MunaLuchi Summer 2021 Edition

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I S S U E N O. 24 | S U M M E R 202 1

T H E #1 M U LT I C U LT U R A L W E D D I N G M A G A Z I N E

Bride love ENDURES Kayla-Marie&Adrian OVER 100 PAGES OF INSPIRATION AND TIPS TO HELP YOU

plweddi an your n g yourway

TEAMMATES IN LOVE AND LIFE. DETAILS ON THEIR LOVE STORY + EXCLUSIVE WEDDING HIGHLIGHTS


welcome

The name MunaLuchi holds a special place in our hearts. It is the combination of two African names which when fused together mean, "Beautiful Work of God"... Perfectly describing our brides... The MunaLuchi bride is bold, beautiful, worldly... She is witty, vibrant and free. She loves the finer things in life, and is not afraid to go after what she wants. She exudes style and grace and is determined to look her very best not just on her wedding day but every day. She yearns to embrace her culture and seeks inspiration that speaks to her. She comes in all sizes and shades. Simply put, she is beautiful no matter what skin she's in. Our mission is to promote positive images of women of color...because we believe positive imagery is the threshold for confidence...and confidence inspires self love. We aspire to inspire...

PHOTO: TRISTAN BARROCKS. MORE FROM THIS EDITORIAL ON PAGE 30


Photo: Stanlo Photography


yemi PHOTO: HANNAH SOULE POWDERLY

BY APPOINTMENT

kosibah.com

914.359.7757

designer@kosibah.com

@yemikosibah


bahamas

Visit us at Bahamas.com/Weddings


editor's letter

W

After a year and a half of uncertainty, we are still not back where we want to be, and the fate of our industry as these numbers climb up is still questionable. But one thing that remains certain amidst all of this chaos, is the perseverance and strong-will of the wedding vendors that have been fighting to stay alive through all the recent struggles brought on by the pandemic. Our vendors have evolved their businesses, created unique and fun ways to celebrate, and have remained positive through it all. Many had to close up shop, while some are still struggling to stay in business. And it’s all because of love. Love of business. Love of community. Love of bringing your weddings and celebrations to life. Take some time out to thank your wedding vendor team from the bridal salon, to the hairdresser, to the wedding planning and even the servers during the reception. That little acknowledgment and show of gratitude during these trying times will go a long way. If there’s one thing that I know for sure, it’s that love will always endure, no matter the circumstances. This pandemic has created the opportunity for those of us that have been fortunate enough to survive it, to take a step back and remember what really matters. Our cover couple, Kayla-Marie and Adrian have an ordained love. They were forced to postpone their wedding twice and ultimately decided to elope at a picturesque winery. Their wedding was everything they needed and more. It was emotional, heartfelt, intimate, and classy. See all the details on page 92 and visit the MunaLuchi website to watch their tear-inducing first touch session. As you flip through this issue, remember that what’s most important is the love you have for one another. If you’re able to have all of the bells and whistles, go for it. But if this pandemic has restricted you in any way, make it official in the best way you can and do what works best for you and your partner. I hope you find new ideas and inspiration in these pages, and wish you the best of luck on your wedding planning journey.

Happy Planning!

Jacqueline Nwobu CEO/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF MUNALUCHI BRIDE MAGAZINE EDITOR@MUNALUCHIBRIDAL.COM

PHOTOGRAPHY/CINEMATOGRAPHY: PLANNER:

Felicity Moments

NO. 24 | SUMMER 2021

Grace Arhin Events

LIGHTING TECH:

Ishmil Waterman

LIGHTING TECH/ASSISTANT SHOOT/DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: MAKEUP:

Felicity Moments Production Team

Eminent Allure

HAIRSTYLING (KAYLA):

Arthur Hair

HAIRSTYLING (ADRIAN): LINEUP (ADRIAN): FLORAL DESIGN:

Lohifa Pogoson

PRESIDENT

Mimosa Floral Boutique

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Bliss Event Rentals

FURNITURE (CHAIRS RENTALS):

Designz By May

TUXEDO, SHOES, SHIRT & GROOM STYLING:

King

and Bay BRIDAL GOWN BOUTIQUE: CAPE, VEIL, JEWELRY:

Elisabeth & Beau

Ferre Sposa Toronto Bridal

TULLE GOWN (ON THE COVER): HORSE RANCH:

Runway Styled

Peace Valley Ranch Rawhide

CAKE: Fruitilicious

Cakes

Jacqueline Nwobu Chike Nwobu

Jacob Macdonald

TABLE TOP SETTINGS:

CEO/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Angela Conner

DIR. CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

Ada Iwugo

EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS

Marie Smith, Linda Wallentine, Lily Taylor

The team at Munaluchi Bridal Magazine wishes to extend their thanks to all of the wedding professionals who gracefully shared their expertise and shared with us their works of art. All opinions expressed by the professionals interviewed are their own and other professionals in their field may have differing opinions. While Munaluchi Bridal Magazine aims to deliver accurate expert advice, no responsibility can be taken for the opinions of others. Munaluchi Bridal Magazine does not make any representation of the quality of any products, services, information, or material represented in this magazine. We reserve the right to refuse advertising. All advertisements are accepted and published on the representation that the advertiser is properly authorized to publish the entire contents and subject matter thereof. All photography not specifically credited to a photographer are courtesy of the respective company and used with their permission.

photo: nana annan photography

hat a year it has been! When our last issue was published 6 months ago, vaccines were being rolled out, COVID-19 cases were decreasing, and restaurants and businesses were opening back up. The wedding industry went from a complete standstill to total overdrive. Our industry, just as many others, was hit especially hard by the pandemic. It was hard to imagine when we would be able to get back into the business of weddings again. And just as we started getting ready for the boom, the COVID-19 positivity cases began to rise again due to the Delta strain.




JAS I G N AT U R E .C O M


CO N T E N T S

features 30

COVER STORY

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DESTINATION WEDDING PLANNING TIPS

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5 MUST-KNOW BEAUTY BRANDS

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COCKTAIL HOUR IDEAS

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TOP 5 ENGAGEMENT RING TRENDS

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GROOM STYLE TRENDS

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BRIDESMAIDS DRESS INSPIRATION

in every issue 52 ENGAGEMENTS 62 INSPIRATION

PHOTO: Tristan Barrocks, Felicity Moments

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REAL WEDDINGS +

VOW RENEWALS


W W W. B R I D E S B Y N O N A . C O M


orsella

Rev. Orsella R. Hughes is an ordained officiant specializing in creating unforgettable\ wedding ceremonies. Call for a consultation: 475.422.5819 or visit: www.serenityceremonies.com


Planning Destination Weddings and Honeymoons During COVID-19: Your Day Will Still Thrive WRIT TEN BY TAMMY O'HARA

Planning your destination wedding or honeymoon during COVID-19 can be extremely stressful. There are so many things to think about concerning travel, social distancing, and the safety of your loved ones; it almost seems impossible. Don’t throw in the towel just yet. You can still have the wedding or honeymoon of your dreams despite these trying times. Above all else, COVID-19 has brought us back to the true intimacy of our relationships, while prompting us to focus and be present with our loved ones. In response to the major concerns regarding travel, there have been many precautions taken to reduce the risk of contracting the disease. There are plenty of options for everyone to safely celebrate your special moment, just keep these tips in mind when planning your travel.

1. Don't delay! As more people get vaccinated, more and more brides are comfortable booking their destination wedding or honeymoon. The really amazing deals that were available at the beginning of the year are beginning to dry up. If you have a special wedding date then you need to grab the date ASAP.

2. Protect yourself with travel insurance. No matter if it is a quick getaway or a longer honeymoon, having comprehensive travel insurance is very important to protect your travel investment and yourself.

3. Be flexible. As travel ramps up, flights will change, resorts may open or close or be at reduced capacity, or the entry requirements for certain countries may not be feasible for your travel plans (mandatory quarantines), it is important to keep an open mind and be ready to make quick decisions.

photo: nana annan photography

In short, COVID-19 will not be around forever, and the world will open up once again. Don’t let today’s troubles weigh on tomorrow’s joy. There are still many ways that you can enjoy your honeymoon or go on the destination wedding of your dreams. It’s just going to take a little extra planning to ensure that you and your partner, as well as your family and friends, remain safe. We hope that these tips will allow you to walk confidently towards the celebration of your love.

4. Time is your friend. Booking 1-2 years in advance is still a good idea. It is a budget friendly way to fund a bigger destination wedding or honeymoon, and with sufficient travel insurance it is almost financially risk free.

5. Work with an experienced travel advisor. It is tempting to go at it on your own, but a great travel advisor is worth their weight in gold. Whatever savings you may think you will keep by not hiring a travel advisor does not compare with the time and experience that an advisor adds to your team.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR As the owner of Million Miles Travel Agency, Tammy turns travel dreams into reality by creating custom itineraries for travelers seeking to get more out of their travels. In addition to working with her own clients, Tammy also leads a boutique host agency specializing in training new to the industry travel advisors seeking to provide the same level of concierge travel planning that she provides. Tammy is certified by the Travel Institute as a Certified Travel Associate and is celebrating over five years in business.

CONTACT INFO Instagram: @somethingbluetravels Website: www.somethingbluetravels.com Email: tammy@millionmilestravel.com

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5 Must-Know Beauty Brands INTRO BY ANGEL A CONNER | ARTICLE BY FELICIA GRAHAM

When thinking about your bridal glam, you want to choose makeup products that will enhance your natural beauty, mesh well with your skin tone and texture, and last all day. (You don’t want your eyeliner to run when you cry!) We caught up with makeup artist extraordinary Felicia Graham to get her must-have makeup items for the perfect bridal glam. These items are tried and true, and will ensure your makeup stays flawless through tears, heat, kisses, dinner, and anything your wedding day throws at you.

photo: reem photography makeup: felicia graham

bronzer Fenty Bronzers are rich in color and texture and melt into the skin seamlessly. www.sephora.com/product/sun stalk-rinstant-warmth-bronzer

lipstick

foundation Danessa Myrick’s Vision Cream Cover Foundation is light, buildable and comes in a range of colors from fair to dark skin tones. Danessa Myricks vision cream cover.

eyeliner INGLOT black gel eyeliner is Jet black, which I love, and goes on creamy but dries matte and fast. https://inglotusa.com/eyeliners/99amc-eyeliner-ge

www.sephora.com/ product/danessamyricks-vision-creamcover-2-in-1-foundationconcealer-P469460

CONTACT INFO Instagram: @feliciagrahambeauty Email: Felicia@feliciagrahambeauty.com Website: www.feliciagrahambeauty.com

eyeshadow Pat McGrath Labs Eye Shadow palettes exude luxury. The shadows glide on and leave a stunning finish. www.patmcgrath.com/products

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www.target.com/p/the-lip-barvegan matte-liquid-lipstickbawse-lady-0-24oz

photo: reem photography | makeup: felicia graham

ABOUT THE MAKEUP ARTIST Felicia has worked with brides on their wedding day to celebrities for special events. Her approach to makeup is simple, making her clients feel like the “Best Version of Themselves”. Felicia’s talents and professionalism led her to doing makeup for NY Fashion Week, Grammy Award Winning Artist, Independent films and quite a few television shows.

The Lip Bars’ “Boss Lady”. This liquid lipstick not only lasts, but the color payoff is also stunning and it’s not drying on the lips.


901.979.4505

Cr ed it : Ch ip D iz a r d Stu d i os


The Fork Goes on the Left “Not Your Ordinary Wedding Fare”

www.theforkgoesontheleft.com (718)-390-7468

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WEDDING PLANNING

Cocktail Hour Ideas Your Guests Will Love INTRO BY ANGEL A CONNER

Cocktail hour is a great time for guests to mingle, sip a cocktail, and munch on hors d’oeuvres while they get excited about your reception. Gone are the days of the solo fruit and cheese platter served during cocktail hour. Couples are getting creative with their cocktail hour selections, and now hors d’oeuvres serve as a preview of the delicious food guests can expect during the wedding reception. Whether you are hosting an intimate micro wedding, or a huge reception, these hors d’oeuvres created by Chef Mellanee Harvin of The Fork Goes on the Left won’t disappoint.

LAMB LOLLIPOPS + MINT CHUTNEY

Rosemary & Garlic Marinated Lamb Loin Seared & Glazed w/Fresh Mint Chutney

BBQ BEEF SHORTRIB SLIDERS + HORSERADISH SAUCE

Boneless Short Ribs simmered in House BBQ Sauce

MINI CHEESE & CHARCUTERIE BOARD

Aged Cheeses & Cured Meats with Assorted Gourmet Crackers

LOUISIANA CRAB CAKES + CHIPOTLE AIOLI

Lump Crab Meat w/Peppers, Onions, Celery Seasoned w/Cajun Spices & Fresh Herbs

ABOUT THE AUTHOR The Fork Goes on the Left is a Brooklyn, New York-based offpremise caterer featuring the signature cuisine of Private Chef, Mellanee R. Harvin. We have successfully combined the flavorful elements of Southern, Caribbean, Cajun, and Continental Cuisines to create an eclectic array of dishes. What we offer you is not only great food but elegant presentations and impeccable service. We specialize in providing a customized dining experience for you and your guests. It is our servers’ attentive and courteous service that resonates with our clients. For intimate celebrations or to share with many, our private chef and catering services will ensure a memorable event.

CONTACT INFO Instagram: @theforkgoesontheleft Website: www.theforkgoesontheleft.com Email: melsfork@optonline.net JERK WINGS

My Signature Jerk Marinade w/Scallions, Scotch Bonnet Peppers, Thyme & Allspice MUNALUCHI BRIDE

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Top 5 Unique Engagement Ring Trends INTRO BY ANGEL A CONNER ARTICLE BY TAYLOR AND HART

Engagement rings are a symbol of your undying devotion, commitment, and love, but they should also reflect your personality and style. Recently we’ve seen couples step out of the box by selecting unique engagement ring designs that reflect their diverse aesthetics. We’ve partnered with Taylor & Hart to share the top engagement ring trends we’ve seen this year.

1. Fancy-Colored Gemstones Some might say that fancy colored gemstones are a great alternative to diamonds, but precious gemstones stand out in their own right with their individual spectral colors and symbolism. Sapphires with their dazzling spectrum of colors are the top choice for brides who wish to combine a bold splash of color with tradition, while the unmistakable green of an emerald looks stunning in a vintage-inspired ring design. There are a few ways you can incorporate colored gemstones – from the center stone to your choice of pavé or signature stone, there’s a whole host of customizations.

2. Mixed Metals Millennials have set the trend for rose gold engagement rings over the past few years, but we’re observing a growing interest in yellow gold. Even grooms have shown a preference for yellow gold in the past year or so. This demonstrates that modern couples are avoiding the status quo of one singular metal color and dare for more surprising elements in their ring designs. Mixed-metal engagement rings reflect the consumers’ desire to be unique in each and every element of the design process.

3. Unique Settings There’s been a second wave of unusual setting styles like the moi-et-toi design and the east-west setting–frequently seen in ring designs from the first half of the 20th century. Organic-inspired designs usually offer a big range of setting options like clusters or fine and elaborate detailing.

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4. Lab-Grown Diamonds More and more of our customers are now opting for lab-grown diamonds as an optically identical alternative to earth-mined diamonds. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. We believe the best way to approach this topic is through research and acquiring sufficient knowledge on both options. While lab-grown diamonds avoid the ecological impact of large scale mining, they do still require an immense amount of energy. In order to be truly sustainable, laboratories growing diamonds must offset their carbon footprint by using other methods like renewable energy. It’s safe to assume that the spike in search for synthetic diamonds is due to the perception that they’re a more sustainable choice and the fact that they’re more affordable–often 3040% cheaper than their earth-grown counterparts. This will take your budget further and presents an opportunity for customers to get a bigger diamond at a lower price point.

THIS PHOTO:

DUKE IMAGES

5. Unusual Cuts Non-round diamond shapes have gained huge popularity. Elongated cuts like oval, emerald and marquise shapes produce less waste in the cutting process. This means they’re often more affordable. And that’s not the only advantage–elongated cuts also make the finger appear slimmer and longer. Our most popular non-round shape is the oval shape, but it’s entirely up to you to decide which shape suits you best and your jeweller should guide you through the pros and cons of each. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Taylor & Hart specializes in designing unique engagement rings and wedding bands for both women and men.

CONTACT INFO IG: @taylorandhart Website: https://taylorandhart.com/us/ Email: enquires@taylorandhart.com MUNALUCHI BRIDE

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FASHION

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GROOM STYLE REPORT

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GARDEN GLAM BRIDESMAIDS


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Trene Forbes Photography

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FA S H I O N

grooms style report GARCON COUTURE ON THE EVOLUTION OF FASHION FOR GROOMS Text by Angela Conner

Groom’s fashion has evolved boldly from the traditional black tuxedo. Grooms are taking their wedding fashion choices as seriously as brides, rocking head turning suits and tuxedos with brightly colored jackets and patterned pants. Menswear designer Garçon Couture has been helping grooms express their unique style for years by providing the hottest accessories and apparel for men. We’ve rounded up the latest trends from their newest collection sure to make grooms look and feel like kings on their wedding day.

White/Black Peak Lapel TuxedoJacket with Japanese Closure

White Double Breasted Tuxedo Jacket with Jacquard Sleeves

Modern Twist on Traditional Style

Traditionally, many Grooms have chosen the timeless sophistication of rocking a black or white tuxedo for their wedding day. But why not take it up a notch by using different fabrics such as velvet, subtle jacquard accents, or unique lapels and closures.

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FA S H I O N

Prints and Patterns

Whether paisley, flower or animal, prints and patterns continue to be a way to add major personality to the traditional tuxedo. You can rock a patterned jacket with black pants; a traditional black jacket with jacquard pants, or use patterned fabric throughout your whole tuxedo. Trust us, it looks good.

Green/Black/Navy Double Breasted Tuxedo - Asymmetric Double Breasted Jacket with contrast Navy velvet sleeve

Asymmetrical Jackets Asymmetrical Jackets are a new trend that is next level. If you are a groom who wants to stand out in a good way, try a jacket with contrasting sleeves or lapels.

Copper Double Breasted Jacket with Navy Blue Contrast Velvet Jacket , 4 Buttons , A navy blue contrast on one side of the peak lapel , pants paisley

Yellow Velvet Double Breasted Tuxedo- A Yellow Double Breasted Velvet Jacket with an african snake skin print on the sleeve Black Floral tuxedo Pants

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Garçon Couture is a menswear line who specializes in the dialogue between the gentleman and the dreamer in you. Led by a team of seasoned designers and stylists, armed with a specialized method of customer service, the Garçon Couture team is here to assist your inner King. With the goal to fit him for greatness and accessorize him in the unexpected, Garçon Couture is your closet’s missing best friend.

CONTACT INFO Instagram: @garconcouture Website: www.garconcouture.com Email: mail@garconcouture.com

CREDITS CLOTHES:

Garçon Couture

SHOES: Illy

& Gilly

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Cinematic Visuals Photography

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the secret garden collection Just in time for Spring/Summer, Bridal Babes has released their new collection, Secret Garden, full of romantic colors and made for bridesmaids of every size and shape!




About the collection... "This garden-themed styled shoot was inspired by the color palette of Spring Summer 2021 – Champagne, Dusty Rose, Mauve, and Emerald Green. The lush floral installation and elegant bridesmaid gowns transported us to an ethereal garden of style and grace. This Bridal Babes release, appropriately named the Secret Garden Collection, was designed to encourage mixing and matching based on the size, shape, and style of each bridesmaid. Bridal Babes specializes in bridesmaid and bridal designs for women of color with curves. Each gown is hand-selected to ensure it complements our clients’ melanin skin tones and curvaceous figures. It’s safe to say that goal was achieved with the gorgeous Secret Garden collection." - IG: @bridalbabes | www.bridalbabes.co

CREATIVE TEAM Photography : TRENE FORBES PHOTOGRAPHY Bridesmaid Gowns : BRIDAL BABES Floral Design : VIVID DESIGNS Videography : LANCE HARRIS Hair Styling : MKIMANSTUDIO Makeup Artist : SHIEDHA WILLIAMS BURBAGE OF HELLOOO GORGEOUS

Creative Director : ASHLEY YOUNG Producer : CHARLES YOUNG Styling Assistants : ANGELA TILGHMAN, CIARA BROOKS, MALAIKA MOSELE

Location : AT YOLK STUDIOS

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sweet confections

Serving prestigious and high-end customized cakes, confections, and dessert tables for stylish weddings and intimate events nationwide. Each dessert is made from scratch and handcrafted to sugar perfection.

954.994.7774

INFO@DEJAVUSWEETS.COM

WWW.DEJAVUSWEETS.COM

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D E S T I N AT I O N S

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l o ve ENDURES Felicity Moments Grace Arhin Events LIGHTING TECH: Ishmil Waterman

PHOTOGRAPHY/CINEMATOGRAPHY: PLANNER:

LIGHTING TECH/ASSISTANT SHOOT/DIRECTOR OF

Felicity Moments Production Team MAKEUP: Eminent Allure HAIRSTYLING (KAYLA): Arthur Hair HAIRSTYLING (ADRIAN): Lohifa Pogoson LINEUP (ADRIAN): Jacob Macdonald FLORAL DESIGN: Mimosa Floral Boutique TABLE TOP SETTINGS: Bliss Event Rentals FURNITURE (CHAIRS RENTALS): Designz By May TUXEDO, SHOES, SHIRT & GROOM STYLING: King and Bay BRIDAL GOWN BOUTIQUE: Elisabeth & Beau CAPE, VEIL, JEWELRY: Ferre Sposa Toronto Bridal TULLE GOWN (ON THE COVER): Runway Styled HORSE RANCH: Peace Valley Ranch Rawhide CAKE: Fruitilicious Cakes PHOTOGRAPHY:

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Both amazing athletes, Kayla-Marie and Adrian initially connected over their passion for sports, but their love for God is the true foundation of their relationship. In our interview, they share how living purpose-filled lives have helped them build successful careers and an enduring love.


D E S T I N AT I O N S GOWN DESIGNER: Runway TUX: King

Styled and Bay

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Interview by Angela Conner

love. . TELL US HOW YOU MET. ADRIAN: The very first time that I met Kayla, it was in downtown Hamilton. I was playing for the Hamilton Ticats, and had a community event to attend. A few of my teammates and I were having conversations before the event started, the usual back and forth between locker mates. I had noticed Kayla, but did not know if she was with the team. Shortly after my initial thought, Kayla walked up to us and introduced herself as the new team reporter. She was at the event to interview us and recap the festivities, in order to give fans some offseason content. Now, usually, after the intro's people divert to their comfort space and wait until their part of the job is up, especially in a male-female dynamic. Well, apparently Kayla’s comfort space was right where she stood, next to me, as she cut jokes, debated sports, and flashed that captivating smile. I remember thinking to myself, I love how she is holding her own. Strong, confident, beautiful. KAYL A-MARIE: God Bless Canadian football! Lol. I had returned from playing professional volleyball abroad and got a job offer with the CFL’s Hamilton Ticats football team. I had the choice: play another year abroad or take a leap of faith with this new job. I went with the Ticats job and little did I know I was going to be introduced to my future husband! Adrian was entering his second season with the team and that’s how we met. It was strictly professional initially when I met Adrian but even then, I could tell there was something different about him that just stood out to me. He had a beautiful spirit about him that was more attractive than his physical beauty. We worked on a few projects together, getting to know more about each other’s faith journey and background. I eventually got a new job and moved back to Toronto. We kept in contact but not consistently. Maybe about a year later, we reconnected and started intentionally dating.

HOW/WHEN/WHERE DID THE PROPOSAL HAPPEN? WE LOVE TO HEAR THE DETAILS! ADRIAN: The proposal was NOT what I had planned, but as I look back, it happened just as it was supposed to. Initially, I wanted us to take time off and travel. I was thinking Paris, make it romantic, or the complete opposite, a ski resort in Vale, CO, make it unique... something OTHER than my kitchen. Unfortunately, scheduling was an issue, so we settled on a staycation, Blue Mountain Resort and Spa. The morning of, a disagreement led to hours of petty arguing and ignorant silence that ruined what was supposed to be a relaxing day. Not even thinking about proposing, I found myself EXTREMELY humbled when I heard, “Now.” See I had been asking God when and where the right time and place would be. I was feeling stressed out and a lot of pressure on proposing a certain way. I had the ring for about 3 months but I wanted the proposal to be special, and it was. As we arrived at my house and the dissension continued, it ended up with Kayla packing up a couple of things she had at my house and

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planning to drive an hour plus home. Initially being prideful, I recall thinking, “Fine, go home”, but quickly disregarded that thought because this truly was a ‘now or never’ moment. Kayla thought the argument that ruined the couple's spa day was the first sign of a break-up, I wanted her to understand exactly where I stood when it came to us and our relationship. I rushed to the laundry room to retrieve the ring, and as I got down on my knee and began to let my heart speak, it dawned on me that this was the exact place that we had our first date, and the exact spot I sent her a text saying that one day she would be my wife. It came around full circle.

KAYL A-MARIE: The proposal happened in the middle of Adrian’s kitchen on a winter night in December 2018. This would be the part where I say how incredibly romantic and perfect it was, but the truth is, Adrian and I had been arguing/not speaking for the past 24 hours! We even had this lovely couples spa day ruined by our petty arguing the day before the proposal. BUT GOD! Just when I thought things were only getting worse, Adrian comes out from the laundry room with a bag, and inside was a box. It was a plethora of emotions in such a short amount of time and there were definitely tears! I remember we both got down on our knees and started praying before I stood back up and Adrian asked me to marry him. The location of this unexpected proposal is definitely special because when Adrian and I were getting to know each other, he invited me over for tacos at his house. That night we cooked, ate, drank wine, and talked until almost 3 in the morning. As I drove home he sent me a text message and told me I was going to be his wife. In the same kitchen where our relationship planted its first seeds, was also where I said “Yes!”

AT WHAT POINT IN THE REL ATIONSHIP DID YOU, ADRIAN AND KAYL A, KNOW YOU WERE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER? ADRIAN: I knew Kayla was a person that I could see myself with, the very first time I met her. I loved how she carried herself in both professional and social settings. It was refreshing to see a woman represent herself in a manner that my mother would be proud of. I felt as though if this were my teammate or lifemate as we call ourselves, that she would be an excellent representation of me and what I stand for. I realized that we were meant to be in some sort of relationship when we had our first on-air interview. There was something undeniable about it. In-person it felt like it was only us, never mind the crew that was in the room filming. On camera there was a glow, we say that God was in the midst, and as our journey continues to be written I don't think that can be denied. I knew we were meant to be together when my mother told me that at the halftime of a game she came to see, she met a young lady in the bathroom. Someone she thought was very lovely, and whom I would like. That, someone, was Kayla.


BRIDAL GOWN: Runway

Styled

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CO V E R S TO R Y

interview by jacqueline nwobu

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D E S T I N AT I O N S BRIDAL GOWN BOUTIQUE: Elisabeth & Beau TUX: King and Bay

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KAYL A-MARIE: I knew Adrian was the person I could spend my life with very early on. Like I said before, it was his spirit that instantly drew me to him even before we started dating. Even when he sent that text message after our first date, it didn’t scare me nor did I think he was just saying it either. Adrian has always been intentional with me. A true gentleman and someone who I felt wasn’t in the business of playing any sort of games. From the very beginning, we made it a point to keep God at the center and cultivate our “ship”, both friendship and relationship. WHAT WERE YOU INITIALLY PL ANNING FOR YOUR WEDDING, AND HOW DID COVID-19 AFFECT YOUR WEDDING PL ANS? ADRIAN: Our initial plan was to have a destination wedding in St. Lucia. We were blessed enough to visit the year prior and fell in love with the island. It seemed to be the perfect location, one neither of us had visited before but miraculously felt like home. A place to create memories to share with family and our closest friends. With a date set for April 28, 2020, we sent invitations and acquired vendors. Unfortunately, we had to postpone and eventually cancel due to COVID. That forced us to adjust in the manner of having a small intimate ceremony. Again it was

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as if God ordained this particular outcome seeing as Two Sisters Vineyard, an important staple in our relationship, was the site of our wedding on March 23, 2021. KAYL A-MARIE: Initially, our plan was to hop on a plane and say “I Do” in Saint Lucia! We absolutely fell in love with the island when we vacationed there while still dating. It was going to be a small, intimate beach wedding with our family and friends but of course, the world stopped when the pandemic hit and so did travel. Our initial wedding date was set for April 28, 2020. We postponed it exactly one year and even after moving our date back, we realized heading into 2021, there were still a plethora of obstacles in our way of having the beach wedding we envisioned. We also knew we were not willing to postpone our wedding a second time. That’s when we decided to cancel it altogether. It wasn’t easy but we knew it was the right decision and had faith that the wedding that was meant for us would still come together exactly how it was supposed to. We scraped our entire wedding vision and for a while, didn’t know what we were going to do until one night at home, we both said “Why are we waiting?” and together we came up with our plan to have a small vineyard wedding.


D E S T I N AT I O N S BRIDAL GOWN BOUTIQUE: Elisabeth & Beau JEWELRY: Ferre Sposa Toronto Bridal TUX: King and Bay

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D E S T I N AT I O N S BRIDAL GOWN BOUTIQUE: Elisabeth

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& Beau


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D E S T I N AT I O N S

sports. .

HBCUS ARE GETTING THE RECOGNITION THEY DESERVE IN THE MEDIA FOR THEIR AWESOME EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS. WHAT DID YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE GOING TO AN HBCU? HOW DID GOING TO GRAMBLING AFFECT YOUR CAREER TRAJECTORY?

KAYL A-MARIE: I loved my time at Grambling! GSU’s volleyball program took a chance on me by offering a full athletic scholarship and it changed the trajectory of my life forever. I wouldn’t be who I am today with my time at Grambling. The HBCU experience is simply special. It’s true representation: seeing professors and chancellors and head coaches to presidents who are all people of color, instead of the rare minority is important. It’s a community, it’s a solid education, it’s an alumni network, (for me) it’s Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., it’s a second family, it’s homecoming, it’s friendship that lasts a lifetime. At Grambling we say it’s “the place where everybody is somebody” and it’s true! Like many things, it’s not perfect, but those who have known about the beauty of HBCUs

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will always sing its praises. it’s nice to see the rest of the country and world are starting to realize what many alumni have known for a very long time. YOU PL AYED VOLLEYBALL IN HIGH SCHOOL. WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU TAKEN FROM SPORTS THAT HAVE HELPED YOU IN YOUR LIFE AND CAREER? KAYL A-MARIE: In volleyball, I was considered a bit of an underdog, mainly due to my height as I wasn’t as tall as other outside hitters. It made me work harder, smarter and that underdog mentality stuck with me and transferred over into my life and career. As I was trying to break into the television broadcasting industry, I hustled just as hard (applying for internships, networking, sometimes working gigs for free, putting myself out there) . It wasn't always pretty or glamorous but it helped me prepare for where I am now in my career. The biggest lesson that carried over from the volleyball court to the newsroom would have to be the team mentality because in television, while you may see a handful of faces on your screen at home, just know there are dozens of people behind the camera helping make it all go down seamlessly. It is truly a team effort.


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COVER STORY BRIDAL GOWN BOUTIQUE: Elisabeth & Beau EARRINGS/CAPE: Ferre Sposa Toronto Bridal

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D E S T I N AT I O N S

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D E S T I N AT I O N S GOWN DESIGNER (R): Claire Pettibone (L) COAT DESIGNER: Sophiá Et Voilá from Belle Atelier | EARRINGS : Maria Elena headpieces | DRESS DESIGNER: Rara Avis Group

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WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG MINORIT Y WOMEN WHO WANT TO FOLLOW A CAREER PATH LIKE YOURS? KAYL A-MARIE: Do not dim your light in order to fit in. Embrace that light and let it shine! Early in my career, I felt unworthy or not as qualified. That imposter syndrome was real--The amount of self-doubt would be deafening at times. Even to this day, it still likes to whisper. Thank God, I don’t let it stick around for very long. Work hard on your craft and always remember: You are worthy of the space that you take up. Whatever table it is, you deserve to be there.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT PL AYING FOOTBALL WAS YOUR PASSION? ADRIAN: Football is the vehicle by which I am able to serve people, and people are my passion. WE HAVE SEEN MANY PL AYERS IN THE NFL AND CFL BECOME VERY OUTSPOKEN ABOUT SOCIAL ISSUES AND MOVEMENTS SUCH AS BL ACK LIVES MATTER. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO USE YOUR PL ATFORM TO ADVANCE THE GREATER GOOD? ADRIAN: There is undeniable value in truth, unadulterated truth. Many personal narratives are controlled, censored, or silenced. With social media, athletes are able to directly convey their views, opinions, and thoughts. Sometimes to their betterment, other times to their detriment. At the end of the day, THEY are in control. To me that is of the utmost importance.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG ADULTS PURSUING A CAREER IN ATHLETICS? ADRIAN: My advice for anyone pursuing anything is to be consistent. Ask yourself what version of you is on the other side of consistency? Consistency requires you to be accountable, disciplined, intentional. Those intangibles provide a foundation for progress. The goal is to get at least 1% better every day in some way shape or form.

spirituality HOW DID YOUR FAITH IN GOD HELP YOU NAVIGATE GETTING MARRIED DURING A PANDEMIC? KAYL A-MARIE: Our faith has been the cornerstone of our relationship even before the pandemic but there is no doubt we relied on it heavily during these unprecedented times. From keeping a level head and praying that family and friends remain healthy during a pandemic to then navigating all of the cancellations and pivoting to our next plan. Through it all, I always felt God’s peace was never too far away. My faith also helped me put a lot into perspective. Yes, things may have fallen through and almost everything you had planned is no longer happening, but you are alive, your family is healthy, your husband-to-be loves you and you love him. All the other details really started to shrink. We focused on what was truly important and in less than a month, Adrian and I with the help of the event coordinator from Two Sisters (who we spoke with via email and phone until the Big Day) executed the perfect wedding, just for us.

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COVER STORY

YOU'RE VERY SPIRITUAL. HOW HAS THE POWER OF PRAYER TRANSFORMED YOUR LIFE? ADRIAN: Prayer has been MY lifeline. Many people believe prayer has to be formal, with a structured beginning, wordy middle and elegant end. But what I have realized is, that the more informal, genuine, transparent, and real I am, the more empowering prayer becomes. God already knows, and as I become more aware of that reality, the transformation begins with that confession. Now God can be God, and I can rest in the peace of who He is.

HOW HAVE THE MENTALITIES/MINDSETS YOU LEARNED BEING AN ATHLETE MADE YOU A BETTER PARTNER/HUSBAND? ADRIAN: They have caused me to do a consistent personal audit. Some things do correlate from the field, to marriage, such as communication. But the way in which I communicate must be different to accommodate my wife, as an example.

keeping the spark alive. . WE SEE THAT YOU LOVE TO COOK! GIVE OUR COUPLES YOUR FAVORITE DATE NIGHT DISH. KAYL A-MARIE: Birria queso tacos are a favorite of ours! We love trying new recipes out and this specific type of taco has become a staple in our house. It’s got to marinate and slow cook for several hours but trust me, it’s so worth it! I’m blessed to have a husband who not only loves food as much as I do but enjoys cooking and trying new things

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WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG SINGLES LOOKING FOR LOVE AND WAITING FOR THEIR SOULMATE? KAYL A-MARIE: Do not limit what God can do. That means His timing too! There are moments where it may feel like the waiting is in vain or taking much longer than you thought, but it’s in that waiting you need to find and learn to love and be content with yourself. Embrace loving yourself and becoming whole, because, in the end, a partner is meant to complement not complete your story.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR MEN TO KEEP THE ROMANCE ALIVE IN THEIR REL ATIONSHIPS? ADRIAN: Get to know your partner. Let the romance be familiar to her love language, what she responds to, what she genuinely appreciates, BUT do so in refreshing, new, enticing and creative ways. love meat and potatoes, but I appreciate them in different forms, burger and fries, steak with roasted potatoes, meatloaf and mash… with romance, same thing.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AND KAYL A IN 10 YEARS? ADRIAN: Lord willing, shepherding a healthy growing family, that will be the salt of the earth. Using our lives to show that God is real, that He is intentional, and that He does care for you. When we started dating we stated we wanted to be an example of what could happen if you let go and let God. We strive to consistently be that daily.


D E S T I N AT I O N S TUX: King

and Bay

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D E S T I N AT I O N S

VIEW KAYLA-MARIE AND ADRIAN'S EXCLUSIVE WEDDING PHOTOS ON PAGE 92.

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D E S T I N AT I O N S

DRESS: Runway 50

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COVER STORY

"Embrace loving yourself and becoming whole, because, in the end, a partner is meant to complement not complete your story." KAYLA-MARIE

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ASHLEY AND ALVIN

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KADDRA AND DARRIUS

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JAMILA AND ROGER

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NADINE AND JOLAM


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Ashley Nicole Photography

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Ashley + Alvin

LOS ANGELES, CA

W E D D I N G D AT E : October 2, 2021 WEDDING LOCATION: New Orleans, LA O C C U PAT I O N S : Groom: Executive Vice President of No Limit Enterprise | Bride: Assistant Regional Property Manager

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pandemic in a time of true uncertainty. Alvin had my mother on speaker and recorded the proposal for our close family and friends to view.

H O W T H E Y M E T: Alvin, better known as Juggie is someone everyone in our hometown knows for his illustrious career. Luckily, Alvin started broadcasting from a car dealership at the time I needed a car. I reached out to Alvin and he made it happen without f law.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW HE/SHE WAS "THE ONE"? I knew Alvin was “the one” when I decided to move from our hometown to Los Angeles, CA just to be closer to him. I quit my job and started co-parenting after traveling religiously every two weeks for a year just to spend weekends together. That was never enough for either of us. We are better together mentally, physically, and spiritually as ONE.

P R O P O S A L S T O R Y: Our proposal story was unexpected for the both of us. Yes, I said, for the both of us. It was a bedside proposal during this unbelievable COVID-19

ENGAGEMENT SESSION THEME: Our engagement session felt like our wedding day. It was beyond what I could have asked for. I had the absolute best team ever. We

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f lew in our photographer and established a team that was made just for us. Alvin and I are true scorpio’s and have a love for California. With that being said, capturing our love in the natural rocks and mountains while having the beauty of California skies was the goal. F I R S T D AT E ? Our first date was to the movies. Alvin is a cinephile at heart, so we look forward to just about every movie release there is. FAV O R I T E T H I N G T O D O A S A C O U P L E ? As a couple, we enjoy traveling just to relax and enjoy the scenery brief ly because we actually end up enjoying each other more than anything in front of a tv watching a good f lick.


H O W H A S W E D D I N G P L A N N I N G B E E N S O FA R ? Wedding planning so far has been comparable to the feeling of arriving at a traffic light. It’s a multitude of feelings from taking off, yielding, and stopping literally. Luckily, we have an amazing wedding planner to take on the stress of it all. T E L L U S W H AT YO U'R E L O O K I N G F O R WA R D T O M O S T O N T H E W E D D I N G D AY: On our wedding day, I am looking forward to a complete production. We want to twist the traditional wedding experience into a completely fulfilling experience for everyone. Our goal is to truly experience love, laughter, and happiness through live entertainment. This day will be the best experience anyone will remember happened in 2021.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Calvin Gavion Photography


E N G AG E M E N T S

Kaddra + Darrius ATL ANTA, GEORGIA

PHOTOGRAPHED BY Reem Photography W E D D I N G D AT E : September 19, 2021 W E D D I N G L O C AT I O N : A traditional ceremony and reception will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina. Darrius and Kaddra are extending their celebration by having a Family and Friends Honeymoon in Montego Bay, Jamaica H O W T H E Y M E T: Darrius and Kaddra first encountered each other in Atlanta, Georgia during a trip to a grocery store in March 2017. Being the only grocery store in their immediate area, it was normal to see a familiar face at this particular location from time to time. However, this trip was different, when the two passed by and noticed each other for the first time in a store aisle. While neither exchanged words to each other, the brief interaction made a lasting impact, and ironically, both wondered, "Who is

that?” It was a few days later during a trip to the same grocery store that the two saw each other again, and while captivated, neither mustered the courage to exchange words. It is said "the third time's a charm" and this proved to be true when during a visit to the SAME store, the two ran into each other again! Darrius decided to "shoot his shot" by breaking the line while Kaddra was completing her purchase and said to the cashier, "add her groceries to mine. I've got this." The two exchanged pleasantries and Kaddra expressed her appreciation for the kind gesture. The conversation continued to the parking lot where names and numbers were exchanged. THE PROPOSAL: Just shy of three years of being together, Darrius knew that 2020 would be the year to take their relationship higher. With his mother’s assistance in making the perfect selection, Darrius chose and purchased an engagement ring during a trip home to Virginia in early 2020. While he made plans to propose during a family trip to Barbados, the world came into a crisis now known as the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore such an arrangement had to be put on hold. While disappointed, Darrius was not defeated, keeping faith that the best opportunity to surprise Kaddra would present itself again when the time was right. Kaddra expressed interest in taking a lowkey trip for her birthday, so the couple made plans to travel to Key West, Florida. Kaddra’s mother shared with Darrius that Key West was one of the last places that she and Kaddra’s late father traveled to prior to his health declining. In addition, the Southernmost Point Pier, one of the most well-known attractions in Key West, was one of the last places that her parents took a vacation picture together. Upon learning this, Darrius knew that this would be a special place to ask Kaddra to be his wife. On August 13, 2020, Darrius treated Kaddra and her mother to a cooked breakfast for Kaddra’s birthday at their rented vacation home followed by a day on the beach. The Florida sun was beaming and the scenery was perfect as they drove down Duval Street towards the Pier. After some family photos were taken by volunteer photographers, Darrius created a scene in which he “tricked” Kaddra into thinking they were going to take a couple’s photo, but instead declared his love for her followed by the proposal as her mother and other tourists stood as witnesses.


Photographer : Reem Photography Planner : Nicole Galloway Weddings & Events Makeup : LaShaundra Christmas | Attire : (Kaddra) Jekia Benson/Five13 Studio, Guess. (Darrius) Pure Atlanta, Men’s Warehouse | Hair : Sonya Poole

was The Georgia Aquarium to represent Darrius and Kaddra’s love for the beach and to play on the theme of their planned Family and Friends Honeymoon in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The shoot concluded at FellaShip ATL, the restaurant and cigar lounge owned by NFL Quarterback Cam Newton, which oozed an intimate backdrop to emphasize the “grown and sexy” melody planned for the September 2020 nuptials. The upscale setting also illustrated a hint of Darrius’ liking for cigars. FIRST DATE? They met [up] at the local Hooters to catch up over wings and the NBA Playoffs. What was supposed to be a quick "meet-and-greet" turned into a four-hour date filled with talking, laughter, and an intense connection. The two found themselves past closing time and the only patrons left in the restaurant.

Prior to the passing of Kaddra's beloved father in August 2019, Darrius asked for and received her father’s blessing for her hand in marriage. HOW DID YOU KNOW HE/SHE WAS "THE ONE"? DARRIUS: “I knew Kad was ‘the one’ on our first date. I had never met anyone like her before. It was the way she carried herself. She charmed me with her conversation and intellect. As soon as our date was done, I called my brother and my exact words to him were, ‘Bro, I just met my wife’ ” KADDRA: “I knew Darrius was ‘the one’ for me when I took him home to meet my parents. The authentic way he connected with them touched my heart. He made major life changes that included moving to North Carolina to be closer to my parents because he wanted to help my mother take care of my father when my father’s illness progressed. I grew more in love with him as I

watched him accept my family as his own. That sealed the deal for me.” ENGAGEMENT SESSION THEME: Kaddra was born and reared in a small town outside of Charlotte, North Carolina and Darrius is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, but because they met and fell in love while living in Atlanta, the couple decided to complete their engagement photo session in “The A”. The shoot was completed over a two-day period. The first location for photography was Hooter’s to replicate the scene of their first date. Centennial Park and The John Lewis Mural were the second and third notable locations chosen to authenticate the Atlanta concept. The fourth location

HOW HAS WEDDING PL ANNING BEEN? Our planner, Nicole Galloway, has been a lifesaver. She’s made sure that the process has been smooth and stress-free. Despite the time and financial investment in making our event unique and extraordinary, we’ve also made it fun and a journey for us to remember. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO? Darrius: “First and foremost, seeing Kad. I can’t wait to see her in her gown. I’m also excited about gathering with our wedding party, family, and friends to celebrate us doing this love thing for life.” Kaddra: “There are so many elements of our day that will have special touches that I’m looking forward to seeing unfold. But being with Darrius and making this thang official is at the top of my list!”


D E S T I N AT I O N S

W E D D I N G D AT E : July 24, 2021 W E D D I N G L O C AT I O N : The Terrace, Paramus, New Jersey O C C U PAT I O N S : Groom: CEO of Greenpoint Xpress Hauling LLC; Bride: High School Math Teacher and NJ Real Estate Agent

Jamila + Roger VIZCAYA MUSEUM AND GARDEN SOUTH BEACH, MIAMI PHOTOGRAPHED BY Stanlo Photography

H OW DI D YOU MEET? We’ve been friends on Social Media, IG, for years, but never said anything to each other. We just kept liking each other's pictures. Finally, I remember it was on New Year's Day, I slid in her DM’s. She then gave me a fake google account phone number, which I still have beef with her about until this day because I believe I deserved her real number on my first try. I guess my patience paid off because shortly after, I got upgraded to the real number. I had won. It was a long distance, she was in NY and I was in PA, but we talked everyday. After a few weeks she came to see me and the connection was instant. THE PROPOSAL: The ring proposal was actually delayed a year due to the pandemic outbreak. It didn’t feel like the right time to do it in the middle of the madness. In our culture, the traditional ring proposal has become a modern day thing with the newer generations. I had already gone the traditional route and asked for her hand in marriage from her family, and paid the bridal price, which they all accepted. This year just felt right. Even though the cultural proposal had been done, I knew I wanted to get her a nice ring. One that she rightfully deserved and that fully portrayed my love for her. Up until then, she was under the impression the only ring she was getting from me was a smaller ring I gave her back in 2016. With the help of her sister/our wedding planner, Ayisha, I was able to find the perfect ring that I knew she’d love. I know we picked the right one because she won’t stop telling everyone about it! Leading up to our engagement shoot, Ayisha had been in communication with our photographer, Stanlo, and videographer, Henry Ade, and letting them know my plans, discussing which outfit I should propose to her in, etc. The night before the shoot, I had a conversation with Henry & Stan to go over the execution and the signaling for when it was time. She thought we were going to Miami for just the photoshoot and for vacation. During our shoot, Stan put a mic on me and had us pose back to back. Then with his signal, I was on one knee. He told her to do a spin and she spun so fast, initially missing me, until she realized I wasn’t there and finally looked down. The look on her face was priceless!

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E N G AG E M E N T S PHOTOGRAPHER: Stanlo Photography PLANNER: Ayisha Adams (Maid of Honor/ Bride’s Sister) VIDEOGRAPHER: Henry Adewale Films MENS 3 PIECE: Twist Connect GH BARBER: N-less Cutz Barbershop JAMILA’S HAIR: The Dolls Project MAKEUP ARTIST: Nordia Cameron- Cunningham RED DRESS: Sheyeoladejo Fashion House ‎ PINK DRESS: Zhena Women Clothing Brand BLAZER LOOK: Zara

ENGAGEMENT SESSION THEME: We had our engagement session at the AMAZING Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, FL. We wanted to pick a place in Miami because that was where we first had our baecation together and we wanted it to be somewhere that could really tell our story and capture our love. When we got there, late of course, we were in awe. The museum was more beautiful than the pictures. Stan and Henry were amazing. I am truly thankful for them and for their creative direction. During the shoot everything just felt right. At one point I remember looking at my wife and thinking about how lucky I am. I knew I was proposing, so I was also nervous. But Stan and Henry made everything seamless. It was perfect FIRST DATE? She took the train to PA from NY. And I picked her up from the train station. We went to the movies and then I ordered some traditional African food when we got back home. FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A COUPLE? Traveling is our favorite thing to do. Before COVID, we traveled at least twice a year and sometimes went on road trips.

HOW HAS WEDDING PL ANNING BEEN? It has been going great. My event planner/sister/maid of honor really listens to my requests and tries to make it happen. Roger has also been great at letting me make the majority of the choices. We just let him know what we need from him and he gets it done. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO ON YOUR WEDDING DAY? “My dance moves haven’t been unleashed in a decade. It’s only right to bring it out on the day I marry my best friend lol.” -Roger “I'm looking forward to sharing our love and celebrating each other. People that hang around us say you can always feel the love that we have for each other and we just want to celebrate that.” -Jamila

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Photography: Ashley Nicole Photography Black Dress: Orinthia Design Her Shoes: Simmi Shoes Black Suit: Indochino His Shoes: Cole Haan Hair Stylist: Angela Cowan Makeup: Valencia Joiner

Nadine + Jolam

SUMMEROUR STUDIO, ATL ANTA, GA

PHOTOGRAPHED BY ASHEY NICOLE PHOTOGRAPHY

WEDDING DATE: August 12, 2021 WEDDING LOCATION: Transfiguration Catholic Church & The Governor’s Towne Club OCCUPATIONS: Cardiac ICU Nurse & Project Manager HOW THEY MET + PROPOSAL STORY: I met my now fiancé 4 years ago at his former place of work, Suntrust. He and I became friends on a social media platform, Snapchat, where I gave him my number after he reached out to me multiple times in hopes of getting to know me. We got engaged on August 1st, 2020. Jolam popped the question at our fav restaurant here in Atlanta, Canoe in front of our closest family and dearest friends. WHEN DID YOU KNOW HE/SHE WAS “THE ONE”? For me, I knew he was the one when I realized how much he invaded my life. Every time I would look around me, I would notice more and more how much stuff he would purchase for me. I am not saying that I am

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materialistic or anything of that sort. It was always the small things, from the current books I would read or the extra charger he gave me for my car and even a new blanket to keep me warm when I traveled. He paid deep attention to my every word and made it impossible for me to not think of him in my daily routines THE THEME Nadine and Jolam's sultry and fun engagement session is one for the books. It showcases their love for each other and the respect and love they have for their families as they included their parents in the shoot as well. The couple's three looks - an all black, sultry Coming to America theme, a sophisticated yet f lirty green and white coordinated ensemble, and customized jerseys as a fun tribute to their favorite football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, help showcase their love for each other! FIRST DATE? We went on our first date at the Cheesecake Factory during the middle of the day and sat at a booth near the center of the restaurant. I kid you not I


ENGAGEMENTS

remember that date vividly because of how much he made me laugh and how comfortable he was sharing who he was and what he wanted out of life. We both did not want to leave each other’s side. We took our conversation outside and continued to talk on the bench adjacent to the restaurant. HOW HAS WEDDING PL ANNING BEEN SO FAR? Wedding planning has truly been interesting during this COVID season that seems never-ending. I’ve been told by many, "Oh, things will get better! You won’t have to worry about being in a pandemic when your date draws near." Me being an ICU nurse, I have been everything but optimistic. I’m almost certain I’ll have to make adjustments day by day leading up to the wedding day simply because this is an unusual time. I know there may be important people that may not even come to my wedding day because of their fear of being at a place that could potentially danger their lives. It’s just hard! I am leaning blindly on faith to see what will happen. TELL US WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST ON THE WEDDING DAY? What I truly look forward to the most is the party on the dance f loor, socially distanced of course!! Lol! My favorite part of every wedding is letting loose and having fun. Of course, the excitement of my fiancé seeing me for the first time as his wife, Mrs. Mendez is also something to look forward to. The name sounds so unfamiliar now, but when it happens I know it will feel surreal.

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INSPIRATION

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HERSTORY: LEGENDARY LOVE

Tori Del Photography

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ROOFTOP ROMANCE

Elizalde Photography

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REFINED ROMANCE

Rhea Whitney Photography

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REFINED MEETS RUSTIC

Franklyn K Photography

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BLACK AND WHITE

Christophe Serrano

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GIRL POWER

Bottega53 Studios

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MONOCHROMATIC LUXURY

Trene Forbes Photography

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BOLD TWIST ON OLD HOLLYWOOD GLAM

DSW Photography

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INTIMATE LUXURY

Weddings By Hana


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Photo: Christophe Serrano

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WE DDI NG I DE AS HerStory marks the first time that two LGBTQ+ identifying members of the ballroom scene are featured in a wedding editorial. PHOTOGRAPHED BY TORI DEL PHOTOGRAPHER

Inspiration behind the shoot by Dawnn Anderson Very little is really known about the private struggles and sometimes painful journeys of marginalized people who make transitions beyond the glare of the media spotlight. Cognizant of this fact, Brooklyn-based wedding planner, Dionne Gill set out to: 1. utilize her brand Fierce and Fab Events to create positive experiences for transgender couples of color that promote self-love and happiness; 2. increase visibility for transgender people of color and LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning) people in wedding campaigns. “We are not only allies, we are inclusive LGBTQ+ wedding planners,” said Gill.

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featured Mermaid and Milan; two models of African-American descent who identify as non-binary and gender non-conforming. “I wanted to bring them to the forefront to let everyone know that love knows no color, race, or gender,” said Gill. “Love is Love!” Mermaid and Milan are members of the Legendary House of Comme des Garcon, a diverse international network of LGBTQ+ artists and activists of the House and Ballroom community. The styled shoot was inspired by the spring season, attributed to its uplifting nature and hopeful color palette. Swan Club on The Harbor in Roslyn, NY made for the perfect

Gill wanted to capture the vibrancy of the ballroom scene, a community of mostly

setting with its elegant reception décor. Gill transformed a traditional ballroom into an

Black and Latino LGBTQ+ people who compete in fashion and dance. The shoot

enchanted forest featuring gold tabletops with cascades of hydrangeas, baby's breath,

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D E S T I N AT I O N S protea, and roses among other florals. She opted for soft hues: a fusion of pink and blue, to blur the lines of femininity and masculinity; white, to usher in a new beginning; and gold, to exude an air of opulence. The décor signifies the blossoming into ones Black queer self; a celebration of unity, inclusion, and love. “I really want people to take away that we are people too,” said Mermaid, who said she witnessed an outpouring of support in response to America’s racial reckoning of 2020. “This is how I would like to get married in the future.” A team of talented vendors authentically showcased the style and splendor of the LGBTQ+ community. The creative professionals who worked on this shoot either identified as members of the LGBTQ+ community or allies.

CREATIVE TEAM EVENT PLANNER/DESIGNER: Fierce VENUE: Swan

& Fab Events

Club on the Harbor

PHOTOGRAPHER: Tori

Del Photographer

VIDEOGRAPHER: Luxor

Wedding Films

FLORAL DESIGN: HTTS

Floral Design

MAKEUP & HAIR: Mia

Farah Beautique

HAIR ACCESSORIES, JEWELRY, RINGS: Adora

by Simona WEDDING GOWN DESIGNER: Kosibah WEDDING GOWN DESIGNER: Pantora

Bridal

WEDDING JUMPSUIT DESIGNER: Pantora

Bridal

BOUQUETS, CAKE SERVEWARE, TOASTING SET, AND MASKS: Shine

Bright Like a Diamond

CAKE DESIGNER: Kakes

N Stuff

WEDDING SUITE AND MENUS: Shayla

Parker

Design RENTALS: Glam

Party Rentals

RENTALS: Evolution

Event Rentals

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D E S T I N AT I O N S

WE DDING IDE AS Soft, romantic pastel colors beautifully juxtapose against a modern city space in this gorgeous rooftop styled shoot. PHOTOGRAPHED BY ELIZALDE PHOTOGRAPHY

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Inspiration behind the shoot by SB Events Co. "2020 was a year of uncertainty for all of us as we moved many weddings to the following year. Vara and Samiya wanted to get their own teams involved and creative juices flowing so they hosted a mood board competition. Veronica Gaskey was the winner! When we asked Veronica what was her inspiration she said "2020 broke all the rules with what a wedding is supposed to be and really forced couples to reach beyond the ideology of normal and create something that works for their love - without rules. When developing a visual representation of how best to capsulize what that conveys. I reached for elements that were both fierce...yet forgiving... vibrant...yet hushed, whimsical yet regal..."

CREATIVE TEAM PHOTOGRAPHER: Elizalde

Photography

STYLED SHOOT PLANNERS: SB

Events Co.

MODEL COUPLE: Rasha

Der'Rikk

and

HAIR AND MAKE-UP TEAM: Ms.

Painted Lady

BRIDAL ROBE: PajamaSutra Loungewear VENUE: PalmWood Event & Conference FLORAL: Flora SOUTH ASIAN ATTIRE & JEWELRY:

Silk threads

MEN'S SUIT: Don Morphy DINNERWARE AND FLATWARE RENTALS: Posh Couture RENTAL (ACRYLIC TABLES AND CHAIRS): Belle Decor VIDEOGRAPHER: Memories Films STATIONERY: Designs by Pran CAKE: Bimini Sweets

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W E DDIN G I D E AS

Gold and blue hues set a regal tone in this styled shoot exemplifying the resilience of love. PHOTOGRAPHED BY WHITNEY PHOTOGRAPHY

Inspiration behind the design by SwaLaRue Events This styled shoot took place in December 2020, representing the end of a very challenging and unforgettable year. The purpose was to bring vendors together to show brides and grooms that while the challenges of 2020 were great, they can STILL celebrate their love in very beautiful and grande ways. With large floral details and a color pallet selected for the emotions they bring, this styled shoot paid tribute to all of the things we love about weddings: romance, elegance and beautiful details. The colors chosen and reasons for selection were: 1. True Blue -unwavering loyalty or faithful...just like love 2. Tawny Birch - woodsy tan stage to accentuate the outdoors space used at the venue 3. Sleet - highlighting our desire for longevity; timeless - like the love we all need 4. Gold Flake - illumination, love, compassion, courage, passion, magic and wisdom what we can all hope to gain from our 2020 experience 5. Mink - unchangingly true - and one thing that is: Love is NOT Canceled. I enjoyed curating a list of black owned businesses to help bring this vision to life and we're so proud of the outcome!

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CREATIVE TEAM PLANNING & DESIGN: SwaLaRue PHOTOGRAPHY: Whitney VIDEOGRAPHY: Ken

Events

Photography

Maurice Studios

RENTALS & FLORAL DESIGN: Expressions VENUE: The

D'cor

Oak Atelier

STATIONERY: Oda BAKER: Wedding

Creative Luxury Invitations

Cakes by Tammy Allen

FURNITURE RENTALS: Durami WEDDING DRESS: Ese HAIR STYLIST: Hues MODELS: Sha

Events

Azenabor Luxury Designs

& Do's Beauty

and Kenny Gardner

MODELING AGENCY: Page

Parkes Corp

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WE DDI NG I DE AS A lush winery in France was the perfect setting for this styled shoot full of old world refinement and luxury. PHOTOGRAPHED BY FRANKLYN K PHOTOGRAPHY

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Inspiration behind the design by Franklyn K Photography The intention of this wine focused wedding design was to create a wedding celebration that was fine art, refined and fun with an abundance of Burgundian luxury that makes you want to dance!

CREATIVE TEAM PLANNER & DESIGN: Jennifer

Fox

FLORAL DESIGN: Florésie PHOTOGRAPHER: Franklyn GOWN: Ersa

K Photography

Atelier

STATIONERY: Creme DJ: Benjamin

de Papier

Kliber

WEDDING VENUE: Château BRIDE: Cindy

de Pierreclos

BK

PRO AUDIO & DJ FURNITURE: Discotecnik EVENT STRUCTURES: Florésie RING BOX: Je

Frameworks

Promis

RENTALS: Madame

de la Maison

CAKE & DESSERT: Made BRIDAL SHOP: Metal

In Cake

Flaque Paris

RENTALS: Velvet

Rendez Vous

BEAUTY: Virginie

Debourg

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WE DDI NG I DE AS Classic black and white decor set an elegant background for this intimate elopement styled shoot with plenty of “Wow Factor.” Photographed by Christophe Serrano

Inspiration behind the design by Flawless Events Black and white, between fashion affect the emotion around the couple and the wedding. White for the light of this touching moment... Black refers to classic and elegance. We wanted to highlight Afro beauty. Because of the current economic situation, it seems essential to adapt our practices as well as the events we propose. That's why we considered this shooting as a demonstration of an intimate wedding, including the wow effect. This inspired shooting was realized in Provence, in the Villa Brignac, a historical 18th century bastide, built within a 4.5 hectares estate. 72

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CREATIVE TEAM LIEU/ VENUE: La

villa Brignac Events par Bilitis Belval DESIGNER FLORAL: Laetitia Ricci PHOTOGRAPHER: Christophe Serrano FILMMAKER: Hatim Alili BRIDE: Solène GROOM: Wahed DRESSES: Rnadia Creation SMOKING: iGilles.aixenprovence UNDERWEAR: Aude violette création HAIRDRESSER: Léahair JEWELS: Sarah Aime MUSIC: Aurélie ellulricci (Harp) / Iryna (Violin) WEDDING CAKE: Nora Wedding cake STATIONERY: Lettering by GRG DINNERWARE: Zodio FURNITURE: Lm hom

WEDDING PLANNER: Flawless


claire


W E DD ING I DE AS Slightly vintage in its aesthetic, this chic styled shoot with varying tones of pinks, blues, and ambers, depicts the magic felt between the bride and her bridesmaids on her big day. PHOTOGRAPHED BY BOTTEGA53

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CREATIVE TEAM PLANNING AND DESIGN: Impression

Villas & Weddings VENUE: Tenuta

Mosè

PHOTOGRAPHER: Bottega53 VIDEOGRAPHER: Giuseppe MODELS: Target

Piserchia

Art Events

BRIDAL DRESS: Amaline

Vitale

BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES AND BOUDOIR GOWNS: Amoralle FLOWERS: Lablecce CAKE DESIGNER: Tonio RENTALS: G&G

Barba

Party Service

WHITE LINEN AND CUTLERY: IES

Apulia Events HAIR: Roberto

Bufano

MAKEUP: Vania

Tommasi

VINTAGE CAR: Puglia STATIONERY: Papier SHOES 1: Bella

Auto Classica

Handmade

Belle Shoes

SHOES 2: Mascia

Mandolesi

LINGERIE: Agent

Provocateur

HEADPIECES AND EARRINGS: La

Chia RINGS AND NECKLACES: Christian

Zane STRAW HAT: Montegallo WHITE SWIMSUIT: Gigi

& Olive

BLACK SWIMSUIT: New

Look

PINK GIN: Malfy POPSICLES: We

Are Pops, Pops

Poparazzi DJ (FOR PLAYLIST AND MOOD):

Alex Sisto


D E S T I N AT I O N S

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WE D D I NG I D E AS Monochromatic white decor evokes a timeless elegance in this styled shoot inspired by the unadulterated beauty of winter. PHOTOGRAPHED BY TRENE FORBES PHOTOGRAPHY

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Inspiration behind the design by Black Orchid Events This beautiful white inspired styled shoot captures the pure elegance of the perfect intimate winter white wedding. You can never go wrong with a classic all-white wedding with metallic accents, lush florals, and candles to light up your night. There is something magical about a winter wedding, it is filled with warm romance and leaves your guests with memories to last a lifetime.

CREATIVE TEAM

PLANNER: Black

Orchid Events

FLORAL DECOR & DESIGN: Beau PHOTOGRAPHER: Trene

VIDEOGRAPHY: 95 STATIONERY DESIGNER: J

Images

Jackson Design LLC

CAKE DESIGNER: 5-12 HAIR & MAKEUP: EL BRIDAL GOWNS: The

Decors

Forbes Photography

Dessert

& S Beauty Supply

Bridal Boutique Columbia

TUXEDO: Stanlion RENTALS: DC

Clothing

Rental


THE LUXURY EVENT EXPERIENCE CURATORS

A. MERISIER EVENTS WEDDING PLANNING | EVENT STYLING & DESIGN

AM ERISIEREVENTS.CO M

BY

(631)

APPOINTMENT

327-3307

|

ONLY

INFO@AMERISIEREVENTS.COM


WWW.BRIDESBYNONA.COM


WE D D I NG I D E AS Full rich jewel stones, gold, glitz and glamour this styled shoot is a luxurious ode to old Hollywood. PHOTOGRAPHED BY DSW PHOTOGRAPHY

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Inspiration behind the design by Shamakia Williams of DSW Photography

This styled shoot was created by myself and my husband Darren. We wanted to create luxury and bring amazing black creative together to display their work on a still photo. We wanted to show bright colors and pair various florals. The inspiration behind the styled shoot is bold with a twist of old Hollywood glam.

CREATIVE TEAM PHOTOGRAPHY: DSW

Photography

DESIGNER: Delia

King- Lavishly Chic Events

VENUE: Compass

Point Events

FLORALS: Erin

Steen

HAIR: Martha

Bermudez

MAKEUP ARTIST: Tracie

Turner

DRESS & HEADPIECE: Pearls CAKE: Lisa

Place

Edmond

CHAIRS: Chair

Couture Nola

DINING WARE AND GLASSWARE: Party LINEN: B

TUXEDO: John's

Tuxedos

THE MODELS: Bride-

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Rentals Delivered

luxe rental floral Jachelle Perry; Groom- Marius White


D E S T I N AT I O N S

Prestige Event Design Wedding & Event Design 8E Baltimore Avenue Clifton Height, PA 19018 (267) 678-8652 @prestige_event_design www.prestigeeventdesign.com MUNALUCHI BRIDE

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WEDDING IDEAS Enhanced by thoughtful design and luxurious touches, this styled shoot proves that intimate events can be sophisticated and stunning. PHOTOGRAPHED BY WEDDINGS BY HANA


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WEDDING IDEAS

Inspiration behind the Shoot by Designs By CM Events The Anderson House garden is a hidden gem in Washington D.C. and provided the perfect scenery and setting for the modern tablescape. Intimate doesn’t mean be sparing with design details. A more intimate event is a great opportunity for thoughtful design and luxury touches. White and gold are classic and sophisticated options for a wedding color palette and pairs well in a garden setting. One of my signature design elements is a clean tablescape design---minimal but still luxurious. The tablescape features a lush floral runner with a variety of white garden roses and tulips by JR Flowers. Each place setting features an elegant gold rim charger, accented with lucite and gold flatware by The Coveted. The place setting is finished with a layered menu card by Emily Baird design and napkin with lucite napkin ring. Dramatic candleholders and gold chairs by Beau Decors complete this modern and smart table design.

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D E S T I N AT I O N S CREATIVE TEAM PHOTOGRAPHER: Weddings

By Hana

VENUE: Anderson PLANNING/DESIGN: Designs

House

By CM Events

FLORAL: JR

Flowers

STATIONERY: Emily

Baird Design

CAKE: Jisoo

Cake Design

MUA: Blush

By Makki

MODEL: Eryn DRESS: Carines CATERING/PROSECCO POPS: Get

Plated DC

VIDEO: 95 TABLETOP: The

Images

Coveted Co

CHAIRS AND CANDELABRAS: Beau LINEN: Nuage

Paige

Bridal

Decors

Designs Inc

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WEDDINGS

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KAYLA-MARIE + ADRIAN

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NAVNEET + GURPREET

98

EKANEM + ADE

100

ASHLEY + DERICK

104

LOVELY + JAKENSON

108

PATRICE + BOBBY

112

SYDNEY + STEVEN

115

NESHAY + KIARA

116

JOHNESHA + JAMIL

118

MONIFA + WYATT

VOW RENEWALS 120

MELENA + KEVIN

122

ATOSHA + CHARLES

124

JULAINE + LANOIS

126

CHRISTELLE + JULIEN


91 P h o t o : Tr i s t a n B a r ro c k s

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D E S T I N AT I O N S

KAYLA-MARIE + ADRIAN O N TA R I O C A N A D A | M A R C H 23, 2021 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y Tr i s t a n B a r ro c k s , Fe l i c i t y Mo m e n t s Text by Angela Conner

K

ayla-Marie and Adrian’s journey will make you believe that in ordained love.

Adrian was playing football for the Hamilton Ticats of the Canadian Football League (CFL) when Kayla-Marie, the new team reporter, introduced herself during a community event. Kayla-Marie recalls, “It was strictly professional initially when I met Adrian but even then, I could tell there was something different about him that just stood out to me. He had a beautiful spirit about him that was more attractive than his physical beauty.” Adrian was captivated by her sense of humor, knowledge of sports, and how she held her own around a group of male athletes. She was “strong, confident, beautiful,” he reminiscences. While working with each other on projects, they formed a connection getting to know more about each other’s faith journey and background. When Kayla-Marie eventually moved to Toronto for a new job, they kept

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in contact sporadically. It took a year for them to formally reconnect, and when they finally went on their first date, their chemistry was so strong that afterward, Adrian sent Kayla-Marie a text message declaring that she would be his wife! He was right, but his proposal did not go as planned. What was supposed to be the perfect surprise proposal at a romantic spa resort turned into an argument. Adrian recalls, “The morning of, a disagreement led to hours of petty arguing and ignorant silence that ruined what was supposed to be a relaxing day. Not even thinking about proposing, I found myself EXTREMELY humbled when I heard [from God], ‘Now.’ See I had been asking God when and where the right time and place would be. I was feeling stressed out and had a lot of pressure on proposing a certain way. I had the ring for about 3 months but I wanted the proposal to be special, and it was.”


D E S T I N AT I O N S

After returning to Adrian’s home from their contentious vacation, Adrian was even more sure that Kayla-Marie was the love of his life and that he did not want to lose her. “I rushed to the laundry room to retrieve the ring, and as I got down on my knee and began to let my heart speak,” Adrian says. They both got down on their knees and started praying to God for guidance. “It dawned on me that this was the exact place that we had our first date, and the exact spot I sent her a text saying that one day she would be my wife. It came around full circle.” They happily dived into wedding planning, initially planning to marry in April 2020 in St. Lucia. However, like many couples, COVID -19 derailed their plans. So, they decided to have a small, intimate ceremony at a venue closer to home, Two Sisters Vineyard, a winery in the beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake area in southwestern Ontario. It was the same place where they had one of their first dates, so it felt like a full-circle moment. The best moments were subtle- a prayer they shared before the ceremony, Adrian seeing Kayla-Marie walk down the aisle. It was the perfect wedding focusing on love, family, and spirituality.

on incorporating culture

Adrian wore a barong tagalog, which is traditional formal wear in Filipino culture. Being half Filipina, I always loved seeing my grandpa and other male relatives wearing them at special occasions. Adrian was initially going to wear the barong for our all-white party in St. Lucia and when we pivoted and changed our plans to have the wedding here, he chose to wear it for our ceremony.

best memories

Adrian: My best memory by far is seeing Kayla walk down the aisle. She was stunning. The song was perfect. Time stood still. It was a culmination of many things, emotions, prayers being answered, blessings established, and curses broken. Kayla-Marie: Our private prayer corner before the wedding ceremony was beautiful. We wanted to pray together but not have a “first look” so our photographer Tristan brought us outside and used the corner of a side building next to the winery. As soon as I reached for Adrian’s hand and heard the tremble in his voice, I couldn’t hold back the tears. It was exactly what I dreamed of: A man after God’s heart praying over our marriage on our wedding day. MUNALUCHI BRIDE

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wedding highlights Couples gifts: A large custom charcuterie board with our names engraved on it. Favorite item on menu: Everything! The curated menu from Kitchen76 was incredible. Mushroom soup with truffle oil to burrata and ribeye steak down to the dessert and our amazing wedding cake. Each item was paired with the right wine to make it come together perfectly! And because it was a small wedding, we actually got to sit and eat with our guests and enjoy the amazing food. First dance song: We didn’t have a first dance, but we danced down the aisle after our ceremony to Luther Vandross’ ‘Never Too Much’ Honeymoon plans: More like a babymoon in the near future ; ) Advice for brides: Enjoy this exciting chapter of life! In the end, the majority of whatever it is that you’re stressing over prior to the wedding becomes minuscule or you don’t even remember it on the big day! Walk slowly down the aisle and soak it all in.

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D E S T I N AT I O N S

What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? Never forget your why. The reason why you are deciding to get MARRIED, not the reason you're deciding to have a wedding. There is a difference.

vendors PHOTOGRAPHY: Tristan Barrocks, Felicity Moments EVENT DECOR/DESIGN: Tara Moore, Events coordinator, Two Sisters Vineyards BRIDE'S DRESS: Lulu’s BRIDAL SALON: Sonia Singh HAIR EXTENSIONS: Tesoro Hair BRIDE’S VEIL: Felichia Bridal Toronto BRIDE’S JEWELRY: Grandmother’s pearl earrings CUSTOM NECKLACE/BACK JEWELRY: Blair Nadeau Bridal Adornments BRIDE'S SHOES: Zvelle CAKES/DESSERTS: Peta Cakes by Peta-Gay Williams CATERING: Kitchen76 CEREMONY VENUE: Wine barrel cellar, Two Sisters Vineyards ENTERTAINMENT: Pianist Robert Chambers EVENT PLANNER: Bride & Groom FLORALS: Ann’s Flower Boutique GROOM'S ATTIRE: Barong Tagalog HAIR: Lohifa Pogoson aka LoDidThat LIGHTING: Tristan Barrocks, Felicity Moments LINENS: Courtesy of Two Sisters Vineyards MAKEUP: Erin by Look Devine Beauty Studio RECEPTION VENUE: Two Sisters Vineyards STATIONERY: Canva VIDEOGRAPHY: Tristan Barrocks, Felicity Moments PASTOR: Orim Meikle, Rhema Christian Ministries

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NAVNEET + GURPREET L AY T O N S V I L L E , M D NOVEMBER 27, 2020 P h o t o s b y C a t c h Mo t i o n P h o t o g ra p hy Text by Angela Conner

T

he COVID-19 pandemic has caused many couples to reevaluate their wedding plans, but for Gurpreet and Navneet, having an intimate wedding was much more meaningful. On November 27, 2020 they hosted a Sikh wedding with just 25 guests in their family home. Their wedding started with the Baraat where the bride's family welcomes the groom’s family as they celebrate and dance. The couple shares, “This was also where we shared our first look. That look was everything — a sense of relief and joy passed through us. The whole morning we were both nervous and anxious for everything to go smoothly, but in that moment, nothing else mattered. It was all going to be okay.” Around 11am, their Anand Karaj began. They sat in the presence of their closest friends and family and made a vow to always love, respect, and care for each other. The priests sang beautiful hymns during the ceremony which perfectly paired with the crisp Fall morning. It was the perfect way to start their lives together. The couple reminisces, “As we walked out of the ceremony, our friends and family threw roses in the air for us, blessing us for the beginning of our lives together. We couldn’t have asked for a more meaningful day.”

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REAL WEDDINGS

vendors EVENT STYLING & DECOR: Sarah

Khan Event Styling WEDDING DAY PHOTO/VIDEO: Catch

Motion Studio PLANNING: Project

Bride DC

EVENT RENTALS: Select

Event Group

CATERING: IndAroma HENNA: Bhavna’s

Henna & Arts

BRIDAL HMU: Herneet

Singh

BRIDAL PARTY HMU: SKS PAGH TYING: Pagh

Salon

Life

BRIDAL JEWELRY: Sapna

Creations &

RJS Company

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EKANEM + ADE E M I R AT E S PA L A C E , A B U D H A B I , U. A .E FEBRUARY 2, 2020 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y D u k e I m a g e s Text by Lily Taylor


wedding highlights: Bridesmaids gifts: We gave the groomsmen custom suits and diamond cufflinks while we gave the bridesmaids a luxury pamper set including Jade Gua Shas and jewelry. First dance song: We danced to a romantic rendition of Ed Sheehan – “Perfect” Advice for brides: Starting early and using a timeline planner really helps you get everything down to the smallest detail. Plan a meet-up with your wedding planner, vendors, and everyone in your wedding party before the rehearsal dinner to discuss roles and inform them of how you would like the day to go. Doing this will get everyone on the same page and let you relax and enjoy your day. First dance song: We danced to a romantic rendition of Ed Sheehan – “Perfect”

vendors PHOTOGRAPHY: Duke

Images

CEREMONY AND RECEPTION VENUE:

Emirates Palace BRIDE'S DRESS: Ceremony - Leah Da Gloria; Reception - Ryan Patros BRIDE’S ACCESSORIES: Diana Jewels Headpieces BRIDE’S STYLIST: Selina Howard, Vainglorious Brides CAKES/DESSERTS: Judy Udeze Cake Design EVENT DECOR/DESIGN/FLORAL: Ali Bakhtiar Designs GROOM'S ATTIRE: Miguel Wilson Collection HAIR: Rona Wigs MAKEUP: Banke Meshida Lawal

E

kanem and Ade knew from the moment they met each other that they had found the person they were going to spend the rest of their lives with. Ekanem shares, “When we finally met, as cliche as it might sound, it was love at first sight. We fell in love, had a longdistance romantic relationship for one year, and then he proposed marriage .” Ade’s over-the-top proposal couldn’t have been more romantic! He decorated the rooftop of the Surrey Hotel in New York City with Ekanem’s favorite flowers and memories of their time together and proposed with a radiant cut diamond ring. Even with the hustle and bustle of the city below, in that moment, it was just them and no one else. Their beautiful destination wedding was held at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. They wanted to experience a different culture, as they already had a traditional Nigerian ceremony. Featuring a crystal tunnel, gorgeous floral arrangements, and the grand architecture of the hotel, their wedding emanated luxury and romance.

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D E S T I N AT I O N S

ASHLEY + DERICK HOUSTON, TEXAS JANUARY 18, 2021

P h o t o g ra p h e d b y S t a n l o P h o t o g ra p hy Text by Linda Wallentine

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REAL WEDDINGS

A

shley and Derick Sumpter’s romance begins with love and basketball. In 2010, they were both recruited to play for the women’s and men’s McMurry University basketball teams and soon crossed paths. The pair began bonding during long bus rides to away-games, over meals shared in the cafeteria, and while working out together in the gym. While they debate the exact details of “how they met,” one things certain — they’ve been inseparable ever since! Eight years later, Derick planned a surprise proposal during a romantic getaway trip to the Maldives. On New Year’s Eve, their hotel threw a massive celebration with food flown in from all over the world, live music, and fireworks. Nearing midnight, Derick suggested they walk to the smaller island where they could enjoy the fireworks away from the crowd. Once the fireworks began, Ashley turned to look over at Derick and found him down on one knee! He asked her to marry him and of course, she said yes! After rescheduling their wedding three times and dealing with the inevitable challenges of planning during COVID-19, Ashley and Derick finally said “I Do” on January 18, 2021! They tied-the-knot in a beautiful ceremony at the Belltower on 34th Street in Houston, Texas, surrounded by 100 of their closest friends and family. Despite the difficulties they faced, they couldn't imagine a more perfect day!

wedding highlights Bridesmaids/Groomsment gifts: Groomsmen: Black and Gold monogrammed cufflinks; Bridesmaids: Custom Robes and Jewelry Ceremony entrance song: “Wu Tang Forever” - Drake First dance song: “Die with you” - Beyonce Gifts for one another: Bride to groom Christian Louboutin Alpha Male Flat shoes. Groom to Bride: Her wedding ring was an exact replica of the ring her grandfather gave her grandmother.


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REAL WEDDINGS

vendors DESIGNER/PLANNER: Darryl Moore D'Concierge Weddings PHOTOGRAPHY: Stanlo Photography VENUE: The Belltower on 34th Street CAKE: Cakes by Gina DRESS: Stephen Yearick from Weddings by Debbie SHOES: Christian Louboutin MAKEUP: Olivia Song FLORAL: Floraventi RENTALS: What's the Occasions DANCE FLOOR: Mike's Dance Floor LIGHTING: LG Entertainment DJ: DJ 4.0 TUXEDO: Brian Alexander Bespoke HAIR: Unbleavablehair CUSTOM BOUQUET: Aurora Aksesore HEADPIECE: Elenas Bridal PHOTO BOOTH: Exclusive 360 Photo

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L

ovely Joubert and Jakenson Derosier’s sumptuous ceremony was the winter wedding that we have been waiting for. When the couple met in the summer of 2018, they knew that it was divine providence that brought them together. Throughout a long distance courtship they both looked forward to a beautiful forever.

LOVELY + JAKENSON CORAL GABLES, FLORIDA FEBRUARY 14, 2021 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y R e e m P h o t o g ra p hy Text by Marie Smith

Lovely, who was success driven, never had marriage as her priority and by choice led a life of singleness without distraction. With Jakenson, his plans suddenly changed on his birthday which caused him to travel to his cousin’s wedding in Florida. Unbeknownst to them, the time had finally come at that specific wedding for their paths to cross at the perfect time. “God molded me into a beautiful flower and prepared me to be a wonderful wife,” Lovely shares. Their nuptials set in the heart of Coral Gables, Florida took place at the Hotel Colonnade which also hosted the couple’s reception within the hotel’s neoclassical marble filled rotunda. The Milk and Honey theme of the wedding was reflected in all aspects of the ceremony from the attire of the bridal party and groomsmen to the reception. Adorned in a bespoke handmade headpiece that went beautifully with her bridal gown the bride and the wedding ceremony itself was the picture of enormous glamour. Lovely and Jakenson’ euphoric celebration with family and friends spoke to us all to wait on perfect timing with hope filled hearts.


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wedding highlights Bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts: I gave my bridesmaids the earrings that they wore for the wedding. First dance song: “Forever Ain’t Enough” J Holiday Ceremony entrance song: “Faithful is our God” by Ezekiel Walker Best memory: I don't know where to start. I enjoyed seeing my husband so happy. I've never seen him more happy in my life. I think that was the highlight of the night. Also my parents were really happy for me.


REAL WEDDINGS

vendors WEDDING PLANNER/DESIGNER: MBM PHOTOGRAPHER: Reem

Photography

VIDEOGRAPHER: Bricks

Group Media

SPARKLERS AND CLOUD: 5ive HAIR STYLIST: Hair

Events & Design

Star Entertainment

Chemistry Miami llc

MAKEUP ARTIST: Melisa

the MUA

BRIDE HANDMADE HEADPIECE: Dafina BRIDESMAIDS MAKEUP ARTIST: Darly

Draga

Dieujuste;

Daphney Paul BRIDE GOWN: Bijou

Bridal Coral Gables

GROOM SUIT: Henry

Couture Paris

BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Hermione BRIDE ROBE: Hermione

GROOMSMEN SUITS: Eaden FLORIST: Petal

Elma

Elma Myles

Productions

LIGHTING: Evoga

Event Productions

DANCE FLOOR/AISLE RUNNER: MPE MENUS: Boxed DJ: Teddy

Wedding Invitations

Mix

HARPIST: Kiki

Bello

FIRE DANCER: Guan

Zhi

Event Group


PATRICE + BOBBY S A N D A L S G R A N D E S T. L U C I A N , G R O S I S L E T, S T. L U C I A JANUARY 23, 2021

P h o t o g ra p h e d b y S t a n l o P h o t o g ra p hy Text by Linda Wallentine

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atrice and Bobby first met at a dinner party hosted by a mutual friend; however, their real love story didn’t begin until a few months later. After multiple coincidental run-ins, serendipity finally sealed their fate “in a haphazard reintroduction over social media.” And two years later, they are still best friends and happily in love (and yes, they survived the pandemic. So, really they can survive anything!). Surrounded by their closest friends and family, the pair finally tied-the-knot in a gorgeous destination wedding at Sandals Grande St. Lucian resort in St. Lucia! Their wedding style was “classy, island chic” and also tied in elements of Bobby’s Asian culture. In their vows, Bobby stated a poignant-sounding phrase in Mandarin for their english-speaking guests, only to reveal it was actually Patrice’s favorite “Chinese” dish! Their playful vows are a testament to their strong foundation of friendship, laughter, and love. These important values will certainly set them smoothly sailing into a beautiful life together!

incorporating culture...

Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? During our vows, Bobby thought it would be nice to state a phrase in Mandarin for our guests who only speak English. Although he said the phrase in a profound and sentimental manner; when it was translated the phrase meant "honey garlic chicken and egg fried rice" (haha) simply because it is Patrice's favorite "Chinese" dish. One of the parting gifts for the wedding guests was chopsticks with my Chinese surname (Chen) engraved on them.

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wedding highlights: Bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts: Groomsmen received a tie, overalls, and custom watch-themed cufflinks and the Bridesmaids received rompers, tumblers, and other fun things! Advice for brides: Your wedding day is about you! Don't let anyone steal your shine. Everything might not go as planned but that's okay. You're marrying the love of your life and that is what matters most! First dance song: “U Move, I Move” - John Legend Best memory: Other than seeing my husband cry with tears of joy as soon as he saw me, I'd have to say having the opportunity to walk with my 86 year old father down the aisle. I'll never forget that moment. Oh yeah, the first dance with him was special too!

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vendors PHOTOGRAPHY: Stanlo

Photography Fashion Group BRIDAL SALON: The Artisans Beauty Salon BRIDE’S HEADPIECE AND/OR VEIL: SuReina Bridal BRIDE'S SHOES: Magosisters BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Amsale CAKES/DESSERTS: Sandals Resort CATERING: Chefs at Sandals Resort CEREMONY VENUE: Over-the-Water Chapel (Sandals Resort) EVENT DECOR/DESIGN: Island Chic (Sandals Resort) ENTERTAINMENT: DJ (Sandals Resort) EVENT PLANNER: Sandals Wedding Team FLORALS: Sandals Wedding Team GROOM'S ATTIRE: Dolce & Gabbana and Vince Camuto HAIR: The Artisans Beauty Salon MAKEUP: MUA TTT Tia RECEPTION VENUE: The Beach at Sandals Grande St. Lucian VIDEOGRAPHY: Bricks Group Media BRIDE'S DRESS: Pollardi


908.468.2969

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@OHNIKIOCCASIONS

WWW.OHNIKIOCCASIONS.COM

INFO@OHNIKIOCCASIONS.COM

South Florida | NYC & New Jersey | Destinations Worldwide

Wedding Planning and Design

D E S T I N AT I O N S

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SYDNEY + STEVEN AT L A N TA , G A APRIL 18, 2021 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y Ma j o r E P h o t o g ra p hy Text by Marie Smith

A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” This beautiful quote from the Bible was featured on a symbolic plaque at Steven and Sydney’s wedding. Little did they know three times was all it would take for their love story to blossom into a springtime wedding in April. “We met three different times,” Sydney recalls. First, they caught each other’s eyes at a gala for Steven’s fraternity but did not speak. Steven vowed he would ask Sydney out on a date if he ever saw her again. Two weeks later, he ran into her at a college event and asked for a date, but Sydney declined. Later that night, while out with her line sisters, Sydney spotted Steven at a bar. She told him that he could buy her a drink, and they have been together ever since. Their uniquely crafted proposal story, which was set on the Fourth of July, gave the couple’s family and friends twice as many reasons to celebrate. Sydney’s mom was in on the plan to get her back to her house to move a box that was planted on the front porch, but Steven secretly had all of their family members waiting for them. Sydney shares, “When we got to my mom’s house we moved the box and walked in the front door and both of our families were lined up with pictures of us throughout our entire relationship. After we walked through the line of family, he led me out to the deck where there was a floral arrangement that literally said will you marry me. I was overwhelmed and completely shocked. In his speech he said that he wanted to take my independence away on Independence Day and of course I said YASSSS.” The couple’s springtime wedding set in Atlanta, Georgia incorporated a Rustic/Chic theme. The intimate nuptials featured a runway center aisle gorgeously adorned with lush flower arrangements of tropical florals and pampas grass. During their equally stunning reception, the happy couple danced to “Change Your Last Name” a song recorded by the bride’s father Montell Jordan, and they honored Steven’s Haitian heritage by playing Kompa music. Sydney and Steven’s commitment, love and partnership with each other made this an incredible night to remember.

wedding highlights Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: Bridesmaids gifts included customized jean jackets, customized robes and matching bracelets. Groomsmen gifts included customized denim jackets, socks and hand written cards First dance song: “Change Your Last Name” by Montell Jordan Advice for brides: Get a wedding planner! They handle a lot of the grunt work and make your vision come to life without the stress and hass

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vendors PHOTOGRAPHER: Majore CEREMONY VENUE: Tori EVENT DECOR: Tori

Williams Events

EVENT PLANNER: Tori FLORALS:

Photography

Williams Events

Williams Events

Tori Williams Events

BRIDES DRESS: Carrie's BRIDAL SALON: Kai

Bridal Collection

from The Doll Houze and

Pretty Faces By Aman Lexidor BRIDE HAIRPIECE AND VEIL: Carrie's

Bridal

Collection BRIDES SHOES: Amazon BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Shop CATERING: James

Revelry

Wright Chanel

ENTERTAINMENT: JAMMIN'

DJs - Georgia

GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Men’s

Warehouse

HAIR: Kai

from The Doll Houze

LIGHTING: JAMMIN'

DJs - Georgia and Tori

Williams Events LINENS: Tori

Williams Events

MAKEUP: Pretty

Faces By Aman Lexidor

STATIONERY: Minted VIDEOGRAPHER: Ale

Weddings

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vendors PHOTOGRAPHY: Enrique Morales - EmWeddings EVENT PLANNER: Lillie’ann Smith - Lillie’ann

NESHAY + KIARA CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO

Dam, veliberis adEnditat harum nusanim olorpor itatur rem. Itaquos dollab iderumquid qui ut aperundis exersperia nonsequatque con

Events & Designs BRIDE'S DRESS: Xenia “By Watters BRIDAL SALON: Betsy Robinson Bridal Boutique BRIDE’S HEADPIECE AND/OR VEIL: Elle Couture Boutique – Betsy Robinson Bridal BRIDAL JEWELRY: David’s Bridal BRIDAL HAIR: Denera Lashley - Hair2thethrone MINK LASHES: Kennea Mallette - Flashy Lashy BRIDE'S SHOES: Sophia Webster BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Bella Bridesmaid’s CAKES/DESSERTS/CATERING/VENUE: Dreams Los Cabos EVENT DECOR/DESIGN/FLORALS/RENTALS: The Main Event Design & Production BROOM'S ATTIRE: Neiman Marcus Men’s Apparel SHOES: Stacey Adams WATCH: Movado GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Express Men’s BROOM’S HAIR: Cierra Curtis LIGHTING: Encore – Bistro twinkle Lights LINENS: The Main Event Design & Production MAKEUP: Bryonna Polite GO2GirlBry STATIONERY: Devine Designs by Deisha VIDEOGRAPHY: Enrique Morales- EmWeddings TRAVEL AGENT: Kimberly Felix - Honeymoons Inc Travel Agency

MARCH 6, 2021

P h o t o g ra p h e d b y E m We d d i n g s Text by Lily Taylor

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iara and Neshay’s beautiful relationship began with a simple DM! Kiara shares, “I saw that Neshay was talking to a lot of our mutual friends, so I decided to click on her picture and was instantly attracted to her. So, I slid in her DM’s and it has been history ever since.” Kiara gave Neshay the best present by proposing on Christmas of 2018 during a game of Taboo. Kiara recalls, “ It was Neshay’s turn to answer the question which was wedding-related and once she answered and turned around, I was on one knee.” They immediately started planning the destination wedding of their dreams and set a date for June 2020 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Then COVID derailed all of their plans. They reflect, “We initially postponed the wedding to October 2020, but around September we realized that we did not want our moment taken away with face masks and full COVID restrictions. So, we postponed the wedding to March 6, 2021, still in Cabo at Dreams resorts. Which at the time we did not realize was the 1-year anniversary of our courthouse wedding date! Such a full-circle moment for us.” Their wedding day was delayed, but it was worth the wait. Neshay shares, “Imagine dreaming of your wedding since age 5 and having the opportunity to bring it to life.” They had a wonderful time celebrating 10 years of love with their entire family.

wedding highlights:

Bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts: Picture charm necklace lockets with sentimental pictures of their loved ones inside. First dance song: Gerald Levert - “Made to Love You” Advice to brides: My advice to brides will be to take it one day at a time and do not compare your wedding or wedding process to anyone else’s. Your wedding is your moment, do not let anyone or anything interfere with the moment you have been waiting for all your life. Just have faith that everything will work itself out in the end.

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JOHNESHA + JAMIL L E E S B U R G , VA SEPTEMBER 20, 2020

P h o t o g ra p h e d b y Te r r i B a s k i n Text by Angela Conner

Dam, veliberis adEnditat harum nusanim olorpor itatur rem. Itaquos dollab iderumquid qui ut aperundis exersperia nonsequatque con

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ohnesha and Jamil’s love story spans over a decade. They first connected on Facebook through a mutual friend in 2009. Their platonic conversations covered everything from their love of sneakers to their time in the military. But it wasn’t until five years later, when Jamil decided not to re-enlist and stay in Maryland that he reached out to Johnesha for a date. Within a month, he had impressed Johnesha so much that she turned down a job in California and decided to stay in Maryland with him. Not afraid to take a chance on love, four years later the couple decided to elope on the spur of the moment. Johnesha shares, “Jamil knew how bad I wanted to get married on 2.9.2018 and it was the week of, and there had been no engagement prior or discussion of one. Jamil completely surprised me and said lets just get married THIS Friday, on the date you always dreamed about! I couldn’t resist... the answer was YES!! 72 hours later, we eloped at the Upper Marlboro Courthouse.” A couple of years later, they celebrated their union with a gorgeous ceremony and reception with their dearest family and friends. Their ballroom wedding was full of gorgeous iridescent decor and sparkly textures; from their metallic, geometric stationery to their gorgeous pink and purple florals, no detail was left unnoticed.

vendors

wedding highlights

Favorite item on menu We had a private chef (Tobias Dorzon) cater the wedding menu - he featured the choice of caramelized lemongrass salmon, blackened chicken, and filet mignon. First dance song: “Naked” by Sammie and “Real Big” by Nipsey Hussle and Marsha Ambrosious

Advice for brides: Have a vision first and then get a planner you trust to bring your vision to life!!!

PHOTOGRAPHY: Terri Baskin EVENT PLANNER: TUM Socials BRIDE'S DRESS: Eve of Milady from Betsy Robinson Bridal Salon and Stephen Yearick Couture BRIDAL SALON: Love Couture Bridal BRIDE’S HEADPIECE AND/OR VEIL: Betsy Robinson Bridal Salon BRIDE'S NAILS: Nelles Nails BRIDE'S SHOES: Badgley Mischka and Manolo Blahnik BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: UniiquelyU Atelier BRIDESMAIDS HAIR: Lo & Company CAKES/DESSERTS: Rockz My Tiarra CATERING: Chef Tobias Dorzon CEREMONY VENUE: Raspberry Plain Manor EVENT DECOR/DESIGN/FLORALS: BCG Events ENTERTAINMENT: Celebrity toasts including Ginuwine, Sugar Bear and the Mayor Bowser of Washington DC GROOM/GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: House of Jonlei Atelier HAIR: Dolled by Nueye LIGHTING: Atmosphere Lighting LINENS: Eden Event Rentals MAKEUP: Glam Qui RECEPTION VENUE: Raspberry Plain Manor RENTALS: Evolution Event Rentals, Nostalgia Event Rentals, Bella Fiori Rentals STATIONERY: Oda Creative VIDEOGRAPHY: Malek Foto Films DJ: DJ Rizzo FIREWORKS: Serpico Pyrotechnics STAGING: Phemstar Event Productions LED DANCE FLOOR, PHOTO BOOTH, SPARKLERS AND CLOUDS: DJ Max Powers


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MONIFA + WYATT ASPEN, COLORADO JULY 2020

P h o t o g ra p h e d b y S h e e n a S h a h a n g i a n P h o t o g ra p hy Text by Angela Conner

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n their first date, Wyatt and Monifa knew they had something special. They spent hours sitting and talking. Afterward, Monifa called her best friend, teary-eyed, and told her she had met a man who was unlike anyone she had ever met before. Wyatt thought she “was one of the rarest birds he had ever witnessed in flight,” and he wanted to “join her.”

Dam, veliberis adEnditat harum nusanim olorpor itatur rem. Itaquos dollab iderumquid qui ut aperundis exersperia nonsequatque con

Monifa and Wyatt like to march to the beat of their own drum. They truly value doing things their own way, so after Wyatt’s charming Christmas proposal, they started planning their unique wedding. They share, “We initially planned to have a 25 guest wedding on a llama farm, but the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted those plans. We didn’t want to expose our loved ones to any potential risks so we decided to cancel our llama farm wedding and elope instead. Eloping actually turned out to be better than any wedding we could have planned.” Colorado was the perfect location for several reasons: Monifa is originally from Colorado, the mountain views in Colorado are gorgeous, and Colorado is one of the few states that allows couples to self-solemnize (legally marry themselves without an officiant present).“Marrying ourselves on a Colorado mountaintop felt like the dopest, freest, blackest thing we could do!” Monifa and Wyatt declare, and we totally agree.

How did COVID-19 affect your wedding plans?

Both of us consider ourselves to be quirky, unconventional people who really enjoy thinking outside of the box. From the very beginning of wedding planning we wanted to make sure our wedding reflected us. We initially planned to have a 25 guest wedding on a llama farm, but the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted those plans. We didn’t want to expose our loved ones to any potential risks so we decided to cancel our llama farm wedding and elope instead. Eloping actually turned out to be better than any wedding we could have planned.

vendors ELOPEMENT

Advice for brides: Do you and make the day your own! While traditional weddings are absolutely beautiful, brides should also know that there are so many wedding options that exist outside of the traditional wedding elements folks typically think of. Your wedding should really reflect you and your partner’s individuality and your unique love for one another. You can wear whatever you want, get married in whatever setting you want, have as many or as few guests as you want, style your hair like you want, serve guests whatever foods you want, write your own ceremony and vows if you want, lean in to convention or buck it all together. Try to focus on doing what works for you and not what everyone else thinks you should be doing. We have absolutely zero regrets about eloping. We’d do it all over again, the exact same way, in a heartbeat!

PHOTOGRAPHER: Sheena Shahangian Photography LLC DRESS DESIGNER: Martin Thornburg BRIDAL SALON: Sweet Elegance Bridal CRYSTAL TIARA: Judy and Madeleine ALTERATIONS:TK Bridal & Alterations HEADPIECE: Judy & Madeleine HAIR: Essence of Braiding and Weaving BRIDE'S HIKING BOOTS:

Columbia SUIT: Calvin Klein

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ANNIVERSARY SHOOT

MELENA + KEVIN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO W E D D I N G D AT E : J A N U A R Y 1 , 2 0 0 1 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y C e l e s t e & R e e c e Text by Linda Wallentine

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wo of the Caribbean’s top Event Planners, Kevin O’Neil, and his wife and childhood sweetheart, Melena Simon-O’Neil, commemorated their 20th Wedding Anniversary with a stylish photo shoot! While their original plans were cancelled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they decided an intimate and symbolic photo session on the island of Tobago (where they were both born) would be the perfect solution to celebrate this important milestone in their love’s journey! Their meaningful shoot was captured by the talented Celeste Hart of Celeste & Reece Photography & Films. Set in the Latour Estate on the Western end of the island of Tobago, Kevin and Melena posed in front of a stone farmhouse and ancient trees. They chose this destination with purpose and intention, explaining “the strength of the trees and surrounding weathered structures are symbolic of [their] 28yr old love story which has endured many storms but continues to grow and thrive.” These structures and persistent plant-life are a testament to their “deep rooted love for each other and the solid foundation they have built their marriage on.”

What advice can you give for newlyweds? Marriage is like a Plant that must be fed, pruned and nurtured daily. At our wedding ceremony our pastor reminded us that marriage is for grown folks only (emotionally mature) It is not a game where you can pack up, take your toys and go home like little children every time you don’t get your way. It requires daily effort, compromise and daily self-less acts. Some days you’ve got to dig deep when things get rough but if you put God at the center all will be well.

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When did you get married and where? We tied the knot 20yrs ago on Monday January 1st,2001 (01.01.01) at Rovanel’s Resort on the tranquil Caribbean paradise island of Tobago in the Caribbean where we were both born.

Pets- 2 Ponds of Koi fishes . Kevin: We have fishes. My Kois and the koi ponds I built are my pride and joy. Given how frequently we travel we have decided against any more pets.

What was your wedding like? Our wedding was a fun family affair. We were surrounded by 250 of our family and closest friends who celebrated with us all night long.

When it comes to Career, what do both of you do and how do you make time for each other? We hold several portfolios and are perhaps serial entrepreneurs. Not only are we life partners we are also business partners. We Jointly own and manage Emerald Designs and Event Services a Wedding Planning and Design firm in Trinidad and Tobago, Couture Hats by Melena and O’Neil Landscaping. Kevin is a serving member of the Trinidad and Tobago Military, while Melena is employed as a High School Counselor. Melena is also a qualified Business Psychologists and hopes to explore her professional career in that field in 2021.

As you celebrate your anniversary, what do you remember most about your wedding day? Being so emotional. I cried so many happy tears before and during the ceremony. The moment was overwhelming … I think it was the anticipation of finally getting married to the man who promised to marry me since we were teenagers! Was there anything you would have done differently for your wedding? We own and run a wedding planning and design business. I have no doubt that had we had the resources, knowledge and skills we now possess we might have done things differently – style wise. We wanted 50 people, our parents wanted 250, we lost that battle but have no regrets about that! What are your favorite things to do as a couple? Travel! We travel each year for our Anniversary and our birthdays. We love to explore new destinations together, it allows us to reconnect and restore our body, minds and soul. We work really hard, our hours are long and brutal so we treasure these vacations where we can get away from the stress of life and reconnect with each other. When we aren’t travelling we love enjoying nature /outdoors together and spending time with our daughter. Who cooks? We both do and so does our daughter who is a promising chef at 15yrs old. Do you have any children or pets? If so, tell us how many and what type of pets. One beautiful daughter who seems to be the perfect blend of the two of us in so many ways. Our masterpiece. That’s what we call her! She likes to pride herself as the best product of our marriage. Our marriage is stronger and our lives richer because of her. She is pure light and joy. Can you tell that we are exceptionally proud of her?

What would you say are the most important elements for a successful marriage? Friendship & Laughter – Having fun together and genuinely enjoying life and each other Open and honest communication –Clear and timely expression of needs, hurts, joys, fears. Forgiveness –Forgive often and apologize even when you are right. Compromise & selfless – Mastering the art of considering the views, feeling and needs of your spouse in every decision. Giving way Respect – for each other’s time, space and needs.

vendors PHOTOGRAPHY: Celeste & Reece STYLING & CREATIVE DIRECTION: Keyz Studios GROOM’S ATTIRE: Ecliff Elie FLORAL BOA: Flowers by G MAKEUP: Cosmo girl Nedd DRESS SALON: Judy’s Formal & Bridal DRESS ALTERATIONS: Anikay

How do you keep the spark in your marriage? We keep the romance alive with Date Nights in our backyard or at our favorite restaurants and annual mini honeymoons to our favorite destinations What do you love most about one another? Gosh there is so much I love about this man! He is so humble, positive, kind and loving. I love that he makes me laugh every single day even on our worst days. I love his commitment to family and his absolute dedication to his roles as husband and father. I’m in awe of his creativity as an event designer. He is a rare renaissance man and an exemplary father who has set the bar quite high for any future spouse of our daughter. Kevin: Her natural beauty. I also admire her strength, her tenacity and drive to accomplish goals. She is meticulous and never does things half way. Most importantly her giving spirit. She is always seeking to help and support others.

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ATOSHA + CHARLES FLORENCE, SC W E D D I N G D AT E : J U N E 2 0 , 2 0 1 0 V O W R E N E WA L D AT E : OC TO B E R 3 , 2 0 2 0

P h o t o g ra p h e d b y A r i e l E n i d P h o t o g ra p hy Text by Marie Smith

F

or Atosha and Charles’ 10th Anniversary vow renewal, they chose to have a jubilant and luxurious celebration of love and life. The couple’s anniversary happened to coincide with Charles’s 50th birthday. So, they both knew the only way to perfectly celebrate was to create a tropical atmosphere by filling their venue with lush greenery since Charles truly is the ”King of the Jungle.” This fun duo curated amazing details for the event since they both are event designers. The lush tablescapes featured tall foliage centerpieces with cascading tropical greenery and glamorous gold “O” back chairs. The outdoor foliage gave the venue it's incredibly fresh, vibrant, and plush ambiance. Inside their indoor space, the event joyfully infused different tropical leaves which was reflected in Atosha’s modern bouquet. Communication, small surprises, and prayer have kept this vibrant couple staying strong, as well as their amazing determination to continually travel and kiss each other every day. What a beautiful story of love.

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When did you get married and where? We were initially married 6/20/2010 in Charleston, SC in our pastors office. What was your wedding like? Simple and to the point. Atosha wore a blue dress and Charles just a simple shirt and tie. Atosha’s sister sang The Lord’s prayer. At the ceremony was just Charles, Atosha, Simone (Atosha’s daughter) our marital counselors and Associate pastor that performed the ceremony. As you celebrate your anniversary, what do you remember most about your wedding day? We were married on Father’s Day and we were so happy! Was there anything you would have done differently for your wedding? EVERYTHING!! LOL we never had cake, or had any photos to commemorate the occasion, Atosha didn’t wear her wedding gown although it was already purchased. It definitely didn’t feel like a “wedding”. What are your favorite things to do as a couple? We love to travel! We drive everywhere and enjoy visiting other states. Who cooks? NO ONE!! LMAO Charles on occasion and Atosha on special holidays. We eat out A LOT! Do you have any children or pets? We have 4 Children, 5 grand-children and a 1year old Yorkie named Zeus.

When it comes to Career, what do both of you do and how do you make time for each other? We work together as event planners and designers. We have learned to separate our work from home. We enjoy watching movies together and football. Because we are together ALL of the time we are very intentional about scheduling alone time. What would you say are the most important elements for a successful marriage? WHEW! Communication is key! Don’t assume. Talk to each other and listen. Learn each other's love language, AND of course prayer! How do you keep the spark in your marriage? Small surprises. Every day we kiss. We hold hands in the car. What do you love most about one another? Charles: I love that Atosha cares so much about other people. She pours her heart into her students and clients. Atosha: Charles literally knows something about everything. He is the funniest, most hardworking man I know. What advice can you give for newlyweds? Make the decision early on to stay together and not allow anything or anyone to come between you and your marriage. Pray daily for each other


V O W R E N E WA L

vendors

PHOTOGRAPHER: Ariel

Enid Photography

PLANNER/DESIGNER/DECOR: Larger

Than

Life Events and Design FLORAL DESIGN: Behind

The Veil Academy

Alumni RENTALS: Pomp CAKE: Brown

Posh Events and Décor

Sugar Custom Cakes

DESSERTS: Delectable

Desserts and Décor &

Carolima’s DJ: DJ

Mackiie

VIDEOGRAPHER: Ardsley MUA:

Park Productions

Jdior Artistry

WEDDING GOWN: David’s TUXEDO: KingSize

DRAPING: Evaklear MRS. CLUTCH:

Bridal

Direct Event Planning

Kreatively Styled

STATIONERY/GRAPHICS: Shayla

Parker

Design ACRYLICS/SPECIALTY DECOR: Ten23Designs

Designs DESSERT: Randolph

Artisan Italian Ice &

Gelato JUMPING BROOM/TOASTING FLUTES + CAKE SERVING SET: ATM

Creations

BALLOONS: What’s

Poppin Balloon Decor

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V O W R E N E WA L

JUSLAINE + LANOIS CORAL GABLES, FL W E D D I N G D AT E : M A R C H 2 5 , 2 0 0 0 V O W R E N E WA L D AT E : M A R C H 2 7 , 2 0 2 1 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y P h o t o b y A my A n a i z P h o t o g ra p hy Text by Angela Conner

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anois and Juslaine first met in church twentytwo years ago. It wasn’t love at first sight, but once they started talking, they quickly fell for one another. They got married in an intimate private ceremony on March 25, 2000. Shortly after their initial marriage, Lanois promised to renew their vows in March of 2020 and he never forgot. Juslaine shares, “Since then he always reminded me about it”. For their vow renewal, they wanted the celebration to be grand and luxurious. Featuring custom attire, stunning floral decor, and gold accents, their wedding couldn’t have been more perfect. They are beyond happy to have been able to have the extravagant wedding of their dreams and celebrate their 21 years of love with family and friends.

vendors PLANNING/DESIGN: MBM PHOTOGRAPHER: Amy CINEMATOGRAPHERS: JD

Productions & Bridges Cinema

BRIDE GOWN: Ese HAIR STYLIST: Hair FLORIST: W RENTAL: Decora

Events & Design

Anaiz Photography Azenabor

Chemistry Miami

and W Events Design Group

Event Rentals; Imperial Event Rental Miami & Luxury Rentals Only LIGHTING: Evoga

Event Productions

FLOOR WRAP/CUSTOM SIGNS: MPE STATIONERY: Boxed

MAKEUP ARTIST: Angel STYLISTS: Homme

Event Group

Wedding Invitations Love Beauty

by Maël B & Looks by Maël B

HAIR JEWELRY: Jewels

by Charles

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VE OSW RAT E NI O EN WA D TIN S L

CHRISTELLE + JULIEN PA R I S , F R A N C E Photographed by Elizaveta Photography Text by Lily Taylor

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hristelle and Julien’s intimate and dreamy vow renewal in Paris was the epitome of elegance and class. They first met sixteen years ago in Martinique and developed a strong friendship that turned into a beautiful and trusting relationship. Julien proposed to Christelle on his birthday in the presence of family and friends. Their wedding, organized by Anaïde, wedding planner extraordinaire of Indirihya, was held outside of Paris in the Yvelines. Anaïde incorporated the fun-loving culture of the West Indies into the celebration through the cuisine and entertainment. Anaïde happily reunited with the couple as their officiant for their vow renewal. The ceremony was held at the foot of the historic Alexandre III Bridge. “We wanted to hold an intimate ceremony in one of the most beautiful locations in the world – the heart of Paris,” said Anaïde. Despite the temperamental and uncertain weather conditions, the clouds broke just in time for their ceremony. Christelle wore a gorgeous champagne dress to tie in the white and gold color scheme of their wedding and Julien wore his original wedding tuxedo.

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As you celebrate your anniversary, what do you remember most about your wedding day? We wanted our guests to be comfortable, no stress for the parents and family. The relaxed atmosphere and having fun were at the top of our list. What would you say are the most important elements for a successful marriage? Sharing a real bond and trusting each other. Tell us about the shoot. What inspired it? We wanted an intimate vow renewal and the theme was chic and elegant with details from our wedding.

vendors

PHOTOGRAPHER: Elizaveta

Photography

PLANNER: Indirihya BEAUTY TEAM: Kassaundra

Stephens Makeup assisted by Christine Hubert Belle & Louboutin ACCESSORIES: Le Temps d’une Walima VOW RENEWAL BOOKLETS: Dilani Schipper DRESS: Miria Couture TUXEDO: Defursac Paris SHOES: Bella


PH O T O : E L IZA BE TH ME SSINA

D E S T I N AT I O N S

GETMATCHED

T R E N D S F A S H I O N

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Your wedding vendor search just got easier. Try our new vendor matching service where we match you with a MunaCoterie Member (one of our preferred wedding vendors) that fits your criteria. It’s that simple!

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