BLACK BRIDE MAGAZINE | WINTER 2021-22

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The Ultimate Resource for Before and After "I do"

MAGAZINE Vol. 12

Fashion Model, Actress, Activist

MAME ADJEI

ON HER ENGAGEMENT TO

KWABANA SETH ODURO

Actress Raven Goodwin & Wiley Battle SHARE THEIR love ory

Plus

Couples Share Lessons of Love and Life

AFTER THE AISLE

THE FASHION ISSUE LOOKS TO WOW ON Your Wedding Day B L AC K B R I D E .CO M

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T H E D AY Y O U ’ V E A LW AY S D R E A M E D O F Take the first steps of your new life together at the magnificent Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Whether you’re celebrating with grandeur for hundreds or planning a small gathering for those closest to you, our team has options for all types. Choose from several large ballrooms or select a more intimate space like our

Pulse Loft or Skyline Level, all with customized menus to reflect your distinct tastes. Relax with a pre-wedding massage and beauty treatment at our Spa while our professional teams of planners, caterers and events specialists create a day you’ll never forget.

©2019 Marriott International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All names, marks and logos are the trademarks of Marriott International, Inc., or its affiliates.

AT L A N TA M A R R I OT T M A RQ U I S 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30303 404.521.0000 | AtlantaMarquis.com @ATLMarriottMarq 2

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

WINTER 2022

B:11.375 in

S:9.875 in

T:10.875 in

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Cover Story

A LOVE MET WITH PURPOSEFUL INTENTION Mame Adjei & Kwabana Seth Oduro

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Volume 12 Mary Chatman Editor-in-Chief Scott Chatman Chief Financial Officer Candice Davie Associate Editor Carly Totten Deputy Copy Editor Ty Davenport Senior Digital Marketing Specialist Amber Spence Sales Associate Toneka Royal Columnist

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Actress Raven Goodwin shares how she met the love of her life, Wiley Battle

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sylvia Brownlee Patricia Davis B. Gandy Stephanie Kilson-Thomas Shardae and Emmett Orr Cheryl Polote Williamson Nishaka Proctor Carmen and Will Watkins Shannon SG Jarrett Design, Art Direction & Production Mary Chatman Publisher

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Be Your Own Relationship Goals: Create Without Comparison Cheryl Polote Williamson

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Published by BLACK BRIDETM 320 Town Center Avenue Suite C-11 Suwanee, GA 30024 Copyright © 2022 Black Bride. All rights reserved.


First Comes Love:

Then Comes Marriage:

Health & Beauty

Real Engagements

Real Weddings

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Krystle and Joshua

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Miami, FL

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Janay and Jeremy

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Lauren and Shaq

New Braunfels, TX

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Orlando, FL

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Courtney and Leepole

Katherine and Roddy Chattanooga, TN

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How to Choose Your Bridal Makeup Artist

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Choosing the Right Hairstylist for Your Wedding :

Shantel and Otis Nashville, TN

Julie and John Atlanta, GA

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Planning for Your Big Day

Sydnie and Will

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Savannah, GA

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Janea and Marquis

Aisha and Jordan Birmingham, AL

Elevating Your Wedding Day Style with Accessories: Tips to Turn Your Bridal Look Editorial

Claymont, DE

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Brides and Breakouts: A Guide to Preparing Your Skin for Your Big Day

Houston, TX

Red Rock Canyon, NV

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Fatimat and Kingsley

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Benefits and Tips of Couples Fitness: Get Fit for Your Wedding Day

In Every Issue

Planning

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Editor’s Letter

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Our Favorite Things

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Real Engagements

74

Real Weddings

140

After the Aisle

Travel

40

Bridal Beauty Glam

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A Parisian Dream

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Fashion Inspiration Boards

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How to Realistically Budget for Your Wedding

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148

Best All-Inclusive, Adults-Only Resorts for Your Winter Honeymoon

Bridal Suite 156

Collection of Fine Vendors Resource Guide

Bridal Fashion Trend Report

FOR MORE, SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY Everything you need to plan your dream wedding: Inspiration • Real Weddings • Fine Vendors

GET SOCIAL WITH US! /blackbride1998

@blackbride1998

/blackbride

/blackbride

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UNFORGETTABLE WEDDINGS AND PRIVATE EVENTS 4 0 4 9 9 5 75 5 0 | WA L D O R FA S TO R I A AT L A N TA .CO M 3 376 P E AC H T R E E R D N E , AT L A N TA , G A 3 0 3 2 6 6

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DEAR BRIDES, Happy New Year! Congrats on your engagement. Whether you are newly engaged, or you’ve been waiting to marry the love of your life for months or even years, we commend you for being patient, flexible, and creative as you navigate your way down the aisle. Just like 2021, 2022 is gearing up to be a very busy wedding season, and we cannot wait to see and share your love stories and the details your creative professionals design for you. This issue is all about bridal fashion! As we continue to navigate through to a post-COVID life, we recommend working with a planner who can help you to navigate the CDC’s ever-changing gathering guidelines. We also take note that there have been many changes to the world as we knew it. Part of the change helped move the industry forward and pivot into a new direction as it relates to bridal style and a desire to move past traditional white dresses with lots of tulle and sparkle. The looks in our cover story are a variety of designs from various 2022 collections that showcase classy, elegant styles suitable for everything from your bridal shower to your wedding day and beyond. Of course, this issue is all about love, too! I sat down via Zoom with “Being Mary Jane” actress Raven Goodwin, who shared her endearing, manifested love story and intimate dream wedding with her financial executive beau, Wiley Battle, in Santorini, Greece. Also, be sure to check out the cover story featuring stunning model, actress, and activist Mame Adjei and her dapper actor fiancé Kwabana Seth Oduro. Mame is a real gem to work with — a professional that moved about like a chameleon in each look we styled for her.

For more inspiration and wedding vendor information, visit our website at www.BlackBride.com, follow us on Instagram @BlackBride1998. Email us at hello@blackbride.com and let us know what you think of the winter issue.

As you flip through the 2021/22 winter issue, know we are so honored and excited to share Black love stories! We hope you can see your own story reflected back at you as you read about the love between real couples, and we hope you feel inspired by the work amazing wedding professionals are doing to bring your vision to life on your big day. Like all of the content we share, we curate it just for you — and I’m so excited for you to explore every page. Cheers to love, health, and 2022!

Mary

Mary Chatman Editor-in-Chief

CHECK OUT OUR EDITORS’ TOP PICKS FOR THE SEASON

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Editors' Top Picks

Here are a few of our favorite things for the season

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Pink Moon Rose Quartz Gua Sha Facial Tool $35; Pinkmoon.co

L O V E 2022 Planner $28.99; Papier.com

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Urban Skin Rx Even Tone Super Glow Serum $23.99; Urbanskinrx.com


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Yves Saint Laurent Libre Eau De Parfum $132; yslbeautyus.com

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Delon Candle $38; Deloncandles.com

Silver and Riley Durban Convertible Crossbody and Clutch Leather Bag $295; Silverandriley.com

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COVER SHOOT CREATIVE TEAM...

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he vision for the cover shoot was to highlight cover-girl Mame Adjei and her fiancé. It’s an honor to share their love story, while telling a story about bridal fashion. Through the couple, the cover story features new semi-formal and formal looks and style trends that are refreshing and forward thinking. From the bachelorette to the bridal shower, and the wedding to the afterparty, day-after brunch, and honeymoon, we wanted to showcase plenty of looks in this issue to offer the most inspiration to you, our readers. We also want to extend a special thank you to Jean Cedric (@jeancedricd) for designing the textured watercolor backdrop inspired by the sky, sand, and sea. It’s a place where most of us want to be! Meet the creative team that came together to make it happen!

CREATIVE DIRECTION Mary Chatman Editor-in-Chief Black Bride Magazine

PHOTOGRAPHER Amy Anaiz Amy Anaiz Photography Amy Anaiz is an intimate editorial wedding and portrait photographer based in New York City. She is keen on creating beautiful, joyous, and heartfelt imagery that tells a story. Her style is focused on connecting with her subjects and capturing the emotion and personality of everyone she works with while using beautiful, flattering light, paying close attention to detail. IG:@AMYANAIZPHOTO | AMYANAIZ.COM

SET DIRECTOR Tony Minifield YNOT Images

SET LOCATION Chil Studios Located in the heart of the historic West End and Adair Park, the studio consists of sleek, warehousestyle production and event spaces that are conveniently housed inside MET Atlanta. The studio spaces are designed by creatives with professionals and content creators in mind. With over 3,000 square feet of minimalistic creative space, the possibilities of what you can do are endless. IG: @CHILSTUDIOS |CHILSTUDIOS.COM

Antonio "Tony" Minifield is the lead photographer at YNOT iMages LLC. He has the honor of having his wife, Haley Minifield, as his main second shooter. Tony and Haley are passionate about love and people. Their #1 focus is wedding photography and cinematography and have been in business for 11 years. In addition, they have been a part of the Black Bride family since late 2014. They believe that the key to their success in capturing people's special days is not just the lighting or the angles; it’s the EXPERIENCE! IG: @YNOT_IMAGES | YNOTIMAGES.COM

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BRIDAL FASHION STYLIST

Dara Adams Veil by Dara Adams

Dara Adams is the founder and lead stylist of the bridal fashion styling agency, Veil by Dara Adams. Dara created VBDA to give Black Brides a safe space to express their authentic selves through bridal fashion. When styling her clients, she feels it’s necessary to not only recognize their lifestyle, culture, and values but also to use it as the inspiration to create and execute a personalized wedding day look that truly reflects the unique essence of each client. Dara lives in Brooklyn, New York, but she enjoys styling weddings and editorial projects worldwide. IG: @VEILBYDARAADAMS | VEILBYDARAADAMS.COM

BEAUTY

B. Gandy

B. Gandy is a highly sought-after Luxury Bridal Makeup Artist based in Atlanta, Ga. With over 15 years of expertise in beauty, Bee has dedicated her career to creating Iconic Red Carpet Inspired Looks for Women of Color. As a leader in the industry, Bee has expanded to education and continues to raise the bar as it relates to make up for Black Women. It is her belief that every Bride deserves to look and feel her absolute BEST on her wedding day IG: @BFORBEAUTE.CO

GROOM FASHION STYLIST

Aaliyah Taylor The Favorite Life Inc.

Aaliyah Taylor is a Costume Buyer and Beauty & Wardrobe Consultant. Throughout her career she has styled television commercials, ad campaigns, music videos, as well as fashion photo shoots and runway productions. Along with commercial projects, Aaliyah enjoys styling her private clients. Aaliyah always strives to improve a person’s confidence through the enhancement of their own personal style. IG: @OOHLALA_LILI

SET ASSISTANCE

Megan Pennan - Intern

Megan is an aspiring luxury bridal stylist, with an eye for bridal fashion and style. Megan has styled dozens of brides during her tenor at Winnie Couture.

HAIR

Tevin Tribble

IG: @TEVIN_TRIBBLE

IG: @OHMYMEGAN

*The textured watercolor backdrop is inspired by the sky, sand, and sea. It’s a place where most of us want to be!

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Sandra Garcia Bridges Bridges Cinema Bridges Cinema is a husband-andwife team with a passion for family, music, and creativity. The couple loves creating films that are unique, timeless, and emotional. Their style is unobtrusive, but they are sure to capture moments that will be preserved forever. They create cinematic films that capture timeless and emotional moments. IG: @BRIDGESCINEMA | BRIDGESCINEMA.COM

CUSTOM BACKDROP DESIGN

Jean Cedric

Jean Cedric graduated with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the University of the District of Columbia. He is a graduate student currently based in Rockville, Maryland. Jean is a creative individual who thinks outside of the box. Passionate about his work, he aspires to use it to impact the world around him. IG: @JEANCEDRICD | JEANCEDRIC.COM

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Brides vs. Breakouts:

A Guide to Preparing Your Skin for Your Big Day WRITTEN BY SYLVIA BROWNLEE

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f you’re a bride-to-be, you don’t have time to waste on skin products that may not work. You want a fool-proof routine that guarantees clear skin in time for your wedding photos. Here it is! Good news: There is a plan for your specific skin to prevent breakouts before and on your big day. Much like planning your wedding, it will be a time commitment that requires consistency and a little professional help. And the sooner you start planning, the better the outcome. Here’s what you should consider when planning for beautiful skin on your wedding day. CONSULT AN ESTHETICIAN EARLY IN YOUR WEDDING PLANNING. Don’t go at it alone, especially if you have a history of skin challenges like acne or eczema. The stress of planning a wedding can make things worse, and some factors that trigger skin blemishes are beyond the control of most skincare products. An esthetician can quickly isolate the root cause of your skin challenges and create a plan specific to your skin’s needs — saving you the guesswork.

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Even though it’s exciting, wedding planning can be a stressful time. Don’t get so caught up in managing all the details that you forget to do things you enjoy during this time as well. Stress management is even more important during life-changing events. Keep up with your self-care routine. Remember, stress also shows up on your skin.

RELAX. ENJOY PLANNING YOUR WEDDING. Even though it’s exciting, wedding planning can be a stressful time. Don’t get so caught up in managing all the details that you forget to do things you enjoy during this time as well. Stress management is even more important during life-changing events. Keep up with your self-care routine. Remember, stress also shows up on your skin.

COMMIT TO YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE AND PLAN. For the best results, you must stay diligent with what your esthetician lays out for you. Stay consistent with: 1.

Your consultation appointments. Your esthetician needs to observe your skin regularly to track your progress and make changes to your plan as needed.

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Your home routine. What you do at home is just as important as what happens in your esthetician’s office. Keep washing your face twice a day and use the products your esthetician recommends as often as required.

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Your lifestyle changes. Your esthetician may recommend you switch laundry detergents, hair products, even your diet. You have to trust the process to see results.

Sylvia Brownlee is an esthetician and holistic acne specialist. She founded Skin By Brownlee & Co. in 2015 to bolster the confidence of each client by helping them achieve the clear complexion of their dreams. Along with providing inhouse treatments at her luxe, Cincinnati, Ohiobased spa, Brownlee has extended her knowledge to service the needs of clients nationwide with a line of high-performance skin care products. To find out more about Skin by Brownlee and co: IG: @skinbybrownleeandco Email: hello@skinbybrownleeandco.com Web: skinbybrownleeandco.com B L AC K B R I D E .CO M

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How to Choose Your Bridal Makeup Artist WRITTEN BY B. GANDY

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o, you’re getting married! What an exciting time! You’ve booked your venue, maybe even selected your photographer and are now ready to nail down your glam squad. Between Instagram, Pinterest, and your friend group chat, I’m sure you’ve seen tons of looks and may even be a little overwhelmed at this point — decision making fatigue, as they call it. Here are a few tips to help you find the best Beauty Pro for you! CONSIDER THE 3 PS: PROFESSIONALISM, PORTFOLIO AND PRESENTATION! You can find out a lot in a simple scan of a vendor’s page and website. Ask yourself if what you see is the level of professionalism you would want for your big day. Then look at their portfolio to see if their work is in alignment with your style. Lastly, do they take pride in how they present themselves and their work? If so, you’re heading in the right direction!

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CONSISTENCY IS KEY! In a world of Snapchat filters, Photoshop, and edits, it may be hard to determine if an artist’s work is a true reflection of their skillset. Look for consistency in the quality of looks being produced. If you’re unsure, schedule a preview, and give yourself an opportunity to see the makeup in person. REPRESENTATION MATTERS As WOC it’s often difficult to find images of brides that look like us. With that said, you want to be sure the artist you choose for your wedding day is well versed in doing makeup for different skin tones and types. Make sure you see yourself, and women like you, present in their work.

Do you know the difference between being a makeup artist and a bridal makeup artist? E AND E Do you know the difference between being a makeup artist and a bridal makeup artist? Experience and expertise! From logistics to crisis management and scheduling, there are many factors and scenarios that a bridal makeup artist is expected to handle that do not occur in other settings. REVIEWS & REFERRALS

Make sure you see yourself and women like you present in their work.

Is it just me, or do you love to read reviews too? Formal reviews via Google and Yelp or even comments on Instagram and Facebook are all great places to go to get the inside scoop on a vendor from real clients. Of course, personal referrals are always great because they’re from someone you know and trust!

B. Gandy is a highly sought after Luxury Bridal Makeup Artist based in Atlanta, Ga. With over 15 years of expertise in beauty, Bee has dedicated her career to creating Iconic Red Carpet Inspired Looks for Women of Color. As a leader in the industry, Bee has expanded to education and continues to raise the bar as it relates to makeup for Black Women. It is her belief that every Bride deserves to look and feel her absolute BEST on her wedding day.

WATCH OUT FOR RED FLAGS Did an artist send a quote with a cost that’s significantly less? Is the artist inexperienced? Could they be using subpar products, or cutting corners in sanitation guidelines? What about artists who take weeks to respond to you? These are red flags you should take into consideration before booking an artist for your big day.

To find out more about B For Beauty Co: Email: info@bforbeaute.co Website: bforbeaute.com Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography, Ashley Nicole Photo, Andre Brown Photography, Lorraine Dawkins Photography

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Real Engagements How real couples knew they were the "one" for each other

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY REEM PHOTOGRAPHY Make Up by Unbeatable Faces

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Krystle Joshua D

uring a hot summer, Krystle was rushing to get to her visiting student rotation in emergency medicine. As a bright-eyed medical student currently studying in Chicago, she was excited to be back in New York City. Donna, a physician assistant at the local hospital, introduced her to Joshua, a busy emergency medicine intern. Before he walked away, Donna whispered to him, “She’s amazing. Make sure to ask her out. I bet you won’t be disappointed.” Joshua brushed it off, deciding it was better to focus on work. Krystle and Joshua often found themselves working closely together during the rotation and developed a friendship. The following spring Krystle was graduating from medical school and found out she was selected to pursue her medical residency at the same program as Joshua! The two reconnected and this time Joshua asked Krystle to lunch, and she gladly accepted!

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After seeking God in prayer, the two have decided to spend the rest of their lives together. They seek to honor God in their union and to be a blessing to their families and community. Check out their dreamy engagement session captured by Reem Photography. ENGAGEMENT STORY: Joshua recreated their first date at Brooklyn Bridge Park. He woke up early in the morning and asked Krystle to meet him at the park the following day before sunrise. When Krystle arrived, Joshua had an entire romantic picnic, complete with a large blanket, two champagne flutes, her favorite wine, candles, music playing in the background, and he was dapperly dressed in a three-piece suit!


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FOR THE GROOM: WALK US THROUGH THE BEHIND THE SCENES OF CREATING THIS SPECIAL DAY Surprising Krystle is a tricky task within itself because she likes to plan and schedule outings. For this outing, she tried to cancel an hour or two prior to our meeting because she went to sleep late the night before. To not raise suspicion, I told her it was alright if we cancelled and rescheduled for another day. Luckily, that threw off her inquisitive nature! Needless to say, when she walked into the park and saw the elaborate picnic display, she was pleasantly surprised!

WERE THERE ANY MEMORABLE MOMENTS DURING THE SHOOT?

Bride: Krystle Lexi, Physician

The photographer made every outfit change a phenomenal experience, and we were able to really get in tune with the feel of the venue!

Groom: Joshua Omar, Physician

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT YOUR WEDDING? We are most looking forward to being with all of our closest friends and family. Their presence means the world to us on our special day!

Place of Residence: New York Engagement Shoot Location: Miami , Florida Wedding Date: January 2022 Photographer: Reem Photography reemphotography.com IG: @photosbyreem Wedding Planner: Daybreak Management Group daybreakmanagementgroup.com IG: @DaybreakManagementGroup Makeup Artist: Unbeatable Faces FB: @unbeatable.faces Venue: The Cruz Building cruzbuildings.com IG: @thecruzbuilding

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY MFIELDS PHOTOGRAPHY Make Up by Shonté Baltess | Hair by Brandi Frye

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Janay Jeremy S

ocial media is where sparks flew for Janay and Jeremy in June 2019. The two met via Instagram, and a few months later they officially became a couple. Janay and Jeremy have watched their love grow since then, and now they are preparing to tie the knot next summer. Check out more from their scenic desert engagement session captured by MFields Photography. ENGAGEMENT STORY: Jeremy and I were scheduled to do a staged couples shoot with our photographer, Myron Fields. Jeremy told me they were going to get a few solo shots of him, and they’d call me when they were ready for me. When I arrived at the location, my initial thought was, “Oh shoot! It’s happening!” I quickly told myself to calm down because I didn’t want to be embarrassed if it really was a staged shoot. As I’m walking up, I saw my mom, Jeremy’s mom, and siblings walk out. I became overwhelmed with emotion because I knew what was about to happen. After he asked me to spend

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forever with him, and I said yes, we took a few photos and then made our way to what I thought would be an intimate brunch with our families. I walked into the restaurant where all of our close friends were waiting to celebrate. It was such an amazing day! FOR THE GROOM: WALK US THROUGH THE BEHIND THE SCENES OF CREATING THIS SPECIAL DAY Creating this day had its fair share of hurdles. I purchased the ring from a company, only to be notified that the ring was sold, and they would refund me. Luckily, I found another ring that I knew Janay would love just as much if not more. I know that she is very close to her friends and family, so she’d want to celebrate with them, but I also knew that we both wanted the proposal to be a more intimate moment. So, I decided that only immediate family members would attend the proposal. Our friend and photographer, Myron, traveled from Washington D.C. to Durham, NC to capture this major milestone for us.


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WERE THERE ANY MEMORABLE MOMENTS DURING THE SHOOT? The most memorable was simply the team that we worked with. It was nice to have close friends and family help to pull it off. My sister did my makeup, a childhood friend did my hair, and Jeremy’s brother and sister came along to help. Jeremy’s sister saved the day with my dress because it didn’t arrive until after Jeremy and I had already flown out of North Carolina. WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT YOUR WEDDING? We’re looking forward to celebrating with family and friends, but we’re most excited to start a new chapter in life together.

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Bride: Janay Baltes, 31, Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Groom: Jeremy Davis, 31, Project Manager Place of Residence: Durham, North Carolina Engagement Shoot Location: Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, NV Wedding Date: June 25, 2022

Photographer: MFields Photography mfieldsphotography.com IG @mfieldsphotography Hair: Brandi Frye IG: @bflyyexperience Makeup Artist: Shonté Baltes IG @shonnib30


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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DERRIOUS ROBINSON Make Up by Xiomy Santels | Hair by Jamela Nuriddin

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Lauren Shaq L

auren and Shaq found love in the club on a Thursday night in 2013! The two locked eyes and even though there was chemistry they played it cool while in the club. As Lauren was leaving, Shaq ran to the car to ask her for her name and number. Five minutes after driving away, Lauren sent him the first text and now they are preparing to become husband and wife! Check out their engagement session captured by RTW Photography. ENGAGEMENT STORY: I knew that I would propose to her on my graduation date, but when COVID came it kind of stifled my excitement for the day as my graduation was now set to be virtual. Lauren insisted that we still have a party, and I agreed because I knew that I would now have the perfect distraction for her. I told her to come into town early because I wanted to go to a nice dinner with her before family got into town. Once we got to the restaurant, I asked her if she wanted to go and see the rooftop

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view. We went outside, and she was skeptical but there was nothing outside. After returning to the table, I told her I forgot to show her something. When she came outside again, all of her friends and family were there, and she realized what was going on. I dropped down on one knee and asked the woman of my dreams to marry me. FOR THE GROOM: WALK US THROUGH THE BEHIND THE SCENES OF CREATING THIS SPECIAL DAY I had already spoken with her dad the previous year to ask for his blessing, which I knew was important to her. I felt like I had gathered enough information to buy a ring, so I did just that. Then, one day she showed me a wedding ring she really liked that was totally different from what I had already bought! After she went back home, I rushed back to the jewelry store to swap the rings out. It was very stressful, but I wanted her to have the ring of her dreams!


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WERE THERE ANY MEMORABLE MOMENTS DURING THE SHOOT? Derrious, our photographer, told Shaq to whisper “sweet nothings” in my ear, and we got so many pictures of pure, genuine laughter and playfulness, which is typical to us. Also, a man offered to capture everything with his drone and offered to share his footage with us for FREE! WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT YOUR WEDDING? We are excited about seeing our love come full circle and celebrating that very special moment with family and friends!

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Bride: Lauren Thornton, 26, Second year Medical Student Groom: Shaq Nuriddin, 28, Manager at Amazon and Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force Place of Residence: North Carolina Engagement Shoot Location: Orlando, Florida Wedding Date: April 2023

Photographer: Derrious Robinson RTW Photography ridethewave.co IG: @rtwphotography_ Wedding Planner: Daybreak Management Group daybreakmanagementgroup.com IG: @DaybreakManagementGroup Hair: Jamela Nuriddin IG @kreationsbymela Makeup Artist: Xiomy Santel IG: @Xiomyslays


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PHOTOGRAPHED BY FOTOS BY FOLA

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Katherine Roddy I

t was 2014 when Katherine was out and about in Midtown Atlanta celebrating with friends. Roddy approached her assuming they had met before, but they had not. The two exchanged phone numbers, and it would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship and relationship. Now Roddy and Katherine are preparing to take on the next chapter of their lives together as husband and wife. Read more of their love story, and check out their beautiful engagement session with Fotos by Fola behind the lens.

ENGAGEMENT STORY: We were at home one day after leaving the gym and heading to lunch. We were having a serious talk about our future when Roddy went into his closet, brought out the ring, and asked me to be his wife. It was very unexpected. The ring was gorgeous, and I just lost it. I was so happy and in shock all day. It felt like a dream!

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FOR THE GROOM: WALK US THROUGH THE BEHIND THE SCENES OF CREATING THIS SPECIAL DAY It was very simple. I didn’t want to make it a huge thing, but just me and her. I love Katie, and I knew it was time for us to be engaged. In the house that day just seemed like the right time.

WERE THERE ANY MEMORABLE MOMENTS DURING THE SHOOT? Roddy and I are always looking for a time to be silly. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, so I love that Fola was able to capture not only our love and connection, but also our silly moments. Being a big kid with Rod is one reason why I love him so much.


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WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT YOUR WEDDING? We are just excited to celebrate with our family and friends, and make our union official. I’m honored to be Roddy’s wife, so just having everyone we love witness that is a blessing. Also, we will be tearing up the dance floor!

Bride: Katherine Upshaw (Katie), 32, Executive Assistant at Emory University Groom: Roddy White, 39, Retired NFL Player Place of Residence: North Carolina Engagement Shoot Location: Reed House Hotel, Chattanooga, TN

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Wedding Date: March 2022 Photographer: Fotos by Fola fotsbyfola.com IG: @fotosbyfola Event Planner: ATS Event Planning allthatsparklez.com IG: @atseventplanning


The

BRIDAL SUITE Search our Fine Vendor Collective for all your wedding vendors.

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Choosing the Right Hairstylist for Your Wedding: Planning for your Big Day WRITTEN BY PATRICIA DAVIS

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ou have dreamt of a fairy tale wedding ever since you were a little girl. You have finally met the one, and you want to look your best. Choosing the right hairstyle and stylist to execute it is essential for your big day. Just like the perfect dress you have spent hours trying on, you want, in fact you NEED, your hair to be perfect too. 1. CHOOSING THE RIGHT STYLIST FOR YOUR WEDDING DAY Just like a perfect trim needs sharp scissors, you need a capable stylist who can deliver the results you want. Whether you have a regular hairdresser or not, an essential ingredient for success is making sure they understand your vision. Do not be afraid to ask questions or for a portfolio of their work. Make sure your stylist is punctual, competent, able to work under pressure, and can respond well to criticism. Being comfortable is key, and you must be able to trust and rely on the person you select.

2. HOW TO DISCOVER YOUR PERFECT WEDDING DAY LOOK

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The first things you need to establish are will your stylist be with you on the day, and will you be responsible for maintenance? Allow both yourself and your stylist to work through test hairstyles to find out what works, while also considering maintenance factors. Hairstyles on your mood board may not best match your face shape, so do not get too attached to a single style until you have experimented with a few. Ensure you do this with both the dress on and off. This is vital as there will always be factors to consider in both scenarios. 3. MAINTAINING HAIR UNTIL YOUR BIG DAY Whether you have decided to wear your hair natural or a silk press, a maintenance program must be established to ensure the desired result on your big day. With the help of your stylist, you can opt for regular salon visits or purchase home care products. The deciding factor for most is usually budget, so consider your choice wisely as a small savings at this stage could end up costing you down the line. Whatever you decide, a treatment plan is very important if you want your hair in a healthy, presentable condition.


4. PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM A HAIRDRESSER The Design Essentials Almond & Avocado line is a great choice for natural hair, with a focus on strength and moisture. I use these products in my salon and have always achieved perfect results with all bridal parties of different hair textures and types.

Just like the perfect dress you have spent hours trying on, you want, in fact, you NEED, your hair to be perfect too. - Patricia

Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Overnight Recovery Treatment is lightweight enough to be used at night to maintain just enough moisture while you sleep. Protect your tresses with a bonnet or silk pillowcase. Wearing an up-do for your special day? Try Design Essentials Honey & Shea Edge Tamer for the perfect hold without dryness and flaking.

For more information about Design Essentials products visit designessentials.com

Patricia is a salon owner, educator, and entrepreneur with 30+ years of industry experience. Currently the Head Educator in Europe, Africa and the Middle East for McBride Research Labs, she continues to push boundaries, challenge the way hairdressing is viewed, and create more effective ways of delivering education. patriciad@avenuesalon.co.uk

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Elevating Your Wedding Day Style with Accessories: Tips to turn your bridal look editorial WRITTEN BY PATRICE MORGAN

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ongratulations, you’ve found the dress, but you want more than a standard bridal look. You want something that is stylish and editorial. The bridal accessories you choose to give your dress that perfect personal touch, and the process to make that happen, might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. An editorial bridal look evokes stylish, high fashion. If this is what you are hoping to achieve on your wedding day, then you want to pick pieces that elevate your style, not overshadow it. To help you decide on what pieces to wear, we’ve put together our top tips to help you pick the ideal accessories: LESS IS MORE It’s tempting to go over the top with your bridal jewelry. There’s so much bling and sparkle to choose from— who wouldn’t want to wear it all? But, for an editorial bridal look, less is more. At the end of the day, the focus should be on you. If you find that one or two of your accessories look too bold, consider having one statement complimented with a more subtle piece. For instance, wear a

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statement headpiece with smaller earrings. It’s also a good idea to remember that you don’t need to wear every type of jewelry on your wedding day. For an editorial look, just one or two accessories is all you need! BUILD-IN MUST-HAVE PIECES FROM THE BEGINNING While jewelry is great to work in for an editorial style, avoid wearing a necklace unless it’s a pendant or has cultural significance. If there’s a particular piece you know you’ll want to wear, bring it to your dress appointment so you can see it styled from the start! CURRENT BRIDAL ACCESSORIES TRENDS In the past year, brides are getting more personal and creative with their bridal looks. They’re veering away from traditional pieces and adding more unique statements through hair pieces. Sparkly headbands and crowns, like our Angelica and Lady Dy pieces, are a more glam, stylized way to do a flower crown. Another chic idea? An ear to ear piece, like the Cinderella, that is both versatile and flexible for any bun or updo!


Looking for more editorial bridal accessories? Visit the Ai & Eva shop to find chic, romantic, and timeless pieces, from earrings to crowns and everything in between, that will elevate any wedding day look.

Patrice took up Fashion Design part time while in undergrad. She currently the owner of Aiandeva Bridal Jewelry and a 7 year bridal makeup vet in the Georgia, Florida and Alabama Areas. aiandeva.com info@aiandeva.com IG: @aiandeva

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Benefits and Tips of Couples Fitness: Get Fit for Your Wedding Day WRITTEN BY TONEKA ROYAL

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ou must have heard that saying, “Couples that Pray Together, Stay Together!” The same stands true with physical fitness as “Couples that Sweat Together, Stay Together!” We all know that having a training partner is great for accountability and motivation to stay committed to your fitness goals. What better person than your life partner? Creating healthful habits and working out together will not only get you in shape for your big day but has many benefits that will impact the long-term health of your relationship.

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1. DEVELOP A STRONGER BOND As you spend more time together working out, eating healthy, and practicing healthful habits, you will begin to create an even stronger and unbreakable bond. Going for walks, practicing yoga, taking a healthy cooking class, and going to bed at the same time are all great ways to live in wellness and strengthen your connection. 2. EMOTIONAL SUPPORT & ACCOUNTABILITY Who is better to have your back than your partner? Think about those days that you’re unmotivated, lacking energy, or just having a bad day. Having each other to lean on to offer emotional support, encouragement, and accountability will help you both stay focused on your fitness goals.


“Couples that Sweat Together, Stay Together!” 3. QUALITY TIME Having scheduled days to exercise together means that you also have built in quality time that will be essential for the health of your relationship. 4. TEAMWORK Having a successful relationship and working out together have one similar commonality: teamwork. Whether it’s your lifelong relationship or working out with your partner, both require you to learn more about each other’s strengths, weaknesses and how to work together as a couple, which can take your relationship to a whole new level.

5. RELATIONSHIP HEALTH As you train together, you’re not only improving your self-confidence but you’re also building that deeper connection and attraction towards one another. That can result in a lifelong happiness together. Apply these tips as you prepare to walk down the aisle with the love of your life. They can serve as lifelong lifestyle tips, which if continued, can bind you both eternally in love and fitness.

Toneka is a certified health advocate from Real Balance Global Wellness. She’s also trained in the Wellness Mapping 360 Methodology, which is a holistic approach based on behavioral change psychology. As a certified personal trainer and specialist in fitness nutrition, Toneka has more than seventeen years of experience in guiding women to optimal wellness while helping them embrace beauty from the inside out through eating whole natural foods. Find out more about Toneka at tonekaroyal.com.

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BRIDAL BEAUTY GLAM PHOTOGRAPHED BY AIDA MALIK PHOTOGRAPHY

BEHIND THE SHOOT Rejoice in Purple The morning of your wedding is full of excitement, anticipation, maybe even some champagne—and it sets the tone for your walk down the aisle! Bridal suite glam has been trending lately with brides elevating their getting ready experience by wearing gorgeous, sexy robes and having their bridal suites decked out with stunning backdrops and lush florals. Abby Ayeh of Pretty Posh Events, Rejoice of Hair at Ease Beauty, and a team of talented vendors share more of the vision behind this beautifully curated styled shoot captured by Aida Malik Photography: “Rejoice of Hair at Ease Beauty, a master at her craft, held a masterclass for bridal hair styling, and this provided the perfect opportunity to showcase our version of the bridal room glam. The beautiful models were styled in different, but very chic bridal hair updos with bridal robes that reflected the sophisticated looks we were going for. A gorgeous tablescape finished up the shoot to show how the florals from the backdrop can be tied into a reception room look.”

THE VENUE: The Cool Venue South Bound Brook, New Jersey The Cool Venue in South Bound Brook is a gorgeous event space that provided the perfect backdrop for this styled shoot. The clean white walls and draping was indeed the perfect canvas for us to paint our shades of purple oasis for this styled shoot. Using a monochromatic palette, yet still using shades, created depth and beautiful textures in our floral design. The venue has beautiful lighting and chandeliers that highlight our models’ skin tones beautifully. B L AC K B R I D E .CO M

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Inspiration: Rejoice Ginika of Hair at Ease’s brand color is purple, and that was her one request to incorporate purple all around. Color: All Shades of purple Favorite Details: There were several details that we all absolutely loved about the shoot. Here are the top three: 1. 2. 3.

The different bridal robes and how it complimented each model The lush florals around the loveseat For the tablescape, designing the florals on the floor to look like steps up to the main table — what comes to mind when looking at the design is literally stepping up our design game.

Linens: Greyish, dusty blue velvet linens made the perfect base to highlight the various shades of purple flowers. Centerpiece Description: The centerpieces were designed as a color blocked floral runner in a low clear vase to enable the arrangements to sit perfectly in the middle of the table. We modified the typical look of a cascading floral runner by placing lush arrangements on clear pedestals that created the look of florals on steps leading up to the main table.

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Place Settings: The gold trim charger plates, along with gold flatware, perfectly complemented the entire look of the tabletop design. The black napkins added a modern, yet elegant touch to the table. The perfectly square modern menu cards from Bushel & Peck Paper had shades of purple florals that beautifully complimented the overall look. Event: Hair at Ease Master Class The Ease Academy @the_ease_academy Venue: The Cool Venue South Boundbrook @TheCoolVenue Hair: Hair at Ease Beauty @hairateasebeauty Photographer: Aida Malik Photography @AidaMalikPhotography Videography: Clear Picture Digital @ScoboShotIt


Floral & Event Design Pretty Posh Events @prettyposhdesign

Robes Alice’s Secret NG @Alicessecretng

Hair Styling Hair at Ease Beauty @hairateasebeauty

Makeup Klynne Beauty @KlynneBeauty nagementGroup

Earrings & Headpiece Rejoice Ginika Bridal @rejoiceginikabridal_c

Models: Valerie Rose @ Valslim Chloe Sasha-Lee @miss.chlo_chlo Judline @jujutum

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A PARISIAN DREAM PHOTOGRAPHED BY FRANKLYN K.

BEHIND THE SHOOT La beauté parisienne An elegant mixture of grace and sophistication, this stylish bridal shoot from Paris, France is the perfect inspiration for the bride considering a chic destination elopement. Stylist and planner Chic by Nicole, photographer Franklyn K, and a team of talented vendors collaborated to showcase their vision for this gorgeous shoot: “I wanted to show how beautiful a spontaneous elopement or a smaller wedding in the middle of Paris could be. No frills, just a bouquet and some amazing dresses, and off we went shooting in the city of love. We picked Pont Alexandre III due to its proximity to the Eiffel Tower. You can see little peeks of the tower in some of the shots, and the architecture of the bridge is stunning. The second main location was Jardin des Tuileries, which provided a great backdrop full of lush greenery for the second set of gowns we pulled.”

LOCATION: Paris, France

INSPIRATION: Stylish Elopement

COLOR COMBINATIONS: A dusty pink mixed with soft peaches and greenery

FAVORITE DETAIL: Monique Lhuillier Tuileries dress and the Parisian architecture

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Photographer: Franklyn K. franklyn-k.com IG: @franklyn.kw Stylist/ Planner: Chic by Nicole chicbynicole.com IG: @chicbynicole Flowers: Floraison Paris floraison-paris.com IG: @floraisonparis Bridal Gown: Floral Dress Monique Lhuillier/White Toronto whitetoronto.com IG: @whitetoronto

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Tulle Longer Gown and High Low Gown Dylan Parienty Paris dylanparienty.com IG: @dylanparientyparis Pearl Hoop Earrings and Bow Earrings: The Loved One thelovedone.ca IG: @theloved_one Hair Stylist Cate P IG: @curlance_ Makeup: ANAË Paris anae-paris.fr IG: @anaeparis_


Inspiration Board

FASHION

Sealed WITH TEAL

1.

2.

H

ow deep is your love? Deeper than the endless sea, beyond the sky’s limits? You’re sealing your fate with “The One,” and while that may seem scary, the love you have for one another will stand the test of time. Everything will fall into place when you allow yourself to go with the flow and be open to the possibilities. BY JOMUELLE ANICET

4.

5. 6.

3. 1. Bouquet: A Family Flower Shop & Keepsakes, afamilyflowershop.com; 2. Photographer: Figtree Pictures, figtreepictures.com, IG: @figtreepictures;

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9.

3. Cake: Clara’s Groovy Deliciousness groovydeliciousness.com, IG: @groovydeliciousness; 4. Wedding Album: Chic Paperie zazzle.com/store/graphicbrat; 5. Nail Polish: Butter London, Bang On!, butterlondon.com, IG: @butterlondon; 6. Invitation: The Paper Vine, thepapervineco.com, IG: @thepapervine; 7.

8.

Dress Revelry, Thea Tulle Dress, shoprevelry. com, IG: @shoprevelry; 8. Shoes: Nine West, Tabita Ankle Strap, Dress Pumps in Teal Suede, ninewest.com, IG: @ninewest; 9. Earrings: Kendra Scott, Maize Drop Earrings, kendrascott.com, IG: @kendrascott

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Inspiration Board

ALotta TERRACOTTA

6.

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ith this earth tone theme, it brings an energy of balance. Taking this moment with your other half gives the foundation of unwavering faith and love that only the two of you can truly understand. Your wedding is just the start when building your lives with each other. Terracotta is a wonderful representation of a solid future together.

1.

4. 5.

2.

3.

1. Bouquet: Supposey, supposey.co, IG: @supposey.co; 2. Earrings: Copper & Quinn, Terracotta Riley Clay Earrings copperandquinn.com, IG: @copper_and_quinn; 3. Shoes: Aquazzura, ‘Wild Thing’, Heels in Terracotta, aquazzura.com, IG: @aquazzura; 4. Dress: Birdy Grey, Jay Satin Dress in Terracotta, birdygrey.com, IG: @birdygrey; 5. Nail Polish: Paint Box, Like Spice, paint-box. com, IG: @paintboxnails; 6. Cake: Annie’s Cakes, IG: @annies.c.a.k.e.s; 7. Wedding Decor: Mae & Co Creative, maeandcocreative.com, IG: @maeandco_ creative; 8. Invitation: Shindig Bespoke, shindigbespoke.com, IG: @shindigbespoke; 9. Bowtie: Revelry, Satin Bowtie in Terracotta Rust, shoprevelry.com, IG: @shoprevelry;

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7.

8.

9.


Inspiration Board

A

1.

AStarry NIGHT

s the moon and the stars witnesses your joyous occasion, it may seem like a dream. Yet, you are marrying the love of your life, and you get to dance the night away with them, looking forward to a long journey together. This starry night brings new beginnings to what you have not yet imagined.

2.

3. 6.

4.

1. Dress AYAsacredwear, Indigo Blue Wedding Dress, etsy.com/shop/ AYAsacredwear, IG: @aya_sacredwear; 2. Floral Design + Styling: Myrtle Floral Design

5. 8.

& Styling, myrtlefloraldesign.co.za, IG: @ myrtlefloraldesign; 3. Photographer: Happy Finch Photography, happyfinchphotography.

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com, IG: @happyfinchphotography; 4. Wedding Boutonnière + Corsage: Styled by Katerina Svetikova, etsy.com/shop/ SERENlTY; 5. Nail Polish: Chanel Le Vernis, Rhythm, chanel.com, IG: @chanel.beauty; 6. Invitation: Natalie Jane Wedding Invitations, nataliejaneweddinginvitations.com.au IG: @nataliejaneweddinginvitation; 7. Shoes:

7.

Manolo Blahnik, Lurum Velvet in Bright Blue, manoloblahnik.com, IG: @manoloblahnik; 8. Earrings: Ross Simons, Sterling Silver Drop Earrings in Sapphire, ross-simons.com, IG: @ rosssimons; 9. Cake: Honey Crumb Cake Studio, honeycrumb.com, IG: @honeycrumbcakes

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How to Realistically Budget for Your Wedding Day WRITTEN BY NISHAKA PROCTOR

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here are no easy answers to the budget discussion because every couple’s dynamics will be different. I thought I would share some thoughts as you discuss and re-discuss your budget for your wedding. WEDDING VISION Once you are engaged, the natural next step is to begin envisioning the experience, colors, and aesthetics of your wedding day.

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With online resources, like Pinterest, pictures, and more, there are so many ideas out there to help you with the look and feel. As you explore, you will begin to identify your wedding colors, bridesmaids dresses, groomsmen attire, flowers, ideal wedding city, and even your venue.

TOP 3 MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF THE WEDDING Once you develop the picture in your mind about the wedding day, another helpful tip is to really think about the top three elements of the wedding that are most important to you. Of course, you can list five or even 10 things, but the top three are the ones you will gravitate toward and notice on your grand day.

Think about the top three elements of the wedding that are most important to you.

IDENTIFYING THE NUMBER Now that you have done the preliminary work with the vision and the top three elements for the wedding, the next big question is how much will you spend? This is a really important discussion between both partners and all family members involved. Being clear about your budget will drive your decisions about your wedding going forward. In many cases, it will cause one to rethink elements of the original vision. Keep in mind that working with a wedding planner can be helpful in identifying cost ranges in your market.

WHO PAYS FOR WHAT? There are wedding traditions out there that identify who will pay for what. In my experience, it varies per couple and family. Though parents or even friends may contribute, many couples are actually covering the entire cost of the wedding themselves.

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HAPPILY EVER AFTER IN THE HEART OF CAPITOL HILL

Plan Your Perfect Wedding please contact our catering team at dcsales@jdvhotels.com or 202-434-0120

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“SO… HOW MUCH DOES IT REALLY COST?” Estimated expenses will vary per city, state, and region, especially in areas where the cost of living drives the market. Here’s a sampling of some of the items and services you may require.

Venue $5,000 to $15,000+ Food & Beverage Minimums $12,000-$15,000 + Wedding Planner $3,000-$5,000+ Experienced Wedding Planner $5,000 - $10,000+ Luxury 15-20% of the Budget Wedding Cakes $800-$2,000+ Luxury $5,000-$10,000+ Photography $4,000 - $6,000+ Luxury $8,000 - $10,000+ Videography $3,500 - $6,000+ Luxury $8,000 - $10,000+ DJ Services (Not including add’s such as lighting, dancing on the clouds, cold sparks, etc.) $1,500+ Floral Designs $5,000 - $20,000+ Luxury $25,000 - $100,000+ Stationery $1,200 - $2,500+ Luxury $5,000+ In general, budgets realistically range from $40,000 to $60,000 for 150-200 guests. High end weddings tend to average over $100,000+, while luxury wedding budgets average $250,000-$1,000,000.

NEXT STEPS Once you have discussed the wedding vision, the three most important elements, identified the number, most likely re-discussed the vision again, researched vendor cost, and discovered who will pay for what, now you are ready to move forward. In the process, you may have to re-adjust your numbers and expectations based on budget changes, which is okay and expected. What is most important is that you are on this beautiful journey to saying “I Do” to your best friend on that amazing day!

Nishaka is the owner and lead planner at Events By Nishaka. With a degree in Business Administration from North Carolina A&T State University and her work in the corporate world, Nishaka began to plan weddings and events. With Aggie pride, Nishaka always had that natural impulse to define the who, what, where, why, and how of her projects. After all, she is a strategist by nature. Everything has evolved and unfolded for her in business along her wedding and event journey. She has always felt like she had what someone needed, which has lead Nishaka to believe your gifts will truly make room for you.

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Courtesy of Amsale

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BRIDAL FASHION TREND REPORT

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Courtesy of Half Penny London

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hat a time to be a bride! This season’s bridal trends include the return of styles we love and unveil new ones that will definitely turn heads. If you’re walking down the aisle this year, there’s a look you’ll fall in love with no matter your bridal style. Take a peek at these hot 2022 wedding dress trends that exemplify the versatility of bridal fashion.

Courtesy of Galia Lahav

dramatic

SLEEVES

This more tasteful and versatile version of the outdated ‘80s wedding dress sleeves will appeal to many brides no matter their wedding style. Whether it’s a grand ball gown or fitted dress, this detail can be adapted for any silhouette. Courtesy of Willowby Collection

Courtesy of Danielle Frankel

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dramatic

SLEEVES

Courtesy of Amsale

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Courtesy of Galia Lahav


hints of

COLOR

The recent trend of colorful dresses will continue this year with brides opting for pastels in shades of blush, blue, and soft yellows. Black and white fabric or black lace detailing will also make an appearance.

Courtesy of La Premiere

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Courtesy of Kaviar Gauche

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Courtesy of Markarian

Courtesy of Danielle Frankel

jumpsuits and

PANTS

If you’re looking for a sleek yet fun dress alternative, this 2022 bridal trend has you covered. Choose from crop tops or one shoulder necklines, for a fun and festive vibe. Courtesy of Peter Langner

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Courtesy of Kaviar Gauche

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Courtesy of Odylyne

flowing

FRILLS

Voluminous styles filled with texture, detailing, frills, and oversized tulle will be taking over in 2022. Add airy dimension to a streamlined silhouette with a ruffled skirt or opt for a skirt of cascading ruffles to make a serious fashion statement.

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Courtesy of Kaviar Gauche

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Courtesy of Amsale

Courtesy of Theia

hip to be

SQUARE

A modern take on the traditional neckline, the square neckline is perfect for a minimalist glam bridal look. Go boho by adding some crepe or choose a heavy satin or floral lace for a classic vibe.

Courtesy of Half Penny London

Courtesy of Nikeen Nasar Courtesy of Danielle Frankel

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Courtesy of La Preiere

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Courtesy of Zuhair Murad

Courtesy of Nikeen Nasar

high

NECKLINE

The timeless look of the high neckline will continue to be embraced by many brides in 2022. Whether you’re after a slim fit, an A-line, or a ball gown, a high-neck variation can add that classic touch.

Courtesy of Justin Alexander

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Courtesy of Justin Alexander

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Courtesy of Rime Arodaky

Courtesy of Odylyne

sassy

SHORT

Shorter hemlines have always appealed to the modern bride but as elopements and intimate ceremonies have replaced larger bridal events, designers and brides alike have made mini, midi, and tea-lengths appropriate for the ceremony.

Courtesy of Danielle Frankel

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Courtesy of La Premiere

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Courtesy of Markarian

Courtesy of Alonuko

fitted

CORSET

Corsets are in! Whether paired with tulle, gossamer laces, pleating, or on a classic ball gown we’re in love with this sexy yet regal look. This Regency-inspired style will definitely be a top contender for the romantic and bold bride.

Courtesy of Gala by Galia Lahav

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Real Weddings See how real brides made their “Big Day” truly the day of their dreams.

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FEATURED STORY

READY FOR love

An Intimate Interview with Actress Raven Goodwin and Black Bride Editor-in-Chief Mary Chatman

I

f “how to manifest your soulmate husband by setting intentions” was a person, it would be Being Mary Jane Actress Raven Goodwin! When you lead with love, allowing your words to match what your heart truly desires, magical things happen. Being ready for our perfect soulmate has a lot to do with where we are mentally, physically, and emotionally. It determines if we possess the faith to do the inner work and then boldly say, “I’m ready. I’m going to meet my husband today.” That’s exactly what Raven Goodwin did shortly before meeting her now husband Wiley Battle, and the rest is now a beautiful love story. We sat down with Raven to chat about deliberately choosing to be open to finding her forever love, her intimate Santorini, Greece wedding, and what’s on the horizon for her and Wiley in their marriage and careers. Mary: How did the two of you first meet?

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Raven: I bumped into Wiley at a Spelman/ Morehouse tailgate party. I was back and forth between Atlanta and L.A. filming Being Mary Jane. Wiley went to Morehouse but had moved to Charlotte from New York where he had been in business school. He was back in Atlanta for his first homecoming in two years. My friend, Mara, was going to be there and encouraged me to join her. I was like Black men, good music, good food, and a little tipsy sounds like a plan to me. I also jokingly said I was going to find my husband. We were all vibing and having a good time. I love the whole HBCU experience! There is nothing else like it! I was walking close to Wiley and accidentally bumped into him. He turned around, grabbed my arm, and he said, “You’re cute!” and I said, “Oh, you’re cute.” I walked away to see what he would do because I like persistence. He came back, and we talked for a while. I loved his confidence, so I gave him my number.


That same day, he called me, and we had a great conversation. A month later, he drove to D.C. to see me while I was visiting family for Thanksgiving, and we’ve been together ever since.

Mary: When did you realize that you had found “the one”?

We hung out on Nov. 26th and had brunch on the 27th. I had never been this direct with a man, but I said to him at brunch, “So, when am I going to see you again?” And he said, “Next weekend, come to Charlotte.” I booked my ticket right then and went to Charlotte. I had never met a man like him before. After that trip, I called my girlfriend and told her, “This is my husband.” He was in a transformative place and so was I, and I think that’s why we connected. Two years of our relationship was long distance, and we missed each other a lot! That was a clear indication too.

Mary: What do you love most about Wiley?

Raven: I love the way he thinks. He is logical and asks a lot of questions, and I’m very abstract and kind of irrational. He balances me out in learning how to think through things. Also, seeing him as a father confirmed that this is who he is. And he’s fine!

Mary: Tell me about the proposal. Were you surprised?

Raven: Yes! So, one day Wiley and I went on a picnic and we had a ball! I was obsessed over picnic baskets during that time. I picked one up in the store one day and when he told me to put it back, I got upset. After that, I was in New Orleans shooting Christmas Bells with Dominique Perry and Janet Hubert, and everytime I brought him up Dominique told me, “He’s going to propose to you. You’re getting engaged soon.” I didn’t think it was going to happen soon. She started speaking over my life telling me that we were going to get engaged, and we were going to have a baby girl first. Right after she said that, a pink balloon floated by our feet out of nowhere.

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When I got back to Atlanta he took me to Piedmont Park, and he pulled out a picnic basket! Before we sat down, he pulled out the ring, and it was perfect! I was very surprised!

Mary: I love that he made it so special! So, what inspired you to have an intimate ceremony to celebrate your love?

Raven: Initially, we wanted a huge wedding, but then the pandemic hit and we were in a bubble with our newborn. No matter what we did, we could not narrow our list down, and we felt like it was an inconvenience to ask everyone to come out. I had to ask myself, “Why do you want a big wedding?” One of my good friends, who was also planning a wedding, had eloped. At that moment, God said to me, “This is what you need to do.” That night, I asked my friend about her wedding, and she said it was perfect. I talked to Wiley, and he said he was ready. We wanted our family to be whole, especially for our daughter. We did some research and decided to go to Santorini, Greece.

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Mary: That’s what you call “doing it your way”.

Raven: It was really a dream!

Mary: That’s so wonderful that your daughter was there. Do you have plans of building your family?

Raven: Yes, I love children. I look at them as teachers. My daughter has taught me so many things about myself. We definitely want more kids.

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Raven: For us, having faith and keeping a spiritual foundation. Getting up every day and choosing each other and choosing to be happy. Having those spiritual rituals every day, like prayer and meditation. Mary: What goals have you set for your marriage?

Raven: Our biggest goal is to see our grandchildren, and to be together and in love. We met an older couple while we were out one day, and they told us there will be days where you love him, there will be days where he loves you, and then there’s days where you love each other. Bask in those moments because it gets tough.

Mary: Do you have date night?

Raven: An ideal night involves amazing food, like oysters, and good cocktails. We’ll ride around Atlanta, listen to trap music, and just talk.

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Mary: What’s your love language?

Raven: All of ‘em! Lol. Seriously, mine are physical touch and words of affirmation. I love that kind of romance — the corny, old-school love. His love languages are quality time and acts of service. He really loves to just be with me.

Mary: How are you managing love and life during the pandemic?

Raven: We were able to talk about what we really wanted and who we wanted to impact. With a new baby, we think about what we want to teach her and show her. We made sure we stayed on the same team during this weird time as new parents and now newlyweds. It was difficult not having our family and friends around. They were afraid of being around a newborn because of the pandemic.


Mary: What advice do you have for Black couples considering marriage?

Raven: Marry with God at the center and be individually sound. There have been times where I’ve said, “I need a second, let me go figure this out.” And he’s done the same. I think individuality is essential to a marriage. Love has to be at the helm. That’s self love, love for your parents and your friends, because it all flows together. Also, give grace. We are so flawed and we mess up sometimes.

Mary: What’s next for the both of you career wise?

For me, I have Single Black Female coming out with Amber Riley, Janet Hubert, K. Michelle, and Devale Ellis. It’s going to be a great movie! I’ve also been cast to play Hattie McDaniel in a movie, and I’m hoping to launch a production company in the next two years.

Mary: I’m very proud of you both. I love what both of you have next. It’s very significant for our community.

We’re grateful to Raven and Wiley for sharing their sweet love story and wedding details with us. We look forward to seeing more from this lovely power couple as they continue on their journey in love and life.

Wiley is an executive financial officer, and he creates opportunities for doctors, dentists, and vets to start or expand their private practices through funding. Then, he loves the world of cryptocurrency and NFTs. He also has a business called Cigar Pxrn with his best friend.

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Bride: Krystle Lexi, Physician Groom: Joshua Omar, Physician Place of Residence: New York Engagement Shoot Location: Miami , Florida Wedding Date: January 2022 Photographer: Reem Photography reemphotography.com IG: @photosbyreem Wedding Planner: Daybreak Management Group daybreakmanagementgroup.com IG: @DaybreakManagementGroup Makeup Artist: Unbeatable Faces FB: @unbeatable.faces Venue: The Cruz Building cruzbuildings.com IG: @thecruzbuilding

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY STANLEY BABB Make Up by Tia Codrington | Hair by Unbleavable Bridal

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Fatimat Kingsley F

atimat and Kingsley’s story begins like most great fairy tales – in a nightclub, lol! They were both at a club celebrating with friends, and by the end of the night Kingsley asked Fatimat for her number. The two began dating in 2017, and after two years of watching their love grow they got engaged in 2019. This past June, the couple tied the knot in a modern wedding ceremony captured by Stanlo Photography

and friends onto the set and she went from confused to shocked to crying her eyes out. I pulled her back to the center of the room, dropped down on one knee, and asked her to make me the happiest man alive – and she said yes!

ENGAGEMENT STORY:

Our wedding experience was amazing! We did everything the way we wanted to as a couple; no outside noise, no cares for what people might think, and with the focus on us, our love, and our culture. The most memorable moment was our wedding entrance. We entered to a love song as everyone would expect, but then the beat dropped. It was organic, it was us, and we’re still shocked that moment resonated with so many people across the world!

I was working on a song and convinced Fatimat that I needed her to sing some reference vocals (since she has an amazing singing voice). I loved the song, and it hatched a plan about a year in advance for my proposal. I begged her for months to do a video with me for the song. She finally agreed, and the plan was set in motion. I set up a real video shoot, so we could always have a video commemorating our proposal! As she was singing her part, I snuck her parents

BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING EXPERIENCE AND HOW THE BOTH OF YOU FELT ON YOUR BIG DAY.

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WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG: Our first dance song was “Smile for Me” by Simi. WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We are most looking forward to making new memories together, growing together, and hopefully one day having children. ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: It is your day — do as you please! You will get a lot of requests and unwarranted advice, but ultimately it is what will make you all happy.

Bride: Fatimat Okafor, 35, Pediatrician Groom: Kingsley Okafor, 39, Rapper/Writer/ Enterprise Risk Manager Place of Residence: Houston, TX Wedding Date: January 2022 Wedding Location: Omni Houston Hotel, Houston, TX Wedding Theme: Modern Chic Honeymoon Destination: Turks and Caicos Photographer: Stanley Babb stanlophotography.com IG: @stanlophotography Ceremony + Reception Location: Omni Houston Hotel omnihotels.com IG: @omnihoustonhotel Bridal Gown: Pnina Tornai/Kleinfeld Bridal kleinfeldbridal.com IG: @kleinfeldbridal Groom’s Tux: Don Morphy donmorphy.com IG: @don_morphy

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Cake: Who Made the Cake whomadethecake.com IG: @whomadethecakehouston Caterer: TwoThirtyFour Kitchen twothirtyfourkitchen.com IG: @twothirtyfourkitchen Wedding Planner: Chioma Nwogu-Johnson with Dure Events dureevents.com IG: @dureevents

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Music: DJ Omu djomu.com IG: @djomu Hair: Unbleavable Bridal unbleavablehair.com IG: @unbleavablehair Makeup: Tia Codrington YSBeauty Co. IG @mua_ttt_tia Headpiece: Su Reina Bridal IG: @su.reina.bridal Videography: Bricks Group Media bricksgroupmedia.com IG @bricksgroup Flowers: Décor 2 Remember decor2remember.com IG: @decor2remember

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANASTASIA STRATE PHOTOGRAPHY Make Up by Aliesha Bree | Hair by Kinetra Stewart

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Courtney Leepole O

ne day, Leepole saw a photo of Courtney that was taken by his photography mentor. Although Leepole was interested in getting to know her, he was under the assumption that she was related to his mentor. Two years later, Leepole contacted Courtney to book a test photo shoot but she recommended a friend instead. Courtney accompanied her friend to the photoshoot, and Leepole made his intentions clear that day. The two had their first date the next week and built a friendship that grew into an unexpected love story that has spanned seven years. Read more of their love story, and check out their gorgeous wedding in New Braunfels, Texas. ENGAGEMENT STORY: On December 12, 2018 after asking for her father’s blessing, Leepole surprised Courtney with a birthday dinner. He invited her friends and coworkers to the scenic restaurant, Castaway Burbank, which has a skyline view of Greater Los Angeles. She was shocked that her friends were there. After everyone sang

Happy Birthday, Leepole popped the question during his toast. It was romantic, emotional, and a night to remember. BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING EXPERIENCE AND HOW THE BOTH OF YOU FELT ON YOUR BIG DAY. It was pure joy because we were finally making our covenant before God. Despite all the postponements and the stress that came with wedding planning, none of that mattered when we were pronounced husband and wife. It was not an easy process to get to that day. All the details didn’t pan out as planned and every guest didn’t show up, but we couldn’t even tell until after our big day. It was a magical day that we will cherish forever. WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG: “For You” by Kenny Lattimore. We are ‘90s babies and both die-hard R&B lovers, so it was only right that our first dance reflected that.

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WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We are looking forward to traveling, starting our family, and officially going into business together as my husband’s business, Jarrelle Lee Photography, expands into more lifestyle photography.

ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: When wedding planning stress overwhelms you (and it likely will), take a deep breath and remember why you’re getting married. Some of the things are memories you will look back on and laugh about.

Bride: Courtney Tezeno, 30, Entertainment Journalist & TV Host on HGTV Groom: Leepole Hicks Jr, 31, Celebrity Photographer at Jarrelle Lee Studios Place of Residence: Los Angeles, CA Wedding Date: May 16, 2021 Wedding Location: The Gardens of Cranesbury View New Braunfels, TX

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Wedding Theme: Tuscany in Texas Honeymoon Destination: Le Blanc Spa Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Photographer: Anastasia Strate Photography anastasiastrate.com IG: @anastasiastratephotography Ceremony + Reception Location: The Gardens of Cranesbury View gardensofcranesburyview.com IG: @cranesburyview Bridal Gown: Galia Lahav galialahav.com IG: @galialahav Groom’s Tux: Suit Supply suitsupply.com IG: @suitsupply

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Cake: Cakes & More Bakery sacakes.com IG: @cakesandmorebakeshop

Hair: Kinetra Stewart, thevintagehipster.net IG: @_thevintagehipster

Caterer: River City Catering rivercitycatering.com IG: @rivercitycateringnb

Headpiece: Hair Comb - Maria Elena mariaelenaheadpieces.com IG: @mariaelenaheadpieces

Favors: 5050 Photo Booth 5050photobooth.com IG: @5050photobooth

Makeup: Aliesha Bree alieshabree.com IG: @alieshaxbree

Day of Coordinator: Mona Turner Mini Bites Event Planning photographybymona.wixsite. com/minibitesevents

Flowers: DeVinnies Paradise devinnies.com IG: @devinniesparadiseflowers

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Stationery: Seating Chart Calligraphy - Lazy Creek Designs facebook.com/LazyCreekDesigns IG: @lazycreekdesigns Other paper products (programs, escort and place cards, menus, etc.): Placecard Calligraphy - Ink Crafts Shop etsy.com/ shop/InkcraftsShop IG: @inkcrafts Music: Maximum Groove Sounds, maximumgroovesounds.net IG: @maximumgroovesounds

Officiant: Daniel Tezeno Shoes: J Renee jrenee.com/product/DESDEM-FAIVW IG: @jreneeshoes Bridal Robe: Robed with Love, robedwithlove.com IG: @robedwithlove Signature Drinks @bartenders4you

Videographer: JF Studioz Luxury Photo & Video, jfstudioz.com IG: @jfstudioz

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JAPHET ODIGIE, JAO PHOTOGRAPHY Make Up by: Hailee Clark

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Shantel I

n 2015, Shantel and Otis were both working at the mall in stores that were across from each other. One day, Shantel decided to go inside of the store where Otis worked to make a purchase, and that’s when he introduced himself to her. After that day, Shantel would go into the store to see if he was there and buy things for the chance to talk to him. A year later, the two began dating and developed a connection they could not deny. After being together for almost five years, the lovely couple walked down the aisle this summer in a romantic wedding ceremony captured by JAO Photography.

then, I didn’t suspect anything. Thirty minutes later, Otis asked me to marry him. It was such a beautiful night!

ENGAGEMENT STORY:

WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG:

We both had a long week, and Otis asked me if I wanted to go out on a date. It was super last minute, but I was really looking forward to the time to reconnect. We pulled up to the Bobby Hotel in Nashville and went to their rooftop. During the winter, they set up these private igloos and they light up inside (it resembles stars) — it’s so breathtaking. When we went inside, my family was there and even

BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING EXPERIENCE AND HOW THE BOTH OF YOU FELT ON YOUR BIG DAY. For the most part, there was a sense of calmness and excitement. We did all the work before the wedding, so when the day came it was more peaceful than anything. Everything that we wanted at the wedding went as planned. It was a dream come true.

“The Point of It All” by Anthony Hamilton. Over the years, it was a song that we enjoyed singing to each other. It felt right that it was the first song we danced to as a married couple.

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WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE? Creating and building a strong, loving family. ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: Take some time for yourself before the ceremony, and stay mindful and present. The wedding day goes by fast. Bride: Shantel Taylor White 27, Nutritionist Groom: Otis Littlejohn IV, 28, Sales Consultant

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Place of Residence: Murfreesboro, TN Wedding Date: June 12, 2021 Wedding Location: The Cordelle in Nashville, TN Wedding Theme: Crisp, Romantic Honeymoon Destination: Half Moon Bay, California

Photographer: Japhet Odigie JAO Photography japhetodigie.com IG: @jao__photography Ceremony + Reception Location: The Cordelle thecordelle.com IG: @thecordelle Bridal Gown: Olia Zavozina Oliazavozina.com IG: @oliazavozina

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Groom’s Tux: The Black Tux theblacktux.com IG: @theblacktux Cake: Jo’s Custom Cakes and Catering joscakesandcatering.com IG: @joscustomcakesandcatering Caterer: Flavor Catering flavorcaters.com IG: @flavorcatering Wedding Planner + Flowers: Elliott Events elliottevents.com IG: @elliottevents Music: DJ J Roc IG: @DJjroc2000 Stationery: Dear Addie Fine Stationery IG: @dearaddiestationery Makeup: Makeup By Hailee www.linktr.ee/makeupbyhailee IG: @makeupbyhailee Flowers: Elliott Events elliottevents.com IG: @elliottevents Rentals: Please Be Seated pleasebeseated.com IG: @pleasebeseatedrentals Lighting: Nashville Audio and Visual nashvilleaudiovisual.com IG: @nashville_audio_visual Saxophone Player: Charles Walker IG: @charlespwalker

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY YNOT IMAGES Hair: Brandi Frye | Makeup: Tink Her Beauty

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Julie John W

hen you know, you just know. On November 4, 2017 John was attending a tailgate in Tuscaloosa, AL during LSU weekend. He was not enjoying himself, so he decided to leave early. As he was saying his goodbyes, one of his friends asked him “Who is that?” John turned around, saw Julie, and then replied, “I don’t know, but I’m about to find out.” Julie ignored John at first and kept watching the football game, but he stuck it out and made her laugh. By the end of their conversation, Julie gave him her number. That same night, John texted his brother and said, “I found my wife.” The two went on their first date a week later, and now they are officially husband and wife! Check out their romantic summer wedding in Atlanta, Georgia captured by YNOT iMages. BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AND HOW THE BOTH OF YOU FELT ON YOUR BIG DAY.

John: “My most memorable moment was seeing Julie walk down the aisle. I was overwhelmed with emotions because it felt like all of my dreams were coming true. There was so much love in the room from having our daughter join us during our first dance, to our dances with our Moms, and all of our friends and family that were there — it truly felt like one big family reunion.” Julie: “I remember being very calm on my wedding day. I knew that I had an amazing planner who was taking care of everything, so I truly felt like I had nothing to worry about. I was just so excited to marry my best friend. My most memorable moments were having my mom and aunt walk me down the aisle, and honoring my dad who passed away six years ago with a pendant with his picture wrapped around my bouquet. My other most memorable moment was having our daughter join us during our first dance.”

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WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG: “This Is Why I Love You” by Major We chose this song because we felt that it explained our unconditional love for each other.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We are most looking forward to growing old together. We’re currently building a home, but building a family, generational wealth, and a future together is what we look forward to the most.

ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: Enjoy every moment of your big day, it goes by so fast! Take a private moment after the ceremony to soak everything all in with just you two.

Bride: Julie Ann Macayan, 29, Health Communication Specialist Groom: Johnovan Fulton, 29, Sr. Account Executive Place of Residence: Atlanta, GA

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Wedding Date: July 9, 2021 Wedding Location: The Foundry at Puritan Mill, Atlanta, GA Wedding Theme: Timeless and romantic, filled with tons of candles. Honeymoon Destination: Bridgetown, Barbados in February 2022 Photographer: YNOT iMages Tony and Haley Minifield Ceremony + Reception Location: The Foundry at Puritan Mill novareevents.com/foundry-at-puritan-mill/ IG: @foundryatpuritanmill Bridal Gown: Enzoani, La Raine’s Bridal Boutique larainesboutique.com IG: @larainesboutique

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Bridal Party Attire: David’s Bridal davidsbridal.com IG: @davidsbridal

Music: J^2 Entertainment jsquaredent.com IG: @djjsmoov82

Groom’s Tux: The Black Tux theblacktux.com IG: @theblacktux

Hair: Hair: Brandi Frye BrandiFrye.com IG: @Bflyyexperience

Cake: Sweet Details sweetdetailsatl.com IG: @sweetdetailsatl

Makeup: Tink Her Beauty tinkherbeauty.as.me IG: @tinkherbeauty

Caterer: Bold Catering & Design bold-events.com IG: @boldeventsatl

Flowers: The Perfect Creation theperfectcreation.com IG: @theperfectcreation

Wedding Planner: The Sharp Standard thesharpstandard.com IG: @thesharpstandard

Stationery: Minted minted.com IG: @minted

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY ELIZABETH AUSTIN Hair: TK Hair Artistry | Makeup: Kimaris Jones

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Sydnie Will S

ydnie and Will met in January 2017, after both swiped right on the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel. After chatting on the app for a week, they exchanged numbers and found out they both worked near Grand Central Station. On their planned first date, Will mistakenly double booked himself for a Penn State alumni event he was hosting. In order to save face, he invited Sydnie to attend the happy hour in lieu of the date he had planned. She decided to catch up with a girlfriend instead, but Sydnie decided to stop by Will’s event anyway, much to his delight. The two were able to get to know each other in-person, and after the happy hour ended they were able to go on their official first date. This summer, the lovely couple entered a new chapter of their lives by tying the knot in a southern chic wedding ceremony in Savannah, Georgia, which was captured by Elizabeth Austin Photography.

Will and Sydnie decided to get married in Savannah, Georgia, where traditionally the women in Sydnie’s family have all tied the knot. However, they always knew a summer wedding in Savannah meant humidity and unpredictable rain storms. At the start of the ceremony, it started to trickle, but when Sydnie appeared at the top of the aisle, the rain completely stopped. God wanted us to have our day as planned. WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG: One day while wedding planning, we had romantic music playing in the background. When “My Word” by Darren Day came on we both just stopped, looked at each other, and said, “This is our first dance song.” The song reminds us of our journey, our vows, how far we will go to make each other happy, and the promise we know we wanted to make for each other.

BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AND HOW THE BOTH OF YOU FELT ON YOUR BIG DAY.

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WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We are most looking forward to growing with each other in Christ, building a family, and creating generational wealth. ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: Stay in the moment. Give your best man or maid of honor your phone for the day so you aren’t distracted. Also, during the reception, stay close to your bride/groom as long as you can.

Bride: Sydnie Liggett, 34, Executive Director of A.I.M by Kyle Abraham Groom: Will Dennis, 33, Project Manager, Transformation Delivery at KPMG Place of Residence: Brooklyn, NY Wedding Date: Sunday, June 6, 2021 Wedding Location: The Charles H. Morris Center, Savannah, GA Wedding Theme: Southern Chic and Elegance Honeymoon Destination: Montego Bay, Jamaica Photographer: Elizabeth Austin elizabethaustinphotography.com IG: @elizabethaustinphoto

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Wedding Planner: J.Hill Events jhillevents.com/home Ceremony + Reception Location: Charles H. Morris Center trusteesgarden.com Bridal Gown: Soliloquy Bridal Couture soliloquybridal.com IG: @soliloquybridal Bridal Gown Designer: Barbara Kavchok barbarakavchok.com IG: @barbarakavchokbridal

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Veil Designer: Veil Trends veiltrends.com IG: @veiltrends Bridal Robe: Inna Elsie, byinnaelsie.com IG: @byinnaelsie Bridesmaids’ Attire: Bari Jay barijay.com IG: @barijayfashions Groomsmens’ Attire: The Perfect Tux perfecttux.com IG: @perfecttux Groom’s Tux: Garcon Couture garconcouture.com IG: @garconcouture Cake: Bake Mohr Sweets bakemohrsweets.com IG: @bakemohrsweets Caterer: Cape Creations capecreationscatering.com Wedding Planner: J.Hill Events jhillevents.com Hair: TK Hair Artistry tkhairartistry.com IG: @tkhairartistry Makeup: Kimaris Jones makeupbykimaris.com IG: @kimarisjones Officiant: A Relationship Ministry, arelationshipministry.com Wedding Broom: Brooms Baubles and Brides etsy.com/shop/ broomsbaublesnbrides IG: @bridesnbrooms

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Flowers: C.Wayman Floral cwayman.com IG: @cwaymandesign Stationery: Fingers in Ink fingersinink.com IG: @fingersinink Videographer: Bridges Cinema bridgescinema.com IG: @bridgescinema Music: DJ Perfect djperfect.com IG: @djperfectent Saxophone: Big Mike Sax saxontheweb.net/threads/big-mike.123581/

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAMY Hair: Endora/Hadassah Artistry | Makeup: Latifah/Queen LA Artistry

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Janea Marquis I

t’s been said that people in the same social circle usually share similar interests and values, and that’s often the key to establishing a long-lasting relationship. Janea and Marquis knew about this all too well when they met through mutual friends in May of 2010. After eleven years, the couple became Mr. and Mrs. in a timeless wedding in Claymont, Delaware before jetting off on their honeymoon in Tulum, Mexico. Check out more from their special day captured by Photography by Ramy. BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AND HOW THE BOTH OF YOU FELT ON YOUR BIG DAY. Our wedding was nothing short of amazing! Despite the unexpected rain and impromptu change from the ceremony being outdoors to indoors, we made the absolute best of the day. The highlight of our special day was locking eyes at the ceremony and having that unspeakable moment that we’re finally here!

WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG: “Anything For You” by Ledisi — There were no other lyrics in a song that reflected so accurately how we feel about one another. WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We look forward to continuing to build the legacy that we’ve started with our two children. We’re even more excited to build a deeper connection with one another though travelling and experiencing milestones as a married couple. ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: Our advice would be to enjoy the moment! Some things will go off without a hitch, others will go completely left, but it is important to focus on the positive.

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Bride: Janea Williams, 30, Healthcare Worker Groom: Marquis Williams, 31, Data Communications Technician Place of Residence: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wedding Date: September 5, 2021 Wedding Location: The Waterfall, Claymont, Delaware Wedding Theme: Timeless Romance Honeymoon Destination: Tulum, Mexico Photographer: Photography By Ramy photographybyramy.com Ceremony + Reception Location: The Waterfall waterfallbanquets.com IG: @thewaterfall_de Bridal Gown: Kenneth Winston/ L&H Bridal LHbridal.com IG: @lhbridal Bridal Party Attire: Bari Jay/ L&H Bridal LHbridal.com IG: @lhbridal Groom’s Tux: Collars ’n Cuffs collarsncuffsonline.com IG: @collarsncuffs Cake: Desserts By Dana dessertsbydana.com IG: @dessertsbydana Wedding Planner + Rentals: Prestige Event Design prestigeeventdesign.com IG @prestige_event_design Hair: Endora/Hadassah Artistry hadassahartistry.com IG: @hadassah_artistry

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Makeup: Latifah/Queen LA Artistry IG: @Queenla_artistry Flowers: Barbara/Belak Flowers belak-flowers.com Stationery: I Do! Invitations idoinvitations.net IG: @idoinvitationsandannouncements Favors: The Knot theknot.com IG: @theknot Music: DJ Geez IG @DJGeezPhilly1 Photo Booth: Bee Loved Moments beelovedmoments.com IG: @beelovedmoments

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY YNOT IMAGES Hair: Monica Jordan | Makeup: Cendy Leway

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Aisha Jordan I

n April 2015, while he was filming an event, Jordan met Aisha. They both felt a mutual attraction, and with the help of a friend, they were introduced. Aisha and Jordan later connected on Snapchat where they exchanged messages and phone numbers. That summer, the two began dating and six months later in December 2015, Jordan officially asked Aisha to be his girlfriend! Six years later, the lovely couple became husband and wife in a timeless wedding ceremony captured by YNOT iMages. BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AND HOW THE BOTH OF YOU FELT ON YOUR BIG DAY. We had so much fun planning and experienced a limited amount of stress from beginning to end. We silenced unwanted opinions and truly did what worked for us. While our wedding was impacted by COVID-19 forcing us to decrease our guest count, it did not take away from the love we felt and the fun we had. It was the best party ever, and

we wish we could do it over and over again! Our most memorable moment was when I was walking down the aisle. In that moment, everything we worked for and overcame was worth it. A close second would be the speeches by our parents, matron/maid of honor and best men. WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG: “The Line” by DVSN was our wedding song. It is the song that was playing in the background the first time that we said “I love you” to each other. DVSN has provided us with music that has been a part of our relationship from the beginning! WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We are looking forward to continuing to build our legacy, traveling the world, and starting a family!

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ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: Do what will make you both happy the day of and in the long run. You will receive so many opinions and ideas that it can easily become overwhelming and stressful. This day is about the two of you joining together as one, and your marriage will go far beyond this one day. Our other top 3 pieces of advice are: 1) Have fun and soak it all in! It will be over so quickly. 2) Take a minute before the reception to eat ALONE. 3) Bring a pair of comfortable shoes to party in! Bride: Aisha Ward, 28, College Counselor Groom: Jordan Ward, 33, Photographer/ Videographer Place of Residence: Birmingham, AL Wedding Date: May 22, 2021 Wedding Location: Kress BHM Rooftop, Birmingham, AL Wedding Theme: Classic, timeless black and white Honeymoon Destination: St. Lucia Ceremony + Reception Location: Kress BHM Rooftop kressbhm.com/rooftop IG: @kressbhm Wedding Planner: Sherita Brown SweetBrides by Mrs. B sweetbridesbymrsb.com IG: @sweetbridesbymrsb Photographer: Tony and Haley Minifield ynotimages.com IG: @ynot_images Bridal Gown: Martina Liana Bridal Designs essensedesigns.com/martina-liana IG: @martinalianabridal Groom’s Tux: Crown of Wealth crownofwealth.com IG: @crownofwealthcollection

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Bridal Party Attire: Azazie, azazie.com IG: @azazieofficial Videographers: Jordan Ward FWD Digital Productions gofwddigital.com IG: @fwdproductions Khalil Johnson RDK Productions reeldealkhalil.com IG: @rdk_productions Isaac Nunn suburbcreative.com IG: @sub.urbancreative Cake: Daughter’s Baking daughtersbaking.com IG: @daughtersbaking Caterer : Everything Iz everythingiz.com IG: @Izcafeandcatering Music: DJ PapaRooster cluckup.com/the-dj-booth IG: @djpaparooster

Hair: Monica Jordan monicajordanhair.com IG: @monicajordanhair Makeup: Cendy Leway cendyandco.com IG: @cendy_leway Flowers: Rita Weller Daffinson RD Designs of Alabama rddesignsalabama.com IG: @rddesignsalabama Stationery: Jordan Ward FWD Digital Productions gofwddigital.com IG: @fwdproductions Photo Booth: PixlBar thepixlbar.com IG: @pixlbar Live Stream: Torien Pippens Director TPipp Facebook.com/DirectorTpipp-615026512322963

Bartender: Marcus & Olivia Barnes barnestending.com IG: @barnestending B L AC K B R I D E .CO M

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OUR COVER STYLE

Inspiration

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believe a Bride’s wedding look should be a reflection of who she is and her life experiences. With Mame Adjei being such an esteemed high fashion model and disruptor within the fashion industry , It was important to select garments that were not only bridal, but embodied an essence of elevated style. We sourced gowns from all over the world that would stand apart from what we usually expect from bridal fashion. Just as Mame has made an effort to stand apart from what we’ve learned to expect from fashion models. I think intentionality is the perfect word for weddings. I love to see couples who have been intentional with their love take the step towards marriage and to be intentional with their wedding planning and design. Wedding fashion should also be a part of that thought. I hope by seeing this dynamic range of bridal fashion in the fashion issue inspires brides to be intentional with their wedding looks as well.

Dara Adams Bridal Stylist

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COVER STORY

Mame Adjei

& Kwabana Seth Oduro A LOVE MET WITH PURPOSEFUL INTENTION WRITTEN BY CANDICE DAVIE

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eading in life and love with intention, while also surrendering the details to divine intervention, is an art. Choosing to put down the sword, and instead trust the unseen force that holds together this thing called life can prove to be a tug of war but immensely rewarding in the end.

Jumpsuit: 5th and Welshire Earrings: Hushed Commotion

For fashion model, actress, and activist Mame Adjei there was no mistaking that divine order was at play when she met entrepreneur Kwabana-Seth OduroBuadu. After spending years navigating their respective careers and learning the ebbs and flows of misaligned love, their paths crossed. It was like a new world opened up where they were both finally seen, loved, and appreciated in ways they had never experienced before. Listening to the whisper of God’s voice has led them to create the making of a love story for the ages. We sat down with Mame and Kwabana to chat about the power of being intentional, establishing a true foundation for marriage, and how they’re envisioning their next chapters of their careers and as husband and wife. Candice: How did the two of you first meet? Mame: We met at church. It was a funny story actually. His version is that he had a download from God telling him to look behind him because he had been praying to God to find a woman who he could grow with. He hears something telling him to look behind him in church. When he did, God told him, “She’s the one.” We kept bumping into each other at church, and then a mutual friend of ours invited him to my acting class. He came to the class, and I ended up sitting right next to him. Kwabana: In 2018, I did a vision board and wrote down everything I wanted to happen for 2019. I was dating someone but I knew it wasn’t going to work out, so I decided to focus on my money and the growth that I wanted. One day at church, as the pastor’s talking, I felt this presence telling me to turn around. My eyes cut

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Gown: La Premiere x J’Aton Couture Earrings: Hushed Commotion Grooms Suit: Miguel Wilson

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through the crowd of people and landed on Mame. I didn’t feel any sparks, but I heard a voice say, “That’s her.” The fourth time I saw her, I was walking to my car after the service was over. I tried to figure out what to say without sounding weird, so I complimented her on her outfit and as we talked some more we realized that we were both Ghanaian. The conversation was a bit awkward because there was just silence after that. One day I told my uncle, “You see that girl. She is going to be my wife one day.” Then my friend tells me about this acting class and when I went, here comes this girl walking in late, and sits right next to me. I said to myself, “Look at God!” Candice: Wow! Such a cute story. At what point did you start dating? Mame: After meeting at the acting class, we exchanged emails to see if we could work together on some projects that he was working on. We emailed back and forth for some weeks while I was in New York for a few months. When I got back to L.A., we finally met up for dinner to talk about the projects and became really good friends and hung out. Then, we decided to start dating. Candice: How long have you been together now? Mame: All together two years. He officially asked me to be his girlfriend in February 2020, and he asked me to be his wife in February 2021. Candice: At that time, were you looking for a relationship? Mame: I was definitely working on myself. If you asked me what my five year plan was back then, it was always about what I would be working on career wise. But, I realized as I got older the beauty of marriage and the sanctity of it. Once I said, “Okay, I would like to be with a man I could marry and not just date,” that’s when he showed up.

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Gown: Nikeen Asar via Dress Hunt Earrings: Hushed Commotion

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Gown: Helen O’connor Earrings: Hushed Commotion

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Candice: For your first date, where did you go? Mame: This soul food place called Yard Bird in West Hollywood — a little restaurant date off the clock, so we could get to know each other more. Candice: When did you realize that you had found the one? Mame: When we went through our tumultuous times and decided to break up, I was a wreck. I really was not the type to care about these men wasting my time, so for me to be broken up over him, I knew that it was serious. His actions proved that he loved me, and I had never had that before. There were many moments where I said, “This must be what it feels like to find ‘the one’.” Candice: Tell me about the engagement. Mame, were you surprised? Mame: Yes! We went to Ghana in February 2021 to visit our family because we had not seen them in over a year because of the pandemic. I had no clue that this man plotted to propose to me because every time we talked about the future he would always say, “Yeah, yeah, eventually...It’s coming, let’s not rush.” We were only a year in, so I was not looking for it to happen right now. Kwabana: When I met her I was seeking a relationship, family, and marriage. I told God I would date this woman for a year, and if everything goes okay then I’m going to propose. It was November 2020, and I was reflecting on everything God had done for me that year when a voice said, “Remember that thing you said you were going to do?” The next day or that same week, I started thinking about how to find a ring. I learned so much about rings in that season. When we first started dating, there was a ring she used to wear and she said, “If you ever propose, this is the type of ring I would like.” I remembered that ring which made my life easier. Around the time that we went to Ghana, people were still there celebrating the New Year. 134

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Gown: Ituwa Earrings: Hushed Commotion Veil: Hushed Commotion Suit: Linea Uomo Bowtie: D’Cree Clothier

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Mame: Ghana around the New Year is a big deal. So, it was even more momentous for us that he did it when he did. Kwabana: I had a grand scheme that her parents would be there, and everyone would hide somewhere and surprise her — but it didn’t work out that way. Before this, I was nervous and second guessing myself. The fear was there, but I kept going forward. Ghana can be a headache, especially when you’re trying to do Western traditional things. Getting engaged is not a thing out there — it’s not a part of the culture. Mame: Yes, my parents care more about our tradition of him coming with his family to my father’s family and asking for my hand in marriage. Then my parents will ask for dowry, which is what he can exchange me for like a bride price. Back in the day, it might be a cow, goat, etc. Now, it might be suitcases or a bunch of presents. Kwabana: I was thinking of proposing at my brother’s house, and my goal was to get her mom and dad over there too — but that didn’t work out. A driver picked us up, and I told him to take the road less traveled to make sure the photographer and saxophonist were there. We ended up getting lost. When we got inside, she didn’t notice the decorations and sign that said, “Mame, will you marry me?” Everything I planned before that left my mind, so I had to freestyle my speech. It was still very romantic and picturesque. Mame: I see now why women cry during proposals. I used to think it was corny, but now I see why. Kwabana: You feel the shift happen once you make that commitment. It took me finding other positive examples of marriage to say, “Okay I’m ready.” I’m happy that God aligned us and my intentional thoughts.

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Gown: Ituwa Earrings: Hushed Commotion


Dress: 5th and Welshire Earrings: Hushed Commotion

Candice: Do you have a wedding date set?

Mame: Yes, our heart.

Mame: We wanted to do it on my mom’s birthday in February, but we have been focused on working on us, so we pushed it back. That was my dream date, but I didn’t want to rush it.

Candice: In what ways do you feel like you’re different?

Candice: Do you plan on getting married here or in Ghana? Kwabana: Well, both. We are thinking of having the white dress wedding in L.A. and the traditional wedding ceremony in Ghana. We’re still working on the details. Candice: In what ways do you feel like you’re alike? Kwabana: Our humor, love for people, our resilience, and our competitive nature.

Kwabana: I’m very impatient, very timely, I’m loud. Well, she can be loud too and very talkative. Mame: I’m definitely not the one who talks more or is the loudest. I’m very patient and laid back. Candice: What goals have you set for your marriage? Kwabana: We’re actually in the process of doing that right now — aligning our personal goals with what we want for our marriage. I’m realizing that there’s no real instructions for marriage. When we first met, a lot of our plans aligned, but that was when we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Those same plans intensify when you talk about being married.

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Mame: We started couple’s therapy and our therapist said that back in the day that’s how engagements were. You took the time to see if you could actually have a lasting marriage and not just a wedding. I’m glad we’re doing it this way and making sure our marriage is strong. Candice: What’s next for you career wise? Mame: I’m praying to God that I will be on movie screens and on T.V. shows. I’ll have a skincare/beauty line and a child or two with my beautiful, handsome husband with a beautiful home in L.A. Kwabana: In the next 5 years, my production company and media agency will have a physical location either in L.A. or Atlanta, and I would have at least $3-5 million in revenue. Also, working on our second child. Candice: That brings me to my next question, do you see yourself with a big family? Kwabana: Three children with a surprise fourth later on. Mame: I think that might be okay. I want at least 2 for sure, and I would love to adopt. Maybe a family member from Ghana, but I would love to do that for someone. I was adopted by my best friend’s mom at 16, so I know how that can really change someone’s life. We’re grateful to Mame and Kwabana for opening their hearts to give us a peek inside their journey to find love. We look forward to seeing more from this lovely power couple as they continue to make an impact worldwide. Kwabana’s Looks Salmon Suit: Miguel Wilson @miguelwilsoncollection Remaining suits: Linea Uomo Shoes: Christian Louboutin Accessories: Dcree Clothier by Christopher Day IG: @dcreeclothier

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After THE AISLE Lessons Learned in Love and Life with Your Spouse

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Be Your Own Relationship Goals Create Without Comparison WRITTEN BY CHERYL POLOTE WILLIAMSON

“Marriage is about the foundation and building something stable—bonds, companionship, family, business, and legacy.”

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wenty-nine years later, #TeamWilliamson is still #TeamWilliamson. We’re not perfect, but we’re us. The power we possess as a unit is unmatched. We don’t look to the left or right at what anyone else is doing. We measure ourselves against ourselves, always striving to be better for one another. Comparing your relationship to someone else’s relationship model is one of the biggest mistakes people make. Social media is notorious for spreading the idea that what someone else has should be desired and duplicated. The reality is, we don’t know anyone’s true story. We only see the upside that they decide to show us. We know about the trips, lavish meals, new cars, and birthday gifts. We see their lives in snapshots and reels and then peg them as “relationship goals.” Even if the couples we have decided upon and chosen to admire, emulate, or envy (let’s be honest) are indeed having the time of their lives in real-time, we still don’t know the behind-thescenes and the work that it took to get there. Too often, people view the fruit of progress in a relationship as instant or immediate and neglect to respect the journey. My advice—be your own goal. Take your eyes off of what anyone else is doing. Stop comparing your real “in progress” life to someone else’s screenshot of happiness, and get committed to doing the work that makes solid relationships great. One of the things that makes a great marriage is the ability to determine what is essential. The strength of marriage gets tested. First, make sure you are connecting with someone with whom you are willing to go the distance. Social media dream couples don’t post disagreements or disappointments. They don’t show you the low

times and the work—all the hard work that goes into one picturesque moment. Choose someone mutually and equally committed to doing the work. Marriage is about the foundation and building something stable—bonds, companionship, family, business, and legacy. Sometimes maintenance of those things requires forgiveness and understanding that your partner is better than their worst day. Yes, romance and the fancy stuff make relationships look pretty, but pretty fades and sometimes hurts. You have to be assured that there is something to sustain you on the days pretty barely looks okay. What do you and your partner have that is worth fighting for? What is your capacity for grace? At the root level, are you and your mate friends? Do you have what it takes to build and rebuild, structure and restructure, go head-on, and tackle the hardships TOGETHER, again and again? Do you have the courage to create without comparison? Look at your partner and declare your relationship, relationship goals. Cheryl Polote Williamson, nationally acclaimed, award-winning, multi bestselling author, filmmaker and executive producer, transformational speaker, success coach, CEO and editor-in-chief of Cheryl Magazine, is also founder of Soul Reborn 501(c)(3) and CEO of Cheryl Polote Williamson, LLC. Together, she and her husband Russell Williamson, acclaimed leadership and development coach, bestselling author, executive, and entrepreneur, are former franchise owners and owners of Williamson Media Group, LLC. Photographed by Crystal Chatmon

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Photograph by Tavaris Gary of TRG Photography LLC

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Love WithIntention Choose Every Day WRITTEN BY CARMEN AND WILL WATKINS

“Make every effort to choose your spouse first, every day.”

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n 2015, Carmen and Will walked down the aisle on a brisk fall day at Foxhall Resort outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Since that day, they have grown together all while raising three beautiful children. They share what they have learned during their journey together thus far. Don’t ever compare your love story to the next person’s. Instead, surround yourself with married couples who share the same values and beliefs. These couples could include a few who are seasoned in their marriage and a few who are on the journey with you. We make every effort to be involved in our marriage ministry at our church, and we have outings with our married friends every other month or so. When you have people around you to support you, journey with you, and remind you that you aren’t alone in the highs and lows of marriage, it helps to keep you encouraged. Also, therapy isn’t a last resort. Therapy is a safe space to grow and navigate the many layers that make you and your partner unique. The goal isn’t just to stay married, but instead to be happily married and bring honor to God through your marriage. Therapy has been a great tool for us. I honestly look forward to our sessions. Make every effort to choose your spouse first, every day. This means that I am tapping into my spouse’s love languages throughout the day, week, month, and year. Honestly, in my case, it’s tapping into my wife’s love languages — emphasis on the plural.

Photograph by Catherine Ritchie Park | My Life Photography

About the Watkins’ Atlanta, Georgia is home for the Watkins where Will is a senior strategic partner and Carmen is a social media influencer, author, and founder of the nonprofit RunYourVision, Inc. This November they celebrated six years of marriage.

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Photographed by Reginald Duncan, Cranium Photography

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AboveAll Else: Friends First WRITTEN BY SHARDAE AND EMMETT ORR

“Above all else, we learned that friendship is the cornerstone of our marriage.”

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y husband Emmett and I will be married for one year on December 12. To be honest, it feels as though the time has flown by. In this short year, we’ve learned so much. If I had to describe it, the past year has been like an album that you can play all the way through – some selections have you dancing around your house without a care in the world, and others find you with tears in your eyes feeling every emotion you didn’t even know you had.

Above all else, we learned that friendship is the cornerstone of our marriage; once the cameras were off and the flowers were thrown away, it was just us…and that was more than enough.

This first year of marriage taught us that our marriage is no one else’s but our own. With so many outside voices from family, friends, and even social media, we realized our voices should always be the loudest in our home. Keeping our voices a priority, with the wisdom we’ve taken from our counselors and mentors, has allowed us a freedom in marriage without the bondage of other’s opinions. It’s forced us to listen to each other with intentionality and communicate effectively. The biggest lesson we’ve learned in love is that it’s not a feeling but a decision that we make every day. We found out early on in our marriage that circumstances have the ability to change in an instant. In this year, we’ve faced unexpected health challenges that caused us to be there for one another when our faith was shaken, and realized those types of trials can make our love even stronger. We’ve learned to fall in love with the little things, like dancing in the kitchen, forehead kisses goodbye, and sending midday memes via text. It’s not always about the dates and the flowers, but it’s instead about being comfortable in silence and safe in our vulnerability.

Emmett and Shardae Orr currently reside in Atlanta, GA. While Emmett is an Atlanta native, Shardae is originally from Washington, DC. They both work for the same major non-profit where they met almost 8 years ago. Shardae is currently Director of Marketing, and Emmett is the Executive Director of Operations. They enjoy date nights with other couples, movies, and spending time with their dog, Zoe Rose. Emmett Orr - IG @ emmett_o Shardae Orr - IG @ShardaeOrr B L AC K B R I D E .CO M

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TRAVEL

Photo: Excellence Oyster Bay

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Best All-Inclusive, Adults-Only Resorts for Your WinterHoneymoon WRITTEN BY STEPHANIE KILSON-THOMAS

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he thrills of planning a wedding are coming to an end, and it’s time to start planning for your honeymoon! Couples begin planning their honeymoon roughly 4-6 months prior to their wedding date. This gives couples time to wrap up paying for their wedding and begin investing into their first trip as Mr. and Mrs. Couples look for different experiences while traveling for their honeymoon — some want adventure, some just want to relax and go to the spa, and some like a mix of both. One thing we’ve found that lots of couples have in common is they all want adults-only resorts to celebrate their union (sorry, kids!). Let’s look at some of our top adults only resorts for honeymoons.

EXCELLENCE OYSTER BAY Location: Trelawny, Jamaica Excellence Oyster Bay is an absolute dream. With 315 rooms, your room won’t be too far from the beach, restaurants, and pool. Couples have the option of choosing junior suites with a garden view, pool view, or one with your own private pool. This resort is located on the peninsula in Jamaica with direct access to the Luminous Lagoon, a popular excursion in Jamaica.

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TRS YUCATAN Location: Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico Known for amazing food, restaurants, and distance to Tulum (less than an hour), Playa del Carmen is one of the favorite tourist destinations Quintana Roo has to offer! TRS Yucatan, a Palladium Resort, is amongst one of the top choices for honeymoons. Indulge in romantic experiences right on the resort, which include a romantic dinner at the cenote, dinner on the lake, or the Chef’s Table dining experience, where you enjoy an exclusive wine pairing dinner with a Mexican menu created by the resort’s chef.

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SECRETS CAP CANA Location: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic With rooms that include garden views, swim up rooms, and oceanfront suites, Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa brings the highest level of luxury to the crystal blue waters and magnificent sugarsand Juanillo Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic. Enjoy endless entertainment when you don’t even need to leave the resort to have a great time on your honeymoon, and don’t forget to visit the worldclass Penovia Spa for an added unlimited luxury.

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COCOS HOTEL Location: Valley Church, Antigua One would think COCOS Hotel, like other boutique, romantic hotels in Antigua, invented social distancing. With private sunset cottages overlooking the Caribbean Sea, enjoy peace and tranquility in cottages that include air conditioning, a private balcony with a hammock and Adirondack chairs, unique outdoor showers with a view, and more.

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Photo: Sandals Grande St. Lucian

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SANDALS GRANDE ST. LUCIAN Location: Pigeon Island Gros Islet, St. Lucia Three words that will have you saying “YES!” to Sandals Grande St. Lucian: Over Water Bungalows! These private villas over the beautiful ocean are the way to celebrate your honeymoon. They sell fast due to their exclusivity, so if you’re wanting to stay in the over water bungalows at Sandals Grande St. Lucian, you can plan up to 2 years in advance (put it on your wish list, ladies and gents!), or you can split your stay at the overwater bungalow or one of their premier Grande Rondoval Suites.

Stephanie Kilson-Thomas is the owner of KT Travel & More LLC, a certified destination wedding, honeymoon, and romance travel agency. IG: @kttravelandmore FB: KT Travel & More LLC Clubhouse: @skthomas25

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The

BRIDAL SUITE

COLLECTIVE OF FINE VENDORS Find a Vendor in Your Area If you would like to apply to be a member of The Bridal Suite (as a vendor), please visit BlackBride.com.

EVENT LOFT is a premier, full service floral and event styling studio serving Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and beyond.

PRESTIGE EVENT DESIGN provides event decor to perfectly complement your taste and delight your guests. Our services center on creating beautiful, sophisticated, luxurious events. We provide an extraordinary service you should expect.

A. MERISIER EVENTS is a full-service wedding and event planning company based in New York. We curate luxury weddings and events for respective clientele who are looking for an unforgettable, exceptional service.

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Category: Floral Design Email: info@eventloftpa.com Phone: (267) 536-2935 Web: eventloftpa.com

Category: Wedding Planning Email: weddings@prestigeeventdesign.com Phone: (267) 678 8652 Web: prestigeeventdesign.com

Category: Wedding Planning Email: info@amerisierevents.com Phone: 631-327-3307 Web: amerisierevents.com

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ONIEE’S ENGAGEMENTS {pronounced oh-nays}, is a full service event design company that specializes in the production of elegant, glamorous, modern weddings and events with luxe floral elements.

EVENTS BY NISHAKA Curator of all things sophisticated, timeless, whimsical, and opulent.

REEM PHOTOGRAPHY Everything about capturing the essence of love is what continuously drives us to ensure that our clients Relive Each and Every Moment.

Category: Floral Design Email: info@onieesengagements.com Phone: 336-707-5787 Web: onieesengagements.com

Category: Wedding Planning Email: nishaka@eventsbynishaka.com Phone: 336-451-1603 Web: eventsbynishaka.com

Category: Wedding Photography Emdail: info@reemphotography.com Phone: 561-352-1584 Web: reemphotography.com


YNOT IMAGES YNOT iMages covers fashion, maternity, architectural, and wedding photography. Above all, his passion for photography shows in his work ethic and artistic eye.

EVENTS BY LADY J Full service wedding and event planning company located in Maryland. We specialize in day of coordination, partial planning, full planning, design and décor services.

Category: Photography Email: ynotimagesllc@gmail.com Phone: 205-253-2779 Web: ynotimages.com

Category: Wedding Planning Email: info@eventsbyladyj.com Phone: 443-878-6633 Web: eventsbyladyj.com

D’CREE BY CHRISTOPHER DAY Custom men’s accessories and style consult.

Category: Groom Attire & Accessories Email: dcreeclothing@gmail.com Phone: 478-960-0183 Web: dcreeclothing.com

SHERONDA SEAWRIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY Sheronda Seawright Photography is a husband and wife team focusing on elegantly capturing engagement portraiture and wedding day memories via beautiful details, elegant portraits, and precious candid moments.

Category: Wedding Photography Email: sheronda@seawrightphoto.com Phone: (610)-476-5630 Web: sherondaseawrightphotography.com

BODYWERKS JEWELS We provide beautifully designed custom bespoke bouquets, headpieces, gifts, jewelry and more! Let us help bring the sparkle to your special day.

Category: Wedding Accessories Email: bodywerkjewels@gmail.com Phone: 336-707-5787 Web: bodywerkjewels.online

STILL SHOTS PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASHLEIGH G. CRAWLEY My wedding photography style has been described as editorial and high fashion. I am in LOVE with LOVE, and this endearment translates into portraiture that you will cherish for a lifetime!

Category: Wedding Photography Email: info@stillshotsphotography.com Phone: 336-987-9394 Web: stillshotsphotography.com

KT TRAVEL & MORE, LLC

Category: Travel Email: kttravelandmore@gmail.com Phone: 469-364-9224 Web: kttravelandmore.com

is a romance travel agency that specializes in destination bachelorette/bachelor parties, destination weddings, honeymoons, anniversary travel and destination vow renewals.

AI & EVA Created by a bride for brides, we provide exclusive accessories for brides to be and wives everywhere. From events leading up to your big day to the lifestyle of being a wife, we deliver aesthetics of the highest quality no matter the event.

Category: Wedding Accessories Email: aiandevajewelry@gmail.com Phone: 770-727-8837 Web: aiandeva.com

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BRIDGES CINEMA We create cinematic films that capture timeless and emotional moments.

PRETTY POSH EVENTS Pretty Posh Events is a full service event planning, floral and event design company, serving the tri-state and various destinations. We create lasting memorable experiences.

Category: Wedding Videography Email: sandra@bridgescinema.com Phone: 954-529-5999 Web: bridgescinema.com

Category: Wedding Planning Email: abby@prettyposhevents.com Phone: 201-452-3751 Web: prettyposhevents.com

SECOND SHOTS PHOTOGRAPHY Edward Heard is the owner and operator of Second Shots Photography. The awardwinning wedding photographer specializes in high-end wedding editorial, fine art portraits, and photojournalism.

Category: Wedding Photography Email: info@secondshotsphotography.com Phone: 832-651-7985 Web: secondshotsphotography.com

JULIE MILLER CAKE DESIGN

Category: Wedding Cake Email: info@juliemillercakedesign.com Phone: 770-820-8388 Web: juliemillercakedesign.com

Redesigning your cake experience. We specialize in designing and creating Luxury Custom Wedding and Celebration Cakes. Attention to detail and top notch customer service is our forte.

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ELAROSESWEETWEDDINGS We customize wedding gowns, and dresses because there is a style for every woman’s body.

Category: Wedding Fashion Email: info@elarosesweetweddings.com Web: elarosesweetweddings.com

FINEST PLANNING AND DÉCOR DESIGNING We provide curated, boutique style full/partial event planning, coordinating and décor design services

Category: Wedding Planning Email: info@finestplanninganddecor .com Phone: 954-709-8308 Web: finestplanninganddecor.com

BALACIA

Category: Jewelry Email: info@balacia.com Phone: 443-878-6633 Web: balacia.com

Balacía is a Black-owned bridal jewelry brand specializing in custom engagement rings and wedding bands. Every Balacía ring is handcrafted and custom made for each client.

HERKREATIONS Herkreations is a wedding planning and event design company, focused on exploring the extraordinary. Sophisticated events that embody the personalities and styles of the client is our specialty. Drawing from their fantasies, Herkreations creates unforgettable realities.

Category: Wedding Planning Email: herkreationsnj@gmail.com Phone: 347-720-7723 Web: herkreations.com


KATRENA WIZE ARTOGRAPHY We are storytellers that celebrate and capture your life’s most precious moments with visual ART. We create a safe space that invites your most genuine selves to thrive in and relive your entire day with our photojournalistic, cinematic, and editorial style. Capturing your love with love is our ultimate goal.

Category: Wedding Photography Email: info@katrenawizeartography.com Web: katrenawizeartography.com

PRESS PLAY PRODUCTIONS

Category: Music & DJ Email: contact@pressplayga.com Phone: 678-237-2180 Web: pressplayga.com

DJ Ever’s Press Play Productions is Georgia’s premium DJ and lighting company bringing the party to you.

NESHASZDA Z PHOTOGRAPHY My focus is capturing your ‘best you’ during the span of the day, from candid shots during ‘the good stuff’, to guiding you through portraits when you have no idea what to do with your hands (insert Ricky Bobby gif here). With my collections starting at 6 hours of coverage, I’m with you from start to finish.

Category: Wedding Photography Email: neshaszda@gmail.com Phone: 770-896-8718 Web: neshaszda.wixsite.com/mysite-5

FOTOS BY FOLA Fotos by Fola captures the essence in every shot. I believe in getting the most out of every moment, so the moments can be cherished for a lifetime! Using a photojournalistic style, I can tell a story that will allow you to relive the moments as if they just happened. My goal is to not only satisfy you but to exceed your expectations!

WOOTEN PHOTOGRAPHY LLC We are Wooten Photography, offering wedding and portrait photography. Let’s chat and bring your creative vision to your photos one event at a time!

APPETITE OF A MILLIONAIRE Appetite Of A Millionaire believes in helping our people to look their very best by giving them inner confidence in their day to day life while looking every part of wealthy and successful. Specializing in jewelry services, our ethos means we offer only the best products and the best service - after all, that’s what you deserve!

Category: Wedding Photography Email: info@fotosbyfola.com Phone: 404-886-1330 Web: fotosbyfola.com

Category: Wedding Photography Email: wootenphotog@gmail.com Phone: 470-269-0448 Web: wootenphotog.mypixieset.com

Category: Jewelry Email: info@appetiteofamillionaire.com Web: appetiteofamillionaire.com

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BE CELEBRATED

THE PENTHOUSE

@The Tuscany - A St Giles Signature Hotel One of NYC’s most stunning event spaces, 17 floors above the heart of Manhattan with breathtaking 360 o views. Ideal for your pre & post wedding celebrations, including...

Bachelorette/Bachelor Party

Honeymoon

Bridal Shower

For more information please contact Adolfo Ramirez at (212) 592 8832

www.StGilesHotels.com 160

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