BLACK BRIDE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2022

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The Ultimate Resource for Before and After "I do"

MAGAZINE Vol. 14

Key Looks From

BRIDAL FASHION WEEK Exclusive: Singer Kierra Sheard & Jordan Kelly's

"I DO" LOVE STORY

+ PLANNING INSPIRATION FORTHE Big Day

Serving Love

Up Close with Newlywed Tennis Star

SLOANE STEPHENS B L AC K B R I D E .CO M

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Say “I Do” To The Perfect Venue

Located just outside the metro-Atlanta area in Duluth, Georgia, TPC Sugarloaf is the perfect backdrop for your big day. Our delightfully landscaped property, overlooking a private lake and the golf course’s 18th green, makes for an idyllic setting for ceremonies and receptions. After the “I do’s”, we invite you and your guests to our 60,000 square-foot clubhouse to celebrate the night away. With a variety of event spaces, you have the flexibility to customize the setup and flow of your cocktail hour and reception, creating your perfect day. From booking to coordinating details, our friendly and professional wedding specialists are here to ensure that your special day is everything that you have imagined!

To begin planning your perfect day, contact: Amelia DiFranco AmeliaDiFranco@pgatourtpc.com | Phone: 470-799-1294. 2

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Follow us on social media:

Instagram @tpcsugarloafevents Facebook TPC Sugarloaf Weddings & Events


TABLE OF CONTENTS

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SUMMER 2022

Cover Story

A PERFECT MATCH Up Close with Newlywed Tennis Star Sloane Stephens

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Volume 14 Mary Chatman Editor-in-Chief Scott Chatman Chief Financial Officer Candice Davie Associate Editor Dara Adams Fashion Editor Carly Totten Deputy Copy Editor Amber Spence Sales Associate Toneka Royal Columnist

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Gospel Singer Kierra Sheard-Kelly

and Jordan Kelly share their love story

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jomuelle Anicet B. Gandy Stephanie Kilson-Thomas Abby Ayeh Concepcion and Aziz Wilkinson Mecca and Alduan Tartt Aisha and David Frisbey Shannon SG Jarrett Design, Art Direction & Production Mary Chatman Publisher

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Growing Better Together Conception and Aziz Wilkinson

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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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Beauty Report

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Summer Beauty Guide for Women of Color in 2022

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Shape Up for Summer

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Yolanda and LaDarrell

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Salt Lake City, UT

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Detroit, MI

Ashleé and Pat

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Atlanta, GA

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Ayisha and Andrae Pompton Plains, NJ

Leisa and Antonio Washington, DC

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Kierra and Jordan

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Simone and Devin Grapevine, TX

Taylor and Andrew Chattanooga, TN

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Time to Revamp Your Beauty Product Lineup

Yolanda and Brandon Atlanta, GA

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Loren and Rollin Baltimore, MD

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Krystle Joshua Port Antonio, Jamaica

In Every Issue

Planning

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Editor’s Letter

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Our Favorite Things

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Real Engagements

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Bridal Fashion Trend Report

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Real Weddings

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After the Aisle

Travel

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Vintage Glam

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Vogue Italia

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The Bridal Experience

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Understanding the Bridal Suite Concept of Event Design 136 Collection of Fine During Wedding Vendors Planning

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Destination Wedding Guide: Hot Tips for Planning Your Summer Destination Wedding

Resource Guide

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, First and foremost, if you are a bride-to-be, congratulations on your engagement! Summer is here! Although we can’t yet declare that we’re on the other side of the pandemic, I can say that weddings are back, and it is a very busy season. According to the Wedding Report, this year is expected to see roughly 2.5 million weddings. Our Bridal Suite Collective is comprised of wedding industry top-notch vendors, and just as the report suggests, they’re booked and busy. Over the last two years, traditional wedding planning had to pivot. The cost of weddings has gone up, which includes everything from florals to the paper for your stationery and more. But don’t worry, you’ve got this! Whether it’s an intimate wedding party of 10 or an exuberant group of 300 guests, there is so much creativity and love that goes into wedding planning. Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. You never want to look back 10 years from now and think, “I wish I had…” Remember, above all the pretty, a wedding is a commitment between two people. Planning your wedding celebration should be fun and memorable for all the right reasons, not stressful and demanding.

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 summer issue.

As we plan each issue, we’ve always taken who should grace our cover seriously. The women we feature should have depth and substance to them, with a regard for the culture. That’s why I’m delighted that tennis star Sloane Stephens, a force on and off the court, is our summer cover girl. Interviewed by Associate Editor Candice Davie, Sloane shares her love story and how she met her now-husband, former U.S. National Team forward Jozy Altidore who recently signed with Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution. In this issue, we present to you the 2023 bridal fashion trends straight from the runways during New York Bridal Fashion Week in March. Be sure to check out the “Bridal Fashion Trend Report” curated by our Fashion Editor, Dara Adams. As you flip through the pages of this issue, we hope you are inspired by the real love stories we’ve curated and find inspiration to help you plan your dream wedding. We honor the amazing wedding and event vendors who help bring wedding visions to life, especially now in this season of change in the world. Above all else, happy wedding planning! May this season and this issue bring you joy.

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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Jimmy Choo Aveline 100 Latte Sandals with Asymmetric Grosgrain Mesh Fascinator Bows $995; us.jimmychoo.com

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Andrea Iyamah Lima Peach One-Piece Swimsuit $170; andreaiyamah.com

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Maison Margiela - REPLICA By the Fireplace Eau de Toilette $144; maisonmargiela-fragrances.us


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Telfar Medium Shopping Bag $202; shop.telfar.net

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Miss to Mrs. Luggage Tag $14.95; katespade.com

6 Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer for Women $39; smashbox.com

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PHOTO CREDIT: FENTY BEAUTY

TIME TO REVAMP YOUR Beauty PRODUCT LINEUP BY CANDICE DAVIE

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he season of summer calls for all things easy and breezy, as well as a tight edit of beauty products that fit the adventurous mood while helping you survive the elements. Whether you’re walking down the aisle, jet setting to sandy beaches with tranquil views, or heading to spend time with friends and family, you’ll want to have the right essentials on hand. Here’s a list of the ultimate summer beauty products for your sexiest summer yet.

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THE LIP BAR — BAWSE LADY

thelipbar.com/products/bawse-lady $13 Bold lips will be a bride beauty trend favorite in 2022. This holy grail of red lipsticks goes on like a gloss but has a non-drying matte finish. Its blue-based red shade makes it perfect for every complexion.

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LA ROCHE POSAY SEROZINC laroche-posay.us $14.99

This toner is the essential in your daily skincare routine you didn't know you needed. Enriched with zinc, Serozinc is a purifying mist that helps keep oily skin at bay.

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3 MIELLE ORGANICS HONEY & GINGER EDGE GEL

mielleorganics.com/products/edge-gel $12.99 Whether you’re rockin’ a curly, sleek, or protective style, having a soft-yet-firm hold for your edges is always a plus. This edge gel contains a nourishing formula of aloe, honey, and ginger root to give your hair the nutrients it needs and to give you the styling control you want.

FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA -COCO NAUGHTY SUN STALK'R INSTANT WARMTH BRONZER

fentybeauty.com $34

Searching for that perfect sun-soaked glow without baking in the sun for hours? Get excited because this bronzer by Fenty Beauty will give you just that with its soft, warm undertones and a natural radiance-from-within look.

MAD HIPPIE VITAMIN C SERUM

madhippie.com $33.99

When it comes to radiant, clear skin the Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum is the real M.V.P. Say goodbye to discoloration and wrinkles with this powerful blend of antioxidants and non-toxic ingredients that are gentle on the skin.

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COVER SHOOT CREATIVE TEAM...

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s we plan each issue, we’ve always taken who should grace our cover seriously. The women we feature should have depth and substance to them, with a regard for the culture. That’s why we are delighted that tennis star Sloane Stephens, a force on and off the court, is our summer cover girl. The amazing TCP Sugarloaf in Duluth, Georgia rolled out the red carpet on the day of the shoot, and they served up an impeccable experience as our host set location. The property maintains a beautiful backdrop and grounds, including top-notch tennis courts, which were perfect for shooting Sloane in her element! Meet the creative team that came together to make it happen!

CREATIVE DIRECTION Mary Chatman Editor-in-Chief

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

BRIDAL FASHION STYLIST Dara Adams Veil by Dara Adams

Dara Adams is the Founder and Lead Stylist of 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 necessary to not only recognize their lifestyle, culture, and values but use it as the inspiration to create and execute a personalized wedding day look that truly reflects the unique essence of who her client is. Dara lives in Brooklyn, New York but she enjoys styling weddings and editorial projects worldwide. IG: @VEILBYDARAADAMS | VEILBYDARAADAMS.COM

SET LOCATION TPC Sugarloaf

Located in Duluth, GA TCP Sugarloaf is situated on 1,200 acres of breathtaking Georgia countryside within the gated community of Sugarloaf Country Club. The event venue is one of the most welcoming premier event venues in Georgia. IG: @TCPSUGARLOAFEVENTS TCP.COM 12

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STYLING ASSISTANT Michaela Johnson

Michaela Johnson began her career in the bridal and wedding industry in 2017. She is passionate about helping brides find looks that express the best version of themselves. Her goal is to spearhead social and wedding events that enhance the overall experience through arts, entertainment, and production management. IG:@MICHAELAJ.J


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

HAIR Alicia Igess Jones

Alicia Igess was voted the best colorist in Modern Luxury Jezebel Magazine in 2017 and 2018 Best of Atlanta as well as best hair cutter in 2019. In 2014, she was also voted Best Salon in Atlanta Tribune Magazine and Best Extensions in Modern Luxury Jezebel Magazine and The Atlantan, respectively. Alicia is a freelance hairstylist for everyday hair care, weddings, special events, and photoshoots

CINEMATOGRAPHY Sandra Garcia Bridges Bridges Cinema

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

IG: @ALICIAIGESS

TABLESCAPE FLORALS Leneille Moon Special Event Factory

Leneille Moon is the Creative Director and lead floral designer for Special Event Factory, a floral design studio based in Roswell, GA. When she is not designing luxury events across the Metro Atlanta areas and beyond, she is homeschooling her 4 beautiful children ages 5-18. Due to her ability to blend various floral textures and colors for weddings and social events, her designs have been featured in many global and national publications. IG: @SPECIAEVENTFACTORY SPECIALEVENTFACTORY.COM

TABLESCAPE INVITATIONS Robbin Henley Robbins Nest Studio

Robbin's Nest Design Studio is a full-service stationery Atelier, specializing in the “All Things Paper”. Robbin Henley, founder, and creative director is an Award-winning designer and innovator in both the Apparel & Graphic Design industries. IG: @ROBBINSNESTDESIGNSTUDIO BYRNDS.COM

TABLESCAPE LINENS & RENTALS The Rental Place

The Rental Place is based in Alpharetta, GA. Perfect whether you're planning a small intimate dinner, black tie extravaganza, fundraiser, corporate event, or the wedding of your dreams, The Rental Place can help make it a great success with their extensive line of party rental equipment. IG: @ATLANTASRENTALPLACE ATLANTASRENTALPLACE.COM

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SUMMER BEAUTY GUIDE FOR WOMEN OF COLOR IN 2022 BY B. GANDY

Over the past two years, makeup routines across the globe have become nearly extinct or boringly minimalistic. This season’s trends are feeling like the dawn of a new era filled with sunny days, bold and bright hues, and lots of fun. We all know that mainstream beauty trends aren’t always the most “inclusive,” but progress is being made. Many of the trends you’ll see are not only WOC friendly, but they are also perfect for all shades of melanated skin. We’ve outlined the top five we are most excited about seeing this season.

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NOT YOUR NANA’S BLUSH: Or shall we say “rouge” — I know, I know, kinda scary right? I get it — blush has had a bad rap in Black Culture and is probably the first makeup experience most of us had growing up, and whew, it wasn’t good. I think it’s time we appreciate its contributions, and how beautiful it can be when applied properly. I’ll be honest, it’s one of my favorite aspects of a makeup look. This season, we are seeing some really vibrant cheeks, and we are loving it! From hot pinks to neon oranges and flushed reds, we’re seeing heavier applications being applied from the apples of the cheek to the temples.

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Further, one of my favorite blush techniques is to apply a cream or liquid blush and lightly layer a powder blush over it in order to intensify the color and longevity. My “holy grails” in each category include: 1. Rare Beauty’s Soft Pinch Liquid Blush in Lucky (dewy hot pink) and Joy (dewy muted peach) 2. Maréna Beauté’s Blush Tarou in Marron Peach (shimmery warm peach) and Garmi (midtone rose pink)

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GIMME SUGA: If you love glossy lips and are happy to see them come back, wave your hands in the air! There is nothing more feminine and effortless than a softly tinted shiny lip. The perfect gloss has the ability to provide moisture, smooth the appearance of texture/lines, and create the perfect flirty pout. I’m beyond ecstatic for the return of this trend! Some of my favorite formulas include: 3. Nars After Glow Lip Shine

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4. KKlass Beauty Lip Gloss 5. Fenty Gloss Bomb

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7 RAZZLE DAZZLE:

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Nothing says fun and free like a little sparkle! This season we are seeing tons of light reflecting elements, and I’m here for it. Want to elevate an otherwise super simple look? Swipe a little shimmer across your eyelid, apply mascara, and boom…magic! For this, I love Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eye Shadow (6). It comes in tons of fun shades that are bound to create showstopping eye looks. P.S. Don’t forget to show some love to the rest of your exposed skin. A soft shimmer on the legs and décolleté can make all the difference. Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil (7) will have your skin looking and smelling delicious.

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SUMMER SKIN Someone cue Amerie’s “Why Don’t We Fall in Love!” It’s always a good time for hydrated, fresh, minimalist skin. As temperatures begin to rise, opting for a more sheer skin-like coverage is ideal. My go-to for flawless fresh skin is Dior’s Backstage Face & Body Foundation (8). Talk about a beautiful finish. It’s lightweight, comes in a ton of shades, and is spring/summer friendly.

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PERI PERI You guessed it, Pantone’s Color of the Year! I am actually pretty thrilled about this year’s color story. This mid-toned cool purple blue shade has been seen across nearly every runway in some capacity. If you have yet to find a purple that works with your complexion, Miss Peri might be your girl. One of my favorite ways to incorporate this beautiful hue into my beauty routine is with eyeliner. Liner is such a fun and easy way to add some pizzazz to your look without getting too crazy. Graphic liner is so in right now, so you can go as bold as you like! Feeling a little less risqué? No worries, this color makes a beautiful eye shadow, lip gloss, or iridescent highlighter on the skin! Not to mention, it’s a super funky nail color. Here are some of my favorite Peri-inspired products: 9. Anastasia Beverly Hills Norvina Palette 10. Opi Nail Lacquer in “You’re such a Budapest” 11. Makeup Forever Artist Color Pencil in Versatile Violet

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I can’t wait to see how you decide to rock this seasons trends!

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11 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. To find out more about B For Beauty Co: Email: info@bforbeaute.co Website: bforbeaute.com 1 9 B L AC K B R I D E .CO M | Su m m e r 2 0 2 1

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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

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Yolanda LaDarrell It

was June 2019 when Yolanda and Darrell first met in Fort Bragg, NC. The two active duty Army Officers were attending a ceremonial event for a mutual friend and mentor who actually tried to introduce them days before. Drawn to her energy and smile, Darrell approached Yolanda after the event. He was fairly new to the area and was trying to get integrated into the community as he was selected to become the president of a local mentorship organization. They exchanged numbers and made plans to chat over dinner that night. Yolanda had a late day at work and texted Darrell, “Hey! Would your feelings be hurt if I took a raincheck for tonight? I’m still at work and exhausted.” His response was, “My feelings would absolutely be hurt. I’ll see you tonight.” They met for dinner, and now they are preparing to tie the knot this summer! Get inspired by their breathtakingly gorgeous engagement session captured by Reem Photography.

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ENGAGEMENT STORY: Two months after we met, I was relocated to Texas for work. Darrell and I made a commitment to continue physical and virtual date nights to ensure our long-distance relationship kept its fire. In February 2021, we had a photoshoot in an art museum in NC that I planned several months in advance. During the outdoor portion of the photoshoot, Darrell asked me if I needed to use the comb he stashed away for me in his coat pocket since my hair was becoming frizzy from the light rain. I turned around to check my hair in the reflection of the window and saw Darrell drop to one knee behind me. I slowly turned around to make sure he wasn’t just tying his shoes, but he was indeed on one knee with a ring! The photographer also had no idea that he was proposing, so she was just as shocked as I was and was able to capture it all.


FOR THE GROOM: WALK US THROUGH THE BEHIND THE SCENES OF CREATING THIS SPECIAL DAY Leading up to the proposal, Yolanda and I did some ring shopping months prior via FaceTime. I secured the ring without Yolanda knowing because we lived roughly 1,500 miles apart. Since she is not one for being the center of attention, I knew that the proposal had to be an intimate, meaningful one. The perfect opportunity presented when Yolanda scheduled a photoshoot for one of our Valentine’s Day weekend events. I knew I wouldn’t ask the big question until the end of our session just in case she started to cry. I told no one of my plans, so even the photographer was shocked when I dropped to one knee. It was such a genuine and intimate moment that reflected our love for one another in the most perfect way.

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WERE THERE ANY MEMORABLE MOMENTS DURING THE SHOOT? We are an adventurous couple, so we preferred a location that would provide adventure and great sightseeing as we were both coming from our homes in Texas and Hawaii. Our photographer recommended Bonneville Salt Flats in Salt Lake City, Utah, and without hesitation, we agreed. The salt flat provided a white blanket ground with the most symmetrical imperfections. The mountains were a pristine blue, so our brown skin was a perfect addition to the canvas.

There was so much creative space for the photographer and videographer to just work their magic, and that’s exactly what they did. The energy was so perfect! WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT YOUR WEDDING? We are looking forward to celebrating our union and the merging of our families’ cultures. I am Nigerian, and Darrell is from Louisiana, so the cultural displays of music, dance, food, and energy will be the best parts of the wedding.

Bride: Yolanda Benson, 37, US Army Medical Service Corps Officer Groom: LaDarrell Willis, 39, US Army Engineer Corps Officer Place of Residence: Honolulu, Hawaii Engagement Shoot Location: Salt Lake City, Utah Wedding Date: July 1, 2022 Photographer: Reem Photography reemphotography.com Wedding Planner: The Sharp Standard, thesharpstandard.com Videographer: Elite Media Concepts elitemediaconcepts.com Travel: K Travel Vacations ktravelvacations.nexionaffiliate.com Asoebi Lace Fabrics: Fabriq Star IG: @fabriqstar

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY NESHASZDA Z PHOTOGRAPHY

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Ashleé Pat A

shleé met Pat in sixth grade at Camp Creek Middle School in Atlanta, Georgia. They would often chat in the hallway, and even hung out a few times. After middle school, they attended separate high schools and only saw each other at social events. That all changed during Ashleé's freshman year of college when her friends convinced her to go to Miami for spring break, and she got stuck on her layover in Atlanta. She caught a ride with Pat and his friends, who helped her and her friends navigate the Miami scene. From there, Pat and Ashleé built a very solid friendship. In 2019, the timing was perfect, and the two made their relationship official on New Year’s Eve. See all of the beautiful details from their engagement session in Atlanta, Georgia captured by Neshaszda Z Photography.

for them. A few days prior, Pat took Ashleé to get her nails done, and the day before he also took her shopping.

ENGAGEMENT STORY:

The moment Ashleé accepted, she was greeted by 100+ family and friends who were all hiding. The moment couldn’t have been more perfect. From there, they partied the night away.

Pat had been planning this engagement for several weeks. He told Ashleé that he needed her to accompany him to a fundraiser event for one of his clients. This was not uncommon

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On the way to the “fundraiser”, Pat said he needed to make a stop at her sister’s new event space (310 Studio) to drop off a deposit for a birthday party, which was planned for the following week. When they arrived at the event space, Ashleé noticed her sister’s car outside and opted to go inside to surprise her. Little did she know, she was the one in for a BIG SURPRISE. The entire space was decorated with white roses, balloons, drapes, and giant letters that read “Marry Me.” Ashleé could not believe her eyes! Once Pat was able to calm her down, he dropped on one knee and proposed.


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WERE THERE ANY MEMORABLE MOMENTS DURING THE SHOOT? Our engagement shoot was so much fun. Getting to know our photographer made us confident that she was the best fit for our wedding. We were nervous about the shoot because we were rushed for time, and the weather forecast was terrible. However, after several hours of rain, the sun came out right as we were beginning to shoot! It was perfect. WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT YOUR WEDDING? We’ve already experienced our big day. It was the best day of our lives! Bride: Ashleé Pickett, 34, Clinical Psychologist Groom: Pat Dixon, 35, Attorney Place of Residence: Atlanta, Ga Engagement Shoot Location: Swan House: Atlanta History Center Wedding Date: April 2, 2022 Photographer: Neshaszda Z Photography neshaszda.wixsite.com/mysite-5 Hair: Kiera B Styles IG @kierabstyles Makeup Artist: Mia Love naturalfacebeats.com

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JUDAH AVENUE PHOTOGRAPHY

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Leisa Antonio L

eisa and Antonio’s mothers were childhood friends who were intentional about their plans to introduce Antonio to Leisa when he moved to Maryland in 2016. The two ended up spending a lot of time together at several family functions. However, Leisa would leave for her post-doctoral internship in Florida in 2018. After returning a year later, they picked up where they left off. What started as a casual friendship blossomed into so much more. Maybe mothers really do know best! Check out their engagement session captured by Judah Avenue Photography. ENGAGEMENT STORY: I proposed to Leisa on September 26, 2020 after a month of planning with the help of Leisa's sister and close friends. Leisa was under the impression that we were attending a private charity dinner, but instead she walked into a beautifully decorated private space with her parents and close friends in attendance. While she was still in shock, I got down on one knee and asked her permission

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to let me love her forever. She said YES! FOR THE GROOM: WALK US THROUGH THE BEHIND THE SCENES OF CREATING THIS SPECIAL DAY Once I secured the ring and a location, I recruited Leisa’s sister and closest friends to help me plan the special day. There were many secret video conference calls, and I even enlisted a close friend of mine to invite us to the “charity dinner” at the King Contrivance Mansion. Leisa tried her best to figure out when the proposal was coming, but her friends did an excellent job of keeping her in the dark. WERE THERE ANY MEMORABLE MOMENTS DURING THE SHOOT? Antonio: While our photographer was doing a few close-up headshots, I started crying, because at that moment I thought to myself, “This is the most beautiful woman in the world. This is my future wife…and I will give her all the love she deserves in this life.”


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Leisa: Our photographer helped us get out of our comfort zones and focus on each other, which resulted in breathtaking pictures that captured our love. WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT YOUR WEDDING? Antonio: Seeing Leisa walk down the aisle, surrounded by our family and closest friends, will be the happiest moment of my life. Leisa: I can’t wait to exchange our vows in front of the Caribbean sunset and pledge my love to Antonio forever.

Bride: Leisa Small, 33, Clinical Psychologist Groom: Antonio Palmer, 35, IT Consultant Place of Residence: Laurel, MD Engagement Shoot Location: Washington, D.C. Wedding Date: April 9, 2022 Photographer: Judah Avenue Photography judahavenue.com

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY YNOT IMAGES

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Taylor Andrew T

aylor and Andrew first met at the University of Alabama through a mutual friend. Over the past five years, they have watched their love continue to grow. Now they are preparing to become husband and wife this summer! Read more about their love story, and see the details from their stunning engagement session captured by YNOT Images. ENGAGEMENT STORY: We got engaged at the Valley Hotel in Homewood, Alabama. We got off of the elevator on the second floor and began walking to the outdoor rooftop terrace. As we walked and began passing photos and decorations, it began to sink in for Taylor what was going on. As Andrew got down on one knee and popped the big question, Andrew and Taylor’s families and friends all emerged from their hiding places to watch and celebrate. FOR THE GROOM: WALK US THROUGH THE BEHIND THE SCENES OF CREATING THIS SPECIAL DAY

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When Taylor’s ring arrived, I contacted her friends and family to begin planning. I had a vision of what I wanted, and I also knew that she wanted to have all of her family present. When I settled on the venue, I worked with a mutual friend to help me decorate. A day before the proposal, I suggested to Taylor that we go to the Valley Hotel for brunch the following day – she had been dying to try their brunch for months. As we were driving that day, I was praying that everyone was in place, so it didn’t ruin the surprise. She was thoroughly surprised! WERE THERE ANY MEMORABLE MOMENTS DURING THE SHOOT? We took a set of photos over the Tennessee River, and it was freezing. We also took some photos on a steep slope. Trying to serve face while keeping our balance was quite the exercise, but they came out great!


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WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT YOUR WEDDING? We can’t wait to celebrate our union with our closest friends and family! Our wedding will be more intimate, so sharing that moment with everyone who has taken this journey with us will be super special.

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Bride: Taylor Lauren Dean, 25, Talent Acquisition Program Manager Groom: Andrew Louis Edge, 27, Attorney Place of Residence: Birmingham, AL

Engagement Shoot Location: Chattanooga, TN Wedding Date: July 9, 2022 Makeup: Face Beats by Tatiana facebeatsbytatiana.com


Butterfly Floral & Event Design

We want to celebrate with you! Reach out to us to create your dream event. info@butterflyfloral.net (323) 882-8400 2861 W Pico blvd. Los angeles, ca 90006

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Shape Up for Summer BY TONEKA ROYAL

W

ith the wedding season quickly approaching, ditching the winter blues, enjoying the longer days, and embracing the sunshine are the perfect jumpstarts to begin your summer shape-up transformation! Grab a friend, or even your bridal party, to stay motivated for some fun in the sun. Together, you can rejuvenate your minds and bodies with the benefits of being active after long months of hibernation. Whether you want to get back into shape or simply reap the mental health benefits of a good workout, especially with the stress of planning a wedding, a regular exercise routine followed by a proper nutrition plan can help. However, it’s important to remember there’s no need to overdo it. These ten total body exercises are the perfect balance of cardio, strength, and stretching to give you that toned body so that you look fit and feel fabulous when you rock your beautiful wedding dress on your big day!

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This routine begins with a warm-up that activates your entire body and ends with a bit of light cardio. It can be done entirely outdoors and doesn’t require any equipment. However, if you’re more advanced, you can add 10-20 lbs. dumbbells to the squats, lunges, and glute bridge exercises. These versatile exercises target your major muscle groups from head-to-toe, and you can easily adapt each one to suit your intensity level. If you are a beginner, start with one set of 10 repetitions for each exercise, eventually working your way up to three sets of 15 reps for each exercise. Note: One set includes all exercises.

Fitness is a lifestyle. •

High Knee Skips

Squats

Lunges

Glute Bridges with Leg Lift

Full Sit-Up Twist

Side Plank

Triceps Dips

Seated Straddle Stretch

Superman Hold and Squeeze

Walk, Jog, or Jump Rope

Get the most out of your wedding workout routine by pairing it with great nutrition. A healthy diet and exercise are a match made in heaven. Eating right provides you with energy to fuel your workouts while improving your skin, hair, and overall health. Preparation and persistence are essential, so make sure you give yourself enough time to tone up before your big day. A few months of work will have you feeling absolutely fabulous (both inside and out) when it’s time to walk down the aisle.

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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VINTAGE GLAM PHOTOGRAPHED BY MESUS STUDIOS

BEHIND THE SHOOT Vintage Glam | Annapolis, MD No matter what you may have heard, classic vintage glam never goes out of style. There’s nothing quite like old-world charm and sophistication to accent a couple’s romantic love story. Everything from the pops of color in the floral arrangements and attire to the classic car adds to the old fashion charm that really draws us in. Get inspired by these elements of retro inspiration for your engagement photo session. Designer and coplanner Kadijatu Kargbo of Assembly by K shares more about this beautifully curated styled shoot captured by Mesus Studios: “A classic 1960s D.C. engagement session with Michael and Mindy was a unique and adventurous experience. We wanted to do something fashionable, classic, and fun, like an engagement photo with a classic car. We chose pink to communicate emotions of love, affection, and boldness.” LOCATION:

Annapolis, MD INSPIRATION: Vintage, chic, glam wedding

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Event: Hair at Ease Master Class The Ease Academy @the_ease_academy Photographer: Mesus Studios IG @mesus.studios mesusstudios.com Venue: The Westin Annapolis marriott.com/en-us/hotels/ bwiwa-the-westin-annapolis/ overview

Bridal Gown: Daniele Ayele IG @Danieleayelebridal & @Danieleayeleofficial danieleayele.com Models: Mindy: IG @ohdamnitsmindyy Mike: IG @Mikef.be

Hair: MajesticLUX majesticlux.co/ Makeup: Val’s Makeup Artistry valsmakeupartistry.com

Designer, Florist, and CoPlanner: Assembly by K assemblybyk.com

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VOGUE ITALIA PHOTOGRAPHED BY LAJOY PHOTOGRAPHY

BEHIND THE SHOOT Bellissimo Matrimonio Toscano This elegant inspirational photo shoot takes us on a stroll through the romantic Tuscan countryside. Incorporating a modern, Tuscan-inspired wedding design, wedding planner and designer LesLo Events, and photographer LaJoy Photography, successfully brought the vision for this Vogue Italia styled shoot to life. Family style, outdoor dining is a staple of Italian culture, so it was only right that they brought the spirit of communal dining into the design, and curated an outdoor estate tablescape. Neutral florals, greenery, and textured floral arrangements by Special Event Factory beautifully added to the romantic vibe. This bridal styled shoot is sure to inspire the design concepts of your next event.

LOCATION: Upstairs Atlanta | Atlanta, GA COLOR COMBINATIONS: For this styled shoot, we incorporated a very neutral color palette, including, browns, nudes, creams, ivorys, yellows, tans, and greens throughout the design. INSPIRATION: Tuscan-inspired, Italian wedding culture

FAVORITE DETAIL: The cannolis. For the shoot, we not only incorporated a gorgeous cake, but we also opted to really lean into the Italian theme by incorporating cannolis, which are a traditional Italian dessert. Cannolis are often served at Italian weddings, and they were delicious. LINENS : Our outdoor tablescape was based with textured white sand Tuscany linens, and topped with latte colored Tuscany napkins from Nuage Designs.

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CENTERPIECE DESCRIPTION: The tablescape was set for 20 guests on a beautiful outdoor patio in Atlanta at a venue called Upstairs Atlanta. We topped the table with luxury Tuscaninspired textured floral arrangements that were filled with greenery and neutral florals. PLACE SETTINGS: The place settings included the Sienna Lace chargers and cotton stoneware from Tablemade Co., which really brought an airy romance to the table. The crystal glassware and renaissance flatware collection was also from Tablemade Co.

WEDDING PLANNER + DESIGNER: LesLo Events lesloevents.com

FLOWERS: Special Event Factory specialeventfactory. com

PHOTOGRAPHER: LaJoy Photography lajoyphotography.com

LINENS : Nuage Designs nuagedesigns.com TABLETOP

VENUE: Upstairs Atlanta www.upstairsatlanta. com

ACCESSORIES: TableMade Co. tablemade.co

BRIDAL GOWN: Elite Pour La Vie elitepourlavie.com

RENTALS EQUIPMENT: Atlanta Party Rentals atlantapartyrentals.com

BRIDAL PARTY ATTIRE: Elite Pour La Vie elitepourlavie.com GROOM’S TUX: The BeSpoke Room bespokeroomus.com CAKE: Not Your Nana's Bakery notyournanasbakery. com HAIR: HairByJahina www.styleseat.com/ m/v/jahinajohnson

MODELS BRIDE: Christina Zangas @msgreekgoddess GROOM: Wesley Adams @iamwesleyadams GROOMSMAN: James Brooks @jvb_wde BRIDESMAID: Jasmine Raiford @jasmine.raiford

MAKEUP: Gold Faced Artistry linktr.ee/ goldfacedartistry

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THE BRIDAL EXPERIENCE PHOTOGRAPHED BY MIGUEL OF MESUS STUDIOS

BEHIND THE SHOOT Luxury Wedding Day This styled shoot is giving luxury and elegance all at once. The color palette of soft pinks, neutrals, and white adds to the timeless look captured by Miguel of Mesus Studios. Designer and co-planner, Kadijatu Kargbo of Assembly by K, along with makeup artist, Precious Gyamfi of Makeup by PNANG, and a team of talented vendors came together to bring this styled shoot to life. They share more about their vision: “It was curated to speak to the bride who desires luxury on her wedding day. Makeup by PNANG strives to create a glam experience that a bride will never forget. After all the fun of your wedding day is over, it is important to know what will last: your photos and video. Having vendors who create an atmosphere in which you are comfortable, while providing the best service possible, is a must. This group of wedding vendors did an amazing job not only executing the vision but also doing so with attention to every detail.”

LOCATION: Park Hyatt Washington D.C. INSPIRATION: The Bridal Experience

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Photographer: Miguel of Mesus Studios mesusstudios.com Venue: Park Hyatt Washington, D.C. hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/washington-dc/park-hyatt-washington-dc/ wasph Designer, Florist, and Co-Planner: Assembly by K assemblybyk.com Hair: Majestic Lux Co. majesticlux.co Makeup: Precious makeupbypnang.com Flowers: Assembly by K https://www.assemblybyk.com Videography: Final Shot Media www.finalshotmedia.com Models: Saba: IG @sabasavors CJ Obima: IG @cjobima

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Understanding the Concept of Event Design During Wedding Planning BY ABBY AYEH

S

omewhere in between event planning and floral design is the concept of event design. There are three key components of every event: logistics, aesthetics, and the experience. Event design hones in on both aesthetics and experience. A flawlessly executed event brings all three components together. Floral design and décor play an integral part in event design. However, so many other principal elements need to come together for a cohesive look. Event design starts off with a concept — sometimes drawn from an inspiration image — and tackles some or all of these elements. Mood Board – This is where the theme, style, and

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color story of the event are determined. It enables clients to get a visual representation of what their event could look like. Stationery Design – Stationery covers save the dates, invitations, and day-of stationery, which consists of menus, seating assignment concepts, signage, floor and furniture wrap designs. Collaborating with a graphic designer to capture the essence of the event through stationery is key to set the tone and add to the event experience. Floor Plans – Mapping out the types and placement of furniture to highlight the design elements, while allowing for functionality, is vital for a successfully planned and designed event.


Staging and Flooring – This covers the design and placement of stages, backdrops, and all forms of flooring. Draping, Lighting, and Audio Visuals – Draped areas in a room can hide walls or panels that do not fit with a look, and lighting is highly effective in creating ambiance (amongst other things). Tabletop Décor – Determining the type of centerpieces, linen selections, napkin selections and folds, charger plates, and layered place settings all fall under this category of event design. Cake Design – The style and detailing on a cake tell a vital part of the design story. Miscellaneous Design Elements – This covers all other design elements, including food styling, swag, and gift packaging.

It goes without saying that every detail matters in event design. What your guests see at an event plays into how they feel, and that impression can last long after the event is over. An amazing designer considers all these elements and more when thinking about an event concept and how to execute it to perfection.

Abby Ayeh is the owner of Pretty Posh Events, a fullservice event planning, floral and event design company, serving the tri-state area and beyond. She has ten years of experience creating fabulous events for clients around the world. Pretty Posh Events www.prettyposhevents.com

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Inspiration Board

FASHION

Champagne

3.

KISSES By Jomuelle Anicet

C

hampagne kisses that tickle your nose get you excited about what’s to come with your always and forever. You can’t go wrong with this classic but simple theme. A refined theme for refined lovers. Your loved ones share the ultimate toast of congratulations as you both go on your forever journey together.

1.

2.

4.

5.

1. Photographer: Tichakorn Cinematography,

6.

tichakorncinematography.com; 2. Bouquet: Lunaria Flowers Shop, etsy.com/shop/LunariaFlowersShop; 3. Dress Cucculelli Shaheen, Platinum Champagne Décoratif Dress, cu-sh.com; 4. Invitation: Bella Figura, bellafigura.com; 5. Cake: De la Crème Creative Studio, delacremestudio.com; 6. Nail Polish: Essie, Imported Bubbly, essie.com; 7. Shoes: Bella Belle, Frances Gold Champagne Gold Crystal Low Heel Shoes, bellabelleshoes.com; 8.Belt: Sabina K W Design, Champagne

8.

Velvet Bridal Belt, etsy.com/shop/ SabinaKWdesign.

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6.


Inspiration Board

5.

Island IN THE SUN By Jomuelle Anicet

6.

T

ake a trip to a tropical oasis, have fun in the sun, and say “I do” to your one and only. Although it may be an oldie, it is always still a goodie to have a tropical beach wedding — white sand beaches, a warm breeze, and those you hold dear to enjoy it with. On an Island in the Sun, you can’t help but say I Do.

1.

4.

3. 7.

2. 8. 1. Cake: Goldstück, goldstueck-muenchen.com; 2. Invitation: Bella Figura, bellafigura.com; 3. Photographer: Sarah Street Photography, sarahstreetphotography.com; 4. Dress: Galvan London, ‘Punta’ Crepe Gown, galvanlondon.com;

9.

5. Boutonniere: Island Blooms, islandblooms.com; 6. Wedding Decor: Melissa McMeekin, IG @melissa. mcmeekin; 7. Bouquet: Vanessa Jaimes Floral Design, vanessajaimes.com; 8. Earrings: Johnny B Jewelry, Gold White Clay Earrings, etsy.com/shop/ JohnnyBJewelryInc; 9. Shoes: Cecelia New York, Hibiscus Sandal in Pale Pink, cecelianewyork.com

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Inspiration Board

Tales OF PASTELS

7.

By Jomuelle Anicet

T

ell a sweet love story of you and your beau. Enjoy a light breeze during summer’s eve and retell the tales of love at first sight. This theme gives you the chance to make every part of your wedding a sweet treat. Have fun along the way, and look forward to the many wonders of the future.

1.

4.

2. 5. 8.

3. 6.

1. Wedding Favor: Wedding Shop World, Blue and Pink Ombre Design Wedding Candy Boxes with Ribbon, weddingshopworld.com; 2. Invitation: Margos and Bees, margoandbees.com; 3. Bouquet: Ninfea Roja Flowers, ninfearoja.com; 4. Table Settings: Ryan Designs, ryan-designs.com; 5. Earrings: Ross Simons, Rose Quartz and Multi-Gemstone Drop Earrings, ross-simons.com; 6. Shoes: Jimmy Choo London, Aveline Bow Ankle Strap Sandal in Dove Blue, jimmychoo.com; 7. Dress: Claire La Faye, Float On, clairelafaye.com; 8. Cake: Shelby Elizabeth Cakes, thesugarscoop.com.

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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 B L AC K B R I D E .CO M

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Courtesy of Amsale

BRIDAL FASHION TREND REPORT

B

rides are returning to more extravagant bridal fashion after a few years of downsized weddings. Although brides are ready to dress up again, the recent trend of embracing individuality for your wedding look also seems here to stay. Designers are creating collections with more versatility than ever before to embrace the consciousness of the post-pandemic bride. A bride who is willing to extend beyond traditions to wear wedding fashion that truly reflects who she is. The Spring 2023 bridal season included various shapes, lengths, and transitional pieces, providing brides with more options than ever before. As we move into the new year of weddings there is a strong feeling of refreshed and renewed energy in bridal fashion, as designers infuse past fashion elements, we once knew with the style diversity we’ve learned to love. From the maximalist to the minimalist bride there is sure to be a trend for spring 2023 that seems perfect for you.

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Floral

ARRANGEMENTS Courtesy of Elie Saab

Floral grandeur is no longer reserved for wedding décor. Designers are incorporating oversized flower details in Spring 2023. For a romantic and whimsical wedding, a floral wedding gown can act as a perfect oversized centerpiece.

Courtesy of Ines DiSanto

Courtesy of Viktor Rolf

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Courtesy of Amsale

Courtesy of Oscar de la Renta

Courtesy of Sachin & Babi

Midi

LENGTH

2022 was the rise of the mini dress, but this season we're seeing designers go for a slightly longer length. The midi skirt speaks to the classic silhouettes of the '30s, replacing the fun and flirtatious vibes of the above-knee skirt with an air of timeless sophistication.

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Courtesy of Scorcesa


Courtesy of Chakra Bridal

Courtesy of Houghton

Courtesy of Mark Ingram

Asymetrical

LINES

If you’re a bride who wants a gown with more of an artistic undertone, off-centered silhouette, a different neckline is a sure way to add an element of visual interest to your wedding look. The architectural shaped skirts and one-shouldered bodices instantly elevate the wedding gown from traditional to edgy.

Courtesy of Anne Barge

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Courtesy of Peter Langner

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Embellished

FABRICS Courtesy of Patora

During the pandemic, many brides decided to forgo embroidery and beaded gowns for minimal fabrics, as they felt more fitting for mini and micro weddings. However, fullsize weddings are on the rise and so are the glitz and glamour of wedding gowns. Designers stamped this notion by including gowns with head-to-toe embellishment.

Courtesy of Dana Harel Courtesy of Zuhair Murad

Courtesy of Galia Lahav

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Courtesy of Rivini

Courtesy of Kavier Gauche

Courtesy of Scorcesa

Two

PIECE LOOKS

Ideal for the bride who wants multiple looks on her wedding day, a wedding two-piece can quickly transform into a different look by removing and adding multiple pieces. And for the sake of sustainable fashion, there is also the option of styling your bridal pieces with your wardrobe for future occasions.

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Courtesy of Sachin & Babi


All About

Courtesy of Elie Saab

TEXTURE

Courtesy of Oscar de la Renta

Who doesn’t love a little drama? We’ve seen brides adorn elaborate trains and brides should consider cascading ruffles on dresses and jackets to make a statement.

Courtesy of Kaviar Gauche

Courtesy of Marchesa

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Courtesy of Amsale

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Courtesy of Rivini

Exaggerated

SLEEVES

What used to be a symbol of modesty and traditionalism is now one of the most preferred ways to make a bold statement in bridal. It’s no surprise that designers continue to use sleeves to add a dramatic touch to their gowns, but they’re becoming even bigger and better in 2023.

Courtesy of Amsale

Courtesy of Oscar de la Renta

Courtesy of Pantora Bridal

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

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY YNOT IMAGES

&

Kierra Jordan W

hile attending the same church growing up, Kierra and Jordan always knew of each other. One night at bible study, Kierra asked Jordan's sister-in-law about him. After his sister-in-law told him that Kierra asked about him, Jordan decided to make a move by approaching her, and the rest is history! A year after tying the knot in an intimate wedding ceremony, the lovely couple had a joyous and star-studded celebration of love in Kierra’s hometown city of Detroit. See more from their stunning day captured by YNOT Images. WEDDING THEME/MOTIF/INSPIRATION: White and dreamy. My grandmother had a dream that I was married before she passed, and she loved butterflies. They represented her evolution and ours. Also, the white and creams were always my mother’s choice of home décor.

BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING EXPERIENCE AND HOW THE BOTH OF YOU FELT ON YOUR BIG DAY. INCLUDE YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT. It was beautiful having family and friends there who supported our union and our commitment to each other. From our favorite songs to our favorite artists, it was like our own personal concert. It was really special, and the décor added to the ambience. We thoroughly enjoyed it all! WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG: Stevie Wonder's “These Three Words”. Jordan chose this song in our early dating days, and a saxophonist played it at our engagement dinner. It was only fitting that we played it at our wedding. We added Richard Smallwood’s “Trust Me” because we met each other after having completely trusting God and following His guidance on relationships and love.

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WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE The support that is always there and growing old together. The prayer time and having God at the center of our marriage. Traveling together and growing in wellness, spirituality, and financial health. Building a legacy and choosing bright futures for our children and being submissive to the will of the Lord. We look forward to encouraging others to remember the light and beauty that comes with companionship even with the challenges we may face. ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: Jordan: Marriage is a lifetime commitment. We are taught to love our bride as Christ loved the church. I now understand that it means to love unconditionally without judgment and with compassion, patience, hope and faith. Kierra: Love and serve your groom and know that your reward comes from God first, and your hubby. Address your challenges knowing that everything isn’t only physical, but some are spiritual and generational. Marriage has everything to do with selflessness. Bride: Kierra Sheard-Kelly, 34, Gospel Artist Groom: Jordan Kelly, 31, Entrepreneur & School Culture Facilitator Place of Residence: Canton, MI Wedding Date: December 11, 2021 Wedding Location: Westin Book Cadillac Detroit, Detroit, MI Honeymoon Location: Paris, France Photographer: YNOT Images ynotimages.com

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Ceremony + Reception Location and Catering: The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/ dtwcw-the-westin-book-cadillacdetroit Bridal Gown: Ese Azenabor eseazenabor.com Groom’s Tux: Time Square Men’s Custom Clothing Cake: Flour House Cakes flourhousecakes.com

Favors: Fancy Flash Photo Booth fancyflashpb.com

Makeup: Tiara Powers makeupbytdarling.com

Wedding Planners: Elle Audrey Events elleaudrey.com

Flowers: The Velvet Touch Events the-velvet-touch.com

Music: Live Music - J. Drew Sheard II Orchestra - Damien Sneed Guest Artist - Faith Evans

Stationery: Papered Wonders paperedwonders.com

Hair: Taco Marche IG @tacomarche

Videography: Mike Will Media

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOSHUA DWAIN PHOTOGRAPHY

&

Ayisha Andrae I

n 2019, Ayisha and Andrae were both attending a supplemental bar exam program hosted at a large New York City law firm when they noticed one another. Andrae attempted to introduce himself, but Ayisha was laser focused on preparing for the bar exam and did not pay him much attention. After the July bar exam, and a series of “undelivered” text messages, the two finally connected in October of 2019 and have been together ever since. Their modern wedding ceremony, captured by Joshua Dwain Photography, was a true vision of love! BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING EXPERIENCE AND HOW THE BOTH OF YOU FELT ON YOUR BIG DAY. INCLUDE YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT. Andrae: I felt a mix of excitement and anticipation about the big day and all that it symbolized. The most memorable moment for me would be our entrance. I, too, wanted a memorable entrance and decided that I wanted to walk out to the Shaft theme song.

Ayisha: I did become anxious as we got closer to the ceremony and felt the full weight of what we were about to do. The most memorable moment is a tie between my father’s speech, which evoked laughter and tears, and my sister’s speech. She is also one of my best friends, so her speech meant so much. WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG: “Caught Up in the Rapture” - Anita Baker gave melody to our love story – its cadence, how harmonious and easy it was for us from the very beginning to envision a life together with God at the center. WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We are looking forward to continuing to grow in love in a way that reflects our understanding of the true meaning of marriage by intentionally combining our lives and building our family.

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ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: Take a moment to pause and take it all in. The day goes by so quickly. Bride: Ayisha Nelson, 28, Corporate Sports Lawyer Groom: Andrae Nelson, 30, Corporate Lawyer Place of Residence: Brooklyn, New York Wedding Date: August 20, 2021 Wedding Location: Legacy Castle, Pompton Plains, New Jersey Wedding Theme: Modern Classic Honeymoon Destination: Mahé, Seychelles and Dubai, UAE Photographer: Joshua Dwain Photography JoshuaDwain.com Ceremony + Reception Location: Legacy Castle thelegacycastle.com Bridal Gown: Martina Liana Luxe Kleinfeld Bridal Bridal Party Attire: Jadore, White Runway Groom’s Tux: Darryl Wright (DRESWEL) dreswel.co Cake: Vincenzo Salvatore Cakes vincenzosalvatorecakes.com Caterer: TwoThirtyFour Kitchen twothirtyfourkitchen.com Wedding Planner: Daybreak Management Group DaybreakManagementGroup.com

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Bridal Hair: Gerdie Gordon gerdierenegordon.com Groom’s Hair: Ron Desnoyers IG: @ron_des Makeup: Nelli heynelli.com Music: Pulse Sounds pulsesounds.com Flowers: Diva Blooms divablooms.com Stationery: Minted minted.com

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRIA NICOLE TERRY OF WOLF AND ROSE PHOTOGRAPHY

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Simone Devin S

imone and Devin’s story began in August 2018 with two things: a pool party and a brawl. Devin’s side of the story is a fight broke out in the middle of a pool party. He started looking for his friend while Simone ran toward safety, and somehow they found each other. Simone’s version of when they met is she was at a pool party with her girls when she walked past a mystery man. They locked eyes, but she kept walking. A fight created the perfect moment for her to approach him, so she stood next to him and sparked a conversation. The couple have since come to the agreement that it was fate. Four years later, Simone and Devin said, “I do,” in a dreamy, intimate elopement ceremony captured by Wolf and Rose Photography. BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING EXPERIENCE AND HOW THE BOTH OF YOU FELT ON YOUR BIG DAY. INCLUDE YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT.

Deciding to elope was the best decision we’ve ever made. No stress or chaos. Just love. If we had to choose a word to describe our union, it would be POWERFUL. Our most memorable moment was when we held hands and stood in the freezing water. It defied all logic, but it made the most sense. We felt like we were the only two people in the world. WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG: Our violinist caught Covid, so we did not have any music during our elopement. We chose “Blue Dream” by Jhené Aiko because it was the first song we bonded over in our relationship. WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE Building a life together.

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ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: Getting married is a beautiful process. Remember that it’s your day! Don’t allow stress to ruin your experience. Bride: Simone Lewis, 24, Settlement Analyst Groom: Devin Lewis, 27, Self-employed, Owner of Wolfpack Fitness Place of Residence: Houston, TX Wedding Date: February 14, 2022 Wedding Location: Rockledge Park in Grapevine, TX

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Wedding Theme: Intimate Elopement in nature Honeymoon Destination: Koh Samui, Thailand Photographer: Wolf and Rose Photography wolfandrosephotography.com Ceremony Location: Rockledge Park rockledgepark.com Reception Location: Double Tree by Hilton hilton.com/en/hotels/dttdbdt-doubletreedetroit-dearborn/events

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Bridal Gown: Alex Veil Bridal alexveil.ru/where-to-buy IG: @alexveil_official Groom’s Tux: ASOS asos.com Makeup: Candace Christine nulookmakeup.as.me/schedule.php Flowers: Brittnee IG @oh_so_brittnee Stationery: Minted minted.com/wedding-invitations

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JAMES WILLIS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Yolanda Brandon T

his love story began on November 7, 2009 when Yolanda decided to have a birthday celebration. Earlier that week, she’d invited a former co-worker who asked if he could bring a guest. She assumed he was bringing his significant other, but to her surprise he walked in with Brandon! While Brandon and Yolanda only exchanged brief pleasantries, their interest in each other was sparked that night. Little did Yolanda know that he would end up being the best birthday gift ever. See more from their glamorous black-tie affair captured by James Willis Photography. BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING EXPERIENCE AND HOW THE BOTH OF YOU FELT ON YOUR BIG DAY. INCLUDE YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT. We incorporated cultural and religious traditions into our day from taking our first communion together to jumping the broom. Brandon’s Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. brothers saluted the bride in song during

the reception. The groom also grew up with second line parades ending all celebrations, so of course it had to be a part of our day! WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG: “You and I” by John Legend – We chose this song because “there’s nobody in the world like [us]!” WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE? A life full of experiences and memories together as we pursue purpose, grow our family, and enjoy each other. ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: Be present in each and every moment of the planning and the day-of. In order to do so, you have to trust your planner and vendors to do what you hired them to do.

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Bride: Yolanda Davis Brisco, 37, Economic Development & Corporate Attorney and Fractional CFO Groom: Brandon Mitchell Brisco, 38, Information Technology Manager Place of Residence: Charlotte, NC Wedding Date: June 12, 2021 Wedding Location: The Ballantyne Hotel Wedding Theme: Black-tie and Southern-inspired Honeymoon Destination: St. Lucia Photographer: James Willis Photography jameswillisphoto.com Ceremony + Reception Location+ Cake: The Ballantyne Hotel theballantynehotel.com

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Bridal Gown: Winnie Couture winniecouture.com

Wedding Planner: Events by Nishaka eventsbynishaka.com

Bridal Party Attire: Sorella Vita essensedesigns.com

Music: DJ Skillz skillzthedj.com

Groom’s Tux: Ceremony: Suit Supply suitsupply.com

Hair: Shassity Stevenson shassity.com

Reception: The Black Tux theblacktux.com

Makeup: Dare2BDiva dare2bdivaart.as.me

Wedding Party Favors: Little Brown Sugar IG: @littlebrownsugar1

Flowers: Designs by Devereux designsbydevereux.com

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Late Night Treat: Krispy Kreme krispykreme.com The Ballantye Hotel (Arnold Palmers) ballantynehotel.com Stationery: The M Design Shoppe themdesignshoppe.com Event Rentals: Clux cluxrentals.com Stage + Lighting: Carey Sound Weddings careysoundavl.com Videography: Dorn-Long Films dornlongfilms.com Musicians: Orchestra Noir www.orchestranoir.com Band: 5th and York 5thandyork.com Bridal Personal Assistant: Elizabeth Ann Bridal elizabethannbridal.com Reception Attire: Isabel Vernard facebook.com/isabelvernard

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEG LAFFEY PHOTOGRAPHY

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Loren Rollin A

fter Rollin slid into Loren’s DMs on Instagram in 2019, a beautiful love story unfolded. They met in-person for the first time in Washington State where they are both currently stationed. The two started officially dating in June 2019, and in November 2020 Rollin asked Loren to become his wife. Get inspired by their beautiful December wedding captured by Meg Laffey Photography.

Rollin: My wedding day was an amazing experience. I knew in this new season, work would come to be a great husband, a more disciplined Christian man, and a better partner. My best moment was seeing my wife walk down the aisle.

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

Our wedding song was A.D.I.D.A.S (All Day I) by Ro James. We chose this song because Rollin used to sing this song to me at the beginning of our relationship.

Loren: Since we are not stationed near our family, we do not get to see them often, which made our wedding day extra special. My most memorable moments were when Rollin tried to kiss me before the pastor told him to do so, and when he read his vows to me.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE?

WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG:

We want to live out the vision God has placed on our lives. A few of our main goals as a married couple right now are growing together spiritually and working on our F.I.R.E.

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plan (financial independence, retire early). ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: Please remember your wedding day is about you and your spouse. Also, do not be afraid to ask for help. Hire a day-ofcoordinator. They are wedding day savers! Lastly, I suggest hiring a bridal stylist if your look is important to you on your big day. Dara truly helped us bring our vision to life. Bride: Loren D. Parker, 27, Army Officer Groom: Rollin D. Barton III, 27, Army Officer Place of Residence:

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Olympia, WA Wedding Date: December 12th, 2021 Wedding Location: Westminster Hall, Baltimore, MD Wedding Theme: Our colors were burgundy, gold, and a touch of green. The vibe was casual meets sexy. Honeymoon Destination: Tanzania Photographer: Meg Laffey meglaffeyphoto.com Ceremony: Westminster Hall westminsterhall.org Reception Location: Bond Street Social (It has since permanently closed) Bridal Gown: Laury Bride laurybride.com/custom-lb Bridal Party Atire: Azazie azazie.com

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Groom’s Tux: Marbella by Ike Behar via Tuxedo House tuxedohouse.com Cake: Midnite Confections midniteconfection.com Favors: Utz Crab Chips utzsnacks.com Day-of-Coordinator:: Your Wedding, By Whitney yourweddingbywhitney@gmail.com

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Music: DJ Say Wut (Brandon Tennessee) horsemenent.net

artistryybyaishabooking.as.me/schedule.php Flowers: Ms. Josie josiesflorist.com

Hair: Janai janaialliyahbeauty.com

Stationery: Zola zola.com

Extensions: Shoni Ross sevenstreamsapothecary.com

Bridal Stylist: Dara Adams veilbydaraadams.com

Makeup: Aisha

Bridal Headpiece: Ai & Eva Bridal Jewelry aiandeva.com

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Krystle Joshua t was the summer of 2014, and Krystle Icompleting was excited to be back in New York City her visiting medical student

rotation in emergency medicine. 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, “Make sure to ask her out. I bet you won’t be disappointed.” After working closely together during the rotation, Krystle and Joshua soon developed a friendship. The following spring, they found out they would be in the same medical residency program, and they reconnected! This time Joshua asked Krystle to lunch, and she gladly accepted. After seeking guidance from God, the two have decided to spend the rest of their lives together. Check out their fairytale wedding captured by Reem Photography. BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING EXPERIENCE AND HOW THE BOTH OF YOU FELT ON YOUR BIG DAY. INCLUDE YOUR

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT. Joshua: As lovely as the celebration was, my focus has been and continues to be the growth of our love and the strength of our union. The most memorable moment I had was the peace I experienced while standing at the altar with my bride and exchanging our vows while declaring our love. Krystle: My mom and my husband’s mother prayed over me, and the day turned out better than I could have ever imagined. The most memorable moment was standing across from my husband at the altar, and he whispered to me that I looked beautiful and held my hand. WEDDING SONG, EXPLAIN CHOICE FOR SONG: “All of Me” by Jah Cure. This song shows the highs and lows of a committed love, and the beauty of it.

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WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A MARRIED COUPLE? We are looking forward to growing together and building a legacy of Christian values, health, and wealth for our family. ADVICE FOR A BRIDE/GROOM ON THEIR WEDDING DAY: Enjoy each other and the celebration with your friends and families. Not everything will go according to plan, but that’s okay. What’s important is that you have fun. And don’t go into debt for an elaborate wedding. Bride: Krystle Lexi, Physician Groom: Joshua Omar, Physician Place of Residence: New York, New York Wedding Date: February 28, 2022 Wedding Location: The Trident Castle, Port Antonio, Jamaica Wedding Theme: Caribbean Royalty Honeymoon Destination: Ocho Rios, Jamaica Photographer: Reem Photography reemphotography.com Wedding Planner: Daybreak Management Group daybreakmanagementgroup.com Ceremony + Reception Location + Catering: Trident Castle thetridentcastle.com Bridal Gown: Lotus Bridal lotusbridal.com Groom’s Tux: Dreswel dreswel.co

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Cinematography + Music: Elite Media Concepts elitemediaconcepts.com Cake: Mighty Fine Thing IG: @MightyFineThing Hair + Makeup: Keneshia Bryan IG:@IamKend0ll Flowers: Tai Flora Luxe taiflora.com

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OUR COVER STYLE

Inspiration

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or the summer cover story, we wanted to spotlight world-renowned athlete and philanthropist Sloane Stephens in her dual realities as a bride and a boss. Like Sloane, many modern women are navigating the responsibilities of their professions, while also stepping into the role of wife. When choosing looks for the cover story, it was important to select gowns that were bold yet beautiful to symbolize Sloane actively balancing the best of both worlds. As women continue to break barriers in their careers, it’s inspiring to see them experience true love and marriage. In doing so, women are dispelling the myth that those who prioritize one are unable to happily have and thrive within the construct of the other. By telling Sloane’s story through style, we hope to remind women that strength and success can be synonymous with the romantic relationship they desire. We also want to encourage women to fully embrace all of who they are, even while embarking on their new journeys as brides.

Dara Adams Fashion Editor

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COVER STORY

Gown -Rita Vinieris via Bridals by Lori Earrings - Ines Di Santo

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SLOANE STEPHENS A Perfect Match BY CANDICE DAVIE

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Gown - Ines DI Santo Headpiece - Maria Elena Earrings - Maria Elena

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T

hey say love presents itself when you least expect it, and such was the case when tennis star, Sloane Stephens, reconnected with soccer player, Jozy Altidore. It had been years since the two had seen each other after previously meeting in middle school. This time around, their friendship blossomed into so much more, and there was a spark that could not be denied.

After a nearly two year engagement due to the pandemic, Sloane and Jozy came to the realization that some moments only come around once in a lifetime and made the decision to proceed with their plans to tie the knot. On New Year’s Day, the couple rang in 2022 as husband and wife in a fairytale wedding ceremony at the St. Regis Bal Harbour in Miami, Florida. We sat down with Sloane Stephens to talk about her wins on and off the tennis court, how she unexpectedly found love, and what’s next in her career and in her new role as a wife.

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Gown - Galia Lahav via Bridal Reflections Earrings - Maria Elena

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How did you and Jozy meet? We met in elementary school. I was in fifth grade, and he was in seventh grade. We both played sports across the street in the academy. I played tennis, he played soccer, and that’s how we met for the first time. At what point did you two start dating? We reconnected in 2016. He was training with the Men’s National Team. I was training at the same facility where the U.S. Tennis National Headquarters is, and we ran into each other in the hallway. We ended up exchanging numbers, and later went out to eat. Were you looking for love at that time in your life? Absolutely not. I was definitely not looking for anything. We just happened to see each other that day and have talked to each other every day since then. When did you know that he was the one? I don’t think there was a particular moment. With us both being athletes, we could understand each other. He was with me when I had foot surgery and took care of me. Also, after spending time with my family, I started to see that this was someone I could marry. I spent every holiday at home since my grandparents are older, and he was always very supportive of that.

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Gown -Rita Vinieris via Bridals by Lori Earrings - Ines Di Santo

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What do you love most about Jozy? I love that he’s super caring, generous, and thoughtful. He has a really good heart, and not everyone can be consistent with everything. That’s what every girl wants is for someone to be consistent with how they treat her. The consistency makes me love him more and more. I can always know I’m coming home to food, or sometimes a Birkin bag, it just depends on the day. In our relationship, we’ve had to work on how we can best support each other. What do you like to do for fun? We play games on our phone with each other. We usually end up fighting, or I will quit and exit the game. We’re super competitive in our household, so we’re always doing something. Since Covid, we’ve had to get creative and do things like play Bingo on Zoom with my family, and we keep it fun. It’s what actually brought us closer because we’ve done some random, interesting things that we would not have normally done. When it’s easy to do nothing with someone, it’s a good thing.

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Gown - Galia Lahav via Bridal Reflections Headpiece - Maria Elena Earrings - Maria Elena

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Gown - Galia Lahav via Bridal Reflections Earrings - Ines Di Santo

Tell me about the engagement. Were you surprised, or were you expecting it? I was expecting it, but I was definitely surprised. It was really weird because Jozy is usually very organized. We went to church, and afterwards he said that we were going to go to this Thai restaurant that our nanny recommended. But, when we got there it was closed. I thought to myself, “This is weird. You didn’t call them before we came to see if they were open?” Then he said we were actually going to go to an art gallery first, but when we walked in, my favorite song was playing and all of my friends and family were there. Then I saw pictures of us together throughout our relationship on big canvases around the room. He asked my Uncle Steve to pass him something, and he handed him the ring. I was like, “Oh, this is happening!” It was so beautiful. The wedding was better, but the engagement was great. I saw some the pictures from the wedding. You were a really gorgeous bride. What was your experience like planning a wedding during the pandemic?

I just couldn’t wait any longer. There were so many different strains, and I knew that if we didn’t do it now it was not going to happen. We were at a point where we would just have to test everyone, and make it as safe as possible. We set pretty firm ground rules, and it worked out. It was difficult, but we did it in Florida. Everything was open, so we didn’t have to deal with some of the closings that other states were experiencing at that time. Did you have a big wedding? We had 125 people. To me that was a lot of people, but we had a really great time. It was nice to be able to bring everyone together after not seeing some people in a few years. Was there a particular moment on your wedding day that stood out the most to you? If so, why? I was really moved by seeing everyone that we love gathered in one place. I travel so much for work — pretty much 40+ weeks a year.I see my friends and family throughout the year, but rarely all at once. Having everyone in one place, especially after being apart for so long due to the pandemic, was incredibly special.

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Gown - Galia Lahav via Bridal Reflections Head Piece - Maria Elena Earrings - Maria Elena Shoes - Jimmy Choo

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Are there any goals that you and Jozy have set for your marriage? To share in life's joys and support each other through life's journey. What's next for you professionally? The tennis season is in full swing! By the time this interview comes out, I'll likely be somewhere in Europe for the clay court season, which runs until early June. After that, I'll head to the UK for grass court season before spending the summer on U.S. hard courts in the leadup to the U.S. Open at the end of August. It was truly an honor to hear more about Sloane and Jozy’s love story, and their plans for the future. We look forward to seeing more from this iconic athlete couple as they continue to grow together and make moves.

Get Social with the Designers Galia Lahav - @galialahav Bridal Reflections - @bridalreflectionsny Rita Vineris - @ritavinieris Bridals by Lori - @bridalsbylori Ines Di Santo - @inesdisanto Maria Elena - @mariaelenaheadpieces Jimmy Choo - @jimmychoo

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

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Photographed By: Lety Altam letyaltamphotography.com

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Growing Better Together BY CONCEPCION AND AZIZ WILKINSON

“Self development and healing are essential.”

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ur journey through love and life has taught us countless lessons. Here are three lessons that stick out:

1. 2. 3.

Our love, our lives, and each other are everevolving. Self development and healing are essential. We put each other first.

We’ve been together since high school, and it feels like we’ve had three different relationships. From teenagers to young adults, to parents, we’ve both grown and changed so much. Every step of the way, we’ve had to adjust in each season of our lives while allowing for personal goals and growth to be met. Because we started our relationship so young, we allowed each other space while being supportive. This set the tone for what was to come down the road in our relationship. During that time, we were still growing as individuals and developing our sense of self. Self development and healing were essential for us. We both had less than ideal upbringings. There were traumas we had to heal from, and behaviors that we had to unlearn, in order for us to have a healthy relationship. I (Concepcion) didn’t have a father in my household, so there was no example of what a good man/husband should be. In turn, that created a void of love, created insecurities, and put a strain on my relationship with my mother. These were things that I needed to heal from in order to become a good wife and mother. I (Aziz) grew up with both parents in my household, but there was lots of arguing, which created communication issues. That only led to communication issues with us. We have gone to therapy together and individually to work on these matters, which has been key to our thriving marriage and family unit. We’ve learned that putting each other first is vital in our relationship and in parenthood. If our relationship isn’t solid, then our household will fall apart. Over the years, we’ve drowned out the noise from naysayers

and any negativity that may come our way. We’ve learned to focus on us — our success and happiness depend on it. Creating boundaries from toxicity has been a catalyst in propelling us forward. When the fog is clear, it is easier to steer our ship. This has made us better spouses and parents. In our 17 years together and our seven years of marriage, we’ve enjoyed good times, but we have also made mistakes. These mistakes have turned into learning opportunities that we have grown from. We hope that by sharing our journey on social media, we can inspire other black couples to evolve together, heal their traumas, and put each other first.

Aziz and Concepcion Wilkinson live in Atlanta, Georgia with their two children. Concepcion is an entrepreneur/influencer and enjoys baking, photography, crafting, and D.I.Y projects. Aziz is a registered nurse whose hobbies include videography, reading, and cooking. Follow them on IG: @One_Fancy_Cookie (Concepcion), @aziz_wilkinson_ (Aziz)

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Photograph By:323 Creative Designs 323creativedesigns.com

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A Great Marriage Doesn’t Happen by Chance BY MECCA AND ALDUAN TARTT

“Couples don’t just fall out of love, just like you don’t just gain 30lbs.”

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n Alduan and I have been together for 13 years and married for eight years. What I have learned is that your marriage can’t be put on autopilot in order for it to flourish. After all, the person you marry is one of the single most important decisions that you will ever make. We have learned that having a “dope marriage” can’t be an afterthought, which means that each day we have to be very intentional about putting our marriage first. Like most couples, we are moving between work priorities, running the household, podcasting, running multiple businesses, building our legacy, and more. We have a busy household with our three children, but nothing should ever surpass our relationship. I know that sounds great, but we put it into action by investing in couples counseling, workshops (Better Husband Better Wife), marriage retreats (shameless plug…A Weekend For Love), connecting with like-minded couples, and dating one another.

something, so to be surrounded by so many other married couples celebrating love is a blessing. Also, we believe that couples who pray together stay together, which is why the Wives Prayer Challenge and Couples Prayer Challenge is something we love hosting. Both pull together a community of married couples from all over the world, and there is something magical that happens when married couples come together and see each other celebrating their spouses. The truth is you become your reality. Our parents have been married 30+ years, and we see them as the standard. We both are invested and believe that marriage is a lifelong commitment, and we are both willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that we have a happy marriage that surpasses the test of time.

We also try to ensure that we have a vacation together every year because a “family trip” and “vacation” are not one in the same. When I think about vacation, I don’t envision myself having to wake up early or having to say “eat your food” four times. Vacations are necessary and breathe life into your relationship, and dates are just as important as they break up the monotony of “adulting”. We’ve learned that if we both focus on meeting each other’s needs,we both will feel fulfilled. I have learned that three C’s are crucial to a great marriage: -Being Considerate -Willingness to Compromise -Strong Communication skills Couples don’t just fall out of love, just like you don’t just gain 30-poundss. It’s this slow progression of unmet needs, not feeling seen, or being fulfilled. Your marriage should be your oasis, your sacred place to retreat to outside of everything going on in the world. The only way that your marriage will become that is by pouring into it each day. As a result, we love hosting A Weekend For Love Couples Retreat because it pulls couples away from all the distractions to recreate the feeling of when they first met. You can feel like you are the only one going through

Photograph By: Sweet Mee Photography sweetmeaphotography.com

The Tartts reside in Atlanta, Georgia where Dr. Alduan Tartt is a Psychologist, Speaker, TV Personality, and Licensed Ordained Minister. He is also co-founder of A Weekend For Love Marriage Retreat. Mecca is a Non-Profit Executive, women’s health and wellness coach, founder of the Wives Prayer Challenge, and co-founder of A Weekend For Love Marriage Retreat. They also founded the Better Husband, Better Wife MonthlyMarriage Classes. For more about this power couple go to: Dr. Alduan Tartt, IG: @drtartt, drtartt.com Mecca Tartt, IG: @meccamooretartt, meccamooretartt.com A Weekend For Love Marriage Retreat Aweekendforlove.com Better Husband, Better Wife Monthly Marriage Classes betterhusbandbetterwife.com

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Photographed by: Hugo Coelho hugocoelho.com

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Building a Strong MarriageFoundation BY AISHA AND DAVID FRISBEY

“At the end of the day, we are a team.”

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ogether, David and I have learned that positive and effective communication is the foundation of our relationship. This is something we started working on with our marriage counselors before getting married, and it has proven to be so important in our journey down the aisle and beyond. We make it a priority to express ourselves as needed and empower each other in the process. At the end of the day, we’re a team. Communication goes hand in hand with the next lesson that has been integral in our relationship: No matter what, we should stick by one another. Whether it’s making sure both of our finances are in order, or ensuring that major decisions are made together, we always take each other into account. That’s what marriage is essentially — choosing the person you can ride through all of life’s waves with. We signed up to become a unit, and that’s something we can confidently say we embody. Empowering each other is so important when being in a successful relationship. We never want to be in a position where we undermine the other person or make them feel as though their opinions, concerns, and desires are not validated. Unless it’s about what we’re ordering for dinner, because in that case I (Aisha) usually win, we make sure to have important conversations and come to important decisions together. Whether we're at home on the couch (without being glued to our phones) and binge-watching a show, going out to dinner, or traveling somewhere new, the last lesson that we feel has made our relationship rock-solid so far is the necessity of spending quality time together. Life and time move quickly, and we’ve learned that prioritizing

being together physically and emotionally is so necessary. We see a lot of couples who constantly need to go on group trips or group outings and don’t seem to enjoy just being with each other. At the end of the day, you’ve chosen this person for a reason. At the bare minimum, you should like being with them. So, we take our quality time very seriously. We’re in this for the long haul, and we’re choosing to make every single moment we have together count.

About the Frisbeys: David Frisbey is a Digital and Technology Consultant, and Aisha Beau Frisbey (@aishabeau) is a Lifestyle Influencer and Speaker who live in West New York, New Jersey. We’re newly married, and we have been together for over five years. We’re both big foodies who love trying new restaurants, going to wine and spirits tastings, and traveling the world. We got married in Portugal, and we’re currently gearing up for our honeymoon in the Maldives!

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DESTINATION WEDDING GUIDE:

Hot Tips for Planning Your Summer DestinationWedding BY STEPHANIE KILSON-THOMAS

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ummers are made for weddings, and destination weddings are the perfect reason for family and friends to take a few days off to witness your beautiful union. When you’re planning a destination wedding during the summer months, you of course want to make sure it’s perfect: the perfect destination, the perfect resort, the perfect setup. Here are a few helpful tips for the best summer destination wedding experience.

BEWARE OF STORM SEASON. Hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30. Mexico’s rainy season is August-October, and you’ll find that some resort chains may offer a discounted price on their wedding packages during this time period. Jamaica’s rainy season is JulyOctober, and the Dominican Republic’s rainy season is August-November. Destinations to consider that will keep you away from the storm: ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) and Barbados. While these islands are safer during the hurricane season, they still experience light rains and light storms. We can’t predict the weather, but it’s always good to be prepared just in case!

BOOK EARLY YOUR DESTINATION WEDDING EARLY. Destination wedding season is year-round; however, the summer months are always the most popular. Most family members and friends have accumulated enough PTO by the summer, and the kids are out of school. Starting Memorial Day weekend, everyone is ready to travel! Since the COVID-19 pandemic, destination weddings have seen a dramatic uptick. It has increased so much that resorts are booked out far in advance, and couples are getting married during the week so they can have their dream wedding. The best time to start planning a destination wedding is 12-18 months before your desired date, so it’s important that you begin planning early to secure it. B L AC K B R I D E .CO M

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Destination wedding season is year-round; however, the summer months are always the most popular.

THERE’S MORE TO FLIGHTS THAN THE PRICE. There’s a lot to consider when choosing your destination wedding location. When it comes to flights, the number one thing we think about is cost. A few very important things to consider when choosing your destination in regards to flights are length of travel (how long it takes to get to your destination, especially for your more senior guests), how many layovers are between your point of origin and your destination, and how many flight options are available per day (in case you or a guest happens to miss your flight or your connecting flight). Just like any other wedding, planning ahead for a destination wedding is key. But, if you do, all of your family members and friends will be able to join you to celebrate together in paradise. Happy planning!

Stephanie Kilson-Thomas is the owner of KT Travel & More LLC, a certified destination wedding travel agency based in Dallas, TX. She has booked destination wedding travel for couples and their guests to Mexico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, and South Africa. kttravelandmore.com

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

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