, a highspeed catamaran, will get you there in about one hour. Once on Praslin, you can also organize a day trip or an extended stay on La Digue Island. The Cat Rose Ferry takes you from Praslin Island to La Digue Island in about 15 to 20 minutes. Mahé is the largest island of Seychelles and home to the majority of the population. Mahé features 65 beaches, the Beau Vallon beach being one of the most popular. If you’re looking for a tropical version of city life, Mahé is where you’ll begin.


The second largest island known for its unique flora, fauna and wildlife. It’s also known for its beautiful beaches including the world famous beach, Anse Lazio. It’s also home to the infamous Coco de Mer, the native fruit of the country. In Praslin, you’ll escape to a slower pace with lots of nature to enjoy. La Digue

The fourth largest island known for its raw natural beauty and tranquil island vibes. On this island, you will find more bicycles than cars and the ox-drawn carriage is still widely used by locals to travel from one point of the island to the next. Take a buggy to one of the most pristine beaches in Seychelles — the legendary ‘Anse Source d' Argent’, which is among the most photographed beaches on earth. There is also the beautiful Grand Anse beach,

with a secret beach, which requires a bit of hiking to get to.

Where to Stay: South Mahé: The Four Seasons Resort and Spa, Seychelles

Your honeymoon should be a trip of a lifetime. And the Four Seasons Resort and Spa in Mahé is the perfect place to celebrate your union. This resort feels like you’ve been transported to a private, luxury oasis where anything is possible. This all-villa resort carved within the mountains features unforgettable views and breathtaking treetop villas with private infinity pools, complete with everything you will need for your romantic getaway. The staff at the Four Seasons offers exceptional service and can create an unforgettable experience for your celebration, including a romantic | 121


With an incredible setting for romance, adventure and relaxation, Seychelles offers one of the world's most romantic and secluded escapes. Stay at the H Resort in North MahĂŠ.

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vate dinner on Petite Anse, one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. If you’re not planning on leaving your villa, you can also order in-villa dining, or unwind with spa treatments with a stunning view. This resort was made for mindfulness, with daily yoga classes and a mountain hike followed by guided meditation. No need to walk at all during your stay at this resort. They offer 24-hour buggy service, which will arrive at your villa within 5 to 10 minutes and take you anywhere you want to go on the resort. The Four Seasons has is all! Stay at the Le Domaine de la réserve in Praslin.

North Mahé: H Resort

The H Resort is a breathtaking boutique hotel property located right along the Beau Vallon Bay on Mahé Island. It offers a tranquil escape in the middle of a tropical, bustling Mahé. This hotel features both suites and beach villas, perfect for a romantic getaway. The H Resort is also a foodie’s paradise, with five restaurants and two bars on the property, each offering unique cuisine options from Mediterranean to seafood to Japanese, all of which offer live entertainment. No need to look far for a relaxing escape. Visit the Sesel Spa on the property,

where you can organize beach-side massages and other body treatments. Praslin: Le Domaine de la réserve

If you’re looking for a slower pace and tranquil vibes, you’ll find it at Le Domaine de la reserve on the island of Praslin. This intimate resort is familyowned and has that cozy, tropical vibe. This intimate hotel, with only 40 rooms, is perfect for the couple who wants to feel like they are on an island all their own. The beach-themed rooms, with easy access to the gor-

geous Anse Petit Cour bay, offers stunning views off your own private terrace that provides the perfect atmosphere for connection. The property features a collection of large tortoises and a secret beach that provides the perfect location for a seashore picnic for two. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable and can coordinate excursions to other nearby islands. The Jetty restaurant serves breakfast and dinner, and offers a wide variety of global dishes, including local Creole delicacies. | 123


The beauty of Seychelles is due to its naturally distributed flora and fauna in a sanctuary which was untouched for many centuries.

Experience Culture: The best part of Seychelles is the people who make up these beautiful islands. Seychelles has multi-ethnic roots, which has created a unique mix of European and African customs and traditions. The local language of Seychelles is Creole, which is a mix of French and African dialects. The majority of the island speaks English, French, and several other languages.

Where to Dine: A Taste of Creole Cuisine

Creole cuisine is a representation of all the cultures and races that created its existence. The cuisine blends African, Chinese, French, and Indian influences. Many of the dishes are made with curry, fresh garlic, herbs, and coconut milk. Dishes feature fresh seafood plucked from the ocean and tropical fruits and vegetables that make for tasty culinary experiences. Mahé: Jardin du Roi, Traditional Seychellois Cuisine

If you are looking for a dining experience with a view, then Jardin du Roi is the restaurant for you. This restaurant and spice garden is located on the hills above Anse Royale beach on Mahé island, where fresh herbs and spices are picked and used in the creation of each authentic Creole dish. We recom124 |

mend the mango salad, the grilled fish, and the fruit salad with homemade ice cream for dessert. Praslin: Bonbon Plume Restaurant, Island-Style Dining on the Beach

After you’ve taken in the beauty of Anse Lazio beach, you can enjoy traditional Seychellois cuisine just a stone’s throw from the beach. This open-air restaurant is perfect for a tropical lunch right after swimming. We recommend the chicken curry and the smoked fish salad, with a fresh fruit cocktail drink to wash it all down. La Digue: Lanbousir Restaurant, Culture and Tradition

Lanbousir Restaurant is located at the entrance of the breathtaking Grand Anse beach. It’s inside L’Union Estate, a traditional copra mill and kiln, where you can stroll around the majestic Plantation House framed by giant granite boulders in landscaped gardens. This traditional Seychellois restaurant offers a variety of dishes that you can only find in Seychelles. We recommend the fried breadfruit, the coconut chicken, and the caramelized bananas for dessert. They also make a fantastic rum punch.

Where to Shop: Eden Island is a man-made island in the Center of Mahé Island that houses elegant shops, a mall, a marina, open-

air restaurants and tons of nightlife possibilities. If you are looking for luxury brands and unique offerings, you can head over to Eden Island. Victoria Market

If you are looking for a more local flavor, we suggest heading to Victoria, the capital of Seychelles. There, you’ll find the lively local marketplace and lots of fresh vegetables, herbs, spices, seafood, and artisan shops with local hand-made trinkets.

Only in Seychelles: Seychelles has been a sanctuary for many of the rarest creatures and plant life in the world. If you are looking to experience some of nature’s wonders in their element, then Seychelles is the place for you. The Vallée de Mai

Seychelles’ second UNESCO World Heritage Site is the legendary Valléede-Mai, administered by the Seychelles Islands Foundation. So remarkable that it was once believed to be the original site of the Garden of Eden. This is where the legendary Coco-deMer, the world's heaviest nut, grows high on ancient palms in a primeval forest. The Vallée boasts six endemic palm species as well as many other indigenous trees. It’s also the last habitat of the endangered Black Parrot.

Fish Market and Beach Photograph courtesy of Seychelles Tourism Board | Traditional Seychelles foods consist of fresh grilled fish, Salted fish, Coconut Curry, Lentils and Sausage Rougay and Smoked Fish Salad. | 125


Say “I Do” in Aruba |

Mark the Occasion with an Adventurous Trip

By Cortney Moore PALM BEACH is an adventurers’ dream. Spanning two miles long, this northern strip of Aruba offers buzzing nightlife, watersports, and sightseeing to satisfy your wanderlust. Featuring white sand beaches, unbelievably blue seas, and a unique tropical desert ecosystem, it’s no wonder why Aruba is called the “happy island.” With countless activities available on this island gem, there’s just one question left to ask: where should I stay? Black Bride found the answer to that question in December, and, without a doubt, we recommend the Aruba Marriott & Stellaris Casino for your destination wedding and honeymoon.

Where to Wed: Aruba Marriott

With 10,450 square feet of event space, the Aruba Marriott is a wonderful place to have an affordable destination wedding. Providing certified wedding planners on-site, the Aruba Marriott allows you to customize your special day at one of their romantic outdoor venues such as: Tradewinds Beach, La Vista Terrace, West and South Beach. However, if an enchanting candlelit 126 |

dinner reception is what you seek, you can also reserve the Grand Ballroom. Arikok National Park

Journey south to become one with mother nature at Arikok National Park. Measuring 13.13 square miles, which is nearly a fifth of the island. This stunning geological formation is a mix of lush greenery, desert backdrops, majestic cliffs, and beautiful turquoise seas. You and your guests will be sure to remember this historic venue that’s filled with awe.

Where to Unwind: H2 Oasis Adult Outdoor Pool

Located a short distance from the fitness center lies an exclusive outdoor pool for adults. Silence is golden at the H2 Oasis, which makes it the best place to lounge around after a long day at the beach. And if you need a little pick-me-up, enjoy a refreshing cocktail from the bar. We recommend the Aruba Ariba, a delicious blend of vodka, rum, fruit juices and coecoei — an Aruban liquor derived from agave.

Mandara Spa

The Aruba Marriott is home to the world-famous Mandara Spa, where guests are spoiled with Balinese beauty treatments. From invigorating massages, detoxifying body wraps and skin-perfecting facials, the Mandara Spa provides indulgent relaxation. Hair and nail services are also available for those special date nights.

Where to Dine: Atardi

Nestled directly in the heart of Palm Beach, Atardi is the Marriott’s popup restaurant that welcomes guests with stunning oceanfront views of the Caribbean Sea while you indulge in succulent seafood dinners. Between magnificent sunsets, fluttering palm trees and warm sand in between your toes, this intimate dining experience is perfect for any romantic occasion. La Vista

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, La Vista serves up hearty Italian dishes as well as international favorites on

an open-air terrace that overlooks the ocean. Or take a delectable culinary journey with buffet-style dining as you take in the familial atmosphere and scenic views. +297

Take a 5-minute drive to +297, one of Aruba’s hippest dining locations where Asian chow meets Caribbean cuisine. Fit for couples and groups, +297 offers an upscale tapas-styled dining experience so everyone at the table can get a bite from the scrumptious menu. Standouts include passionfruit ceviche, beef wasabi crispy rice and tuna truffle sushi. If meat is what you seek, stop by the Japanese Robata Grill for all your protein needs. Tierra del Sol

Whether you’re in the mood for golf or a spa day, add in some fine dining at the Tierra del Sol Resort. With spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea, Tierra del Sol provides quality spirits, appetizers and mouth-watering seafood like lobster ravioli, Chilean sea bass fillet and oriental tuna. Other signature dishes include an ostrich duck duo, truffle morel bacon pasta and a beef skirt steak.

Where to Entertain: Resort Activities

If you prefer sticking around the resort to get your money’s worth, the Aruba Marriott has plenty of amenities and recreational activities to keep you busy. Get a workout in at the fitness center or jump in one of the Marriott’s pools. Let your inner beach bunny out when you’re at the resort’s shoreside and rent palapas free of charge or opt for thrilling watersports like windsurfing and paddle boarding. When all’s said and done, you can end your beach day at the Stellaris Casino and put your complimentary voucher to use. Explore San Nicolas

For the history buffs out there, San Nicolas is the ultimate cultural destination. Take a day trip to the Museum of Industry, where visitors learn about Aruba’s humble beginnings through

Photography courtesy of Aruba Marriott and Stellaris Casino | Celebrate your love with a destination wedding at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.

multimedia installations documenting economic staples like gold, aloe, phosphate, oil and recent day tourism. Afterwards, take a stroll through San Nicolas’ bustling art scene where murals decorate numerous structures. Go Off-Roading

but whatever you choose will be a memorable occasion as you explore Aruba’s fascinating geological wonders. Stop by the Natural Bridge and take in the gorgeous crashing waves, as well as the Natural Pool in Arikok National Park, where you can enjoy some cliff diving. Trust us — it’s a must!

When you want to get your adrenaline pumping, take an off-roading tour of the island. Travel options range from jeeps, buses, ATVs and horseback —

Visit for more information. | 127


Say “I Do” in Singapore |

For the Bride Who Loves Luxury

By Emore Campbell Luxe amenities, loyal staff, & liquid brunches are just a few reasons why brides should consider the country of Singapore for their upcoming nuptials. At a glance, the Lion City looks like a mix of Downtown LA with its statuesque buildings and trendy restaurants. But Singapore is truly a place of its own quirky accord. One of the most luxurious countries the Black Bride team has been to yet. You’ll be adding it high on your list — after your read up on where to stay, what to eat, and what to do in Singapore. Gaining independence in 1964, Singapore served as a port hub, giving access to boaters intercontinentally. Singapore’s closest hub inhabitants, including historic post offices and government buildings, are now being made into new luxuries for travelers and citizens while keeping its classic Malay and British influence. One of the best views of the bay is from the Fullerton Bay Hotel, a modern and contemporary waterfront hotel on the cusp of the bay and Singapore’s oldest port terminal. We got the chance to enjoy a night in the property’s Bay View Room - where 128 |

we were welcomed with chilled Veuve Clicquot, a box of locally made chocolates, and a fireworks show, visible from the room’s open balcony. When couples and their wedding guests arrive, their senses will be ignited by the signature scents to the modern decor and the whiffs of delicacies from the hotel restaurants. Beyond the concierge deck, guests can book the hotel’s floating meeting pods, perfect for small weddings, cocktail hours, or rehearsal dinners for up to 40 guests. Got a more expansive guest list? Couples should opt for The Clifford Pier, a half moon-shaped space fitting up to 600 guests. They boast menu options from 5 course Chinese and Malay traditions to British-inspired fare. The Black Bride team also got the chance to stay at Fullerton Bay’s sister property, The Fullerton. Converted from Singapore’s first post office, guests can feel the history while standing in the lobby. A national monument, the Fullerton Hotel keeps its post office charm with handcrafted crown molding and old mail boxes left behind from its conversion. On the ground floor, wedding guests can write

home on parchment, which is stamped using the iconic building’s pre-dated stamped signature. Brides looking to make a grand impression on wedding guests will favor the ballroom as their wedding location. Seating up to 450 guests, the room’s focal points are three crystal chandeliers that glisten from every angle. Brides wanting an outdoor wedding will love the East Garden. Equipped with a bar area and comfortable outdoor seating, it makes for the perfect outdoor ceremony, cocktail hour, or reception. Atop the property lies a more hidden wedding space that really caught our eye. The Straights Room, able to accommodate 220 guests, evokes memories of prestige, and rightfully so. It was previously the billiards room for the Singapore Club. With high ceilings and originally designed motifs and elements from 1928, your wedding guests will be wowed at how perfect it feels. Our accommodations were fit for a newlywed couple: a duplex with views of the bay. The duplex’s upper level was connected by a full spiral staircase and sported a king-sized bed. It

also comes with remote-controlled curtains. Equipped with a full desk area, living space, and balcony, it’s no wonder why the property is reviewed so highly. Note to yoga lovers: be sure to check in the closet for a yoga mat for your use anywhere on property. The perfect time to visit is between January and March - when temperatures are in the upper 80’s and 90’s. Our first evening on the town, we ventured out to The Night Safari. It’s a thirty-minute drive from Fullerton Bay. We were greeted with fire dancers welcoming us to the park. Afterwards, we attended the night showcase, with nocturnal natives like owls and foxes - putting on their best tricks. We were then whisked off to a Safari tour. Tour guides asked us to keep all hands and feet inside the vehicle as we gazed into the darkness of each animal’s habitat. There were rhinos, tigers, giraffes, elephants, bears, and unenclosed deer less than a stone’s throw from the car. A few other places we recommend you and your wedding guests go to while in Singapore:

}} Michelin Star Restaurants: Singaporean cuisine is one for the books. The country’s cuisine is so well esteemed that it’s home to 217 Michelin Star restaurants. }} Haji Lane: An influencers paradise. The quaint streets surrounding Haji Lane are adorned with bright colored walls and cool artifacts. Perfect for your next Instagram picture or selfie. Best Places to Eat Not in the mood for local cuisine? Singapore is home to an array of food styles. Try these: }} Over Easy: A diner-inspired lunch joint with daily 2 for 1 drink specials, and a Wagyu beef burger worth the flight. }} Cafe Melba: Australian inspired Cafe Melba, feels oh so local without the local cuisine. Order breakfast, sandwiches, salads, and delicious coffees from an iPad. While you wait, run and play in the open space the restaurant sits on.

Photography courtesy of Fullerton Bay Hotel, Crystal Johnson | The wedding of your dreams is only a plane ride away. Whether you are looking for value or luxury, Singapore has it all.

There are several spots in Singapore that offer endless options of mimosas and bloody Mary’s. But our favorite was breakfast at Fullerton Bay Hotel.

}} The Waterpark: Did we mention how hot Singapore was? The perfect way to cool off is to pack your swimsuit and some sunscreen and head to Adventure Cove Waterpark Sentosa.

}} The Boiler: Since Singapore sits on the bay, be sure to try its seafood. Hit local hotspot The Boiler for hot and steamy seafood favorites like lobster and prawns with seasoning of your choice. Don’t forget to wear the bib.

Looking for the luxe wedding destination that your guests will adore? Singapore may just be your dream destination.

}} The Casino: Win a little extra honeymoon money and bet your luck at Resorts World Casino.

}} Liquid Brunch: Singapore doesn’t call their brunch bottomless. They refer to the popular meal as “liquid.”

Visit for more information. | 129


Say “I Do” in Guadeloupe |

The Caribbean’s Hidden Gem

By Cortney Moore Guadeloupe is a magnificent, 629-square mile archipelago south of the British Virgin Islands. If this butterfly-shaped retreat doesn’t ring a bell, that’s fine. The French Caribbean has gained its newfound popularity thanks to Norwegian Air, the only airline providing direct flights from the U.S. to Guadeloupe at affordable prices. For as low as $59 one-way, golden beaches and clear turquoise seas are just a credit card swipe away. The island’s soaring cliffs and beautiful forests make Guadeloupe an unforgettable Caribbean destination. With countless activities available, there are only a few questions left to ask: where should I stay? And what should I do? Black Bride found the answer to that question in March, and without a doubt, there is something for everyone in the jewel that is Guadeloupe. We absolutely recommend this remarkable destination for all your wedding and honeymoon needs.

Where to Stay: Langley Resort Fort Royal

Nestled between the breathtaking Pointe du Grand Bas-Vent mountains and the Anse de la Perle beach, the Langley Resort Fort Royal treats guests to cozy island stays with hotel room, suite and bungalow options. With gorgeous yellow sand and crystal blue waters only a short walk away, Fort Royal is sure to be your paradise 130 |

away from home. When you’re not busy exploring the resort and the rest of Basse-Terre, enjoy delicious Creole buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa

Standing at a secluded stretch just south of Pointe-à-Pitre hails the La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa, a contemporary accommodation that laid-back couples will love. Choose from any of the resort’s 211 rooms and irresistible spa treatments to tailor your stay with much needed pampering. From Monday to Saturday, guests can enjoy complimentary water sports and activities. However, flyboarding is the show stealer that everyone needs to try at least once. When you’re done soaking up the sea and sun, stop by one of La Creole’s three restaurants: Le Zawag, La Route des Epices, and La Case Beach Pizza.

Where to Wed: Langley Resort Fort Royal

If a rustic, outdoor wedding is what you desire, Langley Resort Fort Royal is the perfect tropical destination to fit your needs. Offering affordable packages that include catering and honeymoon services, it’s hard to not be excited about getting hitched at such a memorable location. Better yet, the

Langley Resort Fort Royal allows you to customize your special day with a beachside ceremony and a reception at either the resort’s pool or seaside restaurant; along with a private cocktail hour and brunch. La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa

Brides and grooms that have dreamed of a modern and chic Caribbean wedding will fall in love with the La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa’s contemporary amenities. Featuring a centrally located and refined French Creole atmosphere at the tip of Grande-Terre, the La Creole Beach Hotel is a prime location that offers live jazz, amazing restaurants and a full-service bar. When you’re ready to say, “I do,” just call up La Creole’s on-site wedding coordinators and plan a wonderful outdoor ceremony at the resort’s beach or garden, as well as a pool or seaside restaurant reception. We also can’t forget La Creole’s amazing catering, honeymoon, and spa and wellness packages.

Where to Learn: Fort Delgres

For the militarily savvy history buffs out there, check out Guadeloupe’s Fort Delgres in Basse-Terre. At this site in 1802, Louis Delgrès, a free man of color led a rebellion against Napo-

Enjoy hearty Caribbean meals along with a few Creole favorites at La Croisette, a seaside restaurant on the eastern tip of Grand-Terre. While you’re there, you can watch the hauntingly gorgeous waves kiss the Petite Anse’s shore. If you go early in the day, you can even watch surfers traverse these tricky waters for a thrilling brunchtime show.

The Caribbean is known for its rum for a reason, and Guadeloupe is no different. Two standouts on the island include the Bolgne Distillery in Basse-Terre and the Bellvue Distillery in Marie Galante. Why are these distilleries different from the rest? Well the Bologne is serves up rich history aside from sweet rum. Dating back to the 17th century, this distillery was acquired by Amé-Noël, the first free black man that owned a major plantation. Whereas the Bellvue Distillery is located in the heart of the island’s largest sugar plantation, which has ultimately shaped the venue’s commitment to environmental protection and award winning, fruity flavored rums such as Domaine De Bellevue.

Where to Dine:

Where to Entertain:

La Pointe des Chateaux in Saint François

Tropical Gelato

Plage Feuillere

Live like a local in Pointe-à-Pitre’s Tropical Gelato and experience Guadeloupe’s very own delicacy known as a “bokit.” Two fried and fluffy pieces of naan-like bread filled with your choice of meat, vegetable or seafood – once you’ve had a bite, we promise you won’t ever want to leave the island. And of course, you get to treat yourself to dessert with unique gelato flavors that you can only find in the Caribbean like kiwi, rum raisin and sweet potato. An Chodyè La – La Kaz A Soup

Catch a ferry to Guadeloupe’s smaller island, Marie-Galante. At the southeastern tip lies Plage Feuillere, a wonderful beach that spoils visitors with golden sand, a turquoise sea, coconut trees, and spacious lounging areas. When hunger calls your name, you can rest easy since Plage Feuillere is home to 53 local restaurants. If you’re more of the adventurous thrill-seeking type, opt for water sports like snorkeling, wind surfing and kayaking. With water this blue, it’s almost a crime to not enjoy its full potential.

Depending on the time of year you visit, you can carry on the spirit of carnival at An Chodyè La (also known

Rum Tastings at Bologne & Bellvue Distilleries

leon’s General Antoine Richepanse to prevent the return of slavery in the French Caribbean. Over 200 years later, this fort where he made his last stand now bears his name. ACTe Memorial

Called “the most phenomenal museum of its kind in the whole world” by Reverend Jesse Jackson, the ACTe Memorial in Pointe-à-Pitre gives visitors a crash course in the history of Guadeloupe’s complex history, as well as the harsh legacy slavery left behind in the Caribbean and Americas. As a global initiative to promote rapprochement, this audio-guided, interactive tour is an emotional journey that educates all who are willing to listen.

as La Kaz A Soup), a restaurant that features rustic Creole décor and authentic Guadeloupean soups. For the true gourmets out there, you’ll love the shrimp and pumpkin soup, as well as their delectable cocktails. Just practice your French a little so you can decipher the menu. Bon appétit! La Croisette

Visit one of Guadeloupe’s top attractions in Saint François known as La Pointe des Châteaux, an awe-inspiring peninsula that extends into the Atlantic Ocean from the eastern coast of Grand-Terre. It’s only a 15-minute hike to reach the top of this stunning cliff, which houses a huge cross that served parishes in the twentieth century. When you make your descent, make sure to dip your toes in the water at one of the three nearby beaches, including La Coulée, Anse Champagne, and La Douche. Visit for more information.

Photography courtesy of Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board, Langley Resort Fort Royal and La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa | Guadeloupe offers many wedding venue options for your destination wedding in the Carribean. | 131

travel haPPIly ever after Sun hat; $29.95; This happily ever after beach hat says it all.

Mr. & MrS. ScrIPted PaSSPort holder Set lIPS & StaSh; $48; Upgrade your travel experience with these flashy passport holders.

naKed PrInceSS Selena Body SuIt; $102; Make your honeymoon a memorable one with this sexy suit.

Destination Love: What to Pack For Your Honeymoon

No idea what to pack? We’ve got 10 must-have products to pack for your honeymoon to insure a good time. By C.K. Alexander Jean SWeet Scene WhIte eMBroIdered floral MonoKInI; $39; This monokini features a plunging neckline, floral embroidery and is the perfect sweet, yet sassy combo.

BoSS BrIde: the PoWerful WoMan'S PlayBooK for love and SucceSS; $13.36; Catch up on this empowering read from Essence Senior Editor, Charreah K. Jackson.

layla roSe Gold WhIte freQuency Bundle; $189.99; Listen to your favorite tunes from the plane to the beach in style.

lo & SonS o.M.G. BaG; $192.50; This lightweight, yet super functional travel bag has plenty of pockets and compartments.

tunIc KIMono; $175; With a kimono that doubles as a cover-up you can pack less. 132 |

WhIte lace By BlaKe KuWahara; $650; Relax on a beach like a star in these chic shades.

Pca SKIn WeIGhtleSS ProtectIon Broad SPectruM SPf 45; $44; All the protection you need without the oily finish.


Bridal Suite

collective of fine vendors

find a vendor in your area

If you would like to apply to be a member of The Bridal Suite (vendor), please visit Andre Brown Photo

Seeking timeless, modern, stylish photographs and heartwarming cinematic wedding videos, or maybe a portrait session, contact us today. location: atlanta Category: Photography email: website:

Artfully MAde Designs creates designs for all of life’s special moments including weddings, anniversaries, showers, and more.

location: new york/new Jersey Category: graphic Design email: Phone: 646.820.5138 website:

Body Werk Jewels

we provide beautifully designed custom bespoke bouquets, headpieces, gifts, jewelry and more. location: national Category: accessories email: website:

B For

Specializing in Bridal and events, B For is available for travel. location: atlanta Category: Beauty email: Phone: 678.644.9338 website:

Dream Day Bridal Boutique your dream wedding gown is here! our services are designed specifically to provide clients seeking luxury and finesse, tailored executions to capture their vision for their one special day. location: California • Category: Fashion email: Phone: 949.873.0983 website: | 133

Eliza Jane Photography

eliza Jane Photography is an international destination wedding photography studio based in los angeles. location: California Category: Photography email: Phone: 424.571.3897 website:

The Excellent Marriage

the excellent marriage provides innovative pre-marital and marriage support. location: north Carolina Category: Pre-marital Counseling email: Phone: 646.820.5138 website:

Krystal Rae Artistry

Relish an unforgettable experience with a mesmerizing eye and luxurious, warm and glowing skin that your groom will never forget. location: atlanta • Category: Beauty email: Phone: 678.670.4165 website:

LaJoy Photography

we have one of the best weddings, engagements, portrait photography and corporate photography teams around. location: atlanta • Category: Photography email: Phone: 404.509.2125 website:

Lily V Events location: national Category: Planning & Design email: Phone: 267.736.4442 website:

Love Ink

a full service special occasions writing service that offers one-on-one custom coaching to assist you with all of your writing needs, including: wedding vows, speeches, love stories, and more. location: new york Category: wedding Vow Coaching and writing email: website: 134 |

The Price Approach Photography

we specialize in weddings and engagements providing breathtaking images showcasing the raw emotion of love between couples. location: alabama • Category: Photography email: Phone: 205.542.1949 website:

Pure Beauty & Extension Bar every professional conditioning regimen is created with your goals, your skin type, and your skin condition in mind. location: ohio Category: Beauty email: website:

Shishi Makeup Artistry LLC makeup application services for brides and bridal parties. location: maryland Category: Beauty email: Phone: 410.336.6560 website:

Social Shots Photography our goal is to provide high-end quality photography services to capture your love story, which is truly a once in a lifetime experience. location: atlanta • Category: Photography email: Phone: 770-815-0623 website:

Weddings and Events by T.Michelle

we plan and create luxurious weddings and events. location: north Carolina Category: Planning and Design email: Phone: 336-706-8200 website:

YNOT iMages

ynot images covers fashion, maternity, architectural, and wedding photography. location: alabama Category: Photography email: Phone: 205.253.2779 website: | 135

our events

Memories from the 5th Anniversary Bridal Show Riverside EpiCenter | Atlanta, Georgia January 14, 2018 A beautiful Sunday afternoon in Austell, Georgia brought hundreds of Atlanta’s brides to the Riverside EpiCenter, as we commemorated our 20th Year Anniversary during our 5th Anniversary Bridal Show. Upon entrance, brides and their guests were greeted by an eye-catching ice sculpture, a tech-centric photography display, a beautiful inspirational vignette and tablescapes while mingling and sipping on gourmet coffee and donuts. Our exclusive bridal events are fun, informative, interactive, and feature the best wedding professionals in the industry from around the United States. This year was a milestone year for the luxury boutique wedding planning event, complete with a high fashion bridal gown segment, vow workshop, giveaways and so much more. There wasn’t an empty seat in the beautiful EpiCenter theater for the fashion segment. Engaged couples had a funfilled afternoon with an all-access pass to expert wedding professionals, live entertainment, a celebrity DJ and swanky gift bags. Photography by Cain’s Camera and LaJoy Photography

Thank you, to Emore Campbell, our amazing sponsors, partners, vendors, models, brides, grooms and guests, for being instrumental in the success of the 5th Anniversary Black Bride Bridal Show! Venue: Riverside EpiCenter/ Event Planning: Emore Campbell Events/ Photography: Cain’s Camera, LaJoy Photography/ Floral: Righteous Oaks Floral/ Stage & Theater Entry Décor: Bold Events/ Coffee: Caribou Coffee/ Photo Booth: Flash Studio Booth/ Fashion Segment Producer: Anastasia Adelita, The Icon Stylist/ Bridal Gowns: Elite Pour La Vie/ Jewelry: Misayo House/ Model Management: Aaron “Ace” EncaladeRed Rope Models/ Hair: Like The River Salon/ Makeup Artists: Black Bride Team- Brittnee Patterson of Beauty by Bee, Models- B. Gandy of B for Beaute/ Graphic Designer: Summer Leverette/ Catering: After Taste Catering/ Rentals & Decor: We Rent Atlanta, Canvas Pop, Akeem Clayton Designs/ DJ: DJ Reese/ Entertainment: Orchestra Noir/ Beauty Lounge: I Love Candy Spa Parties, Blissful Peace Massage/ Specialty: ATL Auto Broker/ Prizes & Gifts: Guadeloupe Islands, Aruba Marriott, The Glenn Hotel, Outre Wigs, Theopolis Vineyards, All Seated VR App & Goggles, Something Borrowed Blooms, Misayo Bridal, Blissful Peace Massage/ Show Partners: PAC Events, Love Ink, Atlanta WEP, Irene Tyndale/ Media Partners: Oh Nikka, Awed by Monica, Sarah Lampley, Bonheur Magazine, The Drop TV Series, The Knot. 136 |