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BRIDE

BLACK

The Ultimate Resource for Before and After “I Do”

MAGAZINE VOL. 5

Black

Bride Magic Real Brides on What Makes Them Magic

The Planning Issue HOW TO TIPS FROM THE PROS PLU S

Lovespiration 50+ PAGES OF

Real Love Stories


CELEBRATE YOUR DREAM DAY AT THE NEWLY TRANSFORMED HOTEL CRESCENT COURT With mimosas and manicures for the bridal party at our brand new soothing spa, followed by vows in the grandeur of our ballrooms or the crisp air of our venetian style gardens - you can declare your love with every detail here. Inquire about our exceptional wedding packages, including special offers on our rehearsal dinners, post wedding reception celebrations and bridal brunches at 214.871.3200.

400 Crescent Court, Dallas, TX | www.CrescentCourt.com | T 214.871.3200


The Planning Issue / Volume 5

Cover Story

80 What is BLACK BRIDE MAGIC?

First Comes Love: Real Engagements

114

18

Brittany & Jarian

22

Victoria & Tadishi

26

Jasmine & Christopher

30

Calvin & Emelia

34

Giavanna & Shawn

Atlanta, Georgia

Nashville, Tennessee Houston, Texas

Manhattan, New York Houston, Texas

Then Comes Marriage: Real Weddings

102 26

90

Camara & Ryan

96

Atarah & Brandon

Malibu, California

Houston, Texas

102 Chelsea & Jeff

Los Angeles, California

108 Belkis & Starlin

New Rochelle, New York

114 Charanna & Jimmy New York, New York

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68

42

In Every Issue

Planning

After the Aisle

5

38

Blooming Beautiful

120 Date Night

40

Wedding Invitations

122 Self Service

42

Hey Mr. DJ

44

Wedding Photography

46

Get Personal

Editor’s Letter

6 Note from Features Editor 17

Real Engagements

88

Real Weddings

136 Our Events

Beauty & Health 7

10

12

How to Hire the Perfect Bridal Beauty Pro

Hiring the right bridal beauty professional with Jennifer Trotter

Editors’ Picks

A curated collection of our favorite must-have items

Bridal Beauty Tips

Celebrity makeup artist Melissa Hibbert shares beauty advise

15 Don’t Forget the Bridesmaids

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Why your bridesmaids should be photo ready

Wedding Day Glow-Up

Incorporate your personal style in your wedding invitations Transform your wedding through Music How to get the best wedding day photos Personalize your wedding details

48 Destination Elopement

How to plan an intimate elopement overseas

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Styled Shoots

Get inspired by superbly styled bridal photo shoots

6 fun dates to keep your love alive by Rebecca Lynn Pope Boss Bride Self Care Tips from Charreah Jackson

Travel 124 Viva Las Vegas

Tips for planning your Las Vegas Wedding

128 Relax and Renew

NYC Spa Getaway

130 Miami Matrimony

Why your guest will love your Miami Nuptials

132 Mexico

Four underwater activities couples should do while in Mexico

Fashion

Bridal Suite

64

Bridal Dress Trends

Spring 2018 bridal trend report

147 Collection of Fine Vendors

Tried and true beauty products to 68 help your skin feel flawless

71

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How to choose the best florals for your wedding day

A Lakeside Love Story Embrace your inner beauty and individuality with edgy bridal designs

Inspiration Boards

Colors: Rose Gold Board, Rustic Rouge, Black and White

Resource Guide


on the cover MARY CHATMAN Editor-in-Chief/Publisher SCOTT CHATMAN Chief Financial Officer C.K. ALEXANDER JEAN Senior Features Editor

BRIDE The Ultimate Resource Do” for Before and After “I

BL ACK

Volume 5

MAGAZINE

VOL. 5

Black

CORTNEY MOORE Associate Editor

Bride Magic

EMORE CAMPBELL Sales Manager

The Planning Issue

JOMUELLE ANICET Contributor CHARREAH JACKSON Contributing Writer

Real Brides on What Makes Them Magic

HOW TO TIPS FROM

THE PROS

PLUS

Lovespiration 50+ PAGES OF

Real Love Stories

AUSET PARRIS Contributing Writer REBECCA LYNN POPE Contributing Writer

Veronica Marché Jamison is an illustrator based in Philadelphia. She specializes in fashion illustration highlighting women of color. Veronica has worked with clients such as Bloomingdale’s, Hallmark, Cantu Beauty, SheaMoisture, Essence and Marie Claire. She is working on her first children’s book, with Little, Brown and Company, due out spring 2019. Veronica’s artwork is known for its vibrant use of color and stylish sophistication. In addition to working with brands, she also does live-painting for shows and events, and teaches illustration for fashion designers. Visit her online at veronicamarche.com.

LOVISA WOODSON Contributing Writer KIRSTEN JAMES Editorial Intern & Contributor VIVECA SHEARIN Copy Editor CHRISTINA WRIGHT Copy Editor VERONICA MARCHÉ JAMISON Cover Artist

Published by BLACK BRIDE 320 Town Center Avenue Suite C-11 Suwanee, GA 30024 Copyright © 2017-2018 Black Bride. All rights reserved.

Much like #BlackGirlMagic and all of the other hashtags that have emerged in celebration of the black woman and all of her glory, Black Bride Magic was created in celebration of love. C O V E R A RT I S T

JENNIFER TROTTER Contributing Writer

ARTFULLY MADE DESIGNS, LLC Design, Art Direction & Production artfullymadedesigns.com

What is Black Bride Magic?

For More, Subscribe Online Today Everything you need to plan your dream wedding: Inspiration • Real Weddings • Fine Vendors SOCIALIZE WITH US! /blackbrideUSA

/blackbride1998

/blackbride

/blackbride

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editor’s letter

Hello wonderful readers,

W

elcome to the winter issue of Black Bride Magazine: The Planning Edition! Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials, we are so happy and excited for you! If there is one thing we love at Black Bride, it’s curating our content to inspire you about self-care, love, planning your dream wedding and making your marriage last (advice in the After the Aisle section). This issue delivers it all and more. We have a ton of must-have fashion, beauty and travel details to inspire to you. Drum roll please…and we’re so excited, we are only one month away from the 20th anniversary of Black Bride (YAY!). This is our 5th magazine issue and hundreds of blushing brides, grooms and top-notch wedding professionals will join us in January in Atlanta for our 5th anniversary boutique bridal showcase. We have so much to celebrate!

“ 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: editor@blackbride.com.”

Speaking of celebration, we launched our Black Bride Magic campaign this year, which was a yearlong celebration of the beautiful, fierce and confident brides that we feature every year – since 1998. For our cover, we had the opportunity to work with coveted illustrator Veronica Marché, who has become known for capturing the essence of black women. With this in mind, we will take you for a look inside Camara Mathis and Ryan Webb’s stunning unplugged Malibu wedding, planned and executed by none other than the extraordinary Diann Valentine, planner to the stars! In addition to covering all of the festivities, we also went behind the scenes, asking several brides, “What does ‘Black Bride Magic’ mean to you?” We have some Black Bride Magic of our own to share with you from our Senior Editor, C.K. Alexander, who now has a new last name! That’s right, C.K. got married this fall, and she is sharing an exclusive look inside her dream wedding in this issue. In closing, if I can give you one piece of advice it would be this: Be yourself. During the wedding planning process, it’s possible to lose your voice and begin to feel overwhelmed by trying too hard to be just like those you admire, or you may try hard to appease all. I’ve got four simple words for you to remember: It’s your wedding day! We hope as you flip through the pages of this issue, you will be inspired to plan your wedding with overwhelming joy and confidence. Happy planning! Cheers!

Mary

Mary Chatman Editor-in-Chief

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note from features editor

Hello readers,

I

f you’re reading this from a northern city, then you have already begun to experience the chill in the air and the changing color of the leaves. This is a magical time of year, perfect for cozying up on the couch with your honey while sipping on a cup of hot cocoa. This is also a wonderful time to plan your wedding! Welcome to the Winter Issue of Black Bride Magazine, the Planning Edition! This issue is particularly special for me, because I have spent the last year on the same journey you are about to embark upon. Yes, I got married! I have been in the trenches with you, pinning my life away on Pinterest, attending countless dress fittings, cake tastings, floral consultations and more. I have a newfound respect for brides and couples who embark on this journey. Though it was tough, it was absolutely worth it in the end. Which is why it was so important to me to give brides and grooms the tools they need to make their wedding planning journey both memorable and as painless as possible. Every bride knows that planning your wedding can sometimes feel like a fulltime job. However, we have wrangled some of the best in the business, from wedding planners to photographers and even a world-class DJ to educate you on everything you need to know before you hire your wedding vendors. We also have tons of inspiration from a cliffside shoot in Jamaica to a romantic lavender field shoot in the U.K., with loads of ideas that you can incorporate into your big day. We are also bringing you beautiful real weddings from coast-to-coast, including an exclusive look inside my modern glam Hollywood wedding at the London West Hollywood in Beverly Hills, California. My husband, Jimmy Jean, and I celebrated our union on October 15, 2017, with an intimate ceremony and rooftop reception where we danced the night away with friends and family. And because self-care is essential during wedding planning, we have included our favorite wedding day must-haves with products to help you relax, relate and release and look your best on your wedding day. We also have tips from Charreah Jackson, Essence Magazine senior lifestyle editor, and the creator of Boss Bride, who shares how pampering and taking care of yourself makes for a better marriage. We have enjoyed putting this planning issue together for you! We are excited about your journey, and we hope that after reading this issue, you can say, “I do,” with ease. Happy Planning! XOXO,

C.K.

C.K. Alexander Jean Senior Features Editor

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beauty+health

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

How to Hire the

Perfect Bridal Beauty Pro by Jennifer Trotter Hiring the right bridal beauty professional is crucial to looking gorgeous on your wedding day. To find the best artist for the job, you will want an experienced artist who focuses on weddings. A lot of weddings. See the Insider Tips to Find the Right Artist

ÂŞ

Photography: Trish Dove/Beatbox Portraits

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beauty+health

Insider Tips

To Find the Right Artist

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Choose an experienced and reputable bridal makeup artist whose style fits yoU.

hiring the right bridal beauty professional is crucial to looking gorgeous on your wedding day. to find the best artist for the job, you will want an experienced artist who focuses on weddings. A lot of weddings. Bridal hair and makeup must be whipped out quickly, flawlessly, and last 12 hours or more. This is not the time to take a chance on an amateur who “does her own makeup really well” or a stylist who only does bridal hair twice a year. Think of your wedding day as the Super Bowl. If you want to win the game, you need the top players in the NFl, not the guys who play in the weekend recreational league. pros who do weddings regularly have mastered the latest hair and makeup styles you want. plus, they can handle the pace and pressure required to also make your entire bridal squad gorgeous in record time. Your search — and choice — of bridal beauty artists requires patience and diligence.

your market of real weddings, and plenty of flawless hair and makeup that appeals to you. Be Diverse

A professional artist should be able to work confidently with any skin tone or hair texture. If you are considering someone who seems unsure in any way, keep looking. A good practice is to find professionals who have examples of brides of color in their portfolio, but it is just as important to look for an artist you like. Book a Trial

Stalk Instagram

Once you have found an artist you like, book a trial session for a practice run of your desired look. (Tip: Schedule your session on a date night to maximize the pretty.) look for someone who shares your energy level and sense of humor. Conversation should flow easily. Bring photos of looks that speak to you, and don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what you want, including any tweaks or changes. Your artist should follow proper sanitation practices and have a well-stocked kit, and they should never ask you to bring your own cosmetics.

Anyone can fake a slick website, but Instagram will reveal even more. red flags include: Excessive selfies, no recent work, no diversity, photoshopped images, and trendy, outdated or unappealing hair and makeup. Instead, look for: recent posts, real brides, tags from trusted vendors in

In short, you want to choose an experienced and reputable bridal makeup artist whose style fits you. Finding the right professional takes a bit of research, but the gorgeous results on your wedding day will be worth it.

Get Refferrals

Ask your planner, venue and photographer for their preferred beauty pros. Vendors will only send to you to artists they really trust. recently married friends, magazines and wedding review sites are also great resources to get a list started.

ABOUT JENNIFER TROTTER

Jennifer Trotter is the owner and principal artist behind lip Service Makeup, an award-winning bridal beauty based in Dallas/ Fort Worth. A sought-after bridal beauty expert with over 25 years of experience, Jennifer has worked with over 1,100 brides and is a featured speaker and business coach within the wedding industry. blackbride.com | 9


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Editors’ Top Picks

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

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Jessica Bedard Metallic Blue ELLE Ankle Tie Pump, $590; idowithmyshoe.com

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Savor Wedding Edition Keepsake Box, $99.95; savor.us

TOM FORD Velvet Orchid Lumière, $122; sephora.com

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Bare And Me Gemstone Statement Earrings in 22K Gold, $595; bareandme.com

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Jennifer Behr Viola Circlet, $1,425; jenniferbehr.com

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Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, $34; sephora.com


7

Zodiac Drop Earrings Misayo House Bridal, $60; misayohouse.com

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Taraji P. Henson’s Viva Glam Lipglass Bronze with Gold Pearl, $17; maccosmetics.com

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Edie Parker Jean Mrs. Clutch, $1,295; edie-parker.com

Asobu Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $50; asobubottle.com

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Wedding Wishes Glass Jar, $45; gratitudeglassjars.com

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Custom Engraved Mr. & Mrs. Mia Fit and Alpha Fit Clarisonic brushes, $219 ($10 for engraving); clarisonic.com blackbride.com | 11


beauty+health

Beauty Tips Melissa Hibbert Celebrity makeup artist Melissa Hibbert shares beauty advice for brides-to-be. By Cortney Moore

C

elebrity makeup artist Melissa Hibbert is known for painting famous faces, but she’s also an expert at making brides of color look their best. With years of experience that have landed her work on BET, Centric, and Own, this Jamaican-born beauty expert and entrepreneur is ready to share her tips and tricks for brides-to-be.

Q

What are the benefits of having a professional makeup artist vs. doing it yourself on the wedding day? It’s the greatest day of your life. You’ve already decided you want the best for yourself. Therefore, it makes sense to choose a makeup artist that will bring out your best look for the day. Those photos are going to last forever. You’re going to look back years down the road. Your children are going to look back at your photos as well. So investing in a makeup artist for your wedding day is essential.

Q

How does wedding makeup application differ from other special events? If you’re a professional makeup artist, every job becomes meticulous. There’s even more attention to detail when it comes to brides because there’s a lot at stake. You always want to make sure the mascara is waterproof because it’s an emotional day. You also want to make sure that even the lip product that you use is not runny. And there are factors you may have to consider, like if there’s a wardrobe change where you only have minutes to transform her look and give her a two-for-one on her day.

Q

What about different skin types? Do you have different strategies applying makeup on someone who has oily, dry or sensitive skin?

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You want to pay attention to the skin types and skin conditions. If you have an oilier client, you certainly don’t need moisturizer with oil. Sometimes, you may not even want to use a moisturizer at all. But you have to know what you’re doing. An oily person’s skin is going to secrete anyway, so if you forgo moisturizer, use a primer that’s a little more silicone based and mattifying to add a barrier on her skin. If you have a client that’s acneic, then you also want to prep their skin. You don’t want to use anything that’s going to disrupt her skin- so a client who is acneic would not get a facial massage in advance because what you don’t want to do is activate her acne. So how I approach that is very different. Instead of giving her a face massage, I may give her a green tea mask in advance for 10 to 15 minutes, which will soothe her skin. And then I would go in with a moisturizer that will allow me to treat and deal with her skin condition prior to applying makeup. If you have a very dry client, then you obviously want to add a moisturizer that has a little more oil in it, and blot off as necessary. So yes, skin condition is very important long before you apply foundation. And each person requires a different approach.

Q

What brand do you go to for a diverse skin tone range, and how do you determine someone’s color? Brands that I tend to carry a lot in my kit are Black Opal, Bobbi Brown, Nars, and Makeup Forever. I’ve found that those four give me just enough range in liquid, cream and powder foundations that will really cover the range of any skin tone: from Caucasian to your most chocolate Black woman. They also have HD products, so those are brands that I also use for celebrity clients. High definition products tend


to give you more coverage. And for brides you definitely want a little more coverage on the big day, so those are four great brands with a good range.

Q

Are there any makeup tips you think someone should keep in mind for acne, hyperpigmentation, eczema, or something of the like? Hyperpigmentation is a discoloration issue. So, you don’t treat it, you cover it. You either use more product or color correct with a heavy concealer like a Dermablend to mask those dark areas. With eczema, you want to use talc because the scaliness can get trapped in the follicles. You want to be careful with how much powder and moisturizer you use on an client with eczema. Which again, are all the reasons why hiring a professional is important.

Q

Any advice you’d like to offer a bride or groom on finding a complimentary makeup style? I would say that it’s good to have inspirational looks that you may find online or in magazines. But the best look is the one you create with your makeup artist. You have a consultation with them and find the best look that fits your unique face. Sometimes, those looks you find in other places may not translate well for your needs. So, if you work with a makeup artist and go through different looks that take into account the right color choices and placement, the more successful you’re going to be. Visit theglamagency.com for more information. Melissa Hibbert-Brumfield is a Los Angeles based Beauty Expert and Entrepreneur and Founder of The GLAM Agency. Melissa’s work can be seen on BRAVO TV, Oxygen Network, Lifetime Network, WEtv, OWN, TV ONE, VH1, BET, CBS, CENTRIC TV and a variety of syndicated networks. Melissa is a recurring Beauty Expert for the “Glam Makeover” segment on Fox’s The Real daytime talk show. In addition Melissa’s work has been featured in Brides Magazine, Essence Magazine, Brides.com, BET.com, Essence.com, Ehow.com, and more.

Photographs courtesy of Melissa Hibbert Like a true professional, Melissa works her magic to give brides a wedding day makeup look they’ll appreciate for years to come. blackbride.com | 13


beauty+health

don’t Forget the

Bridesmaids Uniform bridesmaids equals great photos, memories and fun By Lovisa Woodson II

Y

ou have taken the time to plan all the details of your wedding day to make sure everything goes off without a hitch — from flowers to jewelry, from favors to linens, from your bridal gown to your hair. You will look absolutely stunning on your wedding day, along with your bridesmaids in their handpicked dresses. That is, if you have planned your wedding day beauty — bridesmaids included. Many brides, in their effort to not be too demanding — especially on their bridesmaids’ pockets — leave the choice of professional makeup services up to their favorite girls. While it’s a nice gesture, it may not be the best choice.

prOs

1. memories to be made.

You will have more exciting moments to share with your bridesmaids as you prep for your special day. 2. everyone will be photo-ready.

They will look amazing at the wedding and in your cherished photos. Top to Bottom: Photographs courtesy of Chris + Lynn Photography, TeamDWP Studios by Dwayne Watkins and JB Elliott Photography

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3. Well-done beauty equals confidence in your pictures.

Your bridesmaids will feel more confident knowing they look beautiful.

COns

1. it’s risky.

The biggest con of allowing your bridesmaids to opt in or out of profes-


sional makeup services is risking them looking, well…a hot mess. Instead of paying for makeup, they may decide to do their own botch job. 2. Your photos and videos are forever.

This is a photographed and filmed event. Do you really want your bridesmaids lined up next to you in your photos looking anything less than as stunning as you have always imagined them? 3. don’t make your bridesmaids compete.

If only some of your bridesmaids have professional makeup, the others who don’t may feel “unpretty” and even a little self-conscious. 4. Your bridesmaids look mixmatched.

You have worked so hard to coordinate every detail, including their dresses and even their hair. Why skimp on the makeup? I have been a makeup artist for over 16 years. I have not only witnessed but have also heard some horror stories. While I could be a bit biased — considering my profession, I guarantee that having you and all your ladies serviced by a professional makeup artist is well worth the extra expense. Be sure to

The biggest con of allowing your bridesmaids to opt in or out of professional makeup services is risking them looking, well …a hot mess.”

start searching for one you like about six months before your wedding. This will give you a stress-free experience without having to rush or settle. Schedule a consultation with a trial makeup run (typically for the bride only), so you know you like your beauty pro’s work, style and personality. Tell us about your wedding. Are you the cool bride who leaves the decisionmaking up to your bridesmaids, or is professional makeup service a must for your special day? Join the conversation.

Clockwise: Photographs courtesy of Brian Leahy Photography, Unashamed Imaging and Freeland Photography you have worked so hard to coordinate every detail, why skimp on the makeup?

ABOUT LOVISA WOODSON II

lovisa Woodson II is a lifelong beauty professional mesmerized by anything that glitters and glistens, and with an obsession for all things bridal. Her passion for helping everyday women look and feel their best fuels a career that has ranged from bridal makeup to fine glamour portraiture. lovisa resides in philadelphia.

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beauty+health

Wedding Day Glow Up! By Auset Parris 1

it’s two months before your wedding. Between the caterers, venue, your dress, your wedding party and your family, you realize you have forgotten to care for the most important person: You. And now your skin is beginning to reflect how hard you have been working. today is the day you add yourself into the equation. Here are 9 tried and true beauty products to help you feel flawless on your wedding day!

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1. Clarisonic Mia 2 Facial Cleansing Brush Wash away the day with more than just your favorite cleanser. Use the waterproof, rechargeable Clarisonic Mia 2 Facial Cleansing Brush. | clarisonic.com 2. Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips With Crest 3d White professional effects Whitestrips, you can have professional-level teeth whitening results in the comfort of your own home. | crest.com 3. DermaDoctor Kakadu C 20% Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid & Vitamin E this serum provides an anti-aging concentrate of 20% stabilized Vitamin C, enriched with Kakadu plum, ferulic acid and vitamin e. A portion of the proceeds is donated to help build Aboriginal community enterprises based on the Kakadu plum. | dermadoctor.com 16 | blackbride.com

4. BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz Ingrown Treatment Pads dr. Schultz’ ingrown hair treatment pads are formulated to help speed the elimination of ingrown hairs, the pads also feature green tea’s soothing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. | beautyrx.com 5. Andre Walker TKO Ultimate Moisture Conditioner tKo stands for “total Keratin obsession,” demonstrating how important master stylist Andre Walker considers keratin to be for hair health and beauty. tKo softens, hydrates and strengthens your hair. | andrewalkerhair.com 6. Era Organics “Complete” Moisturizer Complete is a natural face moisturizer for sensitive, dry, damaged or irritated skin. It offers immediate and long-term relief for any skin type and nearly any skin condition. | eraorganics.com

7. Indie Lee Clearing Mask In just 20 minutes, the Indie Lee Clearing Mask leaves skin hydrated, even after just one use. After a regular cleansing, apply the mask to the desired areas to purify clogged pores while smoothing skin texture. | indielee.com 8. Flow – Perfectly Balanced Facial Oil named “Best Skincare products For – and By – people of Color” by Vogue, this 100% natural and vegan facial oil is suitable for all skin types. FLoW’s key ingredients will support, comfort and restore your skin’s natural functions. | theafrohairandskincompany.co.uk 9. L’Oréal Paris Purify and Mattify Pure-Clay Mask In a rush? the L’oréal skin experts have created a supercharged pure-clay mask for oily and shiny skin that uses eucalyptus to purify and mattify your skin in 10 minutes. | lorealparisusa.com


Real Engagements how r ea l co u p l es k new they we r e the “O ne� fo r each othe r.

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first comes love

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P hoto g raph e d by H arsh A g arwal of Taj F ram e rs & M e c c a Gambl e

Brittany & Jarian

B

rittany and Jarian’s story began in August 2015 in Atlanta. In a new consulting career, Jarian wasn’t having much luck on the dating scene. That is, until his cousin texted him one day about a woman that a mutual friend thought he might want to meet. He was blown away by a picture of this woman and instantly connected with her in daily conversations during the next two weeks. She was everything he had hoped for and more. During their first date, Jarian told Brittany he would marry her. She laughed, of course. But, two years later, they are engaged and ready to spend a lifetime together. The Proposal {His Story}

There are two things about my fiancé that make her light up. First, she absolutely loves photography. Second, she loves travel. Once I decided I would incorporate these

two things into my proposal, I knew exactly how to get the biggest, “yes,” known to man. The planning started months before she even realized I was making the “big move.” Her obliviousness later worked in my favor when it was time to trick her into falling for each step of my proposal process. Let’s call it “Operation Boat,” for now. For context: When we first met, she told me it was her dream to visit the Taj Mahal. I kept this little nugget of information in my memory since that day. So, step one in my process was getting us tickets to India. The next step was hiring a photographer to capture each moment. I started researching Taj secrets and found an old photo of a little row boat in some water behind the Taj Mahal. To my surprise, there were recent pictures with this boat in the water – Yamuna River – as well, but they were very scarce. I reached out to my photographer, who is from Agra, and told blackbride.com | 19


first comes love

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him I wanted to propose on the little boat in the water behind the Taj. His initial response was something to the extent of, “The Yamuna river is sacred. This is not allowed and could never happen.” I laughed in my head, because I am a firm believer that anything is possible. I insisted we had to find a way, or I would just get on the boat and see what happened. I think he feared for my safety and felt bad for me, so he gave it his all. Next, we find the boat owner, my photographer does some heavy negotiating, and we are finally on the row boat. The time is near. My soon-to-be fiancé has no clue any of this has been going on around her. The boat gets to the middle of the river, and the photographer tells her to stand and face the Taj Mahal so that he can capture some great solo shots. She is posing and so into it that she doesn’t realize I am getting on one knee behind her. She turns around. I say the kindest words to ever leave the lips of a man. She goes into complete shock. And now, I have a fiancée.

to describe us. We make each other better people and have fun while doing it.

Bride: Brittany Meagley, 31, Healthcare Analyst

What was the theme of your shoot?

Groom: Jarian Wade, 31, Senior Compensation Manager

What makes your love special?

Have you started planning your wedding?

We are the same weird. Both of us have very similar life experiences, morals and humor. “Iron sharpens iron” comes to mind

“Forever love at The Taj Mahal” Were there any memorable moments during the shoot?

There were many memorable moments during the shoot. My fiancée was absolutely stunning and the sunset was perfect. The most memorable moment came during the actual proposal. She had no idea I was proposing and the look on her face when she realized what was happening was something I will never forget. I couldn’t create a better moment if I tried! What are you most looking forward to about your wedding?

Place of Residence: Atlanta, Georgia Engagement Shoot Location: Atlanta, Georgia and The Yamuna River, The Taj Mahal, Agra, India Wedding Date: To be Determined

We are looking forward to gathering our loved ones for a destination wedding and sharing our favorite parts of travel and leisure. Yes, we are excited and cannot wait to get married in 2018.

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first comes love

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P hoto g raph e d by J ohn M y e rs P hoto g raphy

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Victoria & Tadishi

ictoria and Tadishi met in 2014 with a good ol’ slide in the DMs. Tadishi was unassumingly sweet, and after giving him a bit of a hard time, Victoria trusted him enough to give her full name so they could message on Facebook. After that, they got to know each other and worked their way to a phone conversation. Victoria and Tadishi’s first conversation was like they were best friends. Although Victoria really enjoyed talking to Tadishi, she didn’t foresee things going further than friendship, seeing as he lived in Florida and she lived in Tennessee. Fast forward to 2016, they are both single, and Tadishi went to Nashville to visit Victoria for the first time. It was just like their first conversation – effortless and fun. He visited regularly, moved to

Tennessee a few months later, and they have been happily inseparable ever since. Engagement Story

Weeks prior, Tad told me his job was having a banquet. When we got to the “banquet,” we were walking up and I mentioned maybe entering through the closest door, but he said, “No, I think we have to go around the front.” As we turned the corner, I should have noticed the beautiful setup he had taken time to prepare for me, but I didn’t. I looked passed it at the river. When we turned the corner to enter the front of the Bridge Building, I didn’t see anyone. I asked Tad where everyone was, and he said, “Just keep walking.” We walked more, closer to the edge, where we could see the river, and I soon noticed all the candles and pictures displayed were of

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us and our initials “V & T.” And to the left, there was a marquee chalkboard that said, “The beginning of forever, I promise.” I looked at him excitedly with a huge smile on my face and asked, “What are you doing?” He replied with a sly grin, “It’s happening.” He then told me how much he loved me, what I meant to him and how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Of course, I said, “Yes.”

full circle, as we’ve known each other for three years but it feels like a lifetime. I look forward to both the simple things, as well as the life-altering events that I plan to embark on with Victoria.

What makes your love special?

Tad: Enjoying and sharing the love that we have, with family and friends. And the honeymoon of course, *wink, wink.*

Victoria: Tad’s consistency and selflessness keeps our love so special. He’s my absolute best friend. We’ve learned to love each other unconditionally. There’s no one else I’d rather share life’s ups and downs with. God broke the mold making him.

What are you most looking forward to about your wedding?

Victoria: I honestly can’t wait to see Tad’s expression once we first lock eyes on that day

Have you started planning your wedding?

Yes, we have! It’s been a wonderful and collaborative effort, and we don’t have much else to choose from before the big day.

Bride: Victoria Alston, 29, Product Manager Groom: Tadishi Morgan, 30, Marketing Manager Place of Residence: Nashville, Tennessee Engagement Shoot Location: Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art, Nashville, Tenessee Wedding Date: 03/03/2018

Tad: I think what makes our love special is the uniqueness of its start. It seems to be

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P hoto g raph e d by Civi c P hotos

Jasmine & Christopher

J

asmine and Christopher met through mutual friends in 2015. Chris decided to fly to Houston from Atlanta to hang out and found the love of his life instead. The two had their first date at Houston City Centre, and three years later, they are planning a winter wedding in 2018. Engagement Story

Since Chris and I were long distance at the time (he was living in Atlanta and me in Houston), we would fly out to go and visit each other. I knew he was going to come down to attend my parents’ anniversary party with me, but I thought that he would be headed back home within a few days. After a week he "left." My friends and I got ready for a girls’ night out at this upscale Brazilian steakhouse called Fogo De Chao. My friends were distracting me, getting me

to take pictures with my back turned. Then, these arms came from behind the chair hugging me asking, "Please stand up," and I automatically freaked out and started shaking. I heard my man’s voice. I thought he was in Atlanta! They were all in for the plot. I stood up, and Chris got on one knee and proposed. He put a ring on it. I was shook; I could not eat. The best part of it all: I found out he moved here to Houston. We were no longer long distance. The Proposal {His Story}

Back in May of 2017, I told her best friend, "Next time I fly to Houston, it’s time." She was excited, and eventually, we decided to tell all her closest friends that would eventually become her bridesmaids. All of them were very helpful in assisting me with a place to do the proposal, because since I lived in Atlanta, I wasn’t familiar with too blackbride.com | 27


first comes love

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many upscale places. Jasmine always told me that she didn’t want to look "busted" during the proposal, so I had to make sure that it would be something that she would dress up for (even though she always dresses up). We eventually picked a place and time, and I told them to tell Jasmine that it would be a girls’ night out, because I wanted to pop up and surprise her. During the period of them keeping the surprise, they confirmed a few things for me, like her ring size and what she didn’t want to happen during her proposal. Her friends deserve most of the credit. I just popped up with the ring. What makes your love special?

Our foundation is built on friendship. We still get butterflies around each other like we just met. We are each other’s better half. Our families strongly support us, so it makes it easy. We come from families that have long-lasting marriages, so we have great examples of true love around us.

What was the theme of your shoot?

We had a downtown-themed shoot in Houston, TX. We varied between causal and formal. Our causal theme was fun. We kept it simple with a white shirt and blue jeans. For the formal, we kept it classy at this upscale cafe called, The Honeymoon. We changed in our wine-colored suit and dress to pop against the background. It turned out romantic and elegant. What are you most looking forward to about your wedding?

Becoming one. Waking up knowing that I’m about to marry someone special that holds my heart. We want to embrace every moment of the big day.

Bride: Jasmine Fontenot, Radiologic Technologist Groom: Christopher Flowers, Welder Place of Residence: Houston, Texas Engagement Shoot Location: Downtown Houston, Texas Wedding Date: 01/13/2018

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.

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P hoto g raph e d by L e yla I sm e n

E

Emelia & Calvin

melia and Calvin met in 2010 in Poughkeepsie, New York. Emelia was a freshman at Marist College when they first met. She still remembers the exact moment that she laid eyes on Calvin. As an international student and a track athlete, she got to go on campus a week earlier than most students. Emelia first saw Calvin in the elevator in the Admissions building. She noticed his smile and his shy demeanor. Days went by and Emelia was hoping to see the guy from the elevator again. One night after a game and hanging with friends, Emelia goes to get into a taxi and right before the door shuts, someone yells, “Great game today! 76 yards.” It was Calvin. He approached the taxi, and the rest was history. Emelia and Calvin are planning a summer wedding in 2018.

Engagement Story

It was Christmas time and a lot of extended family was in town; the perfect opportunity to show my respect to her extended family and make my beautiful girlfriend, my wife. This was planned months in advance; after making my intentions known to Emmy’s parents, we began working to plan a perfect evening for me to pop the question. Emmy’s mother and I went back and forth on a beach or mountain location, but thought that anything too outside of the ordinary would raise suspicion and I was hell-bent on keeping this a surprise. Emmy didn’t know that her mother and I were planning this special day. I was concurrently working with a good friend’s dad, who was a diamond dealer, to design the perfect custom wedding ring for the occasion. An engagement during my first homecoming

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in Ghana would be the perfect start for our first trip to the motherland with my future wife. During a family dinner, Emmy’s mom gracefully looked at me, smiled and said, “Calvin, are you ready?” I told her that now was perfect. She gathered the table’s attention and stated that she wanted to end dinner by having the family go around the table and telling everyone what they were thankful for, starting with Emmy. Emmy was a bit caught of guard, and at this point, she had no idea what was coming. I was enjoying this more than she was at this time. Finally, it gets to my turn and the floor was mine. I started by thanking Emmy’s family for welcoming me into their beautiful home and how happy I was that I was dating their amazing daughter/sister/ cousin/niece/granddaughter. Finally, I dropped down to one knee nervously and asked Emelia to be my wife. She was in so much shock that she didn’t even reply. She started to cry and embrace me. Emmy was in tears, and the family was so happy and joyful. It was the best day of my life.

What makes your love special?

I think what makes our love special is our unflinching dedication to our spiritual growth as a couple. He is my balancechecker, and I am his calm. We have experienced each other’s growth in many stages and have developed a spiritual friendship outside of our union. This is what allows us to easily communicate and understand each other absolutes. We force ourselves to see each other, especially when we go through difficult times as a couple. We tell ourselves that we are the operators of our love by approaching every conversation with an open heart. Our love is special because we work on it and take pride in our growth. What are you most looking forward to about your wedding?

Bride: Emelia Carol AdaeBosompra Lartey, 25, Branding Guru Groom: Calvin Arthur McCoy Jr., 27, Financial Technology Place of Residence: Manhattan, New York Engagement Shoot Location: Pebble Beach, Carmel, California Wedding Date: 06/20/2018

We are excited to share the time with our closest friends and family who have been spiritual pillars of this union. Toasting and dancing with our friends who cheered and prayed on our love.

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P hoto g raph e d by S e c ond S hots P hoto g raphy

Giavanna & Shawn I

n 2009, Shawn saw Giavanna in passing while she was visiting one of her friends at Lamar University. Shawn eventually tracked her down and found Giavanna on Facebook and sent her a message. Ever since then, they have grown from Facebook friends to soul mates. Giavanna and Shawn celebrated their union with their dream wedding on Sept. 9, 2017. Engagement Story

Shawn surprised me with a Valentine’s Day cruise. I ended up getting sick with a cold for most of the cruise, so on the last day, we made the most of it and went to the ship’s club. We came back to our cabin, and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him in the middle of the ocean. What makes your love special?

We pretty much grew up together. We’ve been through some of the best and worst

times together and know we have each other’s back no matter what. What was the theme of your shoot?

Red roses and rose gold candelabras. Were there any memorable moments during the shoot?

My earring broke and Shawn’s ear was infected, but we laughed the whole time and made the best of it with silly jokes. Our photographer, Ed Heard, was great at reminding us that all of the “bad” moments would only make our photos look even better, seeing how they still came out great. What were you most looking forward to about your wedding?

Bringing both of our families together and getting it over with, so we can live our version of happily ever after. blackbride.com | 35


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Bride: Giavanna (Hardeway) Walker, 26, Paralegal Groom: Shawn Walker, 26, IT Business Analyst/ Entrepreneur Place of Residence: Houston, Texas Engagement Shoot Location: Houston, Texas Wedding Date: 09/09/2017

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planning h o w to g e t it al l d o n e b e f o re t he b i g d ay

Infusing Personal Style in your Floral Design |

Photographs courtesy of Sarah Carpenter Photography and Wild Bloom, LLC

Q&A with Floral Designer Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht of Wild Bloom

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icking florals for your wedding can sometimes be a challenging and overwhelming experience. With various colors, shapes, and types available, it can be difficult to stay focused and nail down a design direction. Floral designer Kristen GriffithVanderYacht of Wild Bloom in Seattle has a few tips to help make picking out your wedding flowers an inspiring and memorable experience.

Q

What are your favorite flowers to work with throughout the year?

There are so many amazing blooms to work with. And each flower has the ability to add a layer of curiosity to the overall design. Think of how a pâtissier needs sugar to bake. Essentially, there are some flowers that are absolute must-haves when it comes to an elevated design. All of the following come in a wide variety of shades and can transform an ordinary arrangement into something exquisite: Winter: Garden Roses, Hellebore, and Tulips }} Spring: Sweet Peas, Peonies, and Poppies }} Summer: Clematis, Larkspur, and Anemones }} Fall: Ranunculus, Scabiosa, and Dahlias }}

Q

What should brides and grooms consider when choosing their wedding flowers?

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It’s important to remember that floral design is in no way a fixed art form. Flowers are a product of nature, and nature is unpredictable. I try to honor this by creating designs that pull from classical botanical and horticultural origins, embracing the fact that there are going to be variations and unexpected shapes within each arrangement. When my clients are able to appreciate this unpredictability, they feel empowered to make choices that are both informed and exciting.

Q

How can couples infuse personal style in their wedding flowers?

What I love most about flowers is their ability to translate feelings and tell stories. Sometimes, my clients will tell me stories of how flowers played a role in their relationship or other parts of their lives. For example, one of my clients had a very specific memory of a rose that his grandmother had in her garden that he saw every summer holiday. From there, we were able to use the color of that flower as the main inspiration for the floral design. It turned out to be a really special design because the couple had a personal connection to the elements we used in the arrangements.

Q

What should clients bring to a consultation with their florist?

A readiness to collaborate and an open mind. Be ready to share your inspiration for all the elements of your wedding.

Whether you have a collection of favorite images from magazines and blogs or simply a description of your dream day. Let your floral designer provide recommendations that will elevate your design, combining all of your inspirations into a cohesive composition. Your florist, like all of your vendors, is an expert in their field and comes equipped with a solid technique and an understanding of their craft. Above all, your florist is there to be a collaborator and guide — so don’t be afraid to explore options and ask questions.

About Wild Bloom

Wild Bloom specializes in creating inspirational floral arrangements that celebrate the blooms which enchant us. Our design philosophy combines an editorial eye with an organic sensibility. Owner and Creative Director Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht takes pride in working on all of the details. For more information, please visit wildbloomfloral.com.


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planning

How to Incorporate your Personal Style in your

Wedding Invitations There are so many ways to add your personality to wedding invitations By Ola Morin-Muhammed | Photography by Ijorere

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good stationer knows that an invitation reflects a couple’s personality and will keep that in mind throughout the creative process. But how do we achieve that for our clients? It all begins with a sketch and listening to our client’s unique stories. Below are examples of how to incorporate your personal style into your wedding invitations. Symbols

Intertwining meaningful symbols in an invitation design is a clever and creative way to showcase love between couples. Do a little research online to make sure the symbols you select are true to you and your love’s personalities. And added feature could also be small inscriptions of the meanings of each symbol. Guests would be delighted to learn a little something about the two of you when they receive their invitation with symbolic meanings. Medallions

Monograms are very common. What if you turned a monogram into a medallion or a centerpiece on your invitation that adds a wow factor upon arrival? Your wedding invitation truly is the 40 | blackbride.com

very first impression, which gives a good indication of how special, unique, or extravagant your event will be. So if you and your beau have grand personae, a medallion could be the way to go.

be here to stay, but it’s a fun way to keep up with social media posts by your wedding guests, and will last in cyber space for years to come. Patterns & Shapes

Hashtags

Do you love a certain pattern or shape? Do you have a favorite flower? During an invitation consultation, make sure to relay to your stationer if you prefer clean lines, geometric, or floral patterns. Some clients like simple and clean, others like extravagance and/or patterns. Some clients like classic designs, others like to use the architectural details of their wedding venue. The more details you provide your stationer about your style, the easier it is to conceptualize a design that reflects your personality.

You’ve seen them everywhere; hashtags have become a popular trend for events and especially weddings. Have fun coming up with a catchy hashtag for your grand day. It can be a creative play on words that adds to your big day. You can find out if a hashtag has been used or not by simply doing a search on social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. We don’t know whether this wedding trend will

In conclusion, there are so many ways to add your personality to wedding invitations. It could be through colors, a favorite pattern, a special fabric, a unique hashtag, favorite flower, etc. It’s important to understand the client’s needs and personality. When taking that knowledge to the drawing board, the goal is to tell your story and expression of love through design.

Love Quotes

Same as symbols, love quotes can be used as a header or introduction to an invitation. If you’re great at poetry, write a quote that’s unique to only you and your beau. If, however, you’re not a writer, both of you can choose a romantic quote that symbolizes your bond. You can’t go wrong either way. The goal is to evoke what is significant to you and reflects your personality.


During an invitation consultation, make sure to relay to your stationer if you prefer clean lines, geometric or floral patterns.”

About IJORERE

Architect. Creative Director. Magic Maker. Ola Morin-Muhammed wears many hats. And each one is even more beautiful than the last. She established IJORERE, Inc. in June of 2008. Her architectural expertise is evident in the unconventional approaches to her designs. Executed with such precision, it is this background that sets IJORERE designs apart from the rest. Ola’s creative sensibilities don’t simply herald GRAND occasions, her designs are works of art. For more information, please visit ijorere.com.

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planning

Transform Your Wedding into an

Experience through Music Q&A with DJ Mark Battle, luxury event music specialist By Mark Adams

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J Mark Battle tells clients, “DJing extends beyond shuffling your favorite songs on a playlist.” Going to a One Sound Event is like no other. Walk in and you are encased by the pulse of sultry sounds captured in a note of extravagance. DJ Mark Battle considers himself a “luxury event music specialist.” The responsibility for the way you feel and enjoy each moment rests on his shoulders. He recently talked to Black Bride about how he prepares and executes his responsibilities – and what you should look for – at weddings.

Q

Do you meet with the couple beforehand?

I often meet with my clients at least two or three times before their event. It's important that the sound and the vibe for their day is meticulously planned. After I get to know them during the first meeting, I make sure to bring helpful ideas and suggestions that I think will match their vision. It’s also extremely important to visit the location to ensure appropriate spacing and check the venue’s acoustic power. I’m not often concerned about electrical capacity, as we always come prepared with our own generator, but placement for the sound is key to a great event.

Q

Why does personality matter?

You want to make sure that you hire a photographer that's enjoyable to work with and makes you feel

Q

Can you play the songs that are important to us, such as traditional tunes or current Caribbean or African songs?

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Photographed by One Sound and Entertainment Instagram | DJ Battle knows how to move the crowd and uses music to create the perfect vibe on your wedding day.

I never want to box myself into just playing what’s popular on the radio. Thankfully, growing up in the melting pot of New York City, I have been exposed to all types of music. But as an artist I go the extra mile and do the work and research to find out what’s hot everywhere and the stories behind the music. Oftentimes my clients are shocked that I know a song from a small indigenous town in the backwoods of nowhere, I have it in my library and know when to play it at the wedding.

Q

Would clients need to rent any instruments or equipment (extra speakers or sound board)? We are a full-service company, so for the majority of our events we bring all of the equipment that will be needed, as well as additional backup devices in case of malfunctions. When we travel outside of

the country there may be restrictions on equipment we can bring, but we make sure to let clients know that beforehand.

Q

What do you typically wear?

Q

Can the DJ also act as the master of ceremonies?

I can’t consider myself a luxury event specialist if my fly doesn’t match the room. I often wear either a tuxedo or an elegant suit to all of my events. I also make sure to add small complements to either the color or texture of the event.

That is absolutely a part of the experience you are booking with One Sound. Engaging the crowd is a standard part of the job. I can move the crowd with a pause in music and engage with “let’s take it back,” followed by that song that just moves the crowd into the “ahhhh yeah” mood.

About DJ Mark Battle

In 1994, DJ Mark Battle expanded his artistry to Atlanta and quickly created a buzz as one of the city’s hottest DJs promoting the still-famed “Tri-State Party” with Wax Factor Entertainment. Today, he owns and operates a highly-celebrated full-service entertainment company known as One Sound and Entertainment, which provides the entire entertainment experience with luxury custom lighting, dance performances and sound. One Sound has performed at more than 600 weddings and 50 private events across the globe, including Europe, Africa and Asia. For more information, please visit onesoundandent.com. blackbride.com | 43


planning

how to get

the Best

Wedding Photos How can brides and grooms get amazing wedding photos from their professional photographer and what they can do with the photos once they receive them.

By LaJoy Cox Photographed by LaJoy Photography 44 | blackbride.com

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ongratulations, you're engaged! Your wedding day is fast approaching, and as a photographer, I understand that nothing can replace that moment when you walk down the aisle, or the moment your groom says, “I do.” Choosing the right photographer that can capture your timeless moments should feel like choosing the right wedding ring, dress, or venue. I want to share with you some great insights on what to look for in a photographer and why personality, education, and style plays such a big role in getting the best wedding photos.

Q

Why does personality matter?

You want to make sure that you hire a photographer that’s enjoyable to work with and makes you feel comfortable. When the connection between the couple and the photographer is solid,

the day is full of fun and the photos look effortless.

Q

Why does education matter?

Q

Why does style matter?

Your photographer should have a solid portfolio of work experience. They should be able to adjust quickly in any event. If you have a dark venue, direct sunlight, or unexpected problems which frequently occur during a wedding, having an experienced photographer is crucial to ensuring great photos. As a couple, you already have enough to worry about. And knowing that your photographer knows what they’re doing should make you feel comfortable and reduce any unwanted stress on your big day.

Documentary, artistic, and dramatic are some of the most common


shooting styles. Knowing your photographer's style is a key component in having them create the best images for you. Whether you love light and airy or dark and edgy, you should choose a photographer that complements what you're looking for. You never want to hire a photographer who has a different style of shooting than what you like and risk those photos not being what you expected. So, you took my advice and have chosen a photographer for your wedding day. What next? Now it’s time to decide what to do with your amazing wedding photos. I understand that digital and social media rules the world, but your wedding day is the day that you and the love of your life become one. They deserve to be seen somewhere other

than your Instagram and Facebook page. Having a wedding album and proper prints are the best way to enjoy all of your beautiful photos. Also, being able to have them on hand is a great way to show the story of your day and ensures you have copies just in case you lose or accidentally delete your digital copies. The best way to get these photos printed is through your professional photographer. They know where to go and how to properly go about printing them for the best quality. You spent a lot of time planning for this big day, so don't just settle with looking at it through a screen. To sum it up, find someone that will treat your wedding day as if it’s just as important to them as it is to you. And understand the importance of printing those memories so you can cherish them for a lifetime.

About LaJoy Cox

LaJoy Cox is a traveling wedding and engagement photographer based in beautiful Atlanta, GA with her children. She has worked on the set of many reality TV shows capturing love stories and special events. She has worked with hundreds of brides world-wide to help tell their love stories and save their memories. For more information, please visit lajoyphotography.com. blackbride.com | 45


planning

Photographed by Kesha Lambert | Planning your wedding is also sharing a piece of you.

How to Personalize your Wedding By Lynn Ehumadu

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eddings should be memorable for both the couple and the invited guests. Every client that walks through the door at the Loft at LilyVevents is looking for something unique and creative to depict how meaningful their luxury celebration is to them. The road to defining the design of a wedding is not something that happens overnight; it takes building a relationship with a client, becoming their friend, understanding their personalities and ultimately, gaining their confidence. Ultimately, your personality should shine through your design on the big day.

into at the start of your wedding? Most times, the couple is never in agreement about what they want. After all, they are two different individuals that have a unique view of their wedding day. My job starts here. I help them identify their personal style, discover what is memorable for them, and suggest where these details can be translated in their wedding décor. It’s popular to combine traditional and modern décor. Take the time to talk to your significant other, outline what you both agree on and the kind of experience you want your guests to have on your big day.

Discover Your Style

We start our first session with clients asking a simple – and yet, often divisive – question: What do you want to walk 46 | blackbride.com

Your Color Story

Color defines the décor. It is also one of the very first things that helps me

understand the personality of a client. It is imperative that you determine your wedding colors or theme before going into décor details, because it creates a frame for your personalized design and makes it easy to decide how you want those colors reflected in your wedding décor. I advise fusing in a metallic accent. A metallic pop brings vibrancy to any palette and enhances your décor. Overall, color ensures the details in your design are cohesive. Wedding Invitations

Your wedding invitation is the first glimpse your guests have into the details of your wedding. Choice of color, materials used, and texture of the print should all be chosen with great care, as it is considered a


preamble to what your celebration has to offer. Consider adding a watercolor or custom monogram. In fact, monograms are one of my most adored element. Think about it as your personal emblem for your special day and apply it to not only your invitation but also place cards, a flower wall and even the dance floor. The final invitation product should be a tell-tale of how significant the day is going to be for you, the steps you have to take to ensure the comfort of your guests and how much you are going to appreciate everyone’s presence. Your Tables

Remember: Your family and closest friends will be seated at the tables. This is a perfect place to paint a mental experience of how you want your wedding perceived. Consider every detail that goes into each table. Begin with the place cards, a chance to hint to your guests what they will see at the table. Use interesting materials, such as suspended crystals from the ceiling that hold the cards, spray painted leaves pinned to a rose, floorlength mirrors or fresh fruit. Guest tables are a major part of our décor details calls, which typically last about two hours, before weddings. Along with the floor plan, we discuss the table design, floral centerpieces, charger plates, napkin folds, linen, chairs and the couple’s overall vision. This is all in effort to produce an unforgettable scenery. Don’t Let the Trends Define You

In the age of social media exposure, I find a lot of brides focused on activities to ensure their weddings go viral. Yes, it is okay to inspire other brides with a unique approach you executed at your wedding; however, it’s all about originality. Dwell on what you have dreamt your wedding would look like, not last weekend’s bride whose dream is not the same as your centerpieces or looked super cool doing that one dance routine she almost broke a hip while learning. I tell couples to, “share a piece of you” after-all, it is your special day to cherish!

About LILYVEVENTS

LilyVevents is a full service floral, event design and production company. Lynn had designed events for 10 years before going into business with her husband, LilyVevents. Since then, the company has grown substantially in size, holding offices in Philadelphia, New York and now branching off to Atlanta. For more information, please visit lilyvevents.com. blackbride.com | 47


planning

How to Plan

an intimate

Elopement Overseas By Nancy Latart, FĂŞte in France Photographed by Anthony Brock, One and Only Paris Photography

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Thinking of eloping in a romantic destination but not sure where to start? Here’s everything you need to say I do abroad.

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hinking of eloping in a romantic destination, but not sure where to start? First things first, think about the setting that best reflects the two of you as a couple. Do you love beach vacations? Are you adventureseekers? Is experiencing food and culture an interest you both share? As planners based in Paris, we’re naturally biased and think that the City of Lights is the perfect place to elope. The advice below is specific to having an elopement in France, but the questions apply to any destination outside your home country.

Q

Can I get civilly married in the elopement destination?

The administrative process of getting married in France differs from the one in the US, with the civil ceremony being completely separate from the religious ceremony. Unlike in the U.S., where couples can be legally married by a justice of the peace, a member of the clergy, or even a friend who

has been ordained online, only a local official from the city hall can celebrate marriages. This means that if a couple chooses to also be married in their place of worship, they are obligated to have two ceremonies. This means that international couples must be legally married before having their religious or symbolic ceremony in France.

Q

What language do they speak and what are the cultural difference in the elopement destination? In addition to the language barrier, there can also be cultural barriers to overcome when dealing directly with local service providers. In France, for example, not all wedding vendors are fluent in English and the response time is rarely as quick as it is in the U.S.

Q

What are the wedding traditions in the elopement destination?

Wedding traditions vary greatly from country to country. A fun way to mark the day is to include a local tradition

into your elopement. In France, couples often have a pièce montée instead of a traditional tiered wedding cake. The pièce montée can either be with cream-filled pastry puffs or French macarons, arranged in the shape of a pyramid shape. After you’ve picked your destination, it’s time to get started on the planning. It’s important to think about your vision and what matters the most to you. Is it having a meaningful exchange of vows? Picking an incredible location for the ceremony? Understanding your priorities will be helpful when it comes time to choose your wedding vendors. Planning a destination elopement yourself can be a fun experience to share with your fiancé, but isn’t the point of eloping to lessen the work and stress of planning? Hiring an experienced, local wedding professional can be a saving grace. They speak the language, have an insider’s insight into the wedding market, venues and vendor services. In addition to local blackbride.com | 49


planning

important “ It’s to think about your vision for your day and what matters the most to you.” knowledge, they provide helpful advice and assistance with: Facilitating the booking process with venues and vendors }} Saving time on research and negotiation with vendors }} Providing advice on do’s and don’ts, traditions and trends }} Creating and staying within your budget }} Designing an atmosphere and decor that correspond to your style }} Coordinating all of the vendor logistics on the day }}

Overall, a wedding planner allows you to be stress-free before and during the wedding so that you can enjoy the entire planning process and especially your big day. Whether you pick Paris or Phuket, with a planner or DIY, your destination elopement will be an unforgettable trip! Visit feteinfrance.com for more information. Established in 2006, France Fête in France is the most experienced wedding planning agency in Paris specializing in luxury weddings and events in France for international clientele. Both of our principal planners are American and speak fluent French. They have planned over 300 events in France over the past 11 years. With the help of Fête in France the couple booked a special suite at the Shangri-la Hotel in Paris with a private terrace and view of the Eiffel Tower. The ceremony was held in a private historic chapel. 50 | blackbride.com


Styled Shoots

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

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P h o t o g r a p h e d b y A k i n tay o t i m i

Romance in Lavender T

his shoot is devoted to dreamy love in the English summertime amidst a field of lavender. The shades of purple exude regal elegance and romance. Linens

Gold Sequin Centerpieces

Hydrangea floral arrangement

Place Settings

Gold sequin table linen with purple hydrangea floral arrangement on half-moon sweet heart table with candles, gold cutlery, gold-rimmed glasses, gold beaded glass charger plates, gold chiavari chairs and purple sashes with the lavender field as a backdrop

Shoot Location: Mayfield Lavender Field, Banstead, United Kingdom Color Combinations: Lavender and gold Favorite Detail: Happily Ever After’ Chair Sign

Stationery

Lavender and Gold

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Photography: Akintayotimi @akintayotimi Venue: Mayfield Lavender @mayfieldlavender Bridal Gown: Elsie Joy Bridal @elsiejoybridal Josh and Nicol @joshandnicol Bride’s Accessories: Elsie Joy Bridal @elsiejoybridal Bride’s Hair: Styles by Toks @stylesbytoks Bride’s Makeup: Ots Beauty @ots_beauty Groom’s Tux: Anthony’s Collections London @anthonyscollections Wedding Planner: Roe Weddings @roeweddings Décor: Afmena Events @afmenaevents Cake: Tees Bakery @teesbakeryuk Flowers: Beverley Wilson London @beverley_wilson_london

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P h o t o g r a p h e d b y Ta m a r a B r i g g s P h o t o g r a p h y

One Love Cliffside P

assion and romance exude from this couple’s seaside ceremony and reception. Surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, they said their “I do’s” on the cliffs of the Borghinvilla Wedding Venue. These two lovebirds are in love with Jamaican culture and decided to have their wedding embedded with the Jamaican flavor, style, and taste.

Linens

Gold Sequence set against a dark wood table Centerpiece Description

Gold geometric accents, vases with roses and hydrangeas, candles with breadfruit tree leaves Place Settings

Gold rimmed glass plates Stationery

Black and Aubergine purple

Shoot Location: Borghinvilla Wedding Venue, Discovery Bay, St. Ann, Jamaica Color Combinations: White, green, gold with hints of mango orange Favorite Details: The Mango details (Mango Mojito, Mango cake) and Jamaican details (one love sign, Appleton’s rum, Jamaica shot glasses, Irie Together chair signs)

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Photography: Tamara Briggs Photography tamarabriggsphotography.com Venue: Borghinvilla Wedding Venue borghinvilla.com Bridal Gown: Morilee by Madeline Gardner morilee.com Bride’s Makeup: Chasity Artistry-Rashel Edwards Groom’s Tux: Unique Bridal and Tux uniquebridaltux.com Wedding Planner: Jennifer Borgh Events jenniferborghevents.com Cake: Borghinvilla Catering borghinvilla.com Jamaican Treats: Reggae Carmella instagram.com/reggaecarmella Flowers: Borghinvilla Designs borghinvilla.com Stationery: Lottie and Lil lottieandlil.com

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Photographed by Images by Amber Robinson

Navy & Bordeaux Garden T

he Rand-Bryan house provided the perfect venue for this stunning Navy and Bordeaux themed shoot. Manor House Florals created lush, jewel-toned florals that featured organic elements like fresh grapes and a variety of wild flowers. The couple danced among the grass and velvet chairs, and shared an intimate moment in the tree swing.

Linens

Beautiful vintage linen with bordeaux monogram by The Sweet T Designs Place Settings

Vintage white and goldrimmed china Stationery

Shoot Location: Rand Bryan House, Garner, North Carolina Color Combinations: Navy, bordeaux, pink, rose gold Favorite Detail: The flowers by Manor House Florals

Original navy, gold and Bordeaux ensemble featuring hand-brushed detail

Centerpieces

Roses and succulants with fresh herbs and fruit

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Photography: Images by Amber Robinson imagesbyamberrobinson.com Venue: The Rand Bryan House rand-bryanhouse.com Bridal Gown: Ivy + Aster ivyandaster.com Bride’s Jewelery: Diamonds Direct diamondsdirect.com Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Katy Lynn Beauty @katylynnbeauty Bridal Boutique: Gilded Bridal gildedbridal.com Groom’s Tux: VIP Formal Wear vipformalwear.com Groom’s Accessories: Modish Vine @modishvine Cake: Cake Couture NC cakecouturenc.com Flowers: Manor House Flowers @manor_house_flowers_wedding Stationery: Revelry + Heart revelryandheart.com Monograming: The Sweet T Design thesweettdesigns.wordpress.com

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P h o t o g r a p h e d b y L o r e n a Els e y, Y o u r C a p t i vat i n g M o m e n t s

W

Classic Elegance

e believe there is always a place for classic elegance. The beautiful environment provided by this venue was the perfect backdrop for this shoot. Through various designs of white and gold, this shoot was indeed elegance personified.

seeded eucalyptus and flowing jasmine vines.

Centerpieces

Ivory linen paper with gold accents

White dendrobium orchids and bridal akito roses with greenery of variegated pittosporum. The flowers for the sweetheart table were a combination of white bridal akito roses, white oriental lilies, green thistle, variegated pittosporum, gilded

Place Settings

Ivory china banded in gold and set on a glass beaded charger, gold flatware and crystal stemware with a gold accent band at the top Stationery

Unique Detail

The food was provided by talented, executive chef Terrell Johnson of Exceptional Catering and the Bradford House. The cake was created by The Baking Grounds.

Shoot Location: The Bradford House and Gardens, Flowery Branch, Georgia Color Combinations: White with gold Favorite Details: First bouquet: A classic, cascading bouquet of white roses and orchids Second Bouquet: An exquisite light pink King Protea, white orchids, and flowering ribbons and greenery.

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Photography: Your Captivating Moments Photography weddings.yourcaptivatingmoments.net Venue: Bradford House and Gardens thebradfordhouse.com Bridal Gown: Elite Pour La Vie Boutique elitepourlavie.com Bride’s Hair: Tandeca Turner tandeca@icloud.com Bride’s Makeup: Bee Gandy of Girl Meets Glamm girlmeetsglamm.com Groom’s Tux: Barry’s Menswear barrysmenswear.com Fashion Stylist: Anastasia Adelita, Icon Stylist iconstylist.com Styling Assistants: Sherri Frison mystylerenewed@gmail.com Aaron “Ace” Encalade aaron247win@gmail.com Models: Bride: Tiffany Hobbs Groom: Leroy Kidane Event & Floral Design/ Installation: JoBeth Martin, Lead Designer Righteous Oaks Floral + Design righteousoaksfloral.com Tablesetting: The Prissy Plate Company theprissyplatecompany.com Caterer: Chef Terrell Johnson, Exceptional Catering thebradfordhouse.com Cake: The Baking Grounds thebakinggrounds.com Flowers: Righteous Oaks Floral + Design Stationery: KEKreations Art kekreationsart.wordpress.com

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fashion

Straight from the runway, your must-have fashion guide

fall 2018

Bridal trend Report By Cortney Moore

From October 6 to 9, New York Bridal Fashion Week took over the city that never sleeps to show off the latest collections from top designers. The styles that graced the runways during Bridal Fashion Week for Fall 2018 were a delightful mix of classic looks and modern reimagining. From daring sheer gowns, to remarkable pantsuits and untraditional colors — we were in awe with many of these showstopping collections. Here are a few top trends you should keep in mind if you’re planning to walk down the aisle within the next year.

Blushing Brides Who says you have to wear white when a variety of pink shades are stealing the show? Rosy hues are as feminine as you can get, so it only makes sense to add it to your bridal wardrobe. Blush, mauve, rouge — every pinky shade was fair game during Bridal Fashion Week.

Lazaro jlmcouture.com

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Hayley Paige jlmcouture.com


Elegant Pantsuits Brides that aren’t into dresses can rejoice, because 2018 is in full support of figure flattering pantsuits. Whether you’re eloping, having a simple ceremony at city hall or just need a postwedding outfit, you’ll surely be the center of attention with a crisp white suit.

Theia bridal.theiacouture.com Monique Lhuillier moniquelhuillier.com

Rime Arodaky rime-arodaky.com

Glittering Gold Fall 2018 is all about getting in touch with those rich autumn hues, and gold was the standout color in many collections. From champagne, to pale marigold and lavish antique gold embellishments, brides that opt for golden shades will solidify their spot as belle of the ball.

Casablanca casablancabridal.com

Inbal Dror inbaldror.com

Reem Acra reemacra.com blackbride.com | 69


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Sheer Designs For brides that aren’t afraid to bare it all, designers ditched heavier fabrics for lighter, airy looks. If you’re saying “I do” with a beach ceremony or are fortunate enough to live in a warmer climate, a flowy and sheer gown is a fantastic way to beat the heat and look good doing it.

Julie Vino julievino.com

Berta berta.com

Galia Lahav galialahav.com 70 | blackbride.com

Mark Zunino markzunino.com

Marchesa marchesa.com


Statement Capes Including a cape with your bridal outfit just adds much needed drama to your special day. It screams you’re a high fashion queen when you walk down the aisle, and it’s a great alternative you aren’t fond of veils. Not only will you look good, but a cape can also keep you warm when the chill kicks in for autumn and winter.

Ines Di Santo inesdisanto.com

Justin Alexander justinalexander.com

Pronovias pronovias.com

Tassels & Fringe Boho meets chic for fall 2018! Bedazzled tassels and fringe are a not-soobvious way of showing off your feminine shape. The movement simply catches the eye. And if you’re a bride that wants to look distinct on your wedding day, this trend is a subversive way of celebrating your festivities.

Jenny Yoo jennyyoo.com blackbride.com | 71


fashion

Love

A Lakeside

story

Embrace your inner beauty and individuality with edgy bridal designs Photography: Eric Doolin OF And Forever More

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“A Lakeside Love Story” depicts the anticipation and excitement a bride feels before tying the knot with the love of her life. It is one of the most intimate and sentimental moments on any wedding day. Though she is surrounded by loved ones and pampered like a queen, the bride is lost in a daydream as she reflects on the journey to this moment.

Ivy and Aster Ivy and Aster’s “Raven” is a soft, form-fitting, strapless trumpet gown covered in lace. It features a sweetheart neckline, heavy Chantilly lace from top to bottom and soft net inserts below the knee. blackbride.com | 73


fashion

Ivy and Aster The “Talia� gown has a ballet neckline with a low back and fitted silhouette. Chantilly lace is paneled from the neckline to the hem.

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Leanne Marshalz (Left) Leanne Marshall’s “Ksenia” is an ivory V-neck gown in delicate French lace, with an open back. The slightly empire bodice has a champagne charmeuse underlay and is shaped in the bust with darting. The gown has a softly gathered, silk chiffon A-line skirt with a train and zipper closure up the back.

Theia White Couture (Above Right) The “Ada” top is an ivory corded lace crop top with long sleeves. The “Ines” skirt is a long corded lace mermaid skirt.

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Leanne Marshall The bodice on Leanne Marshall’s “Lorelei” gown is half-sleeved and has a V-neck with a nude structured foundation. This beautiful wedding gown features a full A-line skirt in delicate silk gazar with a side slit, flounce detail, train and a zipper closure up the back.

Photography: Eric Doolin at And Forever More, andforevermorephoto.com Bridal Gown: Flutter Boutique, flutterboutique.com Jewelry: Magnolia and Vine, magnoliaandvine.com Flowers: Bachman’s Floral, Gift & Garden, bachmans.com Hair & Makeup: Melissa Tomfohrde, melissatomfohrde.com Model: Ashlee Blake at Wehmann Models & Talent Inc., wehmann.com Location: Private home along Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, Minnesota

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2.

INS PIR ATI ON BO A R D

Rose Gold

glam

1.

By Jomuelle Anicet For those with a love for glam, rose gold is just the feminine touch that any bride would add for their big day. With the soft touches of pink and just the right hint of shine, this is a wonderful color concept for a spring wedding. These subtle but noticeable pieces will not only take away from the bride, but will also add to their beauty.

8. 3.

7. 4.

6. 5.

1. Table Setting Photographed by Jana Williams Photography, jana-williams.com; 2. Cake Photographed by Debbie Lourens Photography, debbielourens.com; 3. Morgan & Taylor, Precious Headpiece, morganandtaylor.com.au; 4. Kendra Scott, Addie Gold Drop Earrings in Rose Gold Filigree, kendrascott.com; 5. Adele Suite Fancy Glitter Package, jupiterandjunoshop.com; 6. Badgley Mischka, Kiara Embellished Peep-Toe Pump, badgleymischka.com; 7. Bouquet by Mindy Rice Design, mindy-rice.squarespace.com; 8. Martina Liana Dress, essensedesigns.com blackbride.com | 77


fashion INS PIR ATI ON BO A R D

1.

Rustic

rouge

2.

By Jomuelle Anicet With this deep of color of burgundy, you can only show the intensity of love that the bride and groom have for each other on the day they show the world how beautiful their love is. These rustic touches are great for those who want to bring the life of mother nature to their celebration of love.

8.

3.

7. 6. 5. 4.

1. Furniture provided by Minty Mary Pea Events, mintymarypea.com; 2. Wedding Invitation, Watercolor, etsy.com; 3. Cake by Cake Luxe, cakeluxe.ca; 4. Marmalade Floral Accents, Plum Burgundy Ranunculus Boutonniere, marmaladefloral.com; 5. Ted Baker London, ‘Peetch’ Pointy Toe Pump, nordstrom.com; 6. Kendra Scott, Elle Drop Earrings in Burgundy Illusion, kendrascott.com; 7. Bouquet by Calie Rose, calierose.com; 8. Isabel Dress, thereformation.com 78 | blackbride.com


2.

INS PIR ATI ON BO A R D

The Modern

1.

ClassiC By Jomuelle Anicet You cannot go wrong with the classics. When it comes to weddings, the choice of black and white is forever timeless. Fitting for any time of the year, these inspiration pieces give any bride just a touch of elegance for their big day. Simplistically bold, they are great to add a bit of modern to a classic theme.

9.

3.

8.

6.

4. 5.

7. 1. Halo Jewelry Set, Amazon Collection, amazon.com; 2. Table Setting by Viva Bella Events, vivabellaevents.com; 3. Something Bleu, Hammond, somethingbleushoes.com; 4. Bouquet Photographed by Donna Von Bruening Photography, donnavonbruening.com; 5. Liumy, Black Wedding Guest Book, liumy.net; 6. Jean Mrs By Edie Parker, edie-parker.com; 7. Invitations, graceniu.net; 8.Cake by Sweet Fix, sweetďŹ xrva.com; 9. Valentina, emilyriggsbridal.com blackbride.com | 79


cover story

WHAT IS

Black

Bride Magic?

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A

Celebration

of our Love, Beauty, Grace, Style, Elegance, and MAGIC!

by C . K . A l e x a n d e r J e a n I l l u s t r at i o n by V e r o n ica M a r c h é J ami s o n

What is Black Bride Magic? Much like #BlackGirlMagic and all of the other hashtags that have emerged in celebration of the black woman and all of her glory, Black Bride Magic was created in celebration of love. The unconditional love we give and the love we receive. As women of color across the country and beyond embark on the beautiful journey from engagement to marriage, Black Bride Magic is a call to embrace this next phase and everything that makes them beautiful, powerful, and dynamic. Black Bride Magic is more than a hashtag. It’s our way of saying: we salute you, we honor you, we support you, we are you! We’ve asked real brides to share their magical journey. Here’s what our featured brides shared about their Black Bride Magic. blackbride.com | 81


cover story

Chinyere Nwachukwu Wedding Date: September 23, 2017 Location: Houston, Texas Photographer: Raheem Osanyin, Rhphotoarts

1. What do you think of when you hear the term Black Bride Magic? When I hear Black Bride Magic, I think of glamour, fierceness and fabulousness. 2. What makes you Magic? After serving 4 1/2 years in the military, I knew I had the ability to adapt to challenging circumstances. My wedding was originally scheduled for September 2nd. I had to reschedule my wedding a few days before the wedding day due to Hurricane Harvey. As hard as it was, I stayed calm and believed everything would work out. Of course, having an amazing planner (Shade of A Conceal Affair) made everything work out seamlessly. 3. What was the most magical moment on your wedding day? The look on my fiance’s face when he saw me walking down the aisle. And then while we were standing at the altar, he kept whispering to me how beautiful I looked and how happy he was to become my husband. The way he kept looking at me when we took our vows was the most magical moment for me. 4. What would advice would you give to brides to shine on their wedding day? Smile and have fun. Don’t sweat the small stuff because no matter how you plan your wedding, nothing is ever perfect. So just enjoy your day and celebrate marrying the love of your life.

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Helene Habtu

Wedding Date: October 7 – 8, 2017 Location: Columbus, Ohio Photographer: DamionRae Photography

1. What do you think of when you hear the term Black Bride Magic? When I hear the term ‘Black Bride Magic,’ my first thought is royalty. My background is Eritrean, which is in East Africa. So I come from a country that embodies both rich roots and culture. My mother is a pillar of strength and resilience and has engrained those qualities in me. Black Bride Magic, to me, means strength, beauty, and, most importantly, resilience because as black women we are undoubtedly resilient with all the adversities we face. 2. What makes you Magic? What makes me magic is my faith in love. Not just love in the sense of being in love, but also loving life, opening your heart to people and being able to receive it. I live my life through these actions and I believe being kind and giving love is what makes my life magic. 3. What was the most magical moment on your wedding day? My most magical moment was our grand entrance to the reception. In my culture, the guests, family and friends wait in parallel lines for us to arrive. As we enter, they sing and clap and follow us in with dancing. They shower us with so much love and joy that it fills you with emotion. It’s a moment I will never forget. 4. What would advice would you give to brides to shine on their wedding day? Make sure however you plan your wedding, focus on what is important to you and your future husband. On the day of your wedding, let go and let God.

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Cadene Russell Brooks Wedding Date: July 15, 2017 Location: Washington, District of Columbia Photographer: Lauren Cowart Photography

1. What do you think of when you hear the term Black Bride Magic? Black Bride Magic is a celebration of a black woman’s freedom to love. It is the unapologetic confession that we are worthy of love and the unbridled passion that we exude as we commit to loving our spouse. Black Bride Magic, like Black Girl Magic, is our celebration of the power and resilience of black women. Despite the destructive rhetoric that is often used to define a black woman’s love story, black brides embody the selfless, courageous, and fearless choice to love without reservation. 2. What makes you Magic? I am magic because I live with intention. I am resilient, and my fears are made void because I am favored. 3. What was the most magical moment on your wedding day? Hearing my husband’s wedding vows and feeling completely encased in his love and adoration was the most magical moment on my wedding day. My husband has been my portion of God’s unfailing and unconditional love. His vows were a reminder of how blessed I am and of the magic we have to look forward to throughout the years. 4. What would advice would you give to brides to shine on their wedding day? Be fully present and take the time to enjoy your wedding day. Surround yourself with your bridesmaids, Sorors, best friends, or just your favorite girls. Celebrate family and friends who have traveled from near or far to witness your love. 84 | blackbride.com

Augusta Powell Wedding Date: September 22, 2017 Location: Woodbury, New York Photographer: Kesha Lambert

1. What do you think of when you hear the term Black Bride Magic? A beautiful bride who celebrates the awesomeness of black love within her union. She is glowing and exudes love. 2. What makes you Magic? I’m a young black woman who not only found the love of her life, but married him as well. We also purchased a home in the same year! I’m so blessed and that’s what makes me magic. 3. What was the most magical moment on your wedding day? When Casey and I saw one another for the first time during our first look. He was definitely blown away. The look on face was priceless and I’ll never forget it. 4. What would advice would you give to brides to shine on their wedding day? Just relax and take in every moment because your wedding day will fly by SO FAST!


Reesiah Hopkins

Wedding Date: August 19, 2017 Location: Phoenixville, Pennsylvania Photographer: Unique2Chic Photography

1. What do you think of when you hear the term Black Bride Magic? When I hear Black Bride Magic, I think of a strong black woman that walks with confidence, breathes elegance and draws everyone’s attention. 2. What makes you Magic? My magic is my confidence and I know no one can be me but me. 3. What was the most magical moment on your wedding day? The most magical moment of my wedding day was being in front of my soon-to-be husband, getting choked up when he recited his vows to me and expressed his love for me in front of everyone. 4. What would advice would you give to brides to shine on their wedding day? My advice to other brides for their day to shine is to not let the little things bother you. It’s your day, so be carefree and stay calm.

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cover story

India Scales Wedding Date: July 8, 2017 Location: New Orleans, LA Photographer: Calvin Gavion Jr.

1. What do you think of when you hear the term Black Bride Magic? Black Bride Magic is an inner mystical glow, embodied by a phenomenal black woman that is expressed on her wedding day as elegance, regalness, and pureness. 2. What makes you Magic? What makes me magical is that I am confident in who I am, what I love, and who I love. I embrace all of the things that make me who I am and while I try to be a better version of myself, I inspire others around me to also be greater than the status quo. 3. What was the most magical moment on your wedding day? Our first dance was on a staged platform with a ring of crystals around us. When Jeffrey Osborne’s “Love Ballad” played, the curtains opened, and the crystals lifted...it was surreal! I knew people were watching us but I only saw my husband as we danced under thousands of crystal beads. It’s a moment I replay in my head over and over. 4. What would advice would you give to brides to shine on their wedding day? When you’re marrying the love of your life and you are at peace with everything, that inner genuine feeling will naturally exude outwardly...just remember to take in the moment.

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Lula Geday

Wedding Date: September 2 – 3, 2017 Location: Sedaliaand Denver, Colorado Photographer: Tamara Gruner Photography

1. What do you think of when you hear the term Black Bride Magic? To me, Black Bride Magic speaks to the innate beauty of the black bride — a black woman. This beauty manifests itself within the soul of a black bride but extends to and radiates within all in her presence. Those around her feel her gracious love and energy as she feels the love and energy of those surrounding her, which in turn nurtures her Black Bride Magic. 2. What makes you Magic? I would like to think gracious, unconditional love makes me magic. I am a lover of love, love of all kinds, everyday! Love is the foundation of who I am as an individual, my magic and as a Black Bride. 3. What was the most magical moment on your wedding day? There were several but one that I truly appreciate was our first dance. The Wedding Day is a fun and blessed day but it is busy with many distractions, lovely distractions but distractions. During our first dance, I felt like it was just him and I accompanied by a melody that spoke to our love. 4. What would advice would you give to brides to shine on their wedding day? I would advise brides to remember that the most important and necessary detail of any wedding are the two people that are getting married. Everything you desire as a bride is deserved and should be had, but remind yourself that you are the most beautiful and important detail to your special day. Your unique Black Bride Magic is what’s going to shine the most and be the most memorable moment for your fiancé, you and your loved ones! blackbride.com | 87


then comes marriage

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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then comes marriage

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Photographed by Pharris Photography

C

Camara & Ryan

amara and Ryan first met at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan. They were in the same gym class, but Ryan was a sophomore and Camara was a senior, so they didn’t talk much. Ten years later, Camara and Ryan reconnected via social media. Camara lived in Los Angeles and Ryan lived in Las Vegas, but was moving to Philadelphia. For that reason, Camara invited Ryan to LA so he could crash on her couch and explore the city before his move to the East Coast. They’ve spoken every day since that weekend, and here they are! What makes your love special?

We accept each other for who we are. We are not afraid to grow together. We understand that our marriage and relationship will constantly evolve as we journey through life, and we aren’t afraid to have the “tough, raw conversations.”

The Wedding {Her Story}

I have never been the type of girl who dreamed of her wedding, so I was surprised at how emotional I was throughout the day. My goal for the entire day was to stay in the moment and enjoy every second because it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Walking down the aisle to meet my husband was so surreal. The day was perfect. It was everything and more. The Wedding {His Story}

There are no words to describe the feelings I felt on that day. Memorable Moment

I have so many favorite moments, it’s impossible to choose just one. From my dad walking me down the aisle, to dancing with my husband for the first time, it was all a dream. Everything about that day was a true fairytale. blackbride.com | 91


then comes marriage

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Wedding Song

Major performed his hit “This is Why I Love You,” while my dad walked me down the aisle. Johnny Gill performed, “You For Me” for our first dance. Favorite Wedding Detail

I loved our centerpieces. They were designed by my wedding planner, Diann Valentine, and consisted of three hoops filled with a variety of white floral arrangements. As soon as Diann showed me the concept, I was sold. Circles are symbols that represent unity and eternity, which are principles our relationship and marriage are based on. I loved being able to incorporate something so beautiful as well as symbolic in our own subtle way. What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?

Bride: Camara Mathis

The journey of everlasting love, commitment and growth as we navigate life together.

Groom: Ryan Webb

Wedding Day Advice for a Bride and Groom

Place of Residence: Malibu, California

We had an unplugged wedding ceremony and reception. Guests were required to check in their phones upon arrival. It was probably the best decision I made throughout the entire wedding process. People were actually present, sociable and enjoyed the moment. It created an intimate environment. I definitely recommend it! Other than that, enjoy every step of the process. It’s once in a lifetime, and once it’s over, all you have are the memories.

Wedding Date: 08/26/2017 Wedding Location: Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate, Malibu, California Wedding Theme: Contemporary & Glamorous Honeymoon Location: Bora Bora, French Polynesia blackbride.com | 93


then comes marriage

Photography: Pharris Photography pharrisphotos.com Ceremony Location: Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate maliburockyoaks.com Reception Location: Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Bridal Gown: Ines di Santo inesdisanto.com Bride’s Veil: Lovella Bridal lovellabridal.com Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo jimmychoo.com Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Lawrence Ray Parker lawrencerayconcepts.com Groom’s Tux: Groom Studio Weddings groomstudioweddings.com Wedding Planner: Diann Valentine diannvalentine.com Officiant: Rev. Jesse Jackson twitter.com/revjjackson Cake: Southern Girls Desserts southerngirldesserts.com Stationery: Oda Creative odacreative.com

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P h o t o g r a p h e d b y S ta n l o P h o t o g r a p h y

A

Atarah & Brandon

tarah and Brandon met October 26, 2013, at a Halloween Mansion party in Houston. Atarah was dressed up as Minnie Mouse, and Brandon had no costume but called himself the “Black Frank Sinatra.” Brandon initiated a conversation with Atarah, and they hit it off instantly. They built a friendship and bond like no other, through endless phone conversations, weekly dates, and traveling together the couple became inseparable. They celebrated their union with a chic hotel ceremony followed by a reception on a Yacht in Miami.

out in Houston with friends, Brandon asked Atarah for her hand in marriage. Full of excitement, they partied the night away bringing in 2016 as a newly engaged couple. The Wedding {Her Story}

On my wedding day, I was nervous, not because of me marrying the man of my dreams. Mainly because I’m a perfectionist and wanted everything to be perfect like my planned-out fairy tale. Overall, I had a wonderful experience celebrating with my friends, family and husband.

What makes your love special?

The Wedding {His Story}

We can travel the world together and love each other with no limitations.

Honestly, we were planning for so long (that) I was excited to see Atarah’s reaction. Seeing her happy on our wedding day made me feel complete. I just wanted the best for us. I was glad to indulge in the open bar and

Engagement Story

On New Year’s Eve 2015 (during) a night

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party the night away with my wife, family and friends. The day went by so fast. At the end, I was exhausted. Memorable Moment

Enjoying the best city views of Miami from our wedding venues. Epic Hotel had the best scenic rooftop view, and cruising the city of Miami on a private yacht for the wedding reception (was amazing). Favorite Wedding Detail

Being escorted by the Junkanoo arriving to the wedding reception. What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?

Building an empire together and setting generational wealth. Wedding Day Advice for a Bride and Groom

Enjoy your day. You plan for so long, and the day goes by so fast. Most importantly, invest in your honeymoon. It will be well worth it once you say, “I do.�

Bride: Atarah White, 31, Occupational Therapist Groom: Brandon Kimmons, 30, Pharmaceutical Sales Rep & Real Estate Agent Place of Residence: Houston, Texas Wedding Date: 08/26/2017 Wedding Location: Epic Hotel and Charter One Yachts (Grand Floridian), Miami, Florida Wedding Theme: Old Hollywood Glamour Honeymoon Location: Italy and Greece

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Photography: Stanlo Photography stanlophotography.com Videography: David Hulbert Films davidhulbertfilms.net Ceremony Location: Epic Hotel, epichotel.com Reception Location: Charter One Yachts yachtchartersnow.com Bridal Gown: Brides By Nona, bridesbynona.com Bride’s Hair: Hair by Wyllesheia Myrick Groom’s Tux: Festari (Jr. Tux Designer) festariformen.com Wedding Planner: Kim Wright kbwright14@yahoo.com Caterer: Charter One Yachts Cake Cakes by John johnstephen3378@yahoo.com Music: Gee Smoove Favors: Custom Magazine Prints Accurate Business Systems (ABS) 305.749.6300 Flowers: Designs with Art designswithart.com Officiant: Universal Weddings universalweddings.com

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Photographed by Dmitry Shumanev of Shumanev Productions

C

Chelsea & Jeff

helsea was vacationing in Los Angeles after completing her Master’s degree in Scotland. Little did she know that her friends had orchestrated a dinner date between her and Jeff while she was in town. The two bonded instantly and never looked back. They spent the subsequent several Saturday evenings together immersed in five-plus-hour dinners filled with laughter, discovery and most importantly, great food. After a mere two months, Chelsea had decided that she would not be going back to London and moved in with Jeff. The two became inseparable. This summer, they tied to the knot with a beautiful outdoor ceremony at the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Coast, California.

Utah, for Thanksgiving, as he is an avid snowboarder. Little did I know, he had no plans to snowboard. He had found the perfect ring and waited until a day after Thanksgiving to ask the question at Antelope Valley, Utah – what must be the most romantic, scenic area in all of Utah. While I was still trying to figure out what was happening in the moment while overlooking a view, Jeff took the opportunity to suddenly get down on his knee and ask for my hand. I will never forget (the) thud my heart made, because (I was) screaming, “Yes!” I guess I always thought I would know when it was going to happen. I had no idea and was in complete shock. The Wedding {Her Story}

Engagement Story

Jeff had organized a trip to Deer Valley,

I woke up the morning of the big day in a relaxed solitude, a calm state that I can’t

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precisely describe but what felt like I had the best night’s sleep ever. I imagined I’d wake up nervous and anxious, but surprisingly, I wasn’t at all. After getting ready in the bridal suite with my mom and sister, the calm feeling I felt when I woke turned into pure excitement. I felt the most beautiful I have ever felt with the help of my amazing glam squad. The ceremony was emotional, yet sublime. I had already delegated all tasks for the day so I didn’t involve myself with anything other than feeling great, looking beautiful and most importantly, enjoying every second of it. Memorable Moments

before. I know he is going to be a fantastic father. He also wants seven kids. Wedding Day Advice for a Bride and Groom

The best advice I can give any bride is the same advice given to me on my special day, which made a world of a difference. “Take a moment. Step back and take it all in.” Literally pause and take it all in. The day goes by so fast; we are so caught up in greeting people and smiling that we forget to take the day in. Really look around at everyone in attendance and think about how much they mean to you. It will probably be the only time all those people are in the same room.

Saying our vows. Jeff and I had prepared our vows months before our wedding. I had recited them so many times before our wedding day, I could pretty much remember it offhand. Despite that, in the moment, in front of our friends and family, I could not hold in my tears while reciting my vows and listening to Jeff’s vows. It was truly the most special moment I have ever experienced. Wedding Song

“I Wanna Be,” by Jagged Edge. Jeff, being the chivalrous man that he is, hired a chauffeur for our first date, dinner and a walk along Malibu beach. Once he dropped me home, he called me to tell me how much of a great time he had. I don’t remember the exact conversation, I just know that I was very smitten, and we both fell asleep on the phone to “I Wanna Be,” by Jagged Edge playing from Jeff’s iPad. The song, from that point on, reminded us of the evening our lives changed forever. Favorite Wedding Detail

Our band was electric. We searched endlessly for a band that would encompass our wide selection of music preferences. From old school R&B/hip-hop to soul, country and rock. We listen to it all. After months of searching tirelessly, we found the perfect 9-piece band. Midnight Star with West Coast Music was INCREDIBLE! Looking Ahead

We are most excited about starting a family. There is something incredible about seeing your significant other take on the role as a parent. Every time I see Jeff around his nieces and nephews, I fall in love with him all over again, in ways I have never felt

Bride: Chelsea Lazkani, 24, Real Estate Broker Groom: Jeff Lazkani, 35, Advertising Place of Residence: Los Angeles, California Wedding Date: 08/12/2017 Wedding Location: The Pelican Hill Resort, Newport Coast, California Wedding Theme: Romantic and elegant with ivory and blush tones and gold accents Honeymoon Location: South East Asia blackbride.com | 105


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Photography: Dmitry Shumanev shumanev.com Ceremony Location: The Pelican Hill Resort pelicanhill.com Reception Location: The Pelican Hill Resort Bridal Gown: Zuhair Murad, Dimitria’s Bridal 312.787.0920 Bride’s Hair: Brandin Palestino IG: @bpalestino Bride’s Makeup: Mali Thomas, Mali Magic, LLC Bridal Party Attire: Dollhouse Bridesmaids dollhousebridesmaids.com Groom’s Tux: Tom Ford tomford.com Wedding Planner: Sharon Gall sharon.onceuponatimeweddings @gmail.com Caterer: The Pelican Hill Resort Cake: The Pelican Hill Resort Music: Midnight Star West Coast Music WhosthatDJ - Matt Gudis Favors: Handmade by the Groom’s Mother Flowers: 2 Create Designs 2createdesigns.com Stationery: Handmade by the Groom’s Mother

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Photographed by Elkin Cardona Photography

B

Belkis & Starlin

elkis and Starlin’s love story began in 1997 at a concert in Crotona Park in the Bronx. Belkis was at the concert with her sister when Starlin approached them both. Starlin and Belkis instantly connected and his offer to buy her food sealed the deal. Late that night, Starlin asked her to attend his best friend’s family BBQ around the corner. Usually, she wouldn’t go anywhere with a perfect stranger, but she decided to go this time. They ate tons of food, had awesome conversation and continued talking for hours on the phone once Belkis was home. Twenty years later, this happy couple said, “I do” for a second time, but this time they finally got their dream wedding, a romantic beach wedding at the Huracan Café in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

couples who meet in their teenage years don’t make it this long. We had to grow up together. We had a lot ups and down, but we made it work.

What makes your love special?

The Wedding {His Story}

I think the fact that we met so young. Most

It was long overdue. I knew I had to give her

Engagement Story

The first ring he gave me, I called it the “shut up ring.” I was complaining to him, because his cousin had gotten engaged and she had not been with her partner long. So, I think he felt obligated. He just gave me the ring in my living room on the couch. The Wedding {Her Story}

We were coming up on our 20-year anniversary. I always felt sad that I didn’t get to have an actual wedding ceremony. This time, Starlin was the one that really insisted I do the planning.

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the wedding she deserved. Belkis had been stressing for a couple of weeks. I was glad to finally get it done and have my wife back. Memorable Moments

My favorite moment of the wedding was having people in awe when they saw the ambiance of the venue. It was truly a magical scene that I think the guests really appreciated. There is something carefree about being on vacation and on the beach as the sun sets and the air hits you. It was not only my special day, but theirs, too. Wedding Song

“Mi Corazoncito,” by Aventura. A popular 2006 Spanish song. It was just a song that we loved and enjoy listening to. Favorite Wedding Detail

Everything about the wedding was perfect. All the details, the flowers, the food, the décor and the ambiance. The planner took my ideas and just made it happen. It was exactly what I wanted from a beach wedding. Looking Ahead

I want to continue on the path that we are on, while at the same time evolving and learning to continue gaining more patience, trust and understanding. And work on coming up with even more adventures and wonderful memories. Wedding Day Advice for a Bride and Groom

Just try to relax. Be prepare for things to go wrong. Choose a venue and wedding planner that has a long history of weddings. But most importantly, make it about you two. The day goes fast! the anticipation and enthusiasm of all the planning lasts a whole lot longer, so take time to actually enjoy your day.

Bride: Belkis Mejia, 37, Executive Specialist Groom: Starlin Mejia, 37, Construction and Handy Man Services Place of Residence: New Rochelle, New York Wedding Date: 07/13/2017 Wedding Location: Huracan Café, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Wedding Theme: Beach theme, lots of flowers and candles Honeymoon Location: Aruba blackbride.com | 111


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Photography: Elkin Cardona Photography elkincardonaphotography.com Ceremony Location: Huracan Café huracancafe.do Reception Location: Huracan Café Bridal Gowns: David’s Bridal davidsbridal.com Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Anna Nuet facebook.com/annanuethair/ Bridal Party Attire: David’s Bridal davidsbridal.com Flower Girls: H&M, hm.com Groom’s Tux: Topshop us.topshop.com Wedding Planner: Natalia Roldan for Huracan Café huracanweddingspc@gmail.com Caterer: Huracan Café Cake: Huracan Café Favors: Natalia Roldan for Huracan Café Flowers: Natalia Roldan for Huracan Café Stationery: Natalia Roldan for Huracan Café

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P h o t o g r a p h e d b y L a u r e n C o wa r t P h o t o g r a p h y

Charanna & Jimmy

C

haranna and Jimmy had both been on the dating site OkCupid for a couple of months before Jimmy came across Charanna’s profile and felt compelled to message her. Although both had experienced their fair share of hell dates, after their very first conversation, they knew right away that they both had found something special. After their first date, they were sure that God had answered their individual prayers and they both deactivated their OkCupid accounts and have been together ever since. After four years of dating, the happy couple celebrated their union with a rooftop wedding at the London West Hollywood in Beverly Hills, California. What makes your love special?

Our love is special because it was ordained by God. We truly believe that God orchestrated our union. In a very short time, we’ve

become best friends, purpose partners and soul mates. Engagement Story

I got this outrageous idea to propose at one of our favorite restaurants, Khloe, a French bistro, where we had one of our first dates, but this time, there would be nobody dining with us; we would have the entire place to ourselves. Everything was set and ready for the big day. But on the morning of the proposal day, we received the devastating news that CK’s father had passed away. We were both overcome with grief, but my mother and CK’s mother encouraged me to go through with my plans I had for later that night, because that is what Mr. Parris, CK’s father, would have wanted. So, we switched gears for a moment and gathered ourselves, and prepared to enjoy our date night with heavy hearts. We arrived blackbride.com | 115


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at Khloe and the place was empty. CK questioned me about why there weren’t any other people there. I told her people were running late. After dinner and dessert, I asked her to dance with me. As we were dancing, I had signaled for the photographer I hired to come into the room to capture the moment. Then I asked her to marry me. The Wedding {Her Story}

The morning of our wedding, I woke up and prayed with my mom and my siblings. I felt my dad’s presence and I was at peace. It was the most beautiful day and the atmosphere was charged with positive energy. I was grateful that God had seen us through to that moment. The Wedding {His Story}

I felt so blessed that God would give me a moment like this. I felt as though everything that has gotten me to this supreme moment of my life was all worth it...and to declare my love and commitment to the love of my life was the best feeling ever. Everything leading up to the big day was magical. Memorable Moments

There were so many memorable moments. However, the one we will never forget is when one of my bridesmaids and best friends, Charreah Jackson, surprised us with a special message from Oprah Winfrey at our wedding reception. Favorite Wedding Details

I loved everything about our wedding. The décor was amazing, the food was delicious, the venue was exactly what we wanted. However, my favorite details were our personalized agate stones from Hello Posh and our custom coasters created by Miss Design Berry. Looking Ahead

We are most looking forward to co-creating the life we’ve always imagined. We have so many dreams and aspirations and it’s exciting to know that we get to chase destiny together as husband and wife and partners in purpose. Wedding Day Advice for a Bride and Groom

Hire a wedding planner! Nam Lam of Modern LA Weddings was a Godsend! Planning an LA wedding from New York could have been a disaster, but he was so amazing and his team was on top of every detail so that we could relax and enjoy our special day. Also choose people who will be with you on the journey long after the wedding.

Bride: Charanna Alexander Jean, 33, Owner of Love Ink and Senior Features Editor at Black Bride Groom: Jimmy Jean, 34, Motivational Speaker and Owner of The Road to Purpose, coaching company Place of Residence: New York, New York Wedding Date: 10/15/2017 Wedding Location: The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, California Wedding Theme: Modern Glam Mini-Moon Location: Laguna Beach, California blackbride.com | 117


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Photography: Lauren Cowart Photography laurencowartphotography.com Videographer: Life Film, life.film Ceremony & Reception: The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills thelondonwesthollywood.com Bridal Gown: Ines Di Santo inesdisanto.com Bride’s Robe: Catherine D'Lish boudoirbydlish.bigcartel.com Bride’s Clutch: Eddie Parker edie-parker.com Bride’s Jewelry: Maria Elena Headpieces mariaelenaheadpieces.com Bride’s Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes bellabelleshoes.com Jessica Bedard idowithmyshoe.com Bride’s Hair: Reece Brown-Willis styledbyreece.info Indique Hair indiquehair.com Bride’s Makeup: Unfiltered By Taye styleseat.com/unfilteredbytaye Bridal Party Attire: Vow to be Chic vowtobechic.com Maid of Honor Attire: THEIA theiacouture.com Bridesmaids Robes & Gifts: Loved Ms. lovedms.com Bridesmaids Floral Cuffs: The Valentine Cuffs by Diann Valentine diannvalentine.com Groom’s & Groomsmen Tux: Alexander Nash alexandernash.com

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Groomsmen Gifts: Swanky Badger swankybadger.com Wedding Planner: Modern LA Weddings modernlaweddings.com Officiant: Great Officiants, Stacey Newsome greatofficiants.com Caterer: The London West Hollywood Cake: The Butter End thebutterend.com Music: DJ Lady X, djladyx.com Pan-A-Cea Steel Drum & Calypso Band steeldrumband.net Flowers: Petals LA petalsla.com Stationery: Arion Jamerson artfullymadedesigns.com Photobooth: JBT Modern Booth jbtphoto.com Wedding Broom, Cake Cutter & Champagne Flutes: BodyWerk Jewels bodywerkjewels.bigcartel.com Calligrapher & Agate stones: Hello Posh shophelloposh.com Guestbook & Coasters: Miss Design Berry missdesignberry.com Audio Guestbook: FeteFone fetefone.com Rentals: Elegant Designs Specialty Linens elegantdsl.com Vintage Car: Classy Chassis Rentals classychassisrentals.com

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After the Aisle

Planning Date Night with Your Spouse 6 Fun Dates to Keep Your Love Alive By Rebecca Lynn Pope

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we hav e s a i d “i d o.” n o w wh at ?


W

hether you have been married for a month or thirty years, it is crucial to keep a strong connection with your spouse. Couples in long-term, loving marriages have one common attribute; they still enjoy each other’s company. One of the best ways to remain close is through weekly date nights. These six dates will definitely help keep that spark alive. For bonus points, make it a surprise.

1

Salsa Dancing and Lesson This is at the top of the list, because it is an excuse for you to put on a sexy dress, heels and some red lipstick. There is nothing like holding each other close to remind you both of why you fell in love. Many restaurants offer salsa lessons on certain nights of the week, which means you can combine your outing with a great meal.

2

Picnic in the Park Pack a basket of your favorite treats, grab a blanket and enjoy some kisses over bites of berries and chocolate. This was one of the first dates that my husband and I shared when we were dating. It remains one of our favorites. For a little added romance, create a picnic playlist and set the mood with great music.

3

Private Dinner Instead of going out, invite your spouse to meet you in front of your home at a set time. Blindfold him and drive around the block a few times before returning him home to a candlelit dinner. Add rose petals and take turns feeding each other. Hint: This could be Chinese takeout or homemade meatloaf. All that matters is the romance.

4

Foot Rub and Massage Men love to be pampered, too. Surprise him with a private foot rub and massage after a long day. Men do not often ask for these, but they love both. Buy a scented or warming massage oil that he will love to enhance the experience.

One of the secrets to a long-term marriage is to never stop dating and getting to know your spouse.

5

Concert One of my friends recently attended an outdoor concert, and her husband went the extra mile. He packed a basket with roses, champagne and candles to make their table more romantic. Great music and the company of your spouse is a recipe for a great night out.

of them afford you opportunities for continued connections and fun. With attention to the details and consideration of your spouse’s interests, you can also add to this list with ideas of your own. Get creative, be adventurous, make it sexy and above all else, have fun!

6

Plan a Bae-cation Surprise your spouse with a couples getaway. These can be inexpensive, and even in town. Get a hotel room in your own city and pretend you are both tourists. Go sightseeing, eat at restaurants you have never tried and hold hands as you explore and learn together. Groupon has great last-minute deals, and Airbnb.com has affordable and beautiful accommodations. My husband recently followed just this formula, and it was an absolute blast. Remember: A great date is more about the thought you put into a date than the activity or the cost. None of these dates will break the bank, and yet all

About rebecca lynn pope

Rebecca Lynn Pope is a matchmaker, dating coach and writer. She lives in Covington, GA with her hunky husband and miniature chihuahua. Find out more at rebeccalynnpope.com.

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after the aisle

Make yourself a priority and actively integrate your self care into your daily life.

Self Service Taking good care of yourself is a non-negotiable to your livelihood and everything you touch. Here’s how to love on you as you expand your life. By Charreah K. Jackson | Photographed by Aisha Barnes

Y

ou came into this world with a mission to be your very best self and to enjoy enriching relationships that make it all worth it. Yet these busy times can leave us all feeling rushed. And planning a wedding can leave your energy drained and your relationships strained. Taking good care of yourself is a non-negotiable to your livelihood and everything you touch. Here’s how to shower yourself with more self-care:

1

Add You to the Top of Your To-Do List | As women, we’re often told it’s selfish to focus

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on ourselves. In reality, it’s selfish not to take great care of ourselves so that we give our best to others. Every day, we’re teaching the world how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. The first step to increasing self-care is to unapologetically prioritize yourself and actively integrate your wellbeing into your daily life. Look at your calendar and see how much of your time is given to others. Now schedule routine ME TIME to the calendar for routine care. As a cancer survivor, I am regularly reminded of how much of a gift it is to be alive and the importance of being proactive with caring for ourselves.

2

Own Your Oxygen | So what will you do with your calendared “Me Time?” Having a handy list of your happy places help. Identify five to ten experiences and people that breathe life into you and commit to integrating them regularly into your life. For me, a bath can transform my energy, so I actively make time for them when life speeds up. Certain people (like Black Bride Senior Editor C.K. Alexander) instantly put a smile on my face, so I seek to stay connected. My Happily Ever Now playlist on Spotify has 50 songs that get any woman moving and determined to face the day.


said YES “ You to a wonderful new season. You also get to say “No” to any and everything that does not serve you.”

3

Identify Your Self-Care Signs | It’s imperative to define flags you are close to burnout and overwhelm. Before a storm, there are usually clouds and sometimes thunder. Just as in nature, your Self-Care signs let you know when you are on the brink. My Self-Care sign is my nails and when I start misplacing things. If my nails are looking rough, it's usually a sign I have been on the go and rundown. There's a chance a bill needs to be tended to and there's a follow up exam with my doctor I have delayed. Common Self-Care Signs are piled up mail, skipped meals or unhealthy choices, delayed grooming and clutter. Once you identify the yellow lights of fatigue in your life, you can pay close attention when they happen.

4

Flex Your “No” Muscle | You said YES to a wonderful new season. You also get to say “No” to any and everything that does not serve you. Stay focused on your top priority and release wanting to please everyone else. By being honest with others upfront, you save yourself from wasting energy. You are making a mountain of decisions every day, so don’t feel rushed to give an answer immediately. You can always say “I don’t know” or “I’ll get back to you” to give your mind some time to think things through. If needed, input a

policy on decisions to make sure you’re doing things from joy instead of obligation or pressure.

5

Pack Your Peace | If you are traveling a lot for work or to prep for your wedding, it’s important that your wellness make the trip. This year, I started traveling with candles in my toiletry bag to add some Zen to whatever room I’m in. Find ways to bring joy with you, whether carrying some gemstones in your bag or a small framed picture of the one you love. Get digital by updating all of the background images on your devices with photos that bring a smile to your face. Charreah K. Jackson is the author of Boss Bride: The Powerful Woman's Playbook for Love & Success and ESSENCE Senior Editor. Get a personalized report of what your heart wants most in this season at myheartwants.com and join a community of powerful women at bossbridetribe.com. Catch her on social @Charreah.

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Travel M a r k t h e o c c a s i o n wi t h a g re at t ri p

Las Vegas, the Ultimate Luxury Destination Wedding Guide Black Bride explores Las Vegas to give you the hot spots for your wedding day Dreaming of the perfect Las Vegas wedding? Once known for quick elopements in little chapels on practically every corner, Las Vegas has transformed through the years and host some of the most elaborate weddings in the world. There’s so much to do and experience in Las Vegas. The luxury hotel and wedding venues are pristine, and the service is impeccable. There is literally something for every style; from the super modern brideto-be to the elegant and classic bride. We absolutely love that you can be whisked off in a limo while sipping on champagne to the most perfect wedding venues, attractions and restaurants for Michelin Chef prepared meals. Here are our top Vegas hot spots to help you plan the perfect destination wedding.

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Above Top: Mandarin Oriental.

Where to Stay: Nobu Hotel, Caesars Palace | caesars.com

We recommend Caesars Suites at Nobu Hotel with 182 rooms, including 18 luxury suites and the Nobu Villa. Unlike most hotels in Vegas, Nobu has a distinctly different feel. The stylish and elegant Japanese-inspired interior is mixed with sleek, Zen plum and gold modern touches situated inside a separate tower at Caesars Palace. The hotel provides private check-in and the unique benefit of room service from Nobu’s acclaimed culinary team. To relax and unwind before the wedding activities begin, be sure to enjoy room amenities like the herbal sleep oil and tea. And if that isn’t enough, you can head over to Nobu Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars for a Nobu Zen Massage. You’ll want to go for a VIP Experience at Michael Boychuck’s COLOR Salon for all the beauty services you’ll need for your wedding day beauty glow-up!

Where to Wed: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas | caesars.com

The Chapels at Caesars Palace envelop you in beauty and enchantment. There are several options to choose from which is great, because no two couples are alike. For the outdoor lovers, there

Photograph courtesy of Cashman Photo Left: Caesars Palace.

is the Juno Garden outdoor venue, which seats 100 guests and features an exquisite gazebo, and lush floral landscape. There are three elegant traditional wedding chapels, the Classico, Romano and Tuscana, and two Roman-style themed gardens. The Classico is adorned with chandeliers, stained glass and magnificent floral arrangements. The intimate Romano venue is magnificent in its simplistic Romano detail. The Tuscana offers the timeless charm of Old World Tuscany with a single central chandelier and traditional Italian art. The Venus boast Roman architecture surrounded by palm trees and beautiful blooms.

on the Grand Canal. The Weddings Bridge, located in St. Mark’s Square, is so romantic, right? LOVE, a larger than life installation in the Waterfall Atrium, was created by celebrated artist Laura Kimpton as part of her Monumental Word Series. The installation, perforated with bird-shaped stamps, spells LOVE in steel Ruby red letters that rise 12 feet tall and collectively span 36 feet across, creating a memorable experience. If you have a vision of lush landscape with stunning seasonal décor, then The Palazzo Waterfall Atrium is a perfectly picturesque setting for photos.

The Venetian, Las Vegas | venetian.com

Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas | mandarinoriental.com

If you’re a hopeless romantic and want a ceremony filled with ambiance, The Venetian was voted the “most romantic hotel in Las Vegas” by USA Today. Raise your hand if you’d love to have a serenaded white wedding gondola

What more can we say? As soon as you walk through the door at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, you feel enveloped in luxury. The hotel design is beautifully appointed with super modern décor with amazing city and desert views. blackbride.com | 125


travel If you’re looking for a hotel that offers serenity and luxury in a non-gaming and smoke-free environment, we recommend The Mandarin Oriental. The grand Oriental Ballroom sets the perfect stage for an intimate or exquisite wedding with spectacular views your guests will love. Enjoy the music and be prepared to dance the night away in an ultra-chic scene. The Chapels at Bellagio | bellagio.com

The upscale Bellagio resort in Las Vegas offers two beautiful wedding chapels, the South Chapel, and the East Chapel. The chapels are designed with a European décor theme. If you prefer not to be married in a chapel, the Bellagio offers their Terrazza Di Sogno, or Terrace of Dreams, which is a lovely terrace location for groups up to 34. This wedding location offers stunning views of the Bellagio’s lake and fountains. Oh, the joy of the dancing fountains for a romantic wedding backdrop. The iconic dancing fountains at the Bellagio have been a hit since 1998. And to add to the romantic theme, the fountains will be turned on as your wedding vows are sealed with a kiss! Keep Memory Alive Event Center | kmaeventcenterlasvegas.com

Want the feeling of giving back for your wedding, marry at the Keep Memory Alive Event Center. From the mind of world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the breathtaking event center is as iconic as it is unique. Nestled in the downtown Las Vegas Symphony Park neighborhood and just minutes from all Las Vegas Strip Hotel & Casino properties. Think of it as a blank canvas for your event; where extraordinary dining, an incomparable attention to detail, and the city’s most innovative LED light presentation come together to create a truly unique experience. The best part about choosing to host your wedding at the center is that by doing so, you help to preserve the memory of others. Event proceeds benefit Keep Memory Alive supporting the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health core mission: enhanced treatment, research and the prevention 126 | blackbride.com

Photograph courtesy of Chelsea Nicole Photography | Above: Keep Memory Alive Event Center. Photograph courtesy of Cashman Photo Right: Caesars Palace Chapels.

of brain disorders. Tie the knot while supporting a cause! Wedding Salons at Wynn Las Vegas | wynnlasvegas.com

For the lavish lifestyle bride and groom, The Wedding Salons at Wynn Las Vegas is most definitely ideal for your celebration of love. The Salons are elegant, glamorous and classy. There are several ceremony packages and three luxury venues to choose from. The Lilac Salon seats 65 of your nearest and dearest. The Lavender Salon seats 120. And the Primrose Court seats 100 guests and features a private courtyard with trees and two fountains. You can add additional services to your list like florals, photography, catering, limousine service, and more. Wedding Chapel at Aria Resort & Casino | aria.com

A wedding is magical when everything lines up as planned, including your wedding guest experience. There are so many things we love about the Aria. The fact that ceremonies include a pianist and an option to have a flower wall. But that’s not all. Our favorite experience was a private game lounge for the groom, which features its own pool table and wet bar. The bride and her girls can pop champagne in their own lounge, while guests relax in the fireside lounge with a cocktail.

Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour at Sundance Helicopters | sundancehelicopters.com

The beauty of Las Vegas is that you’re literally a stone’s throw away from one the world’s natural wonders — The Grand Canyon. Sundance Helicopters provides the ultimate luxurious wedding experience, which starts with a limo pick up at your hotel, where you are shuttled to your private 6-passenger helicopter. Sundance Helicopters offers several wedding packages, we recommend the Grand Canyon & Valley of fire Wedding Package. Some of the major highlights include the Hoover Dam, The Valley of Fire and, of course, the Grand Canyon. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the captivating mountain views, which makes for the perfect backdrop for wedding photos. On your way back from the canyon, you will get to experience a beautiful sunset over the fully lit Las Vegas strip.


Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce | lvchamber.com

Brunch at Bardot at ARIA Resort & Casino | aria.com

Finally, if you want a lovely and fun ceremony, check out the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to the history of organized crime and law enforcement. It can be described in three simple words. Memorable. Unique. Iconic. The historic building and three floors of interactive exhibits provide the perfect backdrop for whatever you are planning. An elegant cocktail party for your out of town guests? An intimate rehearsal dinner? A breathtaking wedding? They’ve got you covered.

Imagine yourself at a classic French bistro for weekend brunch, enjoying a delightful Burgundian Escargot wrapped in puff pastry shells, a French Onion Soup with Perigord truffle, and more! Leading the brasserie’s inspired culinary team is Chef Joshua Smith, a Vegas favorite and longtime collaborator with Chef Michael Mina. The French inspired menu is a creation of Chef Michael Mina and features a delicious brunch fair with familiar classics like their delectable french toast made with french brioche bread, or a new twist on waffles with their savory Hunter’s Waffle complete with duck confit.

Where to Dine:

Dinner at Rivea at Delano | delanolasvegas.com

Lunch at Lago at Bellagio | bellagio.com

The Rivea at Delano offers a renewed take on French and Italian influenced cuisine from internationally celebrated Chef Alain Ducasse. Menu items focus on simplicity, with fresh plates by Executive Chef Bruno Riou and the best seasonal ingredients from the West Coast. The atmosphere is laid back with inviting décor design by the acclaimed Parisian design duo Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku. Check out the exclusive private dining room with the best views. If you and your guests are wine lovers, a custom wine pairing for each course by Sommelier Matthew George is a must!

Patio seating while dining is best. The views of the fountain show are spectacular which is an expertly choreographed water, music and light show that can be best seen from the outdoor terrace. Don’t worry about being cold, since there are heat lamps to keep you warm. Friendly servers come around and cater to your every request. They also have meals in small portions, which is fun because you can share meals and interact with your guests. Or you can decide to go it alone. Chef Julian Serrano will not disappoint when it comes your delicious meal. Their drink menu is also quite impressive with a wide range of delicious signature cocktails.

Dinner at MR CHOW | caesars.com

Inspired by MR CHOW’s personality and

style, the restaurant features a comfortable, warm, and welcoming charm. Living room-style furniture, and dynamic sculpture in the center of the room showcases a unique energy reflective of MR CHOW. The cuisine will pay homage to the traditional banquet-style family meal, perfect for your bridal party regardless of the size. Dinner at Twist | mandarinoriental.com

Twist by Pierre Gagnaire celebrates the classic French culinary excellence of Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire. Enjoy five-star service and dramatic views of the Las Vegas Strip from Chef Gagnaire’s first U.S. restaurant. Happy Half Hour on The High Roller at the LINQ Promenade | caesars.com

The iconic Vegas strip is a site that can only be truly appreciated from the sky. Head over to the LINQ, a pedestrianfriendly district with a true neighborhood vibe. It’s also home to the world’s tallest observation wheel, known as the High Roller. The 550-foot-tall High Roller provides incredible views of the Vegas strip from the comfort of a luxurious cabin, which can fit up to 40 people for an ultimate wedding party experience.

Where to Shop: The Forum Shops at Caesars | caesars.com

The Forum Shops at Caesars opened in May 1992 to immediate success!

Above: Nobu Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars. Left: Sundance Helicopters. blackbride.com | 127


travel

Relax, Release and Rejuvenate in

The Big Apple

Where to Unwind in the City that Never Sleeps By C.K. Alexander Jean

T

he big apple is famous for being the city that never sleeps. With hustle and grind being the two words synonymous with your average New Yorker, it’s no surprise that New York has become a haven for spas that take relaxation and beautification to the next level. If you’re looking for your next spa retreat, New York is a destination that offers a bevy of decadent treatments and overwhelmingly gorgeous urban escapes that both tourists and NYC natives will love to try.

1. Unique Body Treatment Guerlain Spa Grand Opening at The Plaza Hotel | 1 W. 58th Street, New York, NY 10019; guerlainspas.com

Previously located at the Waldorf Astoria New York, the Guerlain Spa has moved from one New York City icon to another. It’s new home at The Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue is a peaceful retreat, transporting guests far away from the hustle and bustle of NYC. Everything about the Guerlain Spa exudes elegance, and the top of the line services that incorporate Guerlain’s renowned skincare methods are reason enough to make this the first stop on your spa getaway or staycation. We love that guests are greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne, which is a perfect start to any spa visit. Guests can enjoy services in one of the 11 treatment rooms, with a VIP Couples Suite available for specialty 128 | blackbride.com

Above: Haven Spa; Left: Guerlain Spa at The Plaza Hotel.

services. We recommend the Orchidée Impériale Dual Treatment, which is a 150 min. anti-aging dual treatment that begins with a relaxing massage and ends with a soothing Orchidée Impériale facial that leaves skin glowing. This treatment is perfect for someone who doesn’t want to have to choose between a massage and a facial. It’s the best of both worlds. For about 30 minutes, you will have two pairs of hands treating you at the same time. It’s like a slice of heaven!

2. Best Body Scrub Haven Spa | 250 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10012; havenspa.nyc

If you’re looking for a chic and cozy retreat in the middle of Soho, then Haven Spa is for you. This hidden gem is tucked away on a nondescript street that you could easily miss if you aren’t careful. What we love most about this

intimate spa is that they offer both extended and mini services for a quick fix in between shopping. Haven is known for their inventive spa packages with unique names like the “Spoil Me” treatment and the “Bitch” massage. We highly recommend the “Surf & Turf.” Your treatment starts with an all-over body scrub with super fine salts saturated in aromatherapy oils. Next, you’re cocooned in a hydrating and toning mud to replenish essential nutrients. Lastly, a rich moisturizing crème is applied as the perfect finish. You’ll leave feeling as smooth as a baby’s bottom and feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

3. Perfect Pedicure Eve Salon NYC | 55 W. 8th Street, New York, NY 10011; evesalon.nyc

If you’re looking for a convenient and affordable spa in the heart of the city,


then you want to head straight to Eve Salon. The salon is perfect for quick services like a Mani- Pedi or waxing. After hitting the New York pavement, racking up on chic goodies, you’ll need a pedicure. And Eve Salon has a specialty pedicure called the “Players Pedicure” that will revive your soles. After you kick off your heels, you will be treated to a special callus remover spray that will smooth any callused skin, relax and relieve your tired feet. Next, your feet will be restored to pedi-perfection with a Rosemary Mint Foot Scrub and Cream that creates a tingling sensation to invigorate tired sore muscles. Then, using a customized massage technique with aromatherapy T-Spheres massage balls, your pedicurist will target acupressure points in the feet and legs that will increase balance while helping you to relax. You’ll leave feeling revitalized and ready for your next marathon or shopping excursion.

4. Luxurious Manicure SHIZUKA New York Day Spa | 7 W. 51st Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10019; shizukany.com

Shizuka New York Day Spa is a full service spa, overlooking Rockefeller Plaza that offers everything from facials to massages. They also have a full service nail salon that features elegant and modern nail color choices in a relaxing and tranquil environment. We recommend the Nagomi Manicure, which is a uniquely Japanese manicure that uses natural handmade products mixed right in front of you. This detailed and luxurious nail treatment features fresh lemon, olive oil, soy, rice, and sake to exfoliate, hydrate and protect the skin and nails. This 45-minute treatment is worth the wait and is a one-of-a-kind manicure experience.

5. Holistic Massage Exhale Spa | 18 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10014; exhalespa.com

The Exhale Spa, hidden within the Gansevoort Meatpacking Hotel, is a

relaxing sanctuary designed to restore the mind and body. This modern escape is an intimate spa that offers a full selection of massages, facial treatments, waxing, acupuncture and more. If you’re looking for a massage that is equal parts therapeutic and healing, then make your way down to the Exhale Spa. We suggest the Om body therapy “tui na,” which brings balance to the body with this martial arts based therapy. When you’re done with this body balancing treatment, you can enjoy a soak in the spa pool and lounge to complete your body transformation.

6. Flawless Facial Bamford Haybarn Spa | 60 Furman Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201; bamfordhaybarnspany.com

Bamford Haybarn Spa offers a menu of signature facials and massages featuring their own collection of organic and

Counter Clockwise: Exhale Spa, Bamford Haybarn Spa, SHIZUKA New York Day Spa and Eve Salon NYC.

natural skincare products. The Bamford spa extends its holistic approach into the overall design of this brand new spa, with decor inspired by traditional farming haybarns with natural elements like hand-carved wooden doors, rustic branch shelves, and two full-size tree trunks in the lobby. We recommend the “Bamford Bespoke Facial,” which nourishes the skin while utilizing jade stones and ancient yogic breathing to achieve deep relaxation. No matter what you choose, you’ll leave glowing from the inside out. blackbride.com | 129


travel

Why Your Wedding Guests Will Love Your Miami Matrimony By Emore Campbell

Black Bride scouts Miami’s newly sophisticated appeal, perfect for your wedding day

B

lack Bride editors explored some of the hotels and activities that makeup the budding Miami wedding scene. We’re happy to report: We have discovered exactly why Miami is the perfect place for your upcoming nuptials, honeymoon and bae-cations. We began satisfying our wanderlust at Circa39, a charming boutique hotel located conveniently across the street from Miami’s white sandy beaches. A 10-minute drive from the airport, it features 97 rooms in two buildings connected by a breezy walkway overlooking a whimsical garden courtyard. Rooms are reminiscent of a beach house, complete with white and teak wood furnishings and floors. Black Bride Tip: The WunderGarden, the hotel’s hidden courtyard, is an ideal location for a wedding with up to 40 guests. We kicked off our stay at the hotel’s pool, where couples can enjoy a flight 130 | blackbride.com

of more than 80 buttery rums from around the world at Circa39’s Wunderbar. Imagine your friends gathering around the Wunderbar – or in the adjacent restaurant, Jules Kitchen – walking down memory lane just before you walk down the aisle. Black Bride Tip: To woo your wedding guests, schedule a visit to Miami’s up-and-coming neighborhood, Wynwood, especially Wynwood’s murals and The Wynwood Yard (The Yards). Wynwood, also known as the Wynwood Art District, is home to some of the country’s most beautiful graffiti art. Black Bride got a front row seat on the Wynnwood Grafitti Buggy Tour, taking in the neighborhood’s thriving art scene. From simple black-and-white stripes to intricate Michael Jordan meme art, each building is covered with the inspirations from artists near and far.

They don’t call it happy hour at Palm Hotel & Spa's Essensia Lounge, its called magic hour. Enjoy handcrafted garden-to-glass cocktails, sustainable farmed wines, and artisanal bar snacks.


Black Bride Tip: Consider Wynwood for hundreds of options for the perfect photoshoot backdrop. The Yards is a pop-up entrepreneurial hub with creative food, drink, design and more in a vibrant outdoor setting – picture a European town center meets San Francisco food truck park. Restaurants run the gamut, and Black Bride enjoyed quite a few. Della Heimann, founder of The Yards, owns a refreshing vegan food truck. House of Mac offers face-sized pans of hot, fresh mac and cheese with unique toppings. The Yards’ first and only permanent restaurant, Charcoal, is owned by restaurateur Ken Lyon. The Yards also houses a full herb garden that is available for an elegant rehearsal dinner for parties of 20 or less, a welcome party or a send-off for your wedding guests. Purchase tickets for your guests or have your meal catered by one of the restaurant concepts. Black Bride Tip: After indulging in the cuisines and the fully-stocked bar, enjoy an evening of live music from local artists and bands. After checking into Circa39’s sister property, The Palms Hotel & Spa, Black Bride enjoyed a sunset, seaside Yoga class. We were so relaxed, we almost nama-STED in bed for the rest of the evening. The sanctuary sits waterfront, offering ocean-facing rooms overlooking tur-

Enjoy poolside cocktails and cabanas at Circa39's beachfront pool, just steps away from 39th Street beach access.

quoise waters. The modern guest rooms feature plush robes and optional turndown service, accented by Godiva chocolates as a romantic midnight snack. Couples can choose from a menu of options to exchange vows at The Palms. Ceremony offerings include the Colonial Wedding Gazebo on a lusciously green lawn or the beach, for up to 200 guests. The reception can be cocktail style on the Veranda Terrace, an elegant brunch or dinner at The Grand Tiki, or a designyour-own space using Tiki Huts and Cabanas on the South Lawn. Black Bride Tip: Visit The Palm’s Spa Aveda, a luxury on-property spa with relaxation and beauty services. Drink lots of water post-massage.

After amazing meals at MIAM, All Day Cafe, Essenisa, BarMeli69, and Phuc Yea, countless conversations with Miami’s finest entrepreneurs, and beach- and pool-time relaxation, Black Bride ended the Miami vacation with a paddle boarding session at Miami Beach’s Sunset Harbor. Gliding seamlessly over cool waters – under the direction of a Beach Paddle & Co. guide, we balanced our toes midboard and marked the adventure from our bucket list. To get play-by-plays from our trip on Twitter, check out hashtag #BlackBrideMIA. For Instagram - see our slideshow here. And check out the websites of Circa39 and The Palms Hotels & Resorts for more information about each location.

blackbride.com | 131


travel

Four Underwater Activities

Couples Should Do While in Mexico By Emore Campbell

M

exico’s awesome underwater scene is an adventurous couple’s paradise. Who would’ve thought you could mark off some of your bucket list items so close to home? With direct flights from most major U.S. cities, you can be poolside and enjoying the perks of international travel within five hours. Black Bride ventured to Cancun for a stay at Sandos Lifestyle Resort this summer, and discovered Mexico — below the surface. That’s right, we said below the surface, as in - you’ll need to grab your tightest swimming cap and get in the water, girlfriend. Year round, couples can enjoy the resort’s rhythm experience with topnotch entertainment 132 | blackbride.com

from a resident DJ and cover band, to a hype crew curated to get your booty off the cabana and into the water. The popular all-inclusive resort sports innovative cuisine from its culinary gurus. On property, couples can enjoy a Steakhouse, an all-day buffet, an authentic Japanese hibachi, and an Italian restaurant serving up an eclectic menu. Our first night, we were pleasantly surprised with a private dinner. The first course, corn cappuccino topped with whipped cream, was a sweet yet savory soup made of corn puree and husky seasonings. The night continued with fabulous dinner fare fit for a luxe wedding reception, and tours of two beautiful wedding spaces for parties of 100 or less.

The remainder of our stay was spent within the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, and we couldn’t wait to tell couples about what happens when they enter the deep end. Want to do something Instagram-worthy with your boo? Love swimming and adventure? Check out our four underwater activities you must try during your next trip to Cancun. Underwater Museum

Imagine walking hand and hand through a quite museum admiring the artwork and chatting about the textures and colors. Now throw that image out the window, and grab a pair of goggles and fins as you admire the blue waters


whirling around you. Cancun is home to MUSA, an underwater museum of over 470 underwater statues. Dropped in place by global artists, each statue is home to droves of wildlife that you get a first row seat to as you snorkel atop. The 45-minute tour is guided by trained snorkelers who can point out the rare, the wild, and the dangerous. You and your hubby will definitely find the experience exhilarating. Take Pictures

With the invention of the GoPro and waterproof phone cases, it’s easier than ever to snap shots any and everywhere. Cancun’s blue waters are ideal for capturing images you never thought possible. Use this time to find each other’s best angles, and take some extra moments appreciating each other’s good looks and charm. Swim With Whale Sharks

Okay — I know you’re blank staring at us right now, so let me explain. Yes, whale sharks typically span from 18 to 32 ft. in size and 60 tons in weight. But they’re one of the ocean’s most gentle dwellers. Adults tend to be about 35 years old and inhabit the warm waters from Mexico to Africa, and all through the Caribbean. Boaters start searching for the enormous creatures to surface and then escort daring swimmers in their direction. Knowledgeable guides jump in with pairs of swimmers, and instruct you to swim by the gigantic fish’s side. The one rule is to look, but don’t touch, as our hands have chemicals that are harmful to the spotted skin of the whale shark. With butterflies and a Y.O.L.O attitude, we jumped in, and had our paparazzi snapping pictures from behind. Hydrotherapy

More on the land loving side? No worries, Sandos has a few underwater activities that are a bit more tame. Spa Del Mar is an idyllic place for relaxation, leisure and beauty. For a below surface experience, guests can enjoy a steam room, inhalation and sauna rooms, Jacuzzis, and a cold immersion pool. We spent 35 minutes in total relaxation, starting with the steam room, then detoxifying in the

Photographs courtesy of Sandos Lifestyle Resort | Sandos Cancun Lifestyle Resort is home to the Rhythm experience where food, fashion, and culture blend together.

sauna followed by a chilling dip in the cold immersion pool. Plunging your entire body into below freezing waters is a terrifying thought until you step out feeling invigorated and alive. Visit sandos.com for more information.

(Above) In 2009, a monumental underwater contemporary museum of art called MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) was formed in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc. blackbride.com | 133


The

Bridal Suite

collective of fine vendors Artfully MAde Designs

find a vendor in your area

Artfully Made Designs merges art design with creative problem-solving — creating designs for all of life’s special moments including weddings, anniversaries, showers, and more. Location: New York/New Jersey Category: Graphic Design Email: arion@artfullymadedesigns.com Phone: 646.820.5138 Website: artfullymadedesigns.com

Eco Post Events

As Kansas City's Certified Green Event planners, we consider it an honor to create lush and memorable experiences while presenting Eco-friendly solutions to all our customers' event needs.

Location: Overland Park, KS Category: Floral Design & Planning Email: erika@ecoposhevents.com Phone: 816.237.8761 Website: ecoposhevents.com

Love Ink

Love Ink is 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, toasts, speeches, thank-you cards, poems, wedding ceremonies, love stories, and more.

Location: New York, NY Category: Wedding Vow Coaching and Writing Hours: Open Daily Email: ckalexander@myloveink.com Website: myloveink.com

134 | blackbride.com


Maddie Mae Photography

Maddie Mae is a fearless destination wedding photographer for daring couples and their adventurous outdoor weddings, elopements, and engagements all over the world.

Location: Denver, CO Category: Weddings, Elopements, & Engagements Hours: Sun-Sat, 9am-9pm Email: maddie@maddiemaephoto.com Phone: 719.287.6005 Website: maddiemaephoto.com

Montenegro Photography

Location: Yonkers, NY Category: Wedding Photography Email: manuel@montenegrophotography.com Phone: 646.284.4363 Website: montenegro-photography.com

Wasio Photography

My vision is to portray the true beauty of every woman. Feminine, tasteful, elegant, and timeless elements are in every woman, but sometimes they need to be brought out.

Location: Chicago, IL Category: Boudoir Hours: Open Daily Email: info@wasiophotography.com Phone: 708.268.5725 Website: wasiophotography.com blackbride.com | 135


our events

Memories from the Bridal Brunch Dallas Crescent Court Hotel | Dallas, Texas | July 30, 2017 Our exclusive bridal events are fun, informative, interactive, and feature the best wedding professionals in the industry from around the United States. This year, we took the Bridal Brunch south to Dallas, Texas for a luxury, intimate boutique-style wedding event complete with elite wedding professionals, a high fashion bridal gown segment, and tantalizing brunch fare. There wasn’t an empty seat in the beautiful ballroom on the fun-filled afternoon. Engaged couples had an all-access pass to expert panelists, live entertainment, and went home with a swanky gift bag. Photography by Amber Knowles, The Amber Studio

Thank you to ou r s p ons or s a nd ve ndor s Photography: Amber Knowles Photography; Event Host: Swank Soiree; Event Venue: Hotel Crescent Court; Floral Design: Haute Florals; Event DĂŠcor: A Very Special Day; Desserts: Sweet Thangs by Lo, Runway Design: Chivari Chairs of Dallas, Bridal Gowns: White Gown Workroom; Models: Stephanie Robinson, Christina Mcswain, Jasmine Toney, Rosie Lawrence, Brianna Bradshaw; Hair & Makeup Artist Models: Lip Service Makeup; Makeup Artist: Black Bride Team, Unfiltered by Taye; Graphic Designer: Bees Knees Design; DJ & Videography: Harmland Visions; Prizes & Gifts: Todd Hunter, ORS, Loved Ms, High Fashion Home, Bloomingdales 136 | blackbride.com


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Black Bride Magazine: The Planning Issue Vol. 5  
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