S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2020
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
10 T H A N N I V E R S A R Y I S S U E
MAJOR. EXCLUSIVE HIS "WHY I LOVE YOU" + COVID-19 AND YOUR WEDDING
can't stop love
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: NANA ANNAN PHOTOGRAPHY. MORE FROM THIS EDITORIAL ON PAGE 64
Photo: Stanlo Photography
was supposed to be THAT year. Goals were set, initiatives were launched, spirits were on an alltime high. We just crossed the ten year milestone for the company, and had plans to celebrate in a major way. And then the coronavirus pandemic settled in and transformed all of our lives. I’ve heard people describing COVID-19 as the ultimate equalizer. I’d rather describe it as the ultimate distributor of humility. We all became really humble, really quickly. Things that were important pre-covid seem vain and unnecessary now. And things that were taken for granted, like meaningful friendships, celebrating small and big wins, and community, are now revered. Over the past several weeks I’ve had much needed time to ref lect on all that has come to a standstill because of COVID, and what to make out of all of this. I’ve been able to do some restructuring in my business and give my personal life more of the attention it deserves. And I’ve also been able to look back on the past decade of my life and business, and identify what drives me each day. Community drives me. This multicultural wedding community that we built continues to drive me. The MunaLuchi brand was launched out of a need to bring people who look like me together in celebration of our weddings and events, our milestones, and our businesses. My promise to you is to continue to lead that charge, even in uncertain times. Because after all the f luff and shiny things are no longer, all that’s left is us in our rawest forms seeking the basic things in life — shelter, nurturing, protection and love. In this issue, we finally reveal photos from the surprise photoshoot my team and a talented group of wedding vendors put together in celebration of us hitting our 10 year milestone. Anyone who knows me knows I love to stay behind the scenes and can be quite the introvert. The photoshoot totally caught me off-guard and gave me a new perspective on styled shoots. It also reassured me that the work that we are doing at MunaLuchi has not gone unnoticed, and it empowered my love for this community even more.
photo: teshorn jackson
I had the pleasure of interviewing Grammy-nominated recording artist MAJOR. and his fiance for our cover story featured on page 82. One thing that still stays with me from that interview was when he said, “Love will endure.” No matter what is happening in the world today, that sentiment rings true. Let’s make a promise to always lead with love, and continue to build together. Happy Planning!
Jacqueline Nwobu CEO/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF MUNALUCHI BRIDE MAGAZINE EDITOR@MUNALUCHIBRIDAL.COM
SPRING.SUMMER 2020 CEO/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
J acqueline Nwobu PRESIDENT
FA L L .W I N T E R E D I T I O N 2 019
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.
photographed by THE CARTER'S TOUCH
vintage car: KELVIN TRUIT T (OWNER), ‘66
COTERIE COMMUNITY SPECIALIST
(PRINCIPLE), STEVI CARTER (ASSISTANT)
barber: KELVIN TRUIT T, L A engagement ring: JAIME SHEPHARD (JASON'S OF BEVERLY HILLS)
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CO N T E N T S
VIRTUAL GOWN SHOPPING
TOP WEDDING CAKE PREDICTIONS
NATURAL HAIR REMEDIES
FITNESS AND HEALTH
WEDDING CATERING TIPS
QUARANTINE GLOW GUIDE
COVID-19 WEDDING PLANNING
BEACH WEDDING PLANNING GUIDE
OFF-THE-RACK OR CUSTOM GOWN?
HOW TO PLAN A STYLISH ELOPEMENT
DIY BRIDAL SHOWER
COVID-19 WEDDING SPECIAL
10 YEARS OF MUNALUCHI
COVER STORY: NICHELLE AND MAJOR.
in every issue 50 ENGAGEMENTS 60 INSPIRATION 96
How to Effectively Communicate Your Mental Health with your Fiancé
ARTICLE BY MISHA WYNN, OWNER OF L AVISHLY LUX STUDIO
During this time of the Coronavirus outbreak, many of our worlds have turned upside down. With the lack of physical interaction with others and being cooped up inside all day, mental health has become a concern for many people. So, how do we fight this battle? We do it together through open, honest and vulnerable communication. It’s important to feel heard and safe with your fiancé in order to achieve effective communication. “Communication” is a buzzword for so many people but who can truly say they are effective communicators? It’s harder said than done, (literally). Sometimes, we like to think that communicating with our fiancé is the same as communicating with our friends, coworkers and family members, but those relationship types just aren’t the same. If you are having trouble communicating your struggles with mental health to your fiancé, these tips may help improve not only your relationship with your fiancé but also how you communicate:
SCHEDULE OUT TIME TO TALK
RESPECT THEIR SPACE
Setting aside a specific time to talk to your fiancé may not be the most romantic thing ever, but it’s necessary to take your communication to the next level. This time to talk doesn’t have to be hours and hours long, even just a few minutes of conversation can do the trick. Also, scheduling out this time doesn’t have to be a one-on-one interrogation with your fiancé, in fact, it shouldn’t be! Think outside the box. Maybe cook a home-cooked meal on a Thursday night, talk comfortably in bed or go on a walk together. No matter how you decide to communicate, there shouldn’t be any distractions in the way of communicating your truth- no phones, no gossip, no work drama, etc. Focus on your needs, plan out what you would like to say, how you would like to say it and use your time effectively.
Have you ever been so drained from your day that all you want to do is go home, not talk to anyone, gouge the fridge and go to bed early? Yeah, me too. Many of us get stressed out almost every day and all that pent-up stress negatively affects mental health. Remember, before you bombard your fiancé with the difficult conversation that is mental health, make sure he or she is in the right headspace first. This not only prevents animosity between you too, but it ensures that when the time is right to talk, your feelings are heard, you are validated and the conversation runs more smoothly. Don’t forget to ask your partner if now a good time is to have a hard conversation. If they say no, respect that. The time will be right soon and when it is, it will be sweeter to wait and have an honest, calm communication than have a volatile one.
LEARN BY ASKING QUESTIONS
YOUR FIANCÉ ISN’T A MIND READER
What better way to learn about someone than by asking questions? This communication method allows your relationships to reach new depths and provides a strong base to build on your communication. Now, you may be asking yourself, how do I know what questions to ask? Great question! There are loads of information stored on the internet that can help you educate yourself on how to ask questions and successfully learn more about your fiancé. Open-ended questions are a good place to start when beginning to ask questions because they allow the conversation to flow more smoothly and it avoids forced communication (which is how yes/no questions may come across as). When you first open up and talk about mental health with your partner, there may be some pushback and that’s okay. The secret is repetition and making it a habit.
COMMUNICATION MEANS CONVERSATION Some of us are good listeners, some of us are good communicators and some of us struggle in both areas. That’s okay! In order to have a successful conversation with someone, it’s important to listen, stay focused and be in the conversation 100%. Especially when conversing with your fiancé about mental health struggles, it’s vital to have open ears, an open heart and an open mind. Take note of how many times you say “I” or “we” to ensure that the conversation stays on the right path and doesn’t turn into something unintentional. For example, if you say “you” too often, you may seem accusatory when your intention was far from that. It’s also a hint that you are doing all of the talking- remember, listening is important too! Take some time to pause and allow your fiancé to respond to what you said, if you do so, they are more likely to do that same to you.
KEEP UP WITH MISHA BY FOLLOWING HER ON INSTAGRAM @L AVISHLYLUXSTUDIO AND VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.L AVISHLYLUX.COM
I’m not sure if reading minds would be helpful or horrible... regardless, it’s impossible. How can you expect your partner to be there for you if they don’t know the issue? You need to communicate, especially concerning mental health. Many of us keep in unattractive feelings afraid of burdening our partners. But the truth is our partners, more than likely, want to be there for us in our darkest times. They want to be the person you can lean on, the shoulder you can cry on and the one to comfort you. Also, if your partner asks you if you are okay, don’t lie about your feelings. They are asking for a reasonthey care. Holding your emotions back will not only hinder your relationship but you are doing yourself a disservice. On the contrary, if your partner is the one who isn’t communicating with you, don’t push them if they aren’t ready. Comfort them and assure them that when they are ready to talk, you are here for them, you won’t judge them and you will listen to them. Because in the end, isn’t that what you would want from your partner in return? Communication isn’t an easy trait to learn. It takes patience, dedication and nurturing. Instead of getting overwhelmed about the above tips, do what works for you and take your time. These tips are meant to provide you with a framework to help propel your communication forward. Take your time, let your guard down and speak your truth. You can do this.
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Virtual Gown Shopping Advice from Jaye Applewaite ARTICLE BY JAYE APPLEWAITE OF JAYE APPLEWAITE DESIGNS
Jaye Applewaite, one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive wedding dress designers, is no stranger to working virtually with long distance brides to custom design and create their dream wedding dress. We caught up with Jaye for some advice on shopping virtually for a custom wedding dress during this Covid- 19 pandemic.
Finding Inspiration When searching for dress inspiration a good place to start, is to search for wedding dresses on Pinterest or Instagram. However, inspiration is everywhere. Think of your favourite celebrity red carpet style, or that time when you dressed up and felt absolutely amazing. What was it about that dress? If you are wondering how a certain style or detail would look on your body type, find inspiration in photos of women with a similar body type to yours. Once you have all this amazing inspiration, it’s time to narrow down and find your ideal style. Finding your wedding dress style is very personal. Deep down you know how you want to feel and look, and you will naturally gravitate towards certain dresses and styles. Remember to trust your gut and trust the process.
Finding Your Designer Look for a designer whose style and aesthetic matches your dream dress style, that way you will be confident he or she understands your vision and is capable of designing and creating your dream dress. A good place to start your search is the Munaluchi vendor network (MunaLuchi Coterie). Visit the designer’s website to learn more about the designer, their design style, order times, pricing, etc. If you are still unsure about your budget or the designer’s price
photo: elizabeth austin photography
photo: elizabeth austin photography
point, now is a good time to contact the designer with your pricing query, or even request a cost estimate with your dress inspiration photos attached.
The Virtual Process Over the years I have established a virtual system to work with my long- distance brides to design and create their dream dress. Consultations, measurements and fittings are all done via video calls. Book your consultation via the designer’s website, or contact them via email to schedule your booking. Double check time zones, to ensure that you are on time for your consultation. Virtual consultations are held via video (Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, etc.) from the comfort and safety of your home. The consultations are very in-depth, you will discuss all your dress inspiration photos, your vision and any concerns you may have. During the consultation keep an open mind and enjoy the experience. Ask questions about the process, production time, measurements, fittings, shipping and alterations. You want to have a good idea of the overall timeline and process. Now is the time to address any other questions you may have.
JAYE APPLEWAITE IS A BARBADIAN WEDDING DRESS DESIGNER SPECIALIZING IN LUXURY CUSTOM-DESIGNED WEDDING DRESSES, FEATURING GORGEOUS L ACES, AND INTRICATE DETAILED BEADWORK WITH PEARLS AND CRYSTALS. KEEP UP WITH HER BY FOLLOWING HER ON INSTAGRAM @JAYEAPPLEWAITE AND VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW. JAYEAPPLEWAITE.COM.
INTIMATE CELEBRATIONS KEEP UP WITH KIMBERLY BY FOLLOWING HER ON INSTAGRAM @CAKESBYKIMLLC AND VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.CAKESBYKIM.NET
We will see an emphasis on intimate wedding celebrations for the remainder of 2020 and well into 2021. We will continue to see beautiful, luxe, designs overall - just at a much smaller scale. With fewer guests, I think that we will also see a heightened focus on unique details to enhance the guest experience. One thing that I’m excited to see is the use of unique spaces to host wedding festivities. With smaller guest counts at the forefront of planning due to safety, I’m looking forward to seeing the creativity of our industry partners shine in smaller, non-traditional venues for weddings.
UNIQUE DESIGN ELEMENTS Speaking of creativity, something I think we’ll see much more of in wedding cakes will be the use of unique design elements to increase the scale of petite cakes. For example, to add visual interest and to increase the scale of petite cakes, you may see the use of faux tiers and unique cake separators. Some couples may opt for the use of faux tiers with one edible tier for traditional cake cutting photos and the serving of guests. With cake separators, you can expect to see a range of creative design elements from floral and geometric spacers; to perhaps my favorite - lucite. The options are truly endless, which will help to keep design options fresh! You can definitely expect wedding cakes to be as beautiful and delicious as ever, even though their size may reflect a more intimate celebration of love.
COVID-19 and Your Wedding Cake. Expert Predictions ARTICLE BY KIMBERLY WIGGINS, OWNER OF CAKES BY KIM
The wedding cake industry, like the wedding industry as a whole, is facing unprecedented changes in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic. A major key to our approach in these uncertain times has been FLEXIBILITY. This has been needed in moving nearly all Spring and likely Summer weddings to the Fall of 2020 and beyond. Flexibility has been needed to shift our normal processes that rely heavily on in-person contact, to options such as Cake Tastings To-Go and Virtual Consultations. And flexibility will continue to be needed as many in the industry make shifts in services offered to keep their businesses afloat. While going through this once in a lifetime pandemic, it is important to remember that although apart, we are still stronger together. Earlier this Spring, I participated in a webinar hosted by Couture Cakes by Sabrina and Cakes by LaMeeka titled “State of the Union: Wedding Cake Edition.” This was a wonderful opportunity for wedding cake designers across the country to come together to discuss new best practices due to COVID-19, to brainstorm how to meet the current and future needs of our beloved clients, and to simply talk with industry friends who understand first hand what we are going through in this moment in time. Collaborations such as this, and many others, have been essential to helping members of the wedding industry navigate the troubled waters of this pandemic with a positive and hopeful outlook. I hail from the South, Alabama where the approach to wedding celebrations is typically looked at as the bigger the better. Moving forward, I expect that we will see many changes to the planning and execution of weddings in the age of COVID-19. Although many states have begun to lift restrictions on businesses and gatherings, we will continue to see a very measured and cautious approach to wedding size. Social distancing guidelines will remain prominent and require a fresh approach to wedding norms as they resume across the country. As such, here are my predictions.
Instead of having in person consultations, some cake designers are optioning for virtual consultations. Most cake designers have a series of questions that are used to guide the conversation during consultations and tastings to ensure that they have all of the pertinent details needed to create a beautiful and delicious cake for the clients’ special day. However, one great question to ask all vendors at this time is what are their rescheduling policies should future COVID-19 closures take place that impact their wedding date. Many vendors have been very flexible in working with clients to reschedule dates, but clients should definitely ask for certainty on where a vendor stands on this matter prior to retaining their services. This should also be a part of the contractual terms of their agreement. Couples can also request Cake Tastings To-Go, where you can pick up your cake samples, eat them at home, and give your vendor feedback virtually in lieu of an in person meeting.
EDIBLE FAVORS I don’t think that we will see a trend towards individually wrapped, smaller desserts in lieu of wedding cakes. With caterers moving towards solely offering plated dinner service, I can’t say that this will be a particular need at this time. However, I do think that individually wrapped items is the best route for clients looking to provide edible favors for their guests. If doing so, there’s a lot of room to incorporate them into creative displays that reflect the color palette and overall aesthetic of the wedding. Some popular selections may be macarons, a variety of cookies - from traditional to creative chocolate covered and decorated options, and mini pies.
Natural Remedies to Keep Your Hair Thriving ARTICLE BY TINIKA SADIKU, OWNER OF HAIR BY SADIKU
Hey there ladies... Let’s work together to help make hair needs the least of your worries!!! So during this looming time full of uncertainty, as a bride or bride-to-be, you’ve had to make lots of adjustments. We all need to be able to get back to the simple pleasures of life. All you want is to have a beautiful mane of hair that translates well to everyday life and will look stunning on your Big Day! Together we can keep your hair thriving with lots of self care through haircare. Here are just a few topics that we all experience daily and could use some expert advice. Together we’ll come out of this pandemic with more hope and grace than ever before, starting with great haircare! Let’s dive into some natural remedies that can help your mane through this new normal.
HAIR OILS Oils can be truly life saving to extra dry strands. But you need to know which oils and when to use them. Coconut oil and Olive Oil are two cult favorites. My suggestion is moderation; too much of anything can sometimes do more harm than good. Each of our unique textures can react completely differently to these oils. I suggest using them as hot oil treatment before you shampoo. You can saturate the hair with the oil, then wrap a hot towel around your head to help create a steam affect. Our goal is to hydrate the hair without clogging the pores on the scalp. You can also use a small amount of oil to assist in softening day three or four hair. The key, again, is moderation; this way, the oil helps you instead of fighting against you. We all want all of the wonderful properties of hydration without the build up and heaviness that can sometimes occur.
HAIR TRIMMING Next, let’s speak on trimming your hair at home. This can be super tricky and oftentimes will lead to having uneven hair, which would put you in a worse position than when you started. I do not suggest trimming your hair at home during this time. Especially since being able to see your hair from all angles is almost impossible! If you desperately need a trim, I always
KEEP UP WITH TINIKA BY FOLLOWING HER ON INSTAGRAM @HAIRBYSADIKU AND VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.TINIKASADIKU.COM
photo: dajuan jones of in his image photography hair by tinika sadiku
suggest calling up your beloved hair stylist. Let them talk you down off the ledge! This way, when you're finally in their chair, they won’t have to cut more hair than necessary to correct an at home mishap. Another alternative is keeping your hair moisturized so those ends won’t be so dry that you’ll think your only remedy is a trim. Trust me, your stylist thanks you and so will your hair!
HAIR ST YLING Styling options are now key to surviving at home life! Women want to still look great at home. I suggest trying styles you never thought could work at home. There are so many options in the protective styling world. Wigs, falls, units, ponytail extensions and clip ins make styling hair so fun and versatile. Do some research on Instagram and YouTube to find a good fit for you. For my ladies who aren’t into extensions try out some new twist and braid-outs. Halo or Milkmaid braids can spice up any boring routine. Buns can also be a great option. You can try oversized options, which can be worn on top of your head and towards the back. Don’t be afraid to combine two looks to create a new one. Having two strand twists in the front and a fun bun in the back, or even just a click back option. The absolute great thing about being home is that you can try and fail and try again. Getting to know your hair all over again can be challenging but also rewarding. Give yourself room to experiment and uncover hair talents
you didn’t even know you had!!
STRESS Stress can be your worst nightmare if you allow it to be. Everywhere we look there’s information that can and will stress us out. We have to be in control of how we let these outside forces affect our inner well being. I write this now experiencing stress and fear, but I know Better Days Are Ahead! Some things that have been working for me are prayer and meditation. Taking time out to clear the noise and focus on a higher power has helped tremendously. I say this because stress can be a huge factor on your hair. When we stress, we lose hair. It can tend to thin or break. Let’s keep our hair healthy by keeping our minds Healthy. Go for a walk, get some much needed air, take a relaxing bath. Watch a funny movie, talk to good friends on FaceTime. Read an amazing book, Talk to God. Do whatever you need to reduce stress. Make sure you are watching your diet and getting enough water and taking vitamins. Try not to eat too much bad or over processed food. It can just add to the fear and stress you may already be experiencing. Taking care of yourself in totality is truly key! Ladies we are ALL amazingly talented, beautiful, strong women who have everything needed to survive! Allow Grace to be your Guide. WE GOT THIS and will get through. Words from a Stylist who cares and is in this with you!
GET MORE FITNESS TIPS FROM ALICIA ON HER INSTAGRAM @ KINKYSWEAT AND VISIT HER YOUTUBE CHANNEL AT HT TP:// WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/ AARCHER120
COVID-19 Wellness with Alicia Archer of Kinky Sweat FITNESS TIPS BY ALICIA ARCHER. PHOTOS BY TOM LEW
I don’t know about you, but I never imagined myself living through a pandemic. Sure, flu season was always concerning when it rolled around every year, and you perhaps wondered if this time it would grab you by the throat? But, you always knew that it would just be a bad couple of days, and you would be up and running again. This time, however, was different. The seasonal flu did not have the same impact on our lives as COVID-19. This new virus cancelled concerts, festivals, events, and weddings. Having to postpone or cancel weddings has been incredibly disheartening for couples who have been planning their special day for months. While many couples are grateful and understand that there are other important issues to tackle, having to postpone your wedding can be devastating. It’s personal, and it is okay to take the time to be upset. The next question is, how does one cope? How can we move forward in a way that’s not set to cruise control, but to “thrive control”. When we embark on what that means to us, we perhaps look to the wellness space. Some have taken quarantine as an opportunity to improve their nutrition, maybe read more, even devote time to ACTUALLY meditate. What I found is that when people turn to fitness, it’s usually for weight loss reasons. And it’s really a shame, as the benefits of exercise can offer such a vibrant spectrum of positive changes to the brain and body. While I understand it’s difficult to pull away from the weight loss goal, if we can see exercise as another means of improving our wellness, I think we’ll be more inclined to have a better relationship with it I truly believe that these highly stressful circumstances brought people to the realization that they need exercise for their MIND. Exercise can be a stress reliever and a pain reliever, especially if you have been sitting all day. When we exercise, we are not only training our brains, and relieving stress, but are giving our body some much needed physical therapy. What is the program? What do you need to do in order to feel all these benefits? The good news is that you don’t need much. It could be a simple bodyweight routine that encompasses a push and a pull movement. You can also approach it with alternating exercises between the upper and lower body. Moving in a manner that you can align your breath accordingly, will also give your lungs a much needed training session. If you feel particularly stressed, brain is scattered, breath is short, sleep doesn’t come easy, and your low back is starting to hurt? Let’s start movin’ and groovin’!
GRANDE PLIE (SUMO SQUAT)
Legs start wider than your hip width apart, turned out from the hips. Breathe in, bend the knees to lower hips straight down. Press down through your feet and squeeze legs as your rise on the exhale. Take 3 counts on the way down, and 3 counts on the way up. 8-10x reps!
Place hands right under your shoulders. Spread the fingers wide, and start to bend elbows. Lower chest half way down to start on the inhale (If you’ve been training pushups before, you can lower all the way onto the floor), and on the exhale push back up. If you haven’t performed pushup before, you can start them on your knees. If you want to progress to straight legs, lower with straight legs, and bend knees at the bottom of the pushup to press back up
KNEE TO ELBOW
Start with one foot forward and the other behind you. Keep the weight of your back foot on the ball, with heel off the floor. Hands can start on the hips to start. Bend both knees, lowering your pelvis straight down, keeping the front knee from spilling over the toes, and drop your back knee right under the back hip. Drive down through our front foot, and squeeze the legs up back to stand. Exhale as you rise, inhale on the descent. Alternate arm pattern: Sweep arms overhead while descending into the lunge, sweep them back down to shoulder height when rising. Aim for 8-10 each sid
WRIST STRETCH **This could be particularly helpful if you work a lot on a keyboard, paint, draw, and engage in wrist heavy work**
Coming down to all fours, place hands with fingers spread wide under your shoulders. While keeping elbows straight, shift your shoulders forward past the wrist line. You’ll feel a stretch where your palm meets the wrist in this extended position. Inhale on the shift forward, exhale on the short back. Gently move back and forth, in and out of this stretch 5x.
Coming to all fours, placing hands right under the shoulders. Start by pulling one knee to the opposite elbow, working to keep the shoulders forward the entire time. A more traditional breath pattern will be inhaling on the prep, and exhaling when your knee pulls to the opposite elbow. Switch sides, and alternate for 8-10x each.
Laying down on your back, bring both hands behind your head. Lift both shoulder blades off the floor, keeping your gaze consistent with the neckline. Take a breath in to fill the belly, and while keeping the shoulder blades off the floor, pull all walls of your abdomen in on the exhale. The feet can stay on the floor, or you can lift the knees over your hipline. If you want to advance this further, straighten both legs out in a 45 degree angle while keeping the shoulder blades off the floor. Hold this isometrically for 5 breaths.
SA LE S@ELAROSESWE E TW E D D I N G S . CO M
W W W. E L A R O S E S W E E T W E DDINGS.CO M
The Importance of Continuing Premarital Counseling During Quarantine ARTICLE BY ROXANNE BIRCHFIELD, OWNER OF MARRIED BY REV ROXY
seriously, while others might be more inclined to dismiss it. There was a time when people may not have kept the Ten Commandments or all the moral demands of Christianity, but they acknowledged their validity as a basis for life. So, from this perspective, almost everybody assumed that anger, cheating, lying, adultery, selfishness and so on were wrong and that gentleness, honesty, faithfulness, keeping promises, and generosity were good and noble things. Today, these assumptions can no longer be made, and therefore it is ever more vital to explore what makes any potential marriage partner tick in the spiritual and moral areas. For example, if you are going to exchange promises with someone, it helps to know if they think that promises are binding.
Here are few examples of spiritual questions you can discuss with your potential spouse prior to marriage:
1. How committed are you to what you believe? 2. What religious or spiritual worldviews do you respect or have contempt for? Why? 3. Does what you believe in actively influence and direct your life? Or is it just something that forms part of your mental landscape? 4. What would you refuse to do, even if it meant losing your dream job? 5. Do you pray? Why? When you pray do you expect God to do something? (Great question to elaborate on using real-life examples from the past) After my appearance on Netflixâ€™s hit original series Love is Blind, Iâ€™ve gotten more questions about marriage and engaged relationships than ever on social media. MARRIED by REV ROXY has primarily provided premarital and marital counseling to their clients virtually from conception. Our goal is to prepare couples to walk down the aisle with more confidence and to equip couples with the tools necessary to best communicate resulting in lifelong marriage. The global shift to virtual communication during the COVID-19 pandemic has been an easy transition for us as a small business. In fact, our clients have been thriving in their growth and development during this time, measured by their decisions to elope during the pandemic and have a symbolic ceremony later. Providing this virtual pastoral counseling has given our aisle bound clients the ability to pause on their wedding celebration planning process and focus on the core of their relationship and bond. Participating in pre-marital counseling during this pandemic will allow you to give your impending marriage the attention it deserves. Although these are unprecedented times, you and your future spouse can use it to define marriage expectations and determine whether you are both spiritually and cognitively on the same page. Subjects covered in premarital counseling can vary, but generally include areas such as having children, finances, sex and so much more. For most, the more they know about their significant other, the sooner they are able to walk down the aisle with confidence. While the general perspective is to see this era of COVID-19 as a curse, what if we were to take a moment to shift perspective and view it as an unsolicited blessing? MARRIED by REV ROXY as a company has a backbone in clinical and military chaplaincy. Our approach is holistic with an emphasis on the spiritual. Some people would be inclined to treat the spiritual dimension of any relationship very
6. What do you think happens at death? 7. If you define worship as putting something supreme in your life, what do you worship and where? I share these things today as a sample of what premarital counseling can do and how in-depth dialogue can give a marriage the best start. However, MARRIED by REV ROXY also provides marital counseling because a tough first year or so does not automatically doom a marriage. Hope, recovery, and renewal are possible. A runner does not give up a race simply because they made a bad start. But a troubled beginning is something that ought to be avoided if at all possible. Consistent premarital counseling, whether virtual or in person, can help ensure your marriage gets off to a strong start.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MARRIED BY REV ROXY BY FOLLOWING HER ON INSTAGRAM @MARRIEDBYREVROXY AND VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.MARRIEDBYREVROXY.COM
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Wedding Catering: Things to Consider Post Pandemic ARTICLE BY MELL ANEE HARVIN, OWNER OF THE FORK GOES ON THE LEFT
As we enter what would have been the heart of the wedding season, we (vendors, brides, grooms and guests) can’t help but feel some kind of way. Actually, the feeling can be somber, scary and uncertain about the future due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s get it out—Scream, Cry, Cuss! Now...let’s heal. There is no better way to heal and recover our humanity than through the strength of LOVE—#Loveisnotcancelled. I’m eager to share in the “new normal” of wedding celebrations in the fall, 2021 and beyond. We must celebrate life's special moments; life is too short. So, let’s have a wedding; creatively and safely. Most of my couples have decided to go the “traditional” route with guests in attendance and have rescheduled their summer weddings to the fall and summer of 2021. We’re hoping, by then, the social distancing rule will be suspended and they can have their very own in house “soul train” line. Fortunately, the hospitality and catering industry has been able to pivot and creatively reinvent itself in ways to stay engaged with clients and maintain business. For example, The Fork Goes on the Left is offering “to go” wedding tastings where couples can pick up their meal curbside and follow up with a zoom call. We also provide celebratory and weekend meals “to go” to my Instagram followers; most of whom are past clients. I’m looking forward to my first post COVID-19 wedding taking place at the Akwaaba Mansion in the historic section of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. I'm grateful that it is an ideal venue for an intimate celebration with social distancing options. It is an intimate wedding with a guest count of forty. Guests will be able to move about freely throughout the courtyard, “glamping garden” and in-house banquet space. Again, the first step in ensuring safety is to make sure your venue can accommodate social distancing. With the proper social distancing layout provided by wedding venues, The Fork Goes on the Left suggests these additional precautions:
When venues open, caterers must think of creative ways to safeguard buffets, passed appetizers and beverages with sneeze guards. The Fork Goes on the Left will provide appetizer “mini-meals” in boxed containers. We will continue to provide individual cheese platters and tiered appetizer platters for intimate cocktail tables, feeding two to ten guests. This will allow us to forgo the traditional grazing table where guests share utensils and space.
CONSIDER PL ATED OR FAMILY ST YLE MEALS One major concern is that the coronavirus may be transferred on shared utensils and serving ware. Therefore, I recommend plated entrees or family style service versus having a buffet. Buffets, however, could work by utilizing smaller plate or bento box stations that are serviced by attendants and monitored for social distancing. Some companies are also enacting additional social distancing measures, such as including acrylic protective barriers that separate guests from the food. To be safe, stations may include napkin bundled disposable cutlery and fancy disposable plates. Also, for beverage stations, consider including individual cups of ice and a selection of cans or bottled beverages.
ADDITIONAL SAFET Y PRECAUTIONS 1. Ensure all servers wear masks and gloves. 2. Make sure your seating allows for social distancing. You may want to consider using rectangular farm style tables to allow guests to socially distance themselves. 3. Place hand sanitizer and/or hand wipes on guest tables. 4. If having a plated meal, servers should bring bread, appetizers, entrees, and desserts to the table on covered plates. In general, caterers should continue to limit the sharing of objects and utensils, and all shared surfaces should be cleaned thoroughly. Staff should maintain their hygiene protocols including frequently washing their hands with soap and using alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol in areas where hand washing is not feasible. I’m still uncertain about what all of the new protocols will be when catering resumes; there are many details to consider. I am, however, certain my team and I will be able to rise to adapt to the clients’ needs thereby enabling a safe and memorable event for all. MORE COOKING TIPS FROM MELL ANEE ON INSTAGRAM @THEFORKGOESONTHELEFT AND ON HER WEBSITE AT WWW.THEFORKGOESONTHELEFT.COM
The Fork Goes on the Left â€œAn Off-Premise Catering Experienceâ€? Specializing in preparing an eclectic mix of Southern, Caribbean and Continental cuisines. Serving the Tri-State Area Website: www.theforkgoesontheleft.com Email: email@example.com Instagram: @theforkgoesontheleft (718)-390-7468
photo: elizabeth messina
SOMETHING NEW...AND OVERDUE. FIND COMMON GROUND AND WEDDING INSPIRATION WITH PEOPLE WHO GET YOU. JOIN OUR INVITE-ONLY COMMUNIT Y TO BE CONNECTED AND INSPIRED!
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Quarantine Glow Guide: How to Use This Time to Get Your Skin Wedding Ready ARTICLE BY IJEOMA CHIMEZIE, OWNER OF IJEOMA EZINNE BEAUT Y The pandemic brought a wave of uncertainty that swept through all of our lives, leaving many brides-to-be no choice but to postpone their wedding plans. No one knows exactly when we’ll get back to “normal” but one thing is certain-this is a great time to prioritize taking care of yourself. So I’m encouraging all brides- to-be to put skincare at the top of their self-care routine.
MAKEUP: IJEOMA CHIMEZIE OF IJEOMA EZINNE BEAUT Y
PHOTOGRAPHY: RENNY VASQUEZ
As a makeup artist, every conversation with all of my brides starts with skincare because beautiful makeup starts with beautiful, healthy skin. We discuss her skincare goals and concerns and then create a customized regimen for the months leading to her special day. And the earlier we start, the better. Here are four ways you can use this time to get your skin glowing before your wedding day.
PUT TOGETHER A SOLID SKINCARE REGIMEN
EXFOLIATE TO MAINTAIN THE GLOW
At the very least, your day-time regimen should consist of a gentle mild cleanser, a hydrating/balancing toner, an antioxidant serum (ie, vitamin C serum), and a moisturizer that’s suited for your skin type. With spring finally here to stay, this is also a great time to switch to a more lightweight and hydrating moisturizer. Let’s not forget SPF (yes, even while we are inside). Supergoop Unseen Unscreen SPF30 is one of my go-to sunscreens because it protects against UVA and UVB rays without leaving a white cast behind.
Regular exfoliation is key for maintaining smooth and even complexion skin. Exfoliating increases the turnover of dull, dead skin cells to reveal the newer, more radiant skin. It helps improve the appearance of texture, enlarged pores, fine lines and wrinkles.
For the night-time, the cleansing and toning steps still apply and can be followed by targeted treatment serum, and a good moisturizer. Targeted treatments can include hyperpigmentation serums, chemical exfoliants, or a retinol product. I also advise brides to be mindful of using multiple treatments at the same time.
FIND YOUR GO-TO TREATMENT SERUMS Treatment serums are must-haves in your skincare routine for that pre-wedding glow. They deliver a highly concentrated and potent dose of active ingredients to the skin to address a number of concerns like dry skin, dark spots, or enlarged pores. Different from lotions and creams, serums are specifically made to carry active ingredients into the deeper layers of the skin where they can work their magic. Here are recommendations that will surely elevate your pre-wedding glow.
Physical exfoliation using gentle scrubs or microdermabrasion is one option. The other is chemical exfoliation, which can be in the form of an exfoliating cleanser, serum, or mask. Glycolic acid is one of the more common alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), but there are others including mandelic acid and lactic acid. Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) or salicylic acid is a great for oily or acne-prone skin. Whether you choose to use a physical method or chemical exfoliant, avoid using both on the same day. Exfoliate no more than 2-3x a week. Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum and Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel are great for chemical exfoliants formulated with a AHA/ BHA blend that will help you maintain your glow during quarantine.
La Roche-Posay's Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum is an affordable hydration serum that boosts the skin’s moisture level and is great for all skin types. Hyaluronic acid is the holy grail ingredient in the serum, and is an incredible water magnet that attracts moisturize back into the skin Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps even out dark spots, and brightens the skin, and boosts collagen production to keep the skin looking firm and youthful. Hyperskin Hyper Clear Brightening Vitamin C Serum contains a combo of 15% vitamin C, vitamin E, and kojic acid to address uneven skin and help preserve your glow Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is another antioxidant that’s an ultimate skincare multitasker. It helps to regulate oil production, improve the skin’s texture and tone as well as reduce inflammation, and increases skin's hydration. Niacinamide also helps control acne and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum is an effective and affordable option that you can’t go wrong with.
AMP UP THE SKIN HYDRATION Hydrated, moisture-rich skin is key for that next-level bridal glow. Pre-wedding hydra-facials are amazing (if your budget allows) but until we can get back to making spa appointments, why not add an extra hydrating mask self-care day to your routine? You can’t go wrong with the Bolden Glow Hydrating Mask or Dr JART + Vital Hydra Solution Sheet Mask.
1. First, know that it's ok to mourn the loss of your COVID-19 impacted wedding date. If you couldn't get married on your original wedding date, it really is an emotional, mental and in some cases, financial loss. When what you worked so hard to plan and prepare for is taken away, there's a loss that hits you in a powerful way and it stings. It hurts. Take some time to cry, be upset, disappointed, sad and down right angry. Those are all normal responses and you should allow room and time to move through them. Don't feel embarrassed about this. Your feelings are real. 2. Next, if you don't have a Wedding Planner to help you navigate through any of this, please look into investing in one. Seriously. I know that you are pretty awesome with a ton of organizing and planning skills, but there is so much more that an experienced Wedding Planner knows that you don't possess. There are things that immediately come to mind for us because we've done this so many times before and have a breadth of experience that is immeasurable and invaluable. We can do this in our sleep because we love it like that, and we want to help you. We really do. 3. Remember, don't cancel your wedding, work to reschedule or postpone it. Rescheduling might actually save you money. You might not have considered getting married on a Tuesday or Wednesday before COVID-19, but the cost being almost 50% less could make it quite appealing. Rescheduling would also give you time to save more of your own money for your wedding and honeymoon. More money gives you more options. Think about it.
Steps to Take If Your Wedding Has Been Impacted by COVID-19 BY SUZET TE SPANN SCARBOROUGH, ENVISIONED EVENTS BY SUZET TE
The new year started off on a high. It was the beginning of a brand new decade that we felt ready for and excited about. We were busting 2020 goals and great things were on the horizon. Then COVID-19 hit the globe. COVID-19 brought some very difficult losses with it and life as we knew it changed. We've even had to re-examine our plans to marry the loves of our lives. We love love and we love helping couples seal their commitment with their unique wedding experiences. So while #loveisnotcancelled, I know that postponing and rescheduling your wedding is complicated. There are a lot of moving pieces to the puzzle, and it can get overwhelming real quick. To help you navigate through some of the challenges you're facing while making adjustments to your wedding plans, we've put together 8 tips for you to consider. This is not an exhaustive list, but it's a great starting point. Let us begin:
KEEP UP WITH SUZET TE BY FOLLOWING HER ON INSTAGRAM @ENVISIONEDEVENTSBYSUZET TE AND VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.ENVISIONEDEVENTSBYSUZET TE.COM
4. Note that whether you're rescheduling, postponing or even cancelling, you should pull out all of your vendor contracts. Review them to refresh your recollection of what you and your vendor agreed to as it relates to your wedding. Become reacquainted with the terms of your contract, so that when a plan is enacted to speak with your vendors, you're not doing so unfamiliar with your agreement. Prepare for your conversations. 5. Next, you should contact your venue BEFORE your other vendors to see how they are handling rescheduled weddings and what dates are available. But, DO NOT lock in any dates with your venue until your other wedding vendors have been contacted. You want to make sure that all of your vendors and the venue are available on at least one of the same dates to avoid any cancellation of services. 6. After talking with the venue, you or your Wedding Planner should reach out to all of your vendors to inform them that you've decided to postpone or reschedule. Share with them the available date options that the venue provided and see where each vendor lines up. Let each of them know that you are just surveying to see how you can keep your entire vendor team together for a new date. Take great notes so that you can sit back and weigh all of your options. This will be a sizable undertaking, so consider getting the help of a Wedding Planner. 7. Once a mutually agreeable date for all of your vendors has been determined, circle back to your venue and vendors to let them know what date you've settled on. Don't take too long to get back to everyone because dates are filling up quickly everywhere. If it so happens that one or some of your vendors are unable to reschedule for your new date, have a conversation with them about how you can work out a mutually beneficial arrangement for moving forward. 8. Now that your new date has been selected and your amazing wedding vendors are all set, let's send out your invitations with your new date. You can include some fun facts about what you did or gained during the stay at home orders. If you have a wedding website, use that tool to share with your guests that you are committed to keeping them abreast on your journey down the aisle so they should check back regularly. We know that this is not an easy time and these are not easy tasks, but we are here for you and want to see you get married as well. We love love and we love when #lovewins. So let's win together!
Cre d i t : Chi p Di z a r d Stu d io s
ASK THE EXPERT
PLANNING AND CONCEPT: Ivory & Oak PHOTOGRAPHER: Chip Dizard Wedding PHOTO ASSISTANT: Trene Forbes Photography TUX: Garçon Couture MALE MODEL SHOES: Illy & Gilly GOWN: Allure Bridals STYLING: Sonja Jackson HAIR: Angie Steele JEWELRY/ACCESSORIES: Su Reina Bridal MODELS: Jayde Kern & Kolbee Bobo FLORALS: Downtown Flowers, Janet Fernandez
Planning a Bohemianstyle Beach Wedding TIPS BY MIA LOPEZ OF IVORY & OAK | PHOTOS BY CHIP DIZARD
Planning a wedding in 2020 can be very challenging. In the midst of adjusting our lives to the “new normal"; we are planning and exploring new ways of celebrating major milestones and events as well. If you are in a situation where you need to plan or change plans for your big day, you are not alone. There are many couples who are finding themselves in that same situation. The stress of planning a wedding can be overwhelming and cumbersome to say the least, but adding a pandemic to the situation makes it even more difficult. Whether you have an Event Planner to help you or you are flying solo, here are a few tips to get you through the process. Grab a pen ladies and gentlemen. This is for everyone! (Disclaimer: I'm biased, but I would definitely recommend you get an Event Planner to make your planning experience a little smoother.) If you can envision your favorite beach, try to embrace its natural sand taupe color, the crisp blue tones of the ocean's waters as the waves playfully mesmerize and consume you. The warm brilliant rays of the sun as they kiss your cheeks, and the amazing hues of them all as they merge in the far-off distance. Simply breathtaking isn’t it? There’s something about the simplistic beauty of nature that makes this wedding style so carefree and easy. Bohemian styled ceremonies allow you to explore the vintage and rustic feel of nature and when you combine the majestic beauty of the ocean and the simplicity of the bohemian style, it's like pairing the perfect wine to an amazing meal. Yes. Take a moment to let that sink in. What’s even more amazing about this type of ceremony, you can change any part of it to fit your personality with ease. Here are a few tips I’ve learned that might be helpful.
WEDDING PLANNING style, let the venue guide you and think about your comfort level. How do you want to feel in your attire? What story do you want to see in your photos? How can you and your spouse complement each other's looks? These questions are great starting points for styling your big day. Remember, this style lends itself to the eclectic creative. Paring a non-traditional tux with a beach inspired gown shows chic elegance with a personal style and personality. The Garcon Couture's tux featured in this shoot does just this. It gives a nontraditional flavor to this Bohemian Beach wedding while allowing for personal style and personality. Let your wedding be the first experience of you and your spouse's creative approach to life, allowing others to be amazed at the beauty of two worlds becoming one.
Tip 6 - Make it Last Forever
Tip 1 - Location, Location, Location So, you've chosen the perfect beach or an exotic tropical location for your ceremony. Perfect! Make sure there aren't any local government permits you may need. You definitely don't want anyone stopping you in the middle of your heart-filled vows to the love of your life. Unnecessary interruptions or distractions can easily be avoided by addressing this first. If it's a hotel location, find out if the beach is privately owned by the hotel and if you or your event planner can simply speak with the hotel's coordinator and staff about their wedding policies and requirements for the designated location. They will be more than happy to work out any requests you may have for your special day.
Tip 2 - Guests – You’re Invited This I have found to be very hard for most couples. You’ve talked about it, pulled out charts, boards, and even sticky notes. You’ve probably even had a few rounds of conversations about who to invite from everyone in your immediate and distant family, your friends and co-workers. Listen... I get it! You want to make sure everyone is happy. What really matters is that you are happy, and I’m sure that’s all your loved ones want for you too. I know it’s easier said than done for most, but that’s the benefit of smaller destination or “micro weddings”. You won’t have space to accommodate 300 guests, so there’s your “get out of jail free card". Take a moment to think about who is in your immediate circle. The friends you always socialize with, the family you always see. Those are the guests you should invite. If your loved-ones want to invite co-workers, old bosses, a distant cousin 6th removed, ask them to host a dinner or luncheon in your honor. Start up the BBQ grill or host an elegant dinner party in your honor and pop a cork to celebrate! Keep it simple. Place value on the things that will make memories. If your budget or the current situation we now live in has forced you to change your plans, then only allow for a small group of people to attend, and send a video invitation
to the others. This will keep your ceremony intimate. Have the wedding of your dreams without compromise.
Tip 3 - Adorn your Crown The Bohemian trend allows for you to break out of the box when considering ways to style your hair. As we see a rise in this wedding style, there has been a vision of simple love and romance displayed during the wedding ceremony. Golden streaks, flower crowns, natural styles, ribbons, and a classic tapered fade are all in line with the Bohemian style. Take this day to express the freedom of love, even in your hair! From adding flowers draped in baby's breath to your hair or a floral design in your fresh cut, there are options that allow you to be uniquely you.
Tip 4 - Sun-Kissed Melanin You want your make-up to stay in line with your theme and there are many ways to achieve this. It doesn't matter if you want a light and radiant sun-kissed look or a more dramatic goddess look, you want to look as beautiful as you feel. Bold lips are an awesome addition to this look and paired with a natural eye shadow, it completes the Bohemian feel with ease. There are ways to enhance your beauty by using a gold highlighter on your cheeks, nose, and forehead (this is a major key to achieving the sun-kissed look) or applying a soft blush to accentuate your gorgeous smile. If make-up isn't your thing, there are tinted moisturizers that deliver just as well. Whatever you decide to do, find what makes you beam with radiance!
When choosing a photographer, it’s important to choose someone who you trust with your memories for a life-time! Your photographer will capture moments that you will have for years to come and you want to ensure that the smiles you have on your wedding day are the same smiles you share when you look for years to come. Our photographer, Chip Dizard, states that it’s important to do your research to make sure that you are getting everything you want and need. It may sound strange, but start with their current reviews and references. Now, don’t take everything you read as truth. Look at the reviews and identify trends and consistent remarks made by former clients. Once you've read their reviews, schedule a call to ask any questions you may have regarding your wedding pictures. Once you’ve finished interviewing the photographer be sure to ask to view a gallery of their work. This will allow you to see each portion of the day and also look at their photography style. Your choice in photography is an important part of your day, and you don’t want to pick someone based simply off of their popularity. Pick someone whose work will make you happy for years to come.
Tip 7 – Flower Power A free spirited bohemian styled bouquet is nestled with lush wildflowers and combined with whimsical stems that makes this organically carefree boho design as unique as our bohemian bride. Janet Fernandez, of Miami Downtown Flowers, created a floral masterpiece that not only made a beautiful addition to the overall styling of our model, but the strikingly bold colors are the perfect accompaniment for any ceremony.
Tip 5 - Styling Bridal Attire The Boho Style is refreshing yet romantic and allows you to express yourself with vintage sleeves, lace, soft feminine necklines, bold colors, and flowing attire that "breathes" with the theme. Our Stylist, Sonja Jackson, encourages you to take the moment to introduce yourselves to the world, in your fashion. When considering your wedding
KEEP UP WITH MIA LOPEZ BY FOLLOWING HER ON INSTAGRAM @IVORY.OAK
Off-the-rack or Custom Design? Here's How To Prepare WRIT TEN BY NNEKA C. ALEXANDER, OWNER OF BRIDES BY NONA An epidemic is hard on everyone. It is unplanned for, unexpected, sudden and lifechanging! The mental, physical and financial strain experienced during such a time can be overwhelming if not managed properly. My name is Nneka C. Alexander, Creative Director/Owner of the International Wedding Gown Design label Brides by NoNA, and I am here to help you wade through these tough times as you prepare for the most important day of your life – your wedding!
IF YOU ARE GOING THE ROUTE OF BUYING A GOWN OFF THE RACK, THEN BE SURE TO DO THE FOLLOWING:
So he popped the question, and you said (or screamed out) “Yes!” You are on cloud 9 as you try to wrap your head around the fact that you are going to be someone’s wife. But, then it happens – COVID-19 strikes and before you can even understand what COVID-19 is all about, the whole world goes on a lockdown and everything comes to a forced stop! All your vendors have temporarily shut their doors and you are left wondering what next? Where do you go from here? Well, here’s are a few tips to help make life easier for you as you continue to prep for this joyous life event:
Ask the Right Questions
First of all, do your research online and seek out wedding gown boutiques that carry gowns that fit your personal aesthetic. This will reduce the number of boutiques you may have to visit in person to try on gowns.
Have a list of questions ready for your bridal stylist at the boutique. Ask about production periods, fitting/alterations, shipping/pickup, traveling with your dress, caring for your dress on the day of your wedding, undergarments/shoes/ accessories to be worn with your dress, storing your dress after the wedding, selling/gifting your dress after the wedding. Ask as many questions as you want to!
Research Refund Policies
Call each boutique ahead of your planned visit to find out their social distancing guidelines and new modus operandi. Some boutiques might have restrictions on the number of people you can bring with you during your visit. You will want to know this ahead of time so that your guests don’t make the trip with you and end up being denied access into the store.
Discuss production timelines in detail with the boutique for when your gown will be ready for pickup. Be sure the boutique has some sort of refund policy where you will get all of your money back in the event that they go out of business before your dress is delivered to you.
Check in with the boutique often to ensure progress is being made on your dress and to ensure that the boutique is still in business with no plans of closing down before your dress is ready.
Practice safe social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from everyone, wearing a face mask and sanitizing your hands regularly. Visit in the Morning Try visiting bridal boutiques in the morning so that you are the first one walking through their doors. At that time, the entire boutique and the gowns have been freshly sanitized from either the previous night or from that morning. Know Your Silhouettes Limit the number of gowns you try on. I suggest between three to four gowns per boutique, at most! Try on one gown in each silhouette (ball gown, mermaid, A-line, trumpet).
Follow Up With the Salon
Follow the boutique’s online media outlets (social media channels and e-mail newsletters) so that you are aware of any operational changes that might take place. Save Contracts and Receipts Lastly, save all your contracts, receipts and fitting dates and set reminders on your phone regarding the fitting dates. This way you are organized, well-prepared and less stressed about your fabulous dress!
LINDA MCQUEEN PHOTOGRAPHY
IF YOU ARE GOING THE ROUTE OF HAVING YOUR GOWN CUSTOM MADE, THEN BE SURE TO DO THE FOLLOWING: Know Your Aesthetic
gifting your dress after the wedding. Ask as many questions as you want to! Ask for Fabric Samples
First of all, do your research online and seek out wedding gown designers whose designs fit your personal aesthetic. This will help you narrow down the choice of which designer to go with.
Ask to see samples of the exact fabric that will be used in making your dress. These samples can either be shown to you during a virtual consultation or they can be mailed out to you, depending on the designer’s protocol for handling fabrics.
Call each designer to find out their social distancing guidelines and new modus operandi. Due to the personal nature of designing a custom wedding gown some designers might only be taking virtual consultations at this time, while others might have restrictions on the number of people you can bring with you during your in-person consultation.
Once you’ve made your decision on which designer to move forward with, be sure to have all dates in writing – production dates and fitting dates. Set Expectations
During your virtual consultation be specific about your design aesthetic, style, theme and budget.
Discuss production timelines in detail with the designer so that you know when your gown will be ready for pickup. Be sure the designer has some sort of refund policy where you will get all of your money back in the event that they go out of business before your dress is delivered to you.
Ask for Sketches
Be sure to ask the designer to provide you with detailed sketches of your gown so that you have a visual representation of your entire wedding ensemble.
Check in with the designer regularly to be sure everything is on track and there are no impending issues that might affect the delivery of your dress. Request to see progress pictures of your dress in the making if the designer allows it.
Understanding Color and Texture Ask for a detailed gown composite from the designer which should include the types of fabrics to be used in the construction of your gown, the exact color of your gown (you will be surprised how many shades of White there are!), how long your train will be, placement of the embellishments to be used on your gown, built-in bra cups and corsetry, zipper or button closures, complementing veil (with or without a blusher), veil length, etc. There are so many elements in a custom gown, so be sure you have all those elements in writing between you and the designer. Learn the Production Process Inquire about the steps involved in the production process: measurements, fittings, alterations. Find out how the designer accommodates these during the current pandemic. Will these be done in person or virtually and what do they involve? Have a List of Questions Ready Have a list of questions ready for the designer. Ask about production timelines, fabric samples, fittings/alterations, shipping/pickup, traveling with your dress, caring for your dress on the day of your wedding, undergarments/shoes/accessories to be worn with your dress, storing your dress after the wedding, selling/
Stalk Their Social Channels Follow the designer's online media outlets (social media channels and e-mail newsletters) so that you aware of any operational changes that might take place. Prepare For Your Fittings Lastly, plan for your fittings. Schedule time off from work, purchase your plane tickets and get ready to be “WOWed!” when you see your gown. If you opt for your gown to be shipped to you, then be sure to request that shipping with tracking and insurance to cover any incidents with your gown. I highly recommend paying for expedited shipping (delivery in one to two days) so that your dress spends less time in transit thereby reducing the probability of any incidents occurring. Our lives have changed, no doubt, but we are all in this together and we will all come out stronger and better on the other side of COVID-19. Stay strong! KEEP UP WITH NNEKA BY FOLLOWING HER ON INSTAGRAM @BRIDESBYNONA AND VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW. BRIDESBYNONA.COM.
DSEK S TTI N IO S RT A HAT E E XN PE
5 Necessary Design Elements to Plan a Stylish Elopement WRIT TEN BY CHARISSE BRUIN OF CHARISSE ST YLES PHOTOS BY DESTINYâ€™S CREATIONS PHOTOGRAPHY
Want all the elements (well, most) of a wedding, but for your intimate ceremony or elopement? Well you can have it! You can have a beautiful intimate ceremony, that is personable and stylish - all you have to do is scale. Instead of having an entire wedding theme including a big wedding party, scale your theme to just the bride, groom, and decor. Remain true to your personal aesthetic or venture out and be creative. Here are some tips to consider:
1. Theme The theme will tie together all of the elements for the intimate ceremony. Whether, like Bohemian, luxurious, old Southern Victorian - all of your design elements will follow your theme.
2. Style When determining your wedding dress or tux, think outside of the box. This is an intimate ceremony - you do not need a custom gown or tuxedo unless that is your personal preference. Our Southern Victorian theme was easy to style using lace for the bride and plaid and linen for the groom to personify the country and traditional themes found in the South. Best of all, most bridal boutiques will have dresses available off the rack at a discounted rate. Grooms can easily find trousers or a sports coat at any men’s shop or online. Anything ill-fitting? Some dry-cleaners- where you may take your dress- offer alterations .
3. Decor Your decor can include tablescapes, personal keepsakes and desserts. Utilizing decor or accessories from your personal collection, such as vases, lounge chairs or photographs, is an easy way to incorporate your personal style. Or, consider borrowing or renting a vintage piece for a few hours. You can also decorate your tablescapes with your desserts - cookies or cupcakes, if you so choose.
4. Florals The great thing about an intimate ceremony is that you will not need a LARGE floral budget. For elopements, you only need a bouquet at most. If you are opting for an intimate ceremony, you can purchase a few dozen stems and greenery for additional decorations. I opted for greenery to capture the woodsy feel you find in the South - lots of trees, grass and moss.
CREATIVE TEAM STYLING AND CREATIVE DIRECTION: Charisse Bruin PHOTOGRAPHY: Destiny Creations Photography
MODELS: Weslyn Bowers & David Johnson HAIR AND MAKEUP: Verando Marshall
You may have a private/intimate ceremony or elopement for a few reasons, but whatever the reason, please source an incredible photographer. They can capture moments that you can share publicly, while you maintain your privacy! The photographer will also capture the details of your planning, creating beautiful memories for you to share for generations.
DRESS & FLORALS DESIGN: Ivory + Beau CAKE: Tiers of Savannah COOKIES AND DESSERTS: Delectable Desserts FURNITURE: Savannah Vintage Rentals VENUE: The Clyde Venue
Charisse is a Southern based wardrobe, editorial and bridal stylist. You can find out more about her business at www.charissestyles.com.
W E DDING I DE AS Alice in Wonderland themed bridal shower. Photographed by Juliet Macey Photography
FROM THE BRIDE TO BE
This bridal shower is a DIY lovers dream. Inspired by the whimsical story of Alice in Wonderland, bride-to-be, Anne Marie Amisola, created an ethereal DIY tea party soirĂŠe to celebrate her upcoming nuptials. Tea pots containing bright tulips and babyâ€™s breath flowers were placed on vintage books and served as centerpieces. Guests drank tea, ate omelettes, sipped mimosas and munched on delicious desserts including fresh fruit, yummy cupcakes, chocolate covered strawberries and colorful macaroons. To complete the bridal wonderland experience, guests enjoyed a photo booth and a flower crown creation station. It was like a page out of a fairy tale.
"I wanted Springtime in February and to have a tea party. Being a lifelong Disney fan and lover of tea parties, I asked my Mom to theme my bridal shower as Alice in Wonderland! We had subtle nods to the movie and phrases all around the venue. We DIYed everything, made signs, games, butterflies, and the photo backdrop of large flowers. Our flower crown bar of fresh and faux flowers was a highlight for all our guests. We played French cafe music and jazz and French versions of my favorite Disney songs. The venue, The Madison Hotel, and a sunny February day made the conservatory feel like a spring day in February! The chandeliers, teapots filled with bright flowers, and our diy gold book stacks made you feel like you fell down the rabbit hole into a beautiful fairy tale."
PH O T O : E L IZA BE TH ME SSINA
D E S T I N AT I O N S
T R E N D S F A S H I O N
Sam volutaturi ape int dolorup tatiatio molorrovit lorems
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Love is not cancelled
Despite the government shutdowns and restrictions due to COVID-19, these couples went forward with their wedding celebrations and made the best of these trying times.
featured couples 36
MLE + ANTHONY
GEOVONNA + ANTOINE
MELITA + KRISTOFER
ALISON + JACOB
KIMBERLY + MALTE
D E S T I N AT I O N S
KIMPTON HOTEL NEW YORK
MLÃ‰ + ANTHONY Ma rc h 2 0 , 2 0 2 0 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y Ma n s i S t u d i o s Te x t b y A n g e l a C o n n e r
lé and Anthony met in college and forged a deep friendship that would eventually turn into a lasting love. Anthony planned a perfect proposal in front of journalists and photographers at an award banquet celebrating Mlé’s acting accomplishments. Mlé shares, “When you feel so connected to someone, you cannot imagine spending any extended time apart from them; God makes it so.” Even COVID-19 could not stop them from pledging their eternal devotion to each other.
How did COVID-19 affect your wedding plans? Our wedding was right on the cusp of all the major changes that were happening. We had plans to be married on our date in Brooklyn, NY with about 115 guests, an ASL interpreter, an ice sculptor, a DJ, family style meal and other details that truly reflected who we are and where we are from. We were watching the news intently each day, hoping things would calm but also hoping our wedding would not be affected. We’d planned for almost a year & a half for this day. Each day passed with new updates & mandates, and it seemed every update brought a new challenge or disappointment. We were consistently coming up with alternate plans and contingencies - sometimes two and three versions – for everything we could account for. Once mandates about large gatherings were issued, we decided we would go on our day to the city clerk’s office in Manhattan and be married. This made the most sense, especially after we were down to a skeleton crew of less than ten for our guests and bridal party. Every day during the week of our wedding, my friend called to make sure the city clerk’s office was open. The office never had news of whether they would be open the following day or not. By the time Thursday night came, we couldn’t wait for Friday. We were prepared to go to the clerk’s office. Late that night, something told me to check the city clerk’s office website. I scrolled down and see that effective Friday, 3.20.2020, the city clerk’s office would be closed.
Best wedding memories MLÉ Our first dance was in an almost empty Grand Central Station, with no music. Just the hum from the dwindling bustle of New York juxtaposed with the unusual silence. It was beautiful. ANTHONY – Mlé and I talked so much about not doing a first look but given the pivot we had to make and time, it made sense to do it. Probably a little cliché, but there is something unforgettable about seeing your soon-to-be wife in her wedding dress. I never felt more present in a moment, yet taken aback.
Advice for Brides During the planning process, make decisions that are best for you. One thing about weddings, there is no set way to get married or have a wedding. You can tailor it how you see fit. We were fortunate to plan both an extravagant wedding and then also be able to plan a very intimate one. We were constantly reminded of what is important to us – each other. That helped shape our wedding. Our advice is stick to what central idea is most important to you. Also, of course you want everything to be topnotch and beautiful, but focus on a few areas where you want to invest your money to create your own personal dream wedding experience. And lastly, you’d be surprised how helpful it is to actually sit down and talk with each of your vendors about your vision, especially your photographer. They will be capturing moments that you can revisit forever.
vendors PHOTOGRAPHY: Chadi Mansi of Mansi Studios BRIDE'S DRESS: WONÁ NYC BRIDAL SALON: WONÁ NYC BRIDE’S HEADPIECE AND/OR VEIL: Magic Fitters of NYC BRIDE'S SHOES: Kate Spade BRIDE’S EARRINGS: Etsy Shop owner: DesertRoseDesigns10 BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Dress The Population CAKES/DESSERTS: BCakeNY CATERING: The Smith CEREMONY VENUE: Kimpton Hotel Eventi, NY FLORALS: NYC Flower Project GROOM'S ATTIRE: P. Johnson Tailors GROOM’S & GROOMSMEN ACCESSORIES: Fine and Dandy GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: The Black Tux HAIR: The Bride LIGHTING: Mansi Studios MUA: Tanaya J. RECEPTION VENUE: The Veranda Suite at the Kimpton Hotel Eventi STATIONERY: Minted VIDEOGRAPHY: Mansi Studios OFFICIANT: Weddings by Antonia
"Our first dance was in an almost empty Grand Central Station, with no music. Just the hum from the dwindling bustle of New York juxtaposed with the unusual silence. It was beautiful." - MLE
How did COVID-19 affect your wedding plans? New Orleans is our favorite city. It is where we went on our first out of town trip together and we make several trips there every year because we always have so much fun there. When we started planning our wedding, we knew that we absolutely had to celebrate in our favorite city in the US. Initially we were planning to have our ceremony in City Park with an after ceremony dinner at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel. Once the COVID-19 pandemic caused a nationwide frenzy, we naturally had to make other plans. I began looking at options in our hometown of Atlanta but ran into issues with venues being closed at home as well. We were willing to postpone the big celebration, but we did not want to postpone our actual marriage. Unfortunately, that decision was made for us. The county we live in canceled ALL courthouse weddings. Luckily, my wedding planner, Shavon Hunter, came up with a special COVID-19 elopement package. Initially, I was hesitant because our family could not be present, but my fiancé convinced me that they would understand. He had to remind me that it’s about the marriage, not the wedding. He was ready to make me his wife and that was what’s most important. I am SO happy we decided to do it. The ceremony was intimate and beautiful. I got the outside ceremony that I wanted with beautiful photos.
Advice for engaged couples You don’t have to postpone your marriage. Take advantage of having a small, intimate ceremony during this time, or any time for that matter. It can really turn out beautifully. If you want, you can always have a celebration for your friends and family later. VENDORS PHOTOGRAPHY: Michelle Davina Photography WEDDING COORDINATOR: Elope in Atlanta by La Soirée Chic Events FLORALS: Fabulous Fox Event Design OFFICIANT: Your Wedding Your Way HAIR + MAKEUP: Beauty ll Behold by Jamila Tarisai MASKS: Hey Lux
AT L A N TA , G A
GEOVONNA + ANTOINE April 24, 2020 P h o t o g ra p h e d B y M i c h e l l e D a v i n a P h o t o g ra p hy Te x t b y A n g e l a C o n n e r When Antoine spotted Geovanna across the room at a sports bar in Atlanta, he couldn’t keep his eyes off of her. Geovanna reminisces, “I couldn’t keep my eyes off him either. My friend and I made one more trip to the bar, and he made his move. He stood up and addressed me like a mature man should, with respect.” On the 3-year anniversary of the night they met, Antoine proposed.
D E S T I N AT I O N S
A R L I N G T O N , VA
ALISON + JACOB April 24, 2020
P h o t o g ra p h e d b y J . S a s u P h o t o g ra p hy
The best memory from our wedding was being able to look into each other’s eyes and officially say, “I do.” I was so afraid that we weren’t going to have the opportunity to do so. That made the moment even more
When highschool sweethearts Allison and Jacob attended prom together, they never thought their young love would turn into marriage. Jacob proposed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. right across from the reflection pool where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Allison shares, “He had my parents surprise me at the monument, and we all went out for dinner to celebrate. He then coordinated with my twin sister to fly in the same night from California to surprise me as well. It was truly the best surprise of my life.”
We were able to recover most of our wedding expenses and deposits. A few small businesses were unable to refund us, which is understandable due to the current situation. Some of our vendors still provided us with their amazing services, such as our caterer and our photographer.
How did COVID-19 affect your wedding plans? Our wedding was scheduled for April 25, 2020, which had to be canceled due to the pandemic. I was impacted as a resident physician and as a bride. We initially thought we would not be able to get married at all, since marriage license appointments were canceled. This was heartbreaking because we have been dating for 11 years. We are "high school sweethearts," and Jake has supported me through undergrad, grad school, medical school, and now, residency. We were fortunate to get a virtual appointment for a marriage license. We had two days from when we received the paperwork in the mail to get everything handled to keep our wedding date. We found a celebrant and kept our same photographer, who was gracious enough to come take our pictures while practicing physical distancing. My mother ordered a cake from the only bakery that would deliver, a mask from her favorite seamstress (and sent it via next-day air), and ordered dinner for us from our caterer. The wedding ceremony took place in a law office near the Arlington, VA Courthouse. Pictures were taken in scenic areas around the courthouse. Our bridal party, family, and friends, helped to create a beautiful montage of videos expressing their love for us, which made this time so special.
VENDORS PHOTOGRAPHER: J. Sasu Photography RINGS: Mervis Diamond & Manly Bands WEDDING DRESS: ASOS MASKS: Maison de Mawollie BRIDE’S SHOES: Badgley Mischka HEADPIECE: Labella Bridal Boutique CAKE: Bakeshop CATERER: Tres Creole
Advice for engaged couples
Catering NECKLACE: Amy Shehab EARRINGS: Olive & Piper NAILS: ImPress Manicure
Our advice would be to do what you can to celebrate the day. Celebrate your love no matter what is going on. Tomorrow is not promised, so make the most of the time you have together. Don’t worry about things not being perfect. The true goal is to marry the one you love. "
Couture Collection SUIT & TIE: Express GROOM’S SHIRT: H&M GROOM’S SHOES: Calvin Klein
AT L A N TA , G A
MELITA + KRISTOFER April 25, 2020 P h o t o g ra p h e d B y M i c h e l l e D a v i n a P h o t o g ra p hy Te x t b y A n g e l a C o n n e r Kristofer and Melita “swiped right” to love when they met on the dating app Tinder in 2016. After communicating on the phone all day, they decided to go out on their first date. “During the date, sparks flew right along with instant chemistry. It just felt right. The next few months we were inseparable,” Melita recalls. Two years later, Kristofer proposed to her at dinner in front of their best friends.
How did COVID-19 affect your wedding plans? "Around February before the pandemic was officially announced in the US, I did a lot of reading on what was going on in other countries. It was around that time when I started to have a sinking feeling that sooner than later the pandemic would impact the wedding. Our wedding would have originally been May 16, 2020 in Huntsville, Alabama. We were expecting around 150+ guests. Due to the pandemic and in addition to the wedding, we also had to forgo my bridal shower, bachelorette party, his bachelor party, AND our honeymoon."
VENDORS PHOTOGRAPHY: Michelle Davina Photography PLANNER: Elope in Atlanta by La Soirée Chic Events
Advice for Brides
BRIDE'S DRESS: Lulus BRIDE’S HEADPIECE: Etsy -
"Don’t lose yourself trying to micromanage the small details! I planned my wedding for two years just for it to be flipped upside down because of a pandemic and none of those little details mattered anymore. I promise you, the guests won’t know if the font on your save the dates matches the font on your formal invitations — they don’t care either!"
the little details
The only element of flowers in my ceremony was the bouquet. I didn’t see the bouquet until moments before the ceremony. I actually love surprises and I was blown away at how nicely my bouquet was put together.
Dareth Colburn Designs BRIDE'S SHOES: Dillard’s CEREMONY VENUE: Millennium Gate Museum FLORALS: Fabulous Fox Designs GROOM'S ATTIRE: Express BRIDE’S HAIR: Haircrush Studio - Decatur, GA MUA: BriAnna Bradford “BeatsXBri, LLC” WEDDING OFFICIANT: Your Wedding Your Way WEDDING MASKS: Hey Lux
Honestly, the best memory from my wedding was finally saying our vows. I love the fact that we made it happen during a pandemic. It further proves that love is not cancelled and will never be cancelled.
We did not lose any money on the actual wedding. Thankfully we worked with some of the most amazing vendors who were very accommodating throughout this entire experience. The only money we lost was around $400 which was the non refundable portion of our honeymoon accommodations.
D E S T I N AT I O N S
KIMBERLY + MALTE Ma rc h 1 8 , 2 0 2 0 Photographed by Nicole Adrianna Photography Te x t b y A n g e l a C o n n e r Kim and Malte have an international love story. They matched on Tinder when Kim was vacationing in Berlin, Germany! The couple would eventually make their home in Cambridge, MA where Kim was studying at Harvard Business School. One night, the couple decided to head to Kim’s favorite restaurant Pammy’s"The night before they moved back to NYC, the couple decided to head to Kim's favorite restaurant Pammy's. What Kim thought was going to be a little going-away celebration turned into a surprise engagement proposal.".
How did COVID-19 affect your wedding plans? VENDORS
Due to COVID-19, we had to cancel our wedding in Mexico. It was devastating, as it was going to be the opportunity to bring our cultures together (fiancé is German) and celebrate our love amongst friends and family. Even though our original wedding (which was going to be March 21st) was canceled, we still wanted to get married. Therefore, we went to the City Hall on March 18th with 2 witnesses and got legally married.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Nicole Adrianna Photography BRIDE'S DRESS: Katie May Collection BRIDE'S SHOES: Badgley Mishcka FLORALS: Alaric Flower Design CEREMONY VENUE: New York Marriage Bureau GROOM'S ATTIRE: Burberry Suit
Advice for engaged couples
Celebrate the small things. As we didn't get to have our big wedding, I wish we would have had an engagement party and invited others to celebrate with us much earlier in the process.
for us, by us CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF BUILDING COMMUNIT Y AND DIVERSIT Y IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY
A surprise photoshoot for the Founders of MunaLuchi Bride, to celebrate the company's 10 year anniversary milestone.
CREATIVE TEAM PHOTOGRAPHY: Nana Annan Photography & Charlene Asare VIDEOGRAPHY: Felicity Moments PLANNING: Georges Girl Events and MunaLuchi Bride Team VENUE: The James Ward Mansion DRESS DESIGNERS: Yemi Kosibah (evening wear) Jean Ralph Thurin (bridal) and Kaela Kay (traditional) TUX DESIGNERS: Garรงon Couture and Eaden Myles MUA: Juicy Looks by Abby HAIR STYLIST: Hair by Sadiku FLORALS AND SET DESIGN: Pretty Posh Design and ARJ Signature Design CHEF AND SWEETHEART TABLE DESIGN: The Black Fox Co. LOVE STORY OFFICIANT: Rev. Orsella - Serenity Ceremonies ACCESSORIES: Kua Designs, SuReina Bridal, and Ilieana George Couture GELE: Noma Enterprises - Yvonne Ereyi MENU CARDS: Oda Creative TABLE ACCESSORIES: Glam Party Rentals FASHION STYLING: Abdul & Eronmwon
pictured here : jacqueline wearing a custom
kosibah dress ; chike wearing custom garcon couture
What started out as an abstract idea has flourished into a multimedia empire. Chike and Jacqueline Nwobu, Founders of MunaLuchi Bride, sought out to create a publication where multicultural weddings were showcased from cover to cover. They saw a need for multicultural weddings and black event professionals to be celebrated, and rather than ask to be included in mainstream media, they established their own platform. It was January 5, 2010 when the first issue of MunaLuchi Bride went on sale at Barnes and Noble bookstores across the country. It was a first...a disruptor...and a catalyst for continual change in the way our weddings and events would be perceived. To thank MunaLuchi's founders and celebrate this immense milestone, a talented team of wedding vendors, who are also members of The MunaCoterie (MunaLuchi's preffered vendor collective) put together a surprise photoshoot at the regal James Ward Mansion in Westfield, NJ. They included several custom fashion designs, and held a Blessing Ceremony led by Reverend Orsella Hughes, where she prayed over the couple and blessed their marriage of 13 years. A special thanks to our MunaCoterie members that helped us pull of this surprise and to all of the wedding community for your support over the past decade. Cheers to 10 more years of growth!
dress by jean ralph thurin
pictured here : jacqueline
wearing a custom kaela kaye ;
chike wearing eaden myles
Reflections FROM THE CREATIVE TEAM
MunaLuchi signifies the hope, progress, and staying power of the multicultural community. It is an example in perseverance to start a grassroots movement and against all the odds, tell stories of love without regard to race. MunaLuchi has done this over the last 10 years while maintaining its passion for unapologetically creating a space to showcase our talents and include couples of color. Our excellence is not new, but until MunaLuchi came along, it did not exist in spaces where we would see ourselves in weddings. Our love is not new, but while others are now jumping on the bandwagon, MunaLuchi has been making a way. Every idea, every milestone, every win has been replicated and that is something to be proud of in the wedding industry. To be number one in the multicultural wedding arena and maintain the dedication to excellence is no easy feat. The team at MunaLuchi has done it for an entire decade. I am proud to be affiliated with a brand that exemplifies hard work, dignity, and brilliance.
I was having lunch with a Munaluchi Coterie member who has also become a good friend, photographer Nana Annan, when she mentioned she and some other coterie members were organising a surprise shoot for Chike and Jackie and would I be interested in participating. Without hesitation I said yes, I’d love to create the one of the gowns Jackie would wear for the shoot. For me, it was an honour and privilege to give back in a small way to Jackie and Chike for all the support, encouragement and motivation they’ve given me and my label Kosibah in particular and the black bridal business owners in general via Munaluchi Bride magazine. It was also a great opportunity to work with some stellar wedding vendors and build up on our relationship capital. Yemi Kosibah, Wedding Dress Designer
Nana Annan, Nana Annan Photography
10 years is just the number, the dream has been in existence for decades before and decades before that. Munaluchi Bridal, in my opinion, has played the role of "Dream Catcher" for many creatives of color. Not only have they captured our dreams but also released them into reality. From the Coterie retreat, to the Muna Love Affair. From Muna Serenade to Muna Network, The publication has been there catching dreams, it was only right for me to be there and celebrate the reality of this 10th anniversary. Thank you Linda George for building such a team and thank you Jackie and Chike for believing in the dream! Gregory Taylor CEO The Black Fox Company
As I sit back and start to ref lect on the past 10 years (five of which I was apart of ) I can’t help thinking wow you all are amazing. From the very beginning you had a clear, pure, and authentic idea that was based on your passion to connect beautiful couples of colour with the very best black owned wedding vendors in the world. You worked tirelessly to make this a reality. through the ups and at the downs you have never wavered. The truth is you have stood strong and pushed the industry forward even in the midst of so much resistance. Because of this dedication we have all won. Black wedding professionals have become one of the most sought after individuals in the world and you all started this movement. My team and I are so blessed to have connected with you the past five years. We simply would not have been able to grow in the capacity that we have without the love, support, and guidance of MunaLuchi Bride. So we honour you today and moving forward. Ten years in this industry is a true example of how amazing you all are. Continue to lead as we become #strongertogether. Your family from Toronto Tristan Barrocks & the Felicity Moments team Tristan Barrocks / Top Digital Storyteller In The GTA
Creative. Entrepreneurs. Business partners. Husband and wife. African/black love. Relationship goals. All of these words and more are what comes to mind when thinking of Jackie and Chike and what they have accomplished together through Munaluchi. For the past decade, Munaluchi has grown into a platform of inclusion and diversity within the wedding and event industry that previously did not feature anyone that looked or sounded like me. I was born and raised in America with parents that had emigrated from Haiti. Like most little girls, I dreamed of weddings and social events where I could dress up and feel like a princess. I would pour over magazines and would hardly ever see anyone that looked like me. When I first heard of Munaluchi, I had no idea what to expect. As I spent time reading their magazines and browsing their website and Instagram feed, I saw, for the first time, people that looked and sounded just like me. I soon discovered a whole universe of amazing black creatives and wanted to be a part of this beautiful and colorful world. When asked to do the photoshoot, I knew exactly what I wanted to portray: Jackie and Chike as the ultimate royal power couple with a nod to Beyonce and Jay-Z as well as Kehinde Wiley for the strides that they have made within the world of music and art. The opportunity to work with a team of Coterie members was a humbling experience for me as I got to see firsthand the higher level of professionalism and skill of everyone working in their craft. To Jackie and Chike, I want to thank you for providing an endless array of inspiration for everyone across the melanin rainbow and may the next ten years be an aspiration for us all to live up to both within the wedding industry and in the world at large. Linda Georges, Lead Planner and Designer - Georges Girl Events
The experience was something like a movie! Black love at its finest where they celebrated their anniversary with such elegance. It was an honor being able to dress Chike in our gold brocade Jacket, black tuxedo with side tabs and our Italian cotton dress shirt. We added a touch of a gold airplane pin @jewlerybyilia on the lapel of the jacket to represent how far their love has gone! Everything fit so well and Jacki looked stunning! The energy of the entire house was electrifying. My stylist Lydelle Young was there every step of the way making sure things were punctual. I’m still in awe from everything! Big shout out to the entire team! Ilbert J. Sanchez | Co-Founder/ CEO of GARÇON COUTURE
Being a Black Hairstylist in the Wedding industry felt overwhelming in the beginning. I feared I would get lost in the sea of artists and wouldn’t be recognized for my talent. Once I joined the Munaluchi coterie, I was welcomed with open arms by Jackie and Chike. Having spent time with Jackie, she’s shown me so much about creating partnership through collaboration. When I was able to be a part of this Amazing shoot I was so honored, to be able to give back to a powerful couple who gives SELFLESSLY TO EVERYONE else. To see their smiles of shock and gratitude was beyond a blessing to me! We celebrate Jackie and Chike for all the Love and professional growth we all receive as being a part of their dream The Coterie! Tinika Sadiku, Hair by Sadiku
Over the past 10 years, the Munaluchi Bride platform has given a voice to the multicultural wedding industry, and has been very instrumental in showcasing so many amazing vendors and their work. Through this platform, many of us have been able to network, be inspired by and learned so much from each other. My very first blog feature and first magazine feature were both by Munaluchi Bride and for that I will be forever grateful. Happy 10th Anniversary and thank you Jackie, Chike and the entire team -Abby Ayeh, Pretty Posh Events
I am truly honored to have been a part of the surprise shoot for Chike and Jackie. I remember first meeting them at NY Bridal Market and being so impressed by their passion and commitment to making sure that black love and talent were highlighted and recognized in an industry that has all too often ignored us. What they have managed to create in 10 years is miraculous! Their platform highlights black excellence, pure and simple. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Muna family and look forward to continuing to build a legacy for future generations. Chike and Jackie thank you for all you do! Martine Thurin, Director of Marketing- Jean-Ralph Thurin LLC
I have been officiating wedding ceremonies since 2005; officially as an entrepreneur since 2016. Munaluchi is so important to me because when I was planning my wedding in 2011, it was hard to locate Black Wedding Professional on a single platform. Because of Chike and Jackie, brides and grooms of all cultures no longer have that problem. They have created a platform for Black love that is unparalleled to any other wedding vendor platform. I couldn't wait to join them and when I was asked to bless their marriage for the photo shoot, I must've rewrote the script 100 times before the shoot and another 20 times once I arrived on set. Why? Because they have told the Black love story so eloquently in all of their print and electronic publications that I knew their story had to be right. I love writing a good love story, but when it is for the owners of the company who created the platform for Black love stories, I wanted to make it especially perfect. Working with them that day and all of the amazing Coterie members was life changing. I've created a bond with other vendors who look like me, feel the same successes and failures as me, and cheer right along with me through every wedding. To me, MunaLuchi embodies Black excellence, Black professionalism, and Black power. I'm proud to be a member of this amazing group of people and looking forward to growing with everyone. Rev. Orsella Hughes, owner of Serenity Ceremonies by Rev. Orsella.
Congratulations Jackie and Chike! You have impacted my Bridal Beauty Business in a great way. I will never forget that very first phone call with you Jackie, you opened my eyes to so many possibilities. Juicy Looks has not been the same since then. From the bottom of my heart, I say THANK YOU!! Wishing you many more successful years ahead. Abby Falore-Ayodeji, Juicy Looks By Abby
ASHLEY + DERICK
RANDI + PHILIP
NOELLE + JAMAL
VEAYSHA + PIERRE
TATIANA + DEVANTA
BRITTANIA + LESHAUN
D E S T I N AT I O N S
Ashley + Derick
ATL ANTA HISTORY CENTER, ATL ANTA, GEORGIA WEDDING DATE: July 5, 2020 WEDDING LOCATION: Houston, Texas OCCUPATIONS: Test Manager for the Department of Homeland Security; United States Coast Guard HOW THEY MET: Ashley and Derick met ten years ago when they were both recruited to play basketball for the women's and men's McMurray University basket all teams in Abilene, Texas. PROPOSAL STORY: We decided we wanted to finally use all of our hotel points and choose a beautiful, tropical place to stay. We chose the Conrad Maldives Hotel on
Rangali Island. On December 28th, 2018 we
performers. When we finished eating,
arrived in the Maldives, one of the most
Derick mentioned it would be a great idea
beautiful places we had ever been! The
to walk over to the smaller island where
room we stayed in was on the main island
we could watch the fireworks set to go off
with a gorgeous view right from our back
at midnight and get away from the large
porch. We went on an exclusive day cruise
crowd. We walked over to the smaller
where we snorkeled and fished. The crew
island and sat in some of the beach chairs
cooked the fish we caught right out of the
to wait for the fireworks. When midnight
water! We enjoyed a delicious dinner at the
approached, we stood up and the fireworks
Ithaa Underwater Sea Restaurant and had
started going off right on cue. I turned her
an amazing couple's massage at the hotel's
head to look at Derick and he was down on
one knee! Derick proceeded to ask me to
On New Year's Eve, the hotel threw this
marry him and of course, I said yes!
huge New Year's party with food f lown
ENGAGEMENT SESSION THEME. For our
in from all over the world and live music
engagement session, we did three looks at
three different locations. We wanted to do an all black formal look, a more casual look, and a basketball shoot (since that is how our story began). For the formal look, we wanted to go somewhere that had beautiful architecture and really dress up because we don't get the opportunity to do that very often. We wanted to do something that embodied class and royalty. For the second look, we went to Toccoa Falls in Toccoa Falls, Georgia. For this look we wanted to go somewhere scenic and capture a little romance. For the third look, we went to Central Park in Atlanta, Georgia where we wanted to take it back to where it all started for us, the basketball court. FIRST DATE? When we first met in college, neither of us really had a lot of money so most of our dates were active activities. We would go for walks around the track and talk all night, or we would go to the swimming pool and swim, or go to the basketball gym and get some shots up. Most of the time we would meet in the cafeteria for lunch and dinner as well. FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A COUPLE? Our favorite thing to do as a couple is workout. Health and fitness is extremely important to us and we just have so much fun pushing each other to become a better version of ourselves. We also love to travel, we have driven all over the United States and have traveled all across the world. We love being spontaneous and adventurous. HOW HAS WEDDING PL ANNING BEEN SO FAR?
planning has been great, we have seen so much growth within our relationship throughout this entire process. We try to make it fun and as stress-free as possible. We want to remember the journey to getting married as a time filled with joy and excitement. Our wedding planner, Darry, is also amazing! He is so creative and always thinks of unique things we could do for the wedding which makes the planning process fun. TELL US WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST ON THE WEDDING DAY: We are looking forward to celebrating our special day with all of our family and friends. The fact that all the people that mean so much to us will be in one room is amazing and we are really excited for everyone to meet one another. I am also extremely excited to wear my wedding dress and for Derick to finally get to be able to see me in it. It has been the hardest secret for me to keep! And of course we are looking forward to finally getting married after 10 wonderful years together!
PHOTOGRAPHY: Stanlo Photography WEDDING PLANNER: Darryl Moore BRIDE'S DRESS Designer: Albina Dyla BRIDE'S SHOES: Ego Official MUA: Olivia Song HAIR STYLIST: Shadae Renee GROOM'S TUX: Men's Wearhouse GROOM'S SHOES: Nordstrom 2ND SHOOT: BRIDE'S DRESS: Catwalk Connection GROOM'S SHIRT: Zara GROOM'S PANTS: Topman MUA: Makeup by Janell
E N G AG E M E N T S
Randi + Philip BATON ROUGE, L A AND NEW ROADS, L A W E D D I N G D AT E : July 25, 2020 W E D D I N G L O C AT I O N : New Orleans, LA H O W T H E Y M E T: PJ is from New Roads, LA and so is my family. Our families
me about PJ. You know the normal “I know someone nice for you.” They showed me PJ & I asked my sister, “Do you think he’s cute?” Her response was, “Yea girl.” As the night went on, Libby and Nick introduced us to each other and we immediately started talking. Nick gave PJ until the clock struck 12 am to get my number. Let’s just say he got my number and the rest is history.
have known each other for years, but PJ and I had never met. One weekend
THE PROPOSAL: PJ decided that he wanted to have a party for
we took my grandmother to the “country” as we call it for a blues concert.
his 26th birthday, but kept saying it wouldn’t be anything big.
Once we made it, my sister and I decided not to go and thankfully we didn’t
As time went on the party kept getting bigger and bigger which
because that’s how I met PJ. PJ’s cousin Libby invited us over to her house
is normal because his family loves to party. Everyone was
for a gathering. Not long after we got there, Libby and her husband Nick told
getting invited. PJ’s parents decided to remodel their home. I was a part of all of this, but the biggest secret was being kept from me. Fast forward to the day of the party. Everything went normally. We all got up, started decorating and waiting for the party to start. When it was time to sing happy birthday, PJ’s mom gave me the cake to hold. After PJ blew out the candles and got on one knee, I immediately handed off the cake and said, “YES!” I’m forever grateful to everyone who helped PJ’s vision come to life. ENGAGEMENT SESSION THEME: We took formal pictures in our photographer’s studio. Then we headed to the country to take pictures in the places that hold great value to our families. First stop was my great-grandparents house. They’re no longer living and the house is empty, but it is still full of their love, prayers and dedication. Second, we went to PJ’s grandfather’s corner store, Ray’s Grocery and Liquor. He opened the store in 1963. The store just represents his hard work and dedication. At 82 years old he doesn’t miss a day in the store. The store keeps him going and happy. FIRST DATE? Our first date was pretty casual. We went to the movies and just hung out. FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A COUPLE? Just about everything. We love to fish, go to baseball games and don’t talk about playing UNO! We’ll whip the cards out fast. HOW HAS WEDDING PL ANNING BEEN? Wedding planning has been fun. I probably stress myself out unnecessarily, but my
wedding planners Amaya and Idara quickly put a stop to my craziness. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO? We’re both looking forward to seeing each other for the first time, but most importantly officially becoming husband and wife. We’re ready to share this day with all of our close family and friends..
PHOTOGRAPHY: Shagari Gerard Photography MUA: Erica Nicole HAIR INSTALL: Synclaire Michelle HAIR STYLING: Monet BARBER: TJ Malveaux
D E S T I N AT I O N S
WEDDING DATE: August 29, 2020 WEDDING LOCATION: Private Estate in Laguna Beach OCCUPATIONS: Lawyers HOW THEY MET + PROPOSAL Jamal and I met on two
dating apps and matched on both. About two years later, Jamal told me we were going to a rooftop movie and sent a car to pick me up. I realized when the car pulled up to the Marina that I wasn't meeting him for a movie. As I
gala vibes. FIRST DATE? Our first date was at a romantic restaurant in West Hollywood. We bonded over our love of high end food, music and boxing/UFC. FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A
lights. Jamal proposed, and we then had a private chef make dinner PHOTOGRAPHER: Romain Los Photography
on the yacht as it cruised around
DRESS: Custom made by Izi Froli
the Marina. Boating is one of our favorite outings so this proposal
commitment for each other." - Noelle
give high fashion forward glamours
Jamal standing on top of a private with f lowers and our initials in
"I am looking forward to feeling the joy and happiness of being surrounded by all our friends and family as we express our love and
didn't have a theme, the goal was to
walked towards the dock, I saw yacht that had been decorated
looking forward to...
in London and Paris. Although we
COUPLE? Go to music festivals. HOW HAS WEDDING PL ANNING BEEN SO FAR? Wedding planning has been a combination of enjoyable and stressful. The uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus has
was a dream.
given us more free time to plan
DESCRIBE YOUR ENGAGEMENT
it impossible to do in-person
SESSION. Jamal and I love to travel. Last year we went to London, Paris, Iceland, Toronto and a couple of states. Since I'm always looking for a reason to get glam, we decided to take engagement pictures while
for the wedding but has also made appointments for f lorals, food tastings and decor.
E N G AG E M E N T S
PHOTOGRAPHER: Aurora Photography HAIR STYLIST: Veaysha McCord
HISTORIC OAKL AND CEMETERY IN ATL ANTA, GA
WEDDING DATE: June 27, 2021 WEDDING LOCATION: Dahlonega, GA H O W D I D Y O U M E E T ? Our love story began 7 years ago on the last night of a girl’s weekend trip in Las Vegas. I was dancing on the dance f loor when I felt someone tap me on the shoulder. I turned around, and it was Pierre. At that moment, I never imagined that I could feel instantly connected to a stranger. I thought that only happened in romance novels or movies. Even when my feet got tired, he waited next to me until I was ready to dance again. It was the cutest thing ever. A few days later, we reconnected in Los Angeles. Ironically, we resided fifteen minutes away from each other during his month vacation in the U.S. And ever since then, it has been an international wanderlust. We followed each other from Los Angeles to Paris, Paris to Manchester (UK), Manchester to Los Angeles and finally from Los Angeles to Atlanta. Our relationship has led us on a transformational path full of love, connection, healing and adventure. THE PROPOSAL: We often compared our proposal to Carrie Bradshaw’s and Mr. Big’s engagement proposal in the “Sex in the City”. There were no grand gestures involved. We were two mature adults making a decision to spend our lives with each other. We announced our engagement to our family during Christmas in the North of France. FIRST DATE? We attended a rooftop FigFest concert in Downtown Los Angeles in late July 2013. That night was truly euphoric. We rocked to alternative music bands all night long. We truly connected with each other through music, art, and food. There was a moment during our date when Pierre wrapped his arms around me at the festival, and I knew then that there was something magical between us. FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A COUPLE? We are adventurers, so we love traveling and experiencing different cultures together.
looking forward to...
We are looking forward to celebrating our union with our friends and family. We didn’t get the opportunity to celebrate with them on March 30, 2020, so it’s going to be extra special next year.
WHAT WAS YOUR E-SESSION THEME? Our engagement session was very collaborative with Rachael Horton from Aurora Photography. Our goal was to fuse my California bohemian style with Pierre’s French countryside heritage at a location that is rich with history in Atlanta, GA. We decided to take an unconventional path and shoot our engagement session at the Historic Oakland Cemetery. When we walked through the Oakland Cemetery on the day of the photo shoot, we were mesmerized by the blooming Chaenomeles f lower bushes and hundreds of other plants and trees in the Oakland garden. mesmerized by the blooming Chaenomeles f lower bushes and hundreds of other plants and trees in the Oakland garden. HOW HAS WEDDING PL ANNING BEEN? Initially we planned a popup destination wedding on March 30, 2020 in Dahlonega GA. We were able to organize our wedding quickly through The Knot website. It’s a lifesaver for every bride and groom. We booked the venue, altered the wedding and dress and tuxedo, hired the vendors, and purchased the wedding bands within 2 ½ months of planning. Unfortunately, our wedding ceremony had to be postponed due to COVID-19. Although we were overwhelmed by the current events, we realize that our love and desire to be together as husband and wife are stronger. Now, we are looking forward to celebrating our union on the new wedding date.
D E S T I N AT I O N S
Tatiana + Devanta
H O W D I D Y O U M E E T ? We met
shoot was a clean, elegant,
when we were seven years old
English garden look accessorized
in the same 2nd grade class, and
with a f lower headpiece.
we were good friends until he
I wanted the theme to be
went to another school the next
something that was timeless and
year. We reconnected in 2006
when he came to my middle school and we began dating in
FIRST DATE? Although we started dating so young, we
THE CUMMER MUSEUM OF ART AND GARDENS
2007. THE PROPOSAL: Devanta
date until we were in college.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY Felicia V. Photography
proposed to me at our senior
We went out for lunch, then we
breakfast in high school. He
went to a recreational campsite
asked me who I was looking
and tried paddle boarding for
forward to seeing at the
the first time. We just enjoyed
breakfast and I named about 5
our new experience and quality
people, but he was really asking
didn't have our first official
me that so he could have them there during the proposal. It was a very special moment between Devanta and I with our small group of friends.
FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A COUPLE? We love to travel, binge watch new TV shows, eat + try new recipes, go to concerts/ comedy shows, etc. Our favorite
DESCRIBE YOUR THEME? The
thing to do as a couple is
theme behind the engagement
anything new and exciting!
E N G AG E M E N T S
Brittania + LeShaun PASADENA CIT Y HALL IN PASADENA, CA WEDDING DATE: August 30, 2020 WEDDING LOCATION: Glendale, CA H O W D I D Y O U M E E T ? We met in the 2nd grade and were reconnected through Facebook 10 years ago. THE PROPOSAL: July 12th was our anniversary, and we had dinner on July 13th at our favorite restaurant Javier's in Newport Beach. After dinner, we took a stroll at sunset at Diamond Cove Beach. As we were walking, Leshaun stopped to tie his shoe, and as I turned around, he was down on one knee. The rest is our new beginning.
looking forward to...
FIRST DATE? On our first date, we had ice cream.
"I am looking forward to wearing my dress and seeing Leshaun's reaction as I walk down the aisle and finally become his wife." - LeShaun
I was so nervous, but the ice cream and the conversation were the true definition of Love. FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A COUPLE? We love to go on cruises and find food places all over to try.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Benny Chiu BYC Photography
HOW HAS WEDDING PL ANNING BEEN? Wedding
MAKEUP ARTIST: Ashley Carole Artistry
planning has been an adventure. We are having 26
PLANNER: Tracy Bowles Flawless Weddings and Events
people in our wedding party and 260 guests, so each detail is very important to creating the Miller 2020 experience.
LUXE ASIAN-INSPIRED STYLE IN BAHAMAS
INTIMATE SOPHISTICATION IN FRANCE
EARTHY BOHEMIAN VIBES
LAVISHLY LUXE FRENCH CHATEAU EDITORIAL
W E DDING I DE AS Luxurious and richly pigmented, this avant-garde styled shoot is perfect for fashion forward brides who want to embrace bold Afro-centric colors and style. Photographed by Lexon Photography
The inspiration... "We aimed to create a style that was exquisite and contemporary. We wanted to dispel stereotypes and to showcase that there is beauty in black relationships, We are not bounded by the traditional style of a Euro-centric culture whereby we are led to believe that weddings must consist of â€œWhite dresses and dark suits.â€? For this styled shoot, we threw caution to the wind and embraced Afro-centric colors and styles. Further, the rich color palettes we decided on were to frame and shape a legacy for our younger generation and to help them understand that there is beauty in love. As we created our story for this shoot, we decided to incorporate the whimsical colors of yellow, green and purple to bring the vision to life. The colors fit perfectly into our theme for a Garden Destination Wedding." - Galeria Events
CREATIVE TEAM PLANNING, DECOR & DESIGN:
Galeria Events PHOTOGRAPHER: Lexon
Photography LOCATION: Prospect
Rios, Jamaica WEDDING DRESS DESIGNER:
Galeria Events SUIT:
Mobile Spa Jamaica
W EDDING IDEAS Caribbean and Asian influences fuse in this sensual styled shoot, brilliant in color, texture and design. Photographed by Nana Annan Photography
THE INSPIRATION "The luxe Shuang Ba restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar resort was the canvas for our styled shoot in the Bahamas. Shuang Ba means double eights in Chinese, which symbolizes prosperity and abundance. Our color palette of warm orange, fuchsia pink and Caribbean blue, popped beautifully against the deep reds and dark woods, Chinese tapestries, and symbolic statues." - Envisioned Events by Suzette
CREATIVE TEAM PLANNER & DESIGNER: Envisioned Events by Suzette PHOTOGRAPHER: Nana Annan Photography VIDEOGRAPHER: Luxor Wedding Films BRIDE MODEL: Erika AdderleyGROOM MODEL: Theodore Elyett WEDDING DRESS DESIGNER: Yemi Kosibah GROOM ATTIRE DESIGNER: Garรงon Couture MAKEUP ARTIST: Felicia Graham HAIR STYLIST: Hair by Sadiku STATIONERY/MENU CARDS: Oda Creative LINEN & TABLE DECOR: Jai Event Rentals and Design BRIDAL HAIR ACCESSORIES: Moza Bridal Choice FLORAL DESIGNERS & TABLE DECOR: Pineapples & Powertools & Engaged and Beyond CAKE ARTIST: Take a Bite Bahamas VENUE: Baha Mar Resorts & Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
WE D D I NG I D E AS Soft, romantic, intimate, this styled shoot personifies the spiritual experience of love. Photographed by Valery Villard Photographe
D E S T I N AT I O N S
"This intimate wedding styled shoot on the Riviera of the Alps makes for the perfect little escape from real life! Villa Bamboo in idyllic village Chindrilleux, Bourget du Lac is a special hidden gem nestled in the alps, full of beautiful wild and romantic landscapes. It was the ideal location to shoot a culturally rich, sophisticated and intimate destination wedding. Creative director and floral designer Laure Lalliard Design created a modern, sophisticated vision for an elegant wedding channeling the style of the Villa Bamboo. The handmade organic iron wall forged sculpture and a medicis vessel were used to create the ceremony with the classical architecture of the mansion as the backdrop. Lalliard used a warm golden mustard palette of garden roses blended with cream shades, spray roses and bleached foliage. Valery Villard photographers put their heart and soul to capture all of the sublime all the sophisticated details." - Laura Lalliard
D E S T I N AT I O N S
D E S T I N AT I O N S
CREATIVE TEAM PHOTOGRAPHY: Valery
PLANNING, DESIGN, FLORALS: Laure GOWNS: Nicole
SUIT: Vêtements SHOES: Jessica
BRIDAL ACCESSORIES: Martina MUA: Marine
Spose From Les Petites Précieuses
PRESS CONSULTANT: Press STYLING DISH: Simple
& Pr Consultant
SILK RIBBONS: Seidenband RENTALS: Joli CAKE: Petra
Chedom & Jeemoff
W E DDI N G I D E AS Bohemian and earthy inspired by the vintage African roots of Bomba Dancers mixed with a bit of African Moroccan vibes, this styled shoot showcases the beauty of love in the African diaspora. Photographed by Angie & Marko Photographers
CREATIVE TEAM PHOTOGRAPHER: Angie
& Marko by Olivia Mar MODEL: Thandiwe Ogbonna VENUE: Field Manor CAKE AND DESSERTS: Sweet Miss V’s HAIR, MUA: Misti Blu Dream MODEL: Rodney Lofton RENTALS & STYLING: Ocean Hawks Rentals RINGS & RINGBOX: Raw
GRAZING TABLE/CATERING: Keep
It Local Brevard Catering and Events STATIONERY: Hands of Hollis CALLIGRAPHY: Words Made Semple FLORALS: Fern and Curl Designs DAY OF COORDINATOR: Mochar Events & Design TUX: All Brides 2 Be Tuxedo & Formalwear DRESSES: Olivia Bowen Bridal
WEDDING IDEAS A romantic chateau, stunning scenic views, lavishly lush florals, and editorial glamour, this shoot shows how to pull off an intimate destination wedding with class and style. Photographed by Tamara Gruner Photography
"Our French wedding editorial took place at the Stunning Chateau Martinay in Carpentras France. Located in the sleepy town of Carpentras, it's stunning Architecture is a feast for the eyes. From the english boxwood gardens spralling around the chateau to the unique black and white tile entryway, it is a perfect blend of both old and new world designs." - Carrie Moe from Type A Society
|â€‚ 7 7
D E S T I N AT I O N S
CREATIVE TEAM BLACK GOWN: Ziad
Nakad pulled from Mephistopheles Productions CAR: from Chateau Martinay TUX: Jean Jaques Ceremony
STYLIST AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Carrie COORDINATOR: WEP
Moe of Type A Society PHOTOGRAPHER: Tamara Gruner Photography EVENT
in Provence HAIR AND MAKEUP: Beauty by Maeva FILMMAKER: Alex Chevalier Films EDITORIAL PLANNING:
Stephanie of WEP Events MALE MODEL AGENCY: Enjoy Models FEMALE MODEL AGENCY: Karins Models VENUE: Chateau Martinay TABLETOP: Furniture
Be Lounge LINEN: Nuage Europe TABLETOP: Canigueral Mesas Con Esencia & Madame De La Maison FLORIST:
Flowers by Celine CAKE: Sweet Creations Cake INVITE: Yonder Design SHOES: Jimmy CHoo ART BACKDROPS: JRD backdrop LOCUS COLLECTION: @locuscollection WEDDING DRESSES : Berta
Bridal - Pulled from Metal Flaque & Inabal Dror
D E S T I N AT I O N S
CAN'T STOP LOVE Grammy-nominated singer/song-writer, MAJOR., has not only been consistently climbing the music charts but also climbing the ladder into the hearts of millions of fans world-wide. His hit single “Why I Love You” is unequivocally the most popular wedding song of all-time having just surpassed 103 million views on YouTube. After so many years of pouring his heart and soul into countless black weddings all over the world, MAJOR. also known as “Mr. Why I Love You” has found his muse. Houston, Texas is where he fell in love with making music at a young age, and it’s also where he fell in love with Nichelle. In our exclusive interview, the couple share their love story and plans for moving forward with their wedding despite the pandemic.
PHOTOS: THE CARTER'S TOUCH, DARIUS CARTER (PRINCIPLE), STEVI CARTER (ASSISTANT) CAR: KELVIN TRUIT T (OWNER), ‘66 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL BARBER: KELVIN TRUIT T, L A ENGAGEMENT RING: JAIME SHEPHARD (JASON'S OF BEVERLY HILLS)
Interview by Jacqueline Nwobu
JACQUELINE Congratulations! Your engagement was so beautiful and thoughtful. I absolutely loved being a part of it. I loved sharing it and I'm so excited to get to know more about how the two of you met. So to get started, how did you meet? MAJOR. Well firstly, thank you. Thank you so much for those
words and thank you for the role that MunaLuchi played in helping to capture and enhance the experience. At the very last minute you came in with such a heart of support. You gave me a boost of motivation and encouragement and helped me to focus on areas that I may have forgotten about and just made it all the more incredible. So thank you so much. As it relates to how we met...high school. Well, middle school and high school. Nichelle's cousin was one of my best friends from high school and I ended up meeting her while hanging with her cousin. And just before I headed off to college, I asked her out on a date. She's a year younger than me. And we went on a date to Olive Garden. JACQUELINE Olive Garden! Gotta love those breadsticks. MAJOR. That free bread and salad. And we went on our first date to Olive Garden and she was nice, but she didn't really give me any more space. She kind of brushed me off and I was like, "Ah, okay. She'll be back, she'll be back." NICHELLE That's what he says. That's what he says. MAJOR. So that's how we met as I remember it. NICHELLE No, he's right. And thank you Jackie, for the congratulations and everything also. But he's right, that is how we met. He's best friends with my cousin growing up so I met him through my family. But when we went on our first date I was like, gosh, this guy is like so grown up. He's very mature and he's veryMAJOR. I had flowers. NICHELLE And he was getting ready to go to college and I was still
in high school. And he was going away for college, too. [It was] a bit more than I [was] ready for. But I was definitely impressed with him. He was such a gentleman. MAJOR. Well it's funny because we lost contact for over 10 years. We hadn't been in contact with each other until two years ago. Right, Nichelle? NICHELLE Yeah. JACQUELINE So after you met and went on your first date, did you date for a while or did you just leave and go off to college?
was sitting over at another table with some of my other family and I just hear him shout from across the room, "Nichelle! Nichelle!" And I'm likeMAJOR. I didn't shout like that. I didn't shout like that. NICHELLE I'm like, "Oh my gosh, who's calling me? What is going on?" Of course I went over there and I was so excited to talk to him. But my mom and my family, they're like "Oh my gosh, Nichelle and Major are...talking to each other." And there was the whispering and all of that craziness. But I was happy to talk with him and we kind of caught up in those few minutes. But I was like, wow, I hope I get to see him again. JACQUELINE So with you being such a public figure, Major, did you feel awkward sharing your love life? MAJOR. Yeah, I did because I had enough examples of people moving too fast with exploiting their love and/or just showcasing their journey too soon. Because when the public gets involved, public places opinion and commentary, that can really shift and challenge the way in which you naturally evolve. And for me, as we were building the friendship, I wanted to make certain that friendship was what the foundation was so that I know as we build this love story, that as we grow, if we were to be challenged with anything, we knew that we could always go back to our foundation that is friendship. To remind us why we're in this thing in the first place. JACQUELINE Absolutely, absolutely. So let's talk about the proposal. At what point, Major, did you know you wanted to marry Nichelle. MAJOR. Listen, Nichelle has a compassion that really seeks to hear, see, and respond to the needs of my heart. JACQUELINE Wow. MAJOR. And it's really, really amazing because while it's not always just rosy and super sunny, she commits to the heart. She commits to love and commits to compassion. And that was different for me. That was something that was like yo, this is special. But I'll tell you about a situation. I had a concert on my Better With You In It tour where I hit Dallas. And I was coming to Dallas. And she sent me a message saying, "I can't wait to get to your concert. I'm really excited about it." And so my natural inclination was, oh you're probably going to need to put her on the list. Less than five minutes later she responds, "I bought tickets for me and my friend to come." JACQUELINE Awww, so sweet.
MAJOR. No. She brushed me off. And I was too old fashioned and she says she remembers two dates. I don't remember two. I remember one where I put my heart and my soul in it with flowers and everything. Imagine getting flowers, free breadsticks and salad.
MAJOR. That meant a whole lot. Now mind you, I didn't mind giving her tickets because that kind of naturally happens. Family, friends, they just automatically expect passes and comps. But, it showed me that she was in it to support me. Not just see what she can get.
JACQUELINE Free breadsticks and salad? Now thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m
Everyone bursts out in laughter. JACQUELINE So about 10 years passed. And how did the reconnection happen? NICHELLE We saw each other at my younger cousin's wedding. But it was the day before at the rehearsal dinner where we saw each other. And I remember sitting at the table with my family and Major
MAJOR. And that meant so much more. It communicated so much more. It communicated her heart. And then I just knew as we progressed in our relationship, there was a moment where she voiced to me when I asked her how many kids she wanted. And this...I never heard an expression so full of love....She said, "However many you give me." JACQUELINE Wow!
COV E R S TO R Y
interview by jacqueline nwobu
MAJOR. Yo. I said I am marrying her and I'm going to make sure that I help give her the best future she could ever dream of.
on the screen. And then, I told a few friends. It was probably less than five people that knew about it. And so it was special.
JACQUELINE Oh my gosh. That's so beautiful.
MAJOR. But, strangely, you called me at a time... I think I reached out to say I'm about to do something that's really special and I want to let you know about it because you and me and MunaLuchi had this relationship with my song being the most used song in the black community. And so I'm like let me call Jackie just to let her know what I'm about to do and if she wants to cover the story after. And you heard it and was like, I want to help you beyond that. Let me figure out how I can reach out to some vendors of color out in the area and do you have a videographer? And I was like, well I was going to have people use their phones and she said, "Okay, I'll get the videographer." And you're like, "Do you have a photographer?" And I said, "Well, I was going to have somebody-"... and you said, "I'll get that." And then you literally sent in a florist. You sent in a whole camera crew. And I'm just like God met my heart's desire because I wanted all of that but I was like, it's difficult for me to do all of that without giving it away.
MAJOR. Yeah. JACQUELINE How did you get to the point of picking the ring? How did you know what she liked? MAJOR. I pay attention to her style. I think Nichelle has a classy simple style. Like a modern Audrey Hepburn. JACQUELINE Classy, sophisticated. MAJOR. Yeah. You know what I mean? And so for me, the style just kept vibrating to me. And I had looked at a few chain retailers and I was quickly told don't you dare get no ring from just any chain. Make it special. And so my big brother, Jaimie Shepherd of Jason's of Beverly Hills told me to come over to where he was. And I had my budget and they worked with me and I found the perfect ring. I went to Tiffany's, I went to all these different places looking for rings and Jason's of Beverly Hills met what I felt spoke her name. And so it was really dope because, I'll let her say it, but the ring... Yeah, Nichelle, you can chime in on what you thought of the ring. JACQUELINE Once the proposal happened, we all saw the proposal, we know you were totally surprised. Tell us, how did you feel at that moment? NICHELLE I was definitely the most surprised. All of it. Oh my gosh,
the proposal video. Just the moment. Our families and some friends were there. So it was all very special. I did not think it was going to happen. MAJOR. You thought it was just a movie, right? NICHELLE Yeah. We just thought it was a movie with some people
MAJOR. And, yo, shout out to MunaLuchi and you all's heart and commitment. Real talk, no fluff. You all show up so strongly for our community and it meant so much to me. You will forever be someone that we appreciate, I know Nichelle agreesNICHELLE For sure. And so, yeah, all of that coming together like that was really, really special. JACQUELINE Awesome. I'm just glad that you called me, Major. JACQUELINE So after you got engaged, what was next? How did you go about picking your wedding date and location? MAJOR. I'll just say this real quick, our celebration reception was catered by Olive Garden. I just wanted you to know that. JACQUELINE Did they bring the bread basket, though?
coming to the movie with us. We were at home in Houston, which is special to us and so I was overwhelmed. Crying like a baby.
MAJOR. And I had a little bit more than breadsticks and salad this time. I had a little money now.
JACQUELINE And what did you think about the ring?
NICHELLE Oh, I love the ring! In those first few moments you're just like what is this on my hand even? Like you don't take it off. It had to sink in. And then a few, I don't know, weeks or months later, I'm looking and I'm just like this is just, it's beautiful. He did everything on his own, which I love. But if I had any input, it would have been exactly like this.
NICHELLE Yeah, we knew we definitely wanted to do it in Houston because that's where we're from, that's where a good majority of our family is and yeah, just because of our connection was always usually through Houston so we definitely wanted it to be in Houston.
JACQUELINE Oh my gosh. That is so beautiful. Major, did you involve any specific friends to keep this a secret and help pull this off? MAJOR. Well, yeah. Yvonne McNair. She's an event producer and has become a big sister of mine. She actually assisted with helping me lock down the movie theater, Edwards Cinema, in Houston. Which happens to be the venue where we went on our first date when we reconnected. So she helped me secure that and make sure that those logistics and the movie theater was accommodating. Like impressively accommodating. To playing my video immediately after Jumanji: Next Level. I thought that was kind of special that the title of the movie was Next Level, so it kind of led into what our moment was really about. MAJOR. Jason Keepler, one of my managers, helped film the video
that I shot at YouTube Space, LA. The proposal video that we showed
MAJOR. The date and the time of year, it's really special to us. So that's what also makes it difficult during this time of COVID interruption because our date means so much to us. So it's like we're just going to go on with the show no matter what the restrictions are. Even if it means we have to scale down. JACQUELINE And you still can have a fantastic celebration honoring your love while keeping your date, and everything will be great. MAJOR. Listen, we will not chance it nor put people's lives and safety in jeopardy. But we do know there's quite a bit of new policies and capacity restrictions, particularly for the state of Texas. But, we just put together our COVID update announcement that will be going out very soon. It's just really interesting times and while it can be a little discouraging in moments, love still stands. JACQUELINE Absolutely. MAJOR. Agape is our word and our mantra. Just to abide in agape
COV E R S TO R Y
love and just to be love always and just to see everything happens only when agape says yes. When love approves. JACQUELINE Absolutely. I wanted to find out from you, when it comes to the actual wedding planning experience, who's in charge of what? What are you taking care of, Nichelle? Are you the one that's worrying about the dĂŠcor and the design? Major, are you worrying about the music? And how are you even going about that with you having the number one wedding song? What's going to happen? NICHELLE I think we do a lot of it together. Definitely Major has more experience with the event production side of things so I listen to him when it comes to a lot of that type of thing. But, yeah, I think we both share ideas.. MAJOR. Yeah, we are working on our rhythm of sharing ideas and not taking stuff personally. Because there is a lot of passion. The thing is, I've been a part of some amazing weddings and I've been a part of some amazing productions and I just want to make certain that we don't have anything short of magic. JACQUELINE Yes. MAJOR. Because I believe one, she deserves it and two, why would my experience pale in comparison to the incredible ones that I've had before? There are a lot of things that I'm privy to from being the guy that often sings at these incredible weddings. We don't want to be too over the top. We have the help of Yvonne McNair of Captivate Marketing Group coming in to help produce and bring her staff in to assist. JACQUELINE Let's get into your engagement session. I got Queen and Slim vibes. I got laid back vibes. Just like you said, "that modern Audrey Hepburn." I absolutely love it. Can you talk about the inspiration for that? MAJOR. So this was Nichelle's first photo shoot, outside of family portraits and school pictures, probably. I'm used to this and I was just thinking of a way to capture her essence and to assure that her beauty is fully seen. Of course we had just, together, watched Queen and Slim so that kind of, interestingly, inspired one of the poses. However, the
COV E R S TO R Y C AR: KELVIN TRUITT (OWNER), â€˜66 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL
love will endure... idea to have the classic car represents me because I'm very old school as well. Like the golden years is my era. So, think Nat King Cole. Think the time when men prided themselves in being gentlemen. It was the lady and the gentlemen so I really wanted to convey that. So we got Darius Carter of the Carter's Touch Photography and we took over the city of LA. Like I said, this was new territory for Nichelle. It was definitely an experience. But, I think when she saw the end product, and even in the moment when Darius and his future bride Stevi (assisted) and would let us see certain captures - she saw just how beautiful she was and I was excited. Like, yeah, the vibes were cool, swanky. JACQUELINE Now that you're in the process and you're actually planning a wedding, do you have any advice or anything you want to tell couples who are planning their weddings right now during this period? Any advice for them? NICHELLE I would say just keep in mind and have at the forefront what means the most to the two of you. Wanting to make it special, wanting to have elements of both people to share with everybody, with their guests. I think that's the most important. It's been interesting dealing with input from family and friends. It's cool to have it, but just also remember the whole point is to share the love between the couple and to just keep that at the forefront. MAJOR. Yeah, I would say to remember to breathe. Pace is grace. Don't rush the planning, don't rush a thought, don't rush an emotion. Honor each moment that you're given in this time of engagement because it's a process of becoming one. Engagement. You're learning to understand opinions. You're learning to make room and appreciate and respect perspective beyond your own. And I think if that mindset and posture is committed through the process of planning, it's going to help things move a lot easier. And it'll allow you to weather storms like COVID and protests. It allows you to weather that more surely with your footing. JACQUELINE Beautiful! Favorite thing to do as a couple? MAJOR. We really like food. Although Nichelle is pescatarian. So we really love Mexican food. Nichelle is bilingual so she really likes showing off with her terminology when we go to orderMAJOR. And we enjoy watching movies and chilling. So the Netflix and chill, the quarantine and chill, kind of worked for us.
you'd like to travel to together? MAJOR. We want to go to Spain. We want to go to some water. Some island or something. We may have to delay our honeymoon from COVID interference and travel restrictions. But, we want to get seaside. JACQUELINE What's something that recently left you inspired? MAJOR. The random support, financially, from family and friends. Like our village just randomly just checking in. It's very encouraging because this has interrupted my... I'm in entertainment. My money is different now. And Nichelle is finishing a whole Doctorate. My Fiancé is gonna be a Doctor! But, there's so much love from my village just saying it's going to happen no matter what and we got you. That's really inspiring to me. NICHELLE For me, yeah, I think what Major said, too, has been inspiring. But, something else on top of all of this...Major is working on new music... Honestly, that is inspiring to me because it's like, wow, how do you find... I'm barely making it over here trying to navigate everything that's going on. Like how do you find the time to be creative and do that? So, honestly, that's something that [has me] like wow, if he can do that, I can handle this. We can handle this. So finding the strength to go on in that way, that's really cool. JACQUELINE It's just so beautiful the way the two of you just naturally support one another. I love it. And keep that as a strong point and foundation in your relationship because you don't see that often and I think it's really special what the two of you have. MAJOR. I'll say this, "Why I Love You" lays out the type of love that we all want and deserve. And I was familiar with heartbreak and the closest example to a love founded in reciprocity was my God relationship and my mama. So I had been on a search to find that "Why I Love You" love in the form of my future wife and that's what I found in Nichelle. She is my "Why I Love You." And so it's like a dream unfolding because I helped so many other people navigate lyrically. [I've helped them] navigate and find what they deserve and I happened upon my treasure along the way. So, it's pretty dope.
Keep up with MAJOR. on Instagram @nowthatsmajor and
JACQUELINE When everything opens up, where's the first place
"I had been on a search to find that Why I Love You love in the form of my future wife and that's what I found in Nichelle. She is my Why I Love You." - MAJOR.
YINKA AND NITIN
SHELAH + ANTOINE
TAYLOR + KENNETH
TEMIDAYO + ADEBOLA
ASHLEY + SEAN
IMANI + QADIR
CHELSEA + ALEXANDER
LYNDSEY + MARCUS
DEIRDRESHA + STACY
AMREGHE + NANA
RONETTE + MELVIN
ANDREA + MICHAEL
MICHELLE + KERMIT
TRACY + NANA
NATALIE + JOHN
CHARLYNE + RICHARD
AMINATA + TINO
ANNA + GRAYSON
KESI + SLATER
CARLYE + RONNIE
KAMI + ROB
HEATHER + CHARLES
DANYELLE + WILLIAM
YINKA + NITIN DALL AS, TX NOVEMBER 23, 2019
Photographed by Nana Annan Photography Text by Angela Conner
hen Yinka and Nitin spotted each other across the bar, it was an instant love connection. Yinka recalls, “It was a Wednesday, so the bar was closing a little early, and we decided to go to another spot together. We ended up going to three other spots together because we didn’t want our night to end and places kept closing on us!” When Nitin was ready to propose, he decided to make it an intimate moment with just the two of them… and their dog! Yinka reminisces, “I was getting ready for dinner and when I came out of the bathroom into our bedroom, there were candles everywhere and Stevie Wonder was playing. At first, I just thought he was being romantic, but then he started telling me how he felt. I said, “OMG! You’re doing it!!!” Then he opened our bedroom door, let our dog Omari in, got on his knee to play with him a bit and pulled my ring off his collar. It was perfect.” Their adorable dog was also a part of their gorgeous multicultural wedding in Dallas. Yinka is Nigerian and Nitin is Indian, so they had three ceremonies in one day. That meant three dress changes for the stylish couple and their handsome wedding party. Yinka was a glamorous sight to behold in every dress she wore including her modern A-line gown. The Sikka’s wedding was the perfect fusion of love and culture.
wedding highlights: Culture: I’m Nigerian & Nitin is Indian. We wanted to honor both our cultures and we only wanted our ceremony to be one day so we had 3 ceremonies in one day! Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: I got my bridesmaids Dior friendship bracelets. Nitin got his groomsmen monogrammed overnight bags filled with Advil, Red Bull & other essentials, lol. First dance song: “Adorn” by Miguel
best wedding memory
During our Christian ceremony looking into the crowd & seeing all our friends & family smiling. There was so much joy throughout the day.
Advice for engaged couples
Pat you and your partner’s wants first... it’s YOUR wedding.
EVENT PLANNING: Dure Events PHOTOGRAPHER: Nana Annan Photography DRESS: Alyne by Rita Vinieris DRESS BOUTIQUE: Lovely Bride Dallas VEIL: Toni Federici DRESS ALTERATIONS: Altered For The Altar WHITE DRESS SHOES: Manolo Blahnik WHITE DRESS EARRINGS: Bvlgari RECEPTION DRESS: C.Monaco HAIR STYLIST: Pearl Joy Beauty Bridal MUA: GlamourRX BRIDE & GROOM NIGERIAN LOOK: Bimmms24 WEDDING PARTY STYLING & BRIDAL ESCORT: Segungele VIDEOGRAPHY: Felicity Moments EVENT DECOR: Flora Eventi NIGERIAN LOOK SHOES: Bottega Veneta INDIAN LOOK SHOES: YSL NIGERIAN CATERING: Glorious Feast NIGERIAN LATE NIGHT BITES: Tasty Bites BARAAT DJ: DJ Jazz Entertainment WEDDING DJ: DJ Don X PHOTO BOOTH: mirmir photo GROOM’S TUX: J Crew GROOMSMEN TUX: The Black Lux VENUE: The Westin Stonebriar DOG’S INDIAN & NIGERIAN LOOK DESIGN: Chief By Ubong BRIDE’S INDIAN DRESS: Asia Boutique GROOM’S INDIAN ATTIRE: Manyavar Indian FOOD: Sigree CAKE: Fancy Cakes By Lauren COOKIES: The Cookie Rack
SHELAH + ANTOINE MIAMI, FL FEBRUARY 7, 2020 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 Angela Conner
ho says women can’t make the first move? Shelah and Antoine followed each other's Instagram accounts for a while, exchanging a few comments but nothing more. Then one day, Shelah decided to “slide” into Antoine’s direct messages on a dare from her best friend. She didn't expect a reply, but Antonie replied almost immediately. When he traveled to NYC, they decided to meet up. Shelah recalls, “The first time I saw him I fell in love with his big smile and his kind eyes. He says, to this day, that he loved me before he met me!” When Antoine proposed at the Komodo Restaurant in Miami, Shelah was caught off guard. She was too busy dancing to Beyonce. She reminisces, “Antoine asked me if I wanted to go up to the top deck of the restaurant for a nicer view. As we walked up the stairs, I heard Beyonce’s song ‘Formation’ playing. I was so caught up dancing that when he got down on one knee -- I missed him completely the first time. But, he surprised me with a room full of our friends and family. It was one of the most beautiful days of my life because of all the love and support in the room.” This stylish couple wanted their wedding to be bold, sexy and fun. They took full advantage of Miami’s beautiful weather and gorgeous ocean views by having a lavish outdoor ceremony. Shelah stunned in a form fitting custom gown by Pantora Bridal. She exclaims, “The most important element in my dress was that I could dance in it,” and dance she did. For their extravagant indoor reception, Shelah changed into a sequined ensemble and performed a special choreographed dance for Antoine, backup dancers and all. The McColister’s wedding perfectly mixed amazing decor, hip fashion, sentimental vows and non traditional moments. It was a true reflection of their outgoing personalities and passionate love.
wedding highlights Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: I made my bridesmaid care boxes that had some body oils, soaps and a handwritten thank you letter. First dance song: “I Love You” by Lenny Williams Something new: We had a reverse unplugged ceremony, which was Reverend Roxy's idea. We asked our guests to refrain from recording and taking pics during the ceremony, but we gave them a designated moment where Ace and I posed so everyone could get that picture or that video to post -- and then put the phones away to be fully present. Best memories: Exchanging vows. Hearing our vows out loud for the first time, when I had rehearsed them in my head so many times was surreal. And Ace wrote a poem that completely touched my heart. In that very moment our lives changed, we had committed both publicly and privately to ourselves and each other on a deeper level in front of the people we love the most. Advice for brides: Decide on three things that are absolutely important to you. Do not budge from them, be flexible with absolutely everything else
vendors PHOTOGRAPHY: Reem Photography WEDDING PLANNER: RW Events BRIDE'S DRESS: Pantora Bridal HAIR SALON: Bella Marie MUA: Shelby Rose BRIDE’S HEADPIECE/VEIL: Pantora Bridal CAKES/DESSERTS: Eddas Cake Designs CATERING: Mondrian South Beach CEREMONY & RECEPTION VENUE: Mondrian South Beach EVENT DECOR/DESIGN: RW Events ENTERTAINMENT: TRAP Karaoke FLORALS: Beautiful Kreations HAIR: Simone Hylton CUSTOM SIGNAGE: AM+Co VIDEOGRAPHY: Bricks Group Media BRIDE CHOREOGRAPHY + PERFORMANCE: Tiffany Monique
TAYLOR + KENNETH B E T H A N Y, PA SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y M H a r r i s S t u d i o s
Text by Angela Conner
he beginning of Kenneth and Taylor’s love story was truly a family affair. Taylor was working at Costo the summer before her graduate program at the University of Delaware. On one of her last days at the store, Kenneth’s parents and aunt walked in. Their conversation started when Kenneth’s dad noticed her University of Delaware shirt, but it quickly evolved into a matchmaking session when Kenneth’s aunt asked Taylor if she was single. Taylor recalls, “Kenneth’s mom and dad searched Facebook for a picture of him. We figured out that we both were Christian, college basketball players, and the same age, 23.” Before leaving, Kenneth’s aunt made sure to get Taylor’s phone number.
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A month later, his aunt reached out to Taylor and invited her to church. They had a great time. A few weeks later, she called Taylor to ask if it was still okay to introduce her to Kenneth. Taylor remembers, “The next morning, he texted me and from that point, we communicated nonstop and went on our first date a week later.” Aunties know best! Two years later, Kenneth proposed at Taylor's graduation party in front of family and friends. They immediately began planning their ethereal and elegant mansion wedding. Fragrant cream roses nestled in beds of lush greenery perfectly complemented their black, gold and white decor giving their outdoor wedding a classically glam feel. At 5’11”, Taylor was the statuesque and graceful in her Justin Alexander mermaid gown, which she found only four days after Kenneth proposed! While all of the details of their wedding were showstopping, it was the quiet moments, staring into other eyes and reflecting on the blessing of familial love that made them smile the most.
vendors PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY:
M Harris Studios
WEDDING DRESS DESIGNER:
Bridesmaids and groomsmen’s gifts: I gave my bridesmaids silk robes and wine. Kenny gave his groomsmen custom bowties and cigars. Gifts for one another: We decided not to do gifts for each other. Ceremony entrance song: “Here and Now” by Luther Vandross First dance song: “For You” by Kenny Latimore
WEDDING DRESS SALON:
HAIR/MUA: I Do Artistry SHOES: Betsy Johnson CEREMONY & RECEPTION LOCATION: The Mansion at
Noble Lane FLORIST: Embellished Details CAKE: Electric City Bakehouse CATERING: Mission BBQ EVENT DESIGNER: Antonia Baker GROOM’S ATTIRE: Calvin Klein GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Men’s Wearhouse DJ: KJ Entertainment
V OW R E N E WA L
TEMIDAYO + ADEBOLA S I M I VA L L E Y. C A L I F O R N I A JUNE 30, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y B r i a n L e a hy
Text by Angela Conner
emi and Addie met as teenagers in 2007. They exchanged numbers, but nothing came of it. However, when they met again in 2011 at a friend's 21st birthday party, there was an instant connection. After dating for several years, Addie proposed to Temi during a vacation on the island of Mauritius. Temi recalls, “one night we had a romantic dinner on the beach. During our first course, Addie started talking about us and our future. The next thing I know, he was on one knee, and I was screaming and crying. When I finally said yes, the waiter was the first person I told we were engaged!” Their bright and romantic outdoor summer wedding was a dream. The California sun glistened beautifully against their desert landscape. Temi shares, “The lighting was such a huge part of the day, which is why we chose an evening outdoor wedding.” A number of guests flew in from Nigeria, and Temi and Addie made sure to honor their Nigerian roots. Temi recalls, “During our ceremony, we had a singer infuse praise and worship into her performance, which is a big part of church for us Nigerians. Afterward, the saxophonist serenaded guests with some Nigerian songs, especially “Repete” by Black Magic, which was Addie’s special request. At the end of the night, there was jollof rice and other Nigerian food served at the afterparty.” The wedding's scenic beauty, stunning decor and delicious cuisine wowed guests, but the carnival after party was a memorable and unexpected surprise! Guests actually got to tap into their inner child and ride a carousel and ferris wheel. It was a uniquely perfect ending to an astoundingly beautiful wedding.
vendors PHOTOGRAPHY: Brian Leahy Photography EVENT PLANNER: Anne Wilner Events FLORALS: Lilla Bello BRIDE'S DRESS: Ysa Makino BRIDAL SALON: Kleinfelds BRIDEâ€™S HEADPIECE/VEIL: Kleinfelds BRIDE'S SHOES: Badgley Mischka BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Fablane by Derin GROOM'S ATTIRE: Suit Supply GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Ryan Seacrest Distinction & Suit Supply CAKE: The Butter End CATERING: Tres LA BAR: WLDE CEREMONY VENUE: Hummingbird Nest Ranch EVENT DECOR/DESIGN: Lilla Bello & Anne Wilner Events ENTERTAINMENT: Band On the Beat & DJ Tomi Tribe HAIR: Marjorie Lightford LIGHTING: Pacific Event Services LINENS: BBJ Linens MUA: Bimpe Onakoya RECEPTION VENUE: Hummingbird Nest Ranch RENTALS: Theoni Collection (China), Bright Event Rentals (Glassware), Town & Country (Furniture), ARC (Tenting) CARNIVAL RENTALS: Zebra Entertainment STATIONERY: Katrina Calligraphy and Color & Creation VIDEOGRAPHY: Don Baptiste
wedding highlights "80% of the guests flew from Nigeria so we really wanted to create a magical experience for us and our guests. Music was so important and choosing the live band during the reception was a great choice that everyone enjoyed. The carnival at the end was the cherry on top of it all. Everyone had a blast and danced till the very end! we had a blast and that was so important to us!" Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: Ohh, custom gold sneakers! First Dance song: “Loving You” by Paolo Nutini"
D E S T I N AT I O N S
ASHLEY + SEAN PROVIDENCE, RI OC TO B E R 4 , 2 0 1 9 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y Yu r i Va y s g a n t P h o t o g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
hen people take the train in NYC, they usually are laser focused. They want to get on and get off. But when Ashley and Sean crossed paths on the 2/3 express train in NYC, it was almost as if fate placed them there. Ashley recalls, “The train had delays, so Sean decided to sit next to me.” They sparked a conversation, which led to a beautiful long term relationship. Sean supported Ashley through nursing school in Stony Brook, Long Island. It was a 2 hour commute from where he stayed in Harlem. But Ashley recalls, “Sean always made sure to come up to school and surprise me, especially when I was stressed out with my classes. “ Ashley was everything Sean was looking for in a woman - beautiful inside and out. He felt he could truly be himself around her, so it was an easy decision to ask her to become his wife. Their wedding was the perfect reflection of their culture and personalities- chic with a touch of tropical vibes. They both love the color black, so they made sure everyone in their wedding party wore this classic color. They wanted a wedding venue that reflected their love for travel and their African roots, so they chose the Roger Williams Botanical Garden in Rhode Island. The foliage of the garden reminded them of their countries of origin: Guyana and Cape Verde.
wedding highlights Wedding Party Gifts: Bracelet, earrings, robe, slippers, and individual thank you cards. Favorite item on the menu: Salmon First dance song: “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross How did you know they were “the one”? How did you know your fiance was “the one”? "I was in nursing school in Stony Brook, Long Island. That's about a two hour commute from Harlem. Sean always made sure to come up to school and surprise me, especially when I was stressed out with my classes. He was like a break from all of the deadlines and exams of school. Also, the moment he walked into my parents house, my Mom yelled at him, and he still made her laugh - I knew it then." - Ashley "Ash had everything I physically was looking for in a woman. But what sealed the deal for me was her ability to just “chill,” meaning she allowed me to be me. There’s no pressure to impress her or be anybody else besides myself. That realization happened during a very long car ride to her parent's house in Massachusetts. We said nothing to each other for a while, and I felt the energy was not forced and it was pure." - Sean Best Memories "My best memory was dancing with my father. He picked the song, so it was a surprise to me until that moment." - Ashley "The best memory from the wedding was when all of my groomsmen asked me 1 million times if I was going to cry. I reminded them 1 million times I was a G. When I saw Ashley walk down the aisle, of course I cried! I still am a G, just a married one now." - Sean Advice for Engaged Couples Hire a wedding planner; don't argue; hold each other accountable for deadlines, payments and tasks.
Dam, veliberis adEnditat harum nusanim olorpor itatur rem. Itaquos dollab iderumquid qui ut aperundis exersperia nonsequatque con
vendors PHOTOGRAPHER: Yuri Photography WEDDING PLANNER: Behind the Design DESIGN & DECOR: Behind the Design FLORALS: Fern by Boston Rose VENUE: Roger Williams Botanical Center CAKES: Cakes by ToniMarie CATERING: Sara’s Cooking VIDEOGRAPHER: Together Forever Films RENTALS: Rental Depot LIGHTING: Dee Jay Mott LINENS: Rental Depot DRAPES: Simplistic Charm MUA: Doll Face Boston WEDDING DRESS: Allure Bridal BRIDAL SALON: Alexandra’s Bridal
BRIDE’S HEADPIECE: Beautelicate BRIDE'S SHOES: Jimmy Choo HAIR: Shawnette Peterson MAKEUP: Doll Face Boston GROOM’S ATTIRE: 5001 Flavor BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Dessy GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: 5001 Flavor STATIONERY: Boxed Wedding Invitations DJ: Hypatonez MC: DeeJay Mott
IMANI + QADIR S TAT E N I S L A N D, N Y SEPTEMBER 1, 2019 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 Angela Conner
or Imani and Qadir, it was never a matter of whether they would get married, but when. They were childhood friends who met at the age of thirteen at Imani’s birthday party. Imani reminisces, “Qadir was no regular 13-year-old boy. He walked into my party in an all-white suit and quickly introduced himself to everyone. Guests assumed that Qadir was my date since his all white-suit and black shirt matched my all-white dress with a black bow. We still have the photos!” Throughout the years, they kept in touch as friends, but Qadir caught Imani off guard when he asked her to accompany him to his high school senior prom. She reluctantly accepted because she had a boyfriend. But, to her surprise, they had an amazing time. “I broke up with my boyfriend the next week!” Imani says. They soon developed a long distance romance. Imani shares, “We
went to separate colleges in different states, studied abroad in different parts of the world. I went on to law school; Qadir started his career, and yet somehow we always managed to experience life together even when we were physically apart. We knew that we had something special from the very beginning and distance was never an obstacle.” Since they love to travel, it was fitting that Qadir proposed to Imani on a family vacation to Disney World. He planned a fancy family dinner at a restaurant on the water. During the fireworks show, he suddenly dropped down on one knee. Imani recalls, “Our parents were in on it as well as the videographer who posed as a restaurant guest. We laughed, cried, ditched the overly priced restaurant, grabbed some fast food, and spent the night at our hotel celebrating with our families.” The theme of their wedding was “Black Love.” During their ceremony, their officiant greeted their guests as “the beautiful people of Wakanda” and gave a heartfelt speech about the history of black love in America. They incorporated a Yoruba tradition called the “Tasting of the Four Elements” and concluded their ceremony with the African American custom of “Jumping of the Broom.” Guests headed inside for their chic black and white reception full of modern decor, silver accents and elegant cascading white orchids. A luxe candlelit sweetheart table, custom white dance floor, and six-tier white and silver wedding cake were just a few of the reception’s glamorous design elements. Guests partied the night away enjoying gourmet food, a cigar bar and top-shelf liquor. It was an epic wedding to celebrate the continuation of an epic love story.
D E S T I N AT I O N S
Favorite item on menu: Favorite item on menu: Waffles topped with Southern Fried Chicken, Grilled Peaches Balsamic Maple Syrup (Small Plate Appetizer at Cocktail Hour)
EVENT PLANNER: Lauren Beamon - Elle
First dance song: “The Closer I Get to You” by Luther Vandross & Beyoncé
Bridal BRIDE’S HEADPIECE/VEIL:
PHOTOGRAPHY: Stanlo Photography
Audrey New York BRIDE'S DRESS: Pnina Tornai BRIDAL SALON: Kleinfeld
Pnina TornaI BRIDE'S SHOES: Christian
best wedding memory:
Louboutin CAKES/DESSERTS: BCakeNY
"We didn’t have formal bridesmaids or groomsmen. We wanted all of the people in our lives to know how special they were to us. However, I did get ready with some of my girls (and by some I mean nearly all). I surprised them with monogrammed robes the morning of the wedding. Qadir got ready with all of the men in his life and gifted them with monogrammed socks.
CEREMONY VENUE: Above Garden
The morning of our wedding was completely nontraditional. Typically, the bride and groom don’t see each other until the wedding ceremony and for some less traditional couples, until they have their “first look.” Qadir and I decided to spend the entire morning together. We went around and handed out gifts to some of the special people in our lives, including our parents, grandparents, and godparents, and then had a huge family breakfast together before we separated to get ready for the wedding." - Imani
CATERING: Above in-house catering
CEREMONY MUSIC: MattViolinist EVENT DECOR/DESIGN: Elle Audrey New York ENTERTAINMENT: Pulse Sounds | DJ Mister Cee FLORALS: NYC Flower Project GROOM'S ATTIRE: Billionaire New York HAIR: Pamela Johnson LIGHTING: Pulse Sounds LINENS: The Finishing Touch & Above MUA: Tokyo Glam RECEPTION VENUE: Above Rooftop RENTALS: Glam Party Rentals STATIONERY: Papered Wonders VIDEOGRAPHY: Iris Films CIGAR ROLLER: Village Cigar Headquarters Babylon CUSTOM DANCE FLOOR: SHOUT! VIDEO/GIF BOOTH: Amy Anaiz Photography
CHELSEA + ALEXANDER AT L A N TA , G A M AY 4 , 2 0 1 9 P H O TOG R A P H E D B Y L aJoy P h o to g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
Favorite item on menu: Peppered Flat Iron Steak, Garlic Potato Mash & seasonal veggies Bridesmaids gifts: Yves Saint Laurent nail polish (for the day of wedding, Moet, Champagne gummies, a candle & Ferro Rocher Chocolates Groomsmen gifts: A Flask, Hennessy, a Cuban Cigar, Gold name engraved lighter & Ferro Rocher Chocolates First dance song: “The Makings of You” by Curtis Mayfield
hildhood friends turned life long lovers, Chelsea and Alexander’s love story spans decades. They grew up in the small town of Augusta, Georgia and have known each other since their teenage years. But, when they settled in Atlanta for college, they rarely ran into each other. It was a Thanksgiving trip to Augusta that finally brought them together. Chelsea shares, “Alex spotted me while visiting home in Augusta for the holidays. He approached me and sparked a conversation that ended with laughter. He was persistent in setting our first official date back in Atlanta. Over the course of several lunch and dinner dates, our relationship flourished.”
Best wedding memory
After years of dating, Alexander decided to propose during a trip to Paris. He recalls, “I scheduled a private dinner at Ciel de Paris and proposed to Chelsea 56 floors above the city of love while overlooking the sparkling Eiffel Tower. I discreetly asked the waiter to film the proposal, so the special moment could be captured forever.”
"My favorite memory from our wedding was our first dance. The atmosphere was electric once we entered the reception and were introduced as Mr. & Mrs. Walker for the first time. We danced down the aisle and hit the dance floor. We had the crowd going wild with our choreographed dance moves. We even tricked them into believing he had an audio issue until we broke out in our break dance. I absolutely loved my first dance with my husband, though neither of us are the best dancers. Our first dance definitely set the tone for the reception and allowed everyone to have a really good time."
Over 300 guests joined them to celebrate their wedding in Atlanta, GA. Their glamorous cream and gold decor meshed seamlessly with the 1920s art-deco design of their ballroom venue. For their reception entrance, Chelsea and Alexander decided to get the party started by performing a choreographed dance. It set the tone and guests soon threw their cares away and joined them on the floor. The Walker’s nuptials prove that classy weddings can still be fun.
vendors PHOTOGRAPHY: LaJoy Photography EVENT COORDINATOR: Z. Curlett Events FLORALS: Stylish Stems BRIDE'S DRESS: Martina Lina Bridal Designs BRIDE’S HEADPIECE/VEIL: La Raine’s Boutique BRIDE'S SHOES: Christian Louboutin - Faridaravie BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: The Dessy GroupAlfred Sung GROOM'S ATTIRE: The Black Tux GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Savvi Formalwear HAIR: Brittany Washington MUA: The Makeup Diva CAKE: For Goodness Cakes CATERING: Proof of the Pudding CEREMONY VENUE: The Biltmore Ballrooms EVENT DECOR/DESIGN: The Bride LIVE MUSIC: Orchestra Noir DJ: DJ Tay Productions MC: Jason Carey LIGHTING: Uplight Your Event LINENS: Party Tables - Sanders Husky RENTALS: Proof of the Pudding WEDDING INVITATIONS: Marry Me Magazines WEDDING PROGRAMS: Minted VIDEOGRAPHY: Teko Lewis of LaJoy Photography PHOTO BOOTH: Robot Booth EVENT SITTER: Elegant Event Sitters
D E S T I N AT I O N S
LYNDSEY + MARCUS NEW ORLEANS, L A AUGUST 17, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y C a l v i n G a v i o n P h o t o g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
yndsey and Marcus first caught each other's eyes during their Sociology class at Louisiana State University. However, nothing transpired between them until three years later when they ran into each other at the Essence Festival in New Orleans. After some flirtatious banter, they exchanged numbers. Over the next six years, they would travel the world together, purchase their dream home and welcome their beautiful daughter, Maleia, into the family. Lyndsey had no idea that a family photo shoot would turn into a proposal. She shares, “It was incredible how Marcus was able to keep such a big secret while planning every detail down to the choice of outfits we wore. When it was my turn to take individual pictures, Marcus snuck away with Maleia to change into matching t-shirts that said ‘Will You Marry Me?’ and ‘Will You Marry My Daddy?’ Of course, I said yes, and the best part was that it was all captured on camera.” They knew they wanted their wedding to be romantic and fresh. Lindsey shares, “It was important that we didn’t have a wedding that looked like someone else’s. We chose to drape the entire ceremony from ceiling to floor in well-designed white fabric. For our reception, we had an all-white dance floor with a gold monogram that was placed in front of our sweetheart table. Our sweetheart table was placed in front of the gold gates that were used for our ceremony. We also had the most stunning ceiling structure made with thousands of hanging crystals.” Their white decor with subtle pops of pastel pink gave the appearance that guests were walking into a heavenly cloud of love and glamour. It was timeless yet unique, just like the Thornton's love.
wedding highlights Bridesmaids/Groomsment gifts: My gift to the bridesmaids included monogrammed robes, slippers, and
wedding day jewelry (earrings and bracelet sets with a special note in each one). I also took care of hair and makeup costs, so my ladies could just come and relax. Marcus decided he would provide the tuxedo and shoes for each groomsman. He also gifted them with a special hat to remember the special day.
Gifts for one another: Because we have been so blessed, we made a decision not to give each other gifts. Instead,
we would start The Marcus Thornton Foundation to give back to the community. We agreed to put any money we would spend on gifts towards the foundation. Also in lieu of wedding registry gifts, we asked guests to donate towards the foundation so that our family and friends can be a part of the beginning of something special that will continue to grow, just as our marriage.
Ceremony entrance song: “The Point Of It All” by Anthony Hamilton First dance song: “Love you More” by Ginuwine
wedding highlights Culture: Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? "Although our wedding was fairly traditional, we were in New Orleans!!! So to end the night, we incorporated some of the culture by having a second line band with custom umbrellas made by my Aunt Terri. We also had custom made handkerchiefs for the guest as we second lined through the hotel, out to Canal street. There, a horse and carriage waited to take us on our farewell ride down Canal street."
vendors PLANNER/DESIGNER: Elegance by ACE PHOTOGRAPHER: Calvin Gavion FLORIST: Bella Blooms VENUE: Jung VIDEO: Montoto Productions HAIR: Shassity Stevenson MUA: Javetta White BRIDE ATTIRE: Harold Clarke Couturier Atelier GROOM ATTIRE: Lavoisier Suits STATIONERY: Exquisite Evites CAKE: Royal Cakery FLOORING: B Floored LLC ENTERTAINMENT: Edward “Ed” West Sr., Kinfolk Brass Band, and DJ Pleasure
D E S T I N AT I O N S
DEIRDRESHA + STACY N E WA R K , N J NOVEMBER 8, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y L i n d a Mc Q u e e n P h o t o g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
ove is Blind. There is a whole TV show dedicated to this concept where people date without seeing each other. Stacy and Deirdresha’s love story started in a similar way. The online dating site eharmony declared they were a 100% match in many categories! But, because Deirdresha took advantage of a free promotion, her profile was limited to messaging only. She couldn’t see Stacy’s pictures. However, Stacy decided to send Deirdresha a message. Her witty banter and charm stole Deirdresha’s heart. Deirdresha recalls, “We exchanged numbers on Sunday morning, and Stacy sent me a picture. I thought she was extremely beautiful! When I called after church, we talked on the phone for 12 hours. Literally, 12 hours! The rest is herstory!” Stacy pulled off a heartwarming proposal during a friends and family vacation in Jamaica! It felt like they were just having a casual night, drinking with friends at their Villa, but suddenly the TV came on. Deirdresha recalls, “I heard the voice of my sorority sister! Several videos played with everyone giving their blessing and saying how happy they were for us. These were videos from important people in
my life: my sorority sisters, my nephew, my cousin, my baby sister, and the last video was from my older sister who gave her blessing on behalf of herself and my dad who passed away. Then Stacy got down on one knee. She couldn’t ask my dad for my hand in marriage, so she asked all the important people to me. Having everyone be a part of that moment was absolutely perfect!” When planning their wedding in Newark, NJ, they knew exactly what theme they wanted- rustic chic. Deirdresha shares, “We wanted our wedding to be a reflection of us. We didn’t like big ballrooms with chandeliers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it just didn’t fit us. We wanted a more rustic venue with a lot of charm and a lot of greenery.” Deirdresha is Jamaican, and Stacy is Guyanese, so it was also extremely important that their wedding reflected their heritage. Deirdresha says, “The menu and music at our wedding was entirely inspired by both of our cultures. Our DJ, DJ Sparx, completely understood the type of Caribbean atmosphere we wanted. He played a lot of soca, reggae, and dancehall music. It really allowed us and our guests to have an amazing time!”
wedding highlights Bridal Party gifts: Dresha’s bridal party gifts: Tote bags, tumblers, candles, robes, slippers, compact mirrors. Stacy’s bridal party gifts: Robes, and brooches First Dance Song: “Why I Love You” by Major Sentimental moment: Dresha: I must say my favorite wedding accessory from my wedding day wasn’t anything I purchased. Our wedding planner, Toni, gave me the most thoughtful and incredible gift before I walked down the aisle. My dad passed away so not having him here to walk me down the aisle was very hard. Before I walked down the aisle Toni handed me my bouquet and on it there was a charm with a picture of my dad and another charm that said, “Dad I know you are walking beside me today,” with my dad’s ring that I usually wear attached to the charm. Of course, I instantly started crying! Best Memories Stacy: I was so nervous the entire day and couldn’t wait to see my fiancé. For that reason, I was so excited we agreed to a first touch. I would say it was the most calming moment of the entire day. Dresha: There are so many amazing memories from the wedding that it’s a bit hard to pick just one! For me, one of the best memories was walking down the aisle and finally seeing Stacy at the altar. I was opposed to doing a first look, so that was the moment we saw each other for the first time. It was definitely worth the wait! She had tears in her eyes and so did I. We locked eyes, and I just couldn’t wait to get to her.
vendors PHOTOGRAPHY: Linda McQueen Photography DECOR DESIGN & STYLING: Herkreations PLANNING & DAY OF COORDINATION: Ellie Simpson VIDEOGRAPHY: Luxor Wedding Films DRESHA’S WEDDING DRESS: Essence of Australia DRESHA’S RECEPTION DRESS: Oyemwen DRESHA’S BRIDAL SALON: RK Bridal DRESHA’S HEADPIECE/VEIL: RK Bridal DRESHA’S JEWELRY: Bridal Styles Boutique DRESHA’S SHOES: Jeffery Campbell and Besty Johnson STACY’S SHOES: Christian Louboutin DRESHA’S BRIDAL PARTY DRESSES: Jessica Angel Collection STACY’S ATTIRE: Garcon Couture STACY’S BRIDAL PARTY ATTIRE: Garcon Couture DRESHA’S HAIR: Tyra’s Hair Experience STACY’S HAIR: Explosive Styles DRESHA AND STACY’S MUA: Brides by Melanie B BRIDESMAIDS MUA: Beauty by KKB DRESHA’S NAILS: Maria Urena CAKE: Lovely Layers DJ / LIGHTING: Finer Touch Entertainment FLORALS: NYC Flower Project LINENS: Bbj Linens RENTALS: Evolution Event Rental’s & Daphnee Lauren Rental’s DRAPING: Perez Events STATIONERY: Margo and Bees
D E S T I N AT I O N S
AMREGHE + NANA WA S H I N G T O N , D.C . AUGUST 10, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y Z o o mw o r x
Text by Angela Conner
lass, opulence and sophistication was infused into every aspect of the Poku's extravagant wedding at the National Harbor near Washington, D.C. 300 guests attended their elegant summer nuptials overlooking the historic Potomac River. While the modern venue and classic ivory, gold and blush decor was mesmerizing, everyoneâ€™s mouths dropped when Amreghe graced the aisle with her 100 foot floating veil. It was the perfect royal moment in a truly regal wedding ceremony. Their reception was non-stop energy from start to finish. Amreghe is a vegan, so she made sure there were delicious vegan dishes for cocktail hour and dinner. Guests partied all night enjoying a hookah lounge and live musical performances. The couple watched all of the festivities from their grand sweetheart table, which rested under a canopy of luscious blush and ivory flowers. It was another lavish element, in a wedding full of breathtaking decor, epic moments and heart warming memories.
D E S T I N AT I O N S
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wedding highlights The ceremony: "I wrote my own vows. I actually finished writing my vows about 10 minutes before I walked down the aisle. I spoke from my heart; I just wanted everyone to know what kind of man I was marrying and how much I loved him with every morsel of my being. I also wanted to thank my king for accepting all my flaws/faults and still making me feel perfect in his eyes and let him know I appreciated him, and I would not give up on us.
vendors DESIGNER, PLANNER, Coordinator: Enchanted Events CINEMATOGRAPHY: URC Studio PHOTOGRAPHY: Zoomworx PRODUCTION: Phemstar Productions DECOR: BCG Events LUXURY RENTALS: Nostalgia Events Rentals VENUE: MGM National Harbor PERFORMANCE: Funsho Adenugba MC: Tunde Adebayo DJ: Zimo Weddings LCD: Jydiel Studios MUA: Sade Falade PHOTO BOOTH: EfotozMD HAIR STYLIST: Kaelaslayla Hair WEDDING DRESS: Mori Lee vai Anna's Bridal SECOND DRESS: Meshki 100FT VEIL: Yalla Bridal BRIDAL ACCESSORIES: Adunni and Rose and J Luxe Brand GROOM’S SUIT DESIGNER: Bishop Rogatii BARBER/BEARD GROOMER: Barber Ehab KEEPSAKE: Vivid
My husbands' brother passed away a year ago, and we wanted to include him in the celebration. The pastor baptized both my husband and his brother, so it was only fair for him to say some words about him. We also had a remembrance package that we gifted on stage to my mother in law. It was really emotional and beautiful." - Reghe:
First dance song: “Cupid” by 112
CO N T E N T S
Wedding highlights Bridesmaids/ groomsmen gifts: The groomsmen were given custom cufflinks with their initials, custom flasks with their initials, bowtie, handkerchief and flower lapel. The bridesmaids were given custom hangers with their name on it, flip flops with their initials, a custom wine glass with their name on it, robes and their wedding jewelry.
RONETTE + MELVIN MONTEVERDE, FL JUNE 27, 2019
First dance song: ”Why I Love You” by Major.
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 Angela Conner
aughter brought Melvin and Ronette together. When they met at a friends and family game night, they soon discovered they had a similar sense of humour. They conversed and joked the whole night. Anxious to see if they had more in common, Melvin messaged Ronette the next day. Soon, they were planning their f irst date, which just happened to fall on Valentine’s Day. Melvin wanted his proposal to Ronette to be intimate, so he decided to propose during dinner at a cozy Italian restaurant. Miraculously, they were the only ones there. Melvin recalls, “I started with a prayer blessing our food, and it led into the proposal. Ronette was surprised and the restaurant provided us champagne to toast to our engagement.” Since they are both from the tropical island of Bermuda, they wanted to infuse their culture into their summer nuptials. Ronette shares, “We asked our guests to dress in tropical attire, which was colorful and fun. Our island inspired menu and tropical decor complimented everything perfectly.” One of the most fun and unexpected elements of their Florida wedding was when they asked their guests to "Dance Their Way to the Buffet". Ronette explains, “We placed a song on each reception table and when the song played, our guests danced to the buffet. It was great watching each table try to out dance the other.” All through the night, guests danced to their favorite tunes from radio disc jockey DJ Chubb who the couple f lew in from Bermuda! From the double sided feature wall which had their seating chart on one side and a dessert bar on the other, to Melvin’s elaborate Eagles Themed Groom's Cake, Ronette and Melvin’s wedding was full of stunning details and memorable moments.
vendors WEDDING DESIGN & PLANNING: Oh Niki Occasions VENUE & CATERER: Bella Collina WEDDINGS PHOTOGRAPHY: Stanlo Photography VIDEOGRAPHY: Bridges Cinema DJ: DJ Chubb LIGHTING & SOUND: Fyre Fly Productions FLOWERS: Events by Bloom CUSTOM SIGNAGE: CHALK SHOP EVENTS FURNITURE: Rentals by RW Events SPECIALTY RENTALS: Different Looks Rentals VINTAGE RENTALS: Dishie Rentals GROOM'S CAKE: Sugar Sugar Cake Boutique DRAPE: Swag Decor LINENS: BBJ Linen MUA: Jo Michelle Artistry HAIR: Jazz it Up Artistry WEDDING GOWN: Kitty Chen Couture BRIDAL BOUTIQUE: Seng Couture BRIDESMAIDS: Dessy GROOM/GROOMSMEN STYLING: Well Groomed Man & My Suit RINGS: David Rose Studio STATIONERY: Minted OFFICIANT: Dr. Blanche Burchall
V O W R E N E WA L
ANDREA + MICHAEL P O R T A N T O N I O, J A M A I C A JULY 13, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y M i c h e l l e L a w s o n P h o t o g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
or nearly a decade, Andrea and Michael’s relationship has thrived in the face of ups and downs. They met through a mutual friend while Andrea was studying nursing in Jamaica. She recalls, “We met at Michael’s grandmother’s house in Patrick City Kingston, Jamaica. We exchanged numbers, but it took awhile for us to go on our first date. Three years later, I moved to the USA. Michael proposed in the OBGYN’s office the day we found out we were having twin boys. It was so unexpected, but we were both overwhelmed with emotions.” After five years of marriage, they decided to renew their vows and commitment to each other in a stunning outdoor ceremony at a castle in Jamaica. Andrea shares, “As a little girl my family and I would drive past The Trident Castle on Sundays. It was always my dream to get married there.” Family members, friends and their precious children cheered them on as they exchanged vows on the Castle grounds overlooking the ocean. Guests then headed inside for the reception where they dined on traditional Jamacian cuisine and desserts. As Andrea and Micheal looked at their guests, they were filled with so much love. It was a full circle moment that allowed them to reflect on how far they’d come since meeting at Michael’s grandmother’s house all those years ago.
Avenue 8 Events VENUE: Trident Resort & Castle Port Antonio, Jamaica FLOWERS & DECOR: Blooming Designs Jamaica PHOTOGRAPHER: Michelle Lawson Photography CINEMATOGRAPHY: Elite Media Concepts MUSIC & LIGHTING: Elite Media Concepts STATIONERY & INVITATIONS: Penn & Paperie HAIR: Cadey Style MUA: Brushed by Nicole CAKE & DESSERTS: Island Sweets Jamaica TRANSPORTATION: Tourwise Jamaica BRIDE'S DRESS: Martina Liana BRIDAL SALON: Boca Raton Bridal BRIDE’S HEADPIECE AND/OR VEIL: Martina Liana BRIDE'S SHOES: Jimmy Choo BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Monique Lhuiller MAID OF HONOR DRESS: Jovani CATERING: Trident Resort ENTERTAINMENT: Elite Media Concepts GROOM'S TUXEDO: Le Premier Miami GROOM'S SHOES: Christian Louboutin GROOM'S ACCESSORIES: Burberry GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Men’s Wearhouse LINENS: Blooming Designs Jamaica PLANNING & COORDINATION:
wedding highlights Bridesmaid and Groomsmen gifts: The Bridal Party received Monogram Swelled Bottles, Nigerian African Fans, Handcrafted Shea Butter, Soap and Candles made by the Bride. Groomsmen received Brass Nigerian Bracelets, Custom made Bow Ties and Vests First dance song: “Golden Touch” by Shinehead
MICHELLE + KERMIT ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK
JUNE 22, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y S e q u o ya h D a n i e l P h o t o g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
hen they first met, the vibe between Michelle and Kermit was so natural, it was as if they had known each other forever. A mutual friend asked Michelle to show Kermit around NYC. They met up in Brooklyn, walked around Fort Greene and eventually ended up at a bookstore where they hung out the rest of the day. Their chemistry was organic. Armand proposed at the Lavender Festival in Dahlonega, Georgia. Michelle recalls, “We went with all of our friends, and they did not have a clue that he was going to propose. The whole time Armand kept trying to get me alone away from our friends, but it was impossible because we were taking pictures and chatting it up. Eventually, the two of us made it over to a tree towards the front of the festival and next thing you know, he reached in his pocket for the ring box and proposed. I was shocked and in disbelief. We ended up meeting up with our friends, and they were so excited for us. It was very memorable.” The couple’s outdoor wedding in NYC was a celebration of their cultures. Michelle was born in Ibadan in Oyo State, Nigeria. Her father is Nigerian (Yoruba) and her mother is Jamaican. So, they had a traditional Yoruba Wedding the day before their American wedding. The fabric for their bridal party’s traditional Nigerian attire was handpicked in Nigeria. During their tented reception, guests dined on mouthwatering Jamaican and Nigerian food from sorrel and jerk chicken, to Nigerian shrimp fried rice and fish cakes. It was an unforgettable day of love full of the vibrant colors, textures and traditions of their heritage.
vendors Sequoayh Daniel Photography WEDDING EVENT COORDINATOR/PLANNER: Sherae Dow VIDEOGRAPHER: Ariel Laflin BRIDE’S CEREMONY DRESS: Go 2 Bella Bridal HENNA: Ancient Henna Wedding WELCOME SIGNAGE, BRIDE’S ROBE: The Artist Plug DJ: DJ Shuttle NYC GROOMS & GROOMSMEN TUX: The Black Tux HANDMADE WOODEN CAKE STAND: Wooden Maven JAMAICAN CHEF: Chef Elvis Caribbean Cuisine NIGERIAN CHEF: Chef Eng BRIDE MUA: Renee B- Retista Beauty MUA: Best Face Forward Makeup WEDDING CAKE: Road House Health Foods WEDDING VENUE: Tanglewood Preserve LINE DANCE CHOREOGRAPHER: The Covingtons AFRICAN DANCE TROOP: Ismael Kouyate GRAPHIC DESIGNER, WEDDING PROGRAM: Ben Domanico BRIDALS GELE STYLIST: AvielasTouch BRIDAL AFRICAN DRESS GROOMS VEST AND BOWTIE: Mamouro BRIDAL SONG: “Lifetime” written, composed and performed by Khadeeja Abdul-Jabbar BRIDE AND GROOMS HAIR: Bride PHOTOGRAPHER:
CO N T E N T S
TRACY + NANA MONROE, CT
APRIL 7, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y A my A n a i z P h o t o g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
ana and Tracy’s first college encounters read like a romance novel. “We talked about our childhood, our families, and everything in between. It was as if we were old, familiar friends catching up. There was this outer body feeling as if our meeting was all part of a plan we had no idea about. We fell in love, fast and hard,” Tracy shares. They dated and broke up all in the same year. When their relationship ended, Tracy remembers, “it felt as if we were losing out on something bigger than us.” Call it divine intervention, but their paths crossed again years later in church. This time, they were maturer and had a deeper sense of spirituality. They began to pray about their relationship, and they felt that this time they were ordained to last.
Like many men, Nana was nervous when he was ready to propose. He wanted everything to go smoothly. He told Tracy he was taking her to a work event, but then made an excuse to detour to their church. When he arrived, he went inside and came out with two dozen roses. Tracy immediately started crying. He escorted her inside the church where they were welcomed by the sound of their favorite gospel songs being sung by their praise and worship team. He got down on one knee and proposed. Nana recalls, “After we took photos with our church family, we drove to Tracy's sister's house where I had her family and best friends waiting for her. It was an amazing day, and watching Tracy stare at her ring in disbelief was priceless.”
Everything about their gorgeous spring wedding in Connecticut centered around their faith, love of family and friends, and fashion! They wanted a bright, all white wedding with gold accents. Elegant and lush white cherry blossoms severed as the focal point of their décor complemented by golden candelabras and table ornaments. Surrounded by beauty and the uplifting energy of their loved ones, Tracy and Nana’s wedding was a divine celebration of their holy union.
vendors PLANNING & DESIGN: Statuesque Events VENUE: The Waterview DECOR: M Sarah Designs PHOTOGRAPHY: Amy Anaiz Photography VIDEOGRAPHY: Ahren Weddings MUA: Clean Touchh HAIR: Crowned Belles PRAISE DANCERS: Alexus Jegede DJ : DJ Zimo OFFICIANT: Pastor Paulette Bowman of Seedtime & Harvest Ministries MC: Skinnyman MC: Jocelyn Bedu-Addo
wedding highlights: Bridesmaids and groomsmen’s gifts: Nana gave his groomsmen each a pair of Nike flyknits. Tracy gave her bridesmaids a box with a candle, a jewelry dish, and her favorite study bible. Gifts for one another: Although we agreed not to do gifts, Tracy surprised Nana with a pair Air Jordan 1s Retro High OG Black Toe sneakers. Nana was ecstatic. Ceremony entrance song: “Who is Like the Lord” by Israel & New Breed First dance song: “If this World Were Mine” by Luther Vandross Culture: The day before our wedding, we had a big Ghanaian wedding. I was dressed up as a Ghanaian queen, full with the traditional attire, jewelry and adornments. It took an hour for the women to dress me. Nana was dressed as a king. We came out with drums, music, dancers, and every aspect of the culture embedded into the entrance. Nana came out with his groomsmen and family members, with crates full of gifts to present to my family. I came out alongside my in-law who held my umbrella for me (because a queen can’t be exposed in any kind of way, okay!), with my bridesmaids and family members. Nana presented the gifts to my parents and asked for my hand in marriage. It was a beautiful day. Since this cultural explosion was just a day before our wedding, we decided it was more than enough for one event. Our “white wedding,” or our American wedding, was traditional.
DANCE CLOUD: CNT Entertainment TRACY'S FIRST DRESS: RK Bridal TRACY'S 2ND DRESS: Zubair BRIDESMAID DRESS DESIGNER: Zubair(high neck dresses) BRIDESMAID DRESS DESIGNER: Lulu’s (v-neck dresses) GROOM'S TUX DESIGNER: Suitsupply GROOMSMEN SUIT DESIGNER: Henry Couture Paris
NATALIE + JOHN MEMPHIS, TN NOVEMBER 16, 2019
P h o t o g ra p h e d b y S k y To u c h e P h o t o g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
eaningful love connections are being made every day on social media, and this is exactly what happened to John and Natalie. They first noticed each other on social media when John invited Natalie to like his Business Page on Facebook. Eventually, they started communicating on Instagram. John began to respectfully comment on Natalie's IG stories and like her posts - a sign, in the social media world, that he was into her. Natalie became more intrigued by him after she posted a few photos from a photoshoot, which he described in the comments as “pulchritudinous” (beautiful). She was impressed! He seemed friendly and passionate about his community; he was handsome, and had sophisticated style. She eventually agreed to exchange phone numbers. A few phone conversations later, they decided to meet at a local Hibachi restaurant. The conversation went so well that they stayed for hours. John wanted his proposal to be intimate, so he decided to pop the question on the rooftop of a hotel. When they arrived, he noticed a photographer was there and thought, "Perfect! Natalie LOVES taking pictures!" Minutes before the clock struck midnight, he suggested that they go out to the balcony to snap a few photos for the occasion. Natalie was anxious and thought they would miss the NYE champagne toast if they went outside, but he assured her it would be quick. It was a clear night and bit windy, but the Mississippi River and Hernando de Soto Bridge made for a perfect backdrop. The photographer took several pictures, but John asked him to take one more. At that moment, he got down on one knee and took the ring out of his back pocket. John then asked Natalie to spend the rest of her life with him. They wanted an industrial-chic vibe for their fall nuptials in Memphis, TN. It was an intimate event filled with about 100 of the couple's closest family and friends. The exposed brick interior of their venue gave them the New York City feel they desired. Rich hues of maroon, black, cream and blush accents, and luxurious white velvet drapes brought a touch of glamour and color into the space. The ceiling twinkled like stars with light coming from crystal chandeliers and string lights. The night continued with dinner, coinciding AKA and Alpha strolls, an emotional father/daughter dance, toasts, and plenty of dancing. At the end of the night, the couple planned to leave by sparkler exit, but the sparklers were nowhere to be found. A creative friend of the bride suggested a phone flashlight exit instead, which turned out perfectly. It was definitely a night to remember.
wedding highlights Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: I got my bridesmaids personalized drawings and embroidered robes with their initials, as well as matching earrings for the ceremony. The groomsmen received gifts that the groom chose based on each of their personalities. Ceremony entrance song: Live performance of “Hey” by King. First dance song: “The Last Time” by Eric Benet
best wedding memories "My best memory is of Natalie walking down the aisle to meet me while live musicians performed "Hey" by King. It was like a scene from a movie, and I was amazed by her beauty." John. Natalie says it was something that she had been playing in her head for nine months, and when it finally came, it was everything she had dreamed of and more.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Uche Onyeyiri of SkyTouche Photography EVENT DECOR/DESIGN: Events Beyond Imaginations EVENT COORDINATOR: Social Couture Events FLORALS: Events Beyond Imaginations WEDDING VENUE: Brickwood Hall BRIDE'S DRESS: Maggie Louise Bridal BRIDE’S HEADPIECE/VEIL: BlissWeddingVeil on Etsy BRIDE'S SHOES: Badgley Mischka GROOM'S ATTIRE: Men's Warehouse, Jacket custom GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Men's Warehouse CAKES/DESSERTS: Karrington's Kreations CATERING: Heavenly Catering SOLOISTS: Sequoia Gray & Christina Woods MUSICIAN: Calvin J. Barnes DJ: DJ Houston OFFICIANT: Pastor Bartholomew Orr HAIR: Yvette Granger of Natural Divinity Salon LINENS:
Events Beyond Imaginations BRIDAL MUA: FaceGirl x Nikki Chanel BRIDAL PARTY MUA: Beonka's Beauty Studio & Marnelia Roy RENTALS: Chair rentals - Affordable Party Rentals STATIONERY: Designed by the bride CHARGERS: VBO Designs MICROPHONES: DJ Tim Bachus
D E S T I N AT I O N S
UPLIGHT YOUR EVENT AD
D E S T I N AT I O N S
CHARLYNE + RICHARD C H A N T I L LY, VA NOVEMBER 10, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y J o s h u a D w a i n P h o t o g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
ave you ever played matchmaker for a friend? It is always a gamble. You never know if your efforts will result in a true love connection, but that gamble paid off for Ebony. See, Ebony is Richard’s cousin and best friends with Charlyne. She knew Richard and Charlyne would be perfect for one another, so she sent them a group text message with their pictures attached! Charlyne recalls, “The text read ‘Rich meet Charlyne, Charlyne meet Rich - have your way Lord…’ “ Charlyne replied with a simple, "Lol!!, Hi Richie..." and got no response! After two week with no reply, she called Richard out, and he promptly apologized. Turns out, he replied to her text, but failed to hit “send.”
After three months of conversations on the phone, they went on their first date. It was the beginning of a beautiful four year courtship that led to Richard’s romantic proposal. Charlyne shares, “Richard told me that we were going to see the Shen Yun ballet, which I've wanted to see for years! We pulled up to the Kennedy Center earlier than expected, and he suggested we go for a walk around back. We stopped and leaned over the ledge looking over the Potomac, enjoying the moment. Then Rich said, ‘Babe, I'm ready.’ I went to gather my purse, and when I turned around, he was there on one knee.” Rich hired a photographer to capture the moment. He then took Charlyne to a restaurant where 30 of their friends and family waited, holding single stem roses. It was the perfect surprise.
Wedding Song; “The Vow” by Ruthanne Wedding Favors: Custom wedding cookies by The Occasional Cookie Ceremony: The biggest surprise of the wedding day would have to be the 3-piece string band (Rockville Strings) that played during the wedding ceremony and cocktail hour. It was always my dream to have a string band play during my wedding (since I played the violin as a child), but as wedding planning progressed, we didn’t think it would work within our budget. Needless to say, Richard managed to find the perfect band to play during our wedding and kept the whole thing a surprise!
They spent the next seven months planning their wedding. It was an elegant, faith filled affair. Guests enjoyed soothing live music from a string trio during the ceremony and cocktail hour. Charlyne loved her bouquet and the floral arrangements which mixed rich burgundy roses with cream and pastel pink florals. It was the perfect, romantic color scheme for their fall wedding. During their reception, they made sure to represent their Haitian and Jamacian heritages by waving their respective flags and jamming out to traditional music. They didn’t want the night to end, but afterwards they traveled to Singapore, the Maldives, Phuket and Phi Phi Islands in Thailand for an epic Southeast Asian honeymoon.
Favorite Wedding Details "I have such a hard time picking favorites. I would say that my bouquet tops the list. My bouquet was more than what I could have imagined. It was vibrant, full, elegant, and timeless." - Charlyne "While every detail of our wedding was perfect, from the flowers, to the décor, my most favorite detail would have to undoubtedly be Charlyne’s wedding dress. It was perfectly her; graceful, classy, classic, and sexy. The dress fit her perfectly and she was absolutely breathtaking." Richard’s
Joshua Dwain Photography
– CEREMONY & RECEPTION:
WEDDING EVENT MANAGEMENT & COORDINATION:
The Bellevue Conference and Event Center
TSG Productions – (DJ Dubz)
Taiwo Soetan of Brushes Blushes Beauty
The Bellevue Conference and Event Center
Perfect Planning Events
Tasteful Affairs Catering
CEREMONY & COCKTAIL RECEPTION MUSICIAN:
Lauren Nicely Make Up Artistry
Sweet Little Notions
Pastor Rob Seagears
Camille Flores Calligraphy
AMINATA + TINO M A L L O R C A , S PA I N
f your friend asked you to send an introductory text to someone you’ve never met, would you do it? When Aminata’s friend instructed her to “Text this guy,” she didn’t give her any information except for his selfie. Slightly confused, but intrigued, she opened WhatsApp and wrote: “Hi, I’m Ami!” to which he promptly replied, “Hi, I’m Tino!”
SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 Dam, veliberis adEnditat harum nusanim olorpor itatur rem. Itaquos dollab iderumquid qui ut aperundis exersperia nonsequatque con
P h o t o g ra p h e d b y S a n d ra Ma n a s P h o t o g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
Aminata was finishing her residency training in Miami, Florida, and Tino was in Hamburg, Germany, but that simple text message sparked a three month long distance courtship via WhatsApp and Skype. They counted down the days till their first in-person meeting in Miami. Being in each other’s physical presence sealed the deal; they knew they were falling in love. When Tino was ready to propose, he took Aminata back to Miami Beach, the place where they first met. Aminata remensices, “We were relaxing in the hammocks, looking at the stars and sipping our cocktails. Suddenly, Tino flipped out of the hammock. Panicked, I thought he had fallen and asked if he was okay. He steadied himself, and when I looked again, I realized he was on one knee with a ring box in his hand.” Since they had a love that spanned continents, their decision to have a destination wedding seemed natural. Their intimate and scenic seafront nuptials in Spain are simply breathtaking. Every detail from the pastel cream and blush color scheme, to Aminta’s chic A-lined gown is refreshingly elegant, elevated and timeless.
Chloe Communications FLORIST: Flowerscence WEDDING PLANNER:
wedding highlights: Ceremony entrance song: Groom: “Whenever, Wherever, Whatever” by Maxwell Bride: “Kissing You” by Des’ree First dance song: “God Only Knows” by Kina Grannis Fashion: I expected the shopping experience to be stressful due to my height (I’m 6 feet tall). However, it turned out to be a delightful bonding experience with my mom. Over two consecutive Fridays, I tried on several dresses. In the end, I went back to the very first bridal store I had visited and purchased the first dress I had tried on. Culture: We incorporated our cultures into the wedding with a prose piece in German, read by my uncle. Then, Ami’s father gave a Muslim prayer.
Bombillas y Flores VENUE: Hotel Hospes Maricel and Spa MUSICIANS: Panela! MAKEUP: Esther Edeme HAIR: Vacker BRIDAL DRESS: Wtoo BRIDAL STORE: Merlili Bridal GROOM’S ATTIRE: Hamburger Masskonfektion
ANNA + GRAYSON GLENDALE, CA SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y Fu n L o v i n C a m e ra P h o t o g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
othing gets by Anna. She has an acute sense of detail. So when Grayson wanted to propose to his Howard University sweetheart, he had to think of the perfect way to surprise her. He asked Anna to make reservations at a new French restaurant she’d been wanting to try. Anna recalls, “I had been looking forward to this date night all week. When we arrived at the restaurant we were immediately seated and handed menus but no one came to our table. I mentioned to Grayson that it was weird that no one had brought us water yet. Shortly after, someone came up to the table with a bottle of champagne and poured us two glasses. I thanked them, but when they left, I told Grayson it was so weird that we haven’t been offered water. I was very confused by the unusual service we were receiving. As I sat there trying to figure out why this was happening, Grayson asked me to put down my menu. He said that I have always been the planner, but today, he had a surprise for me. He got down on one knee. He had a friend hiding at the bar, filming the entire thing!”
Their westcoast nuptials were a classic California dream. They went with a modern white monochromatic color scheme, with hints of gold and silver accents. Even Anna’s beautiful bridesmaids donned chic white dresses. Of the night’s many memorable moments, Anna and Grayson are most proud of their choreographed first dance. It took them nine weeks to master their moves and guests were begging for more. From their sincere vows, to their beautiful decor and lively reception their wedding was simply sensational.
FunLovinCamera Photography PLANNING & DESIGN: Anna Mitchell Events COORDINATION: Amethyst Event Productions WEDDING DRESS DESIGNER:
Kleinfeld Bridal BRIDAL MUA: Jocelyn Johnson
BRIDAL HAIR, BRIDESMAID HAIR & MUA: Priv SHOES: Miss Lola CEREMONY & RECEPTION VENUE: Vertigo Event Venue FLORIST: Christy Flowers CAKE: Grace & Honey Cakes STATIONERY: Sugar Taylor Co. GROOM’S ATTIRE: Indocino GROOM’S SHOES: Christian
GROOM’S LAPEL PIN:
Bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts: Bridesmaids: Satin Pajama Set, Rose Gold Earrings, Rose Gold Bracelet. Groomsmen: Custom Basketball Uniform, Custom Lapel Pin, Monogram Socks, Monogram Cufflinks
Gifts for one another: Custom Cufflinks & Diamond Earrings
Generation Tux OFFICIANT: Cassius Rudolf STRING TRIO: Angelica Strings DJ: VOX DJs CHAMPAGNE TOWER:
Ceremony entrance song: “Halo” by Beyonce First dance song: “Is This Love” by Bob Marley & “California Love” by 2pac featuring Dr. Dre
D E S T I N AT I O N S ELOPEMENT EVENTS
KESI + SLATER SEDONA, ARIZONA MARCH 19, 2020 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y W h i t e D e s e r t P h o t o g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
later knew Kesi was the one during their first date. He reminisces, “everything
flowed so smoothly, and it felt like we knew each other for years.” To Kesi, Slater was a
“breath of fresh air, yet so familiar.” She says, “I
Slater: My best memory would be the dancing at the end because there was no music so it was pretty awkward. But, I couldn’t stop smiling and it felt so good to hold Kesi after saying “I do.” Kesi: We were doing a dancing scene with the videographer, and we wanted to hear music. So we played “I Like” by Guy, and it was so perfect because Slater would always sing it to me around the house; it was such a great moment.
love that he preferred the real ‘me,’ regardless of what that meant at the time.” After living together in their condo in Coral Springs, FL, Slater knew it was time for a change. A change of scenery and a change of commitment. He caught Kesi totally off guard when he proposed to her during their going away party in front of family and friends. Now they had to plan a move and a wedding, but they had a clear vision of the type of wedding they wanted to have. They went the non-traditional route and decided to elope.
Surrounded by the breathtaking scenery exchanged vows with just their officiant, videographer and photographer. They shared their special wedding moments with their family afterward. Kesi explains, “We just weren't comfortable spending tens of thousands on one day. We believe marriage is about two people, and that's how we wanted to enter into our marriage.” They followed their heart, stuck to their budget and still managed to have a spectacular wedding that exceeded their expectations.
White Desert Photography PLANNER: Vanessa Hayward w/ Vanessa Hayward Events (virtually assisted bride) DRESS: Ivory Bridal OFFICIANT: Deelightful Weddings RINGS: Moissanite Co. / Etsy / Amazon FLOWERS: Sedona Mountain High Flowers MAKEUP: Laura Cortez Makeup LOCATION: Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona PHOTOGRAPHER:
of Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona, the couple
wedding highlights Wedding Flowers: I loved the process of designing my bouquet. I knew I wanted deep colors and very moody and a little on the wild side. Favorite Item on Menu: Chick-Fil-A we had after since everything was shut down because of COVID-19 First dance song: “I Like” by Guy
CARLYE + RONNIE SANTORINI, GREECE
JULY 20, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y D a y s Ma d e o f L o v e
Text by Angela Conner
hen planning your wedding, it is easy to get caught up in the details. But never forget that
weddings are personal ceremonies of commitment and should reflect your desires and personality. Ronnie and Caryle have always valued their intimacy. So when it came to their wedding, they decided to elope. Carlyle shares, “elopement allowed us to do things
how WE wanted to, without the pressures of outside influences.” They made the right choice for them- to be in the moment without any distractions. The results were breathtaking. Their ceremony in Santorini, Greece was a picturesque dream. They exchanged vows overlooking the Aegean Sea. Minimalist bohemian inspired cream decor with accents of pampas grass served as the perfect accompaniment to the distinctive white and pastel architecture of Santorini. After their ceremony, the couple watched the sun set as they celebrated with champagne and toasted to their new life together.
What made you choose to elope?
We love to travel, so a destination was always in our plans. But, we decided on elopement because it allowed us to do things how WE wanted to, without the pressures of outside influences. We would’ve loved to have our family and friends there to share those moments with us, but it was so special to have something, a moment in time, that only the two of us shared. It allowed us to be in the moment, and focus on each other solely, without any distractions.
Divine Weddings Santorini PHOTOGRAPHY: Days made of Love BRIDE'S DRESS: Sirena by Watters BRIDAL SALON: Bridal & Formal Cincinnati, OH BRIDE'S SHOES: Badgley Mischka CEREMONY VENUE: Andromeda Villas EVENT DECOR/DESIGN: Divine Weddings Santorini FLORALS: Betty Flowers Santorini HAIR & MAKEUP: Carlye Myka RECEPTION VENUE: Andromea Villas VIDEOGRAPHY: Mont Videography
First Dance Song: ”All of Me” by John Legend Advice for Engaged Couples The best advice we can give to engaged couples is to do what makes you two happy. Wedding planning, even elopement planning can be so stressful, and the pressure of everyone around you and their opinions can be really overwhelming. At the end of it all, it is about the two of you, and coming together as one, celebrating your love. We couldn’t be happier with our decisions, and have no regrets!
KAMI + ROB DRIPPING SPRINGS, TX FEBRUARY 8, 2020 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y D o u b l e K n o t P i c t u re s
Text by Angela Conner
he universe sent Kami two signs that Rob was her perfect match. The digital universe that is. Kami
shares, “We matched on Tinder, but I ignored his message. Fate was determined for us to meet, because a few days later we matched on OkCupid!” When they met for their first date, they spent five hours together laughing and talking, and immediately scheduled a second date. Rob proposed while they were on vacation in Las Vegas. In the middle of dinner, he dropped to one knee while everyone in the restaurant applauded! Kami reminisces, “He gave me a ring that was made from the same stone that his grandfather had proposed to his mother with, and that his father had proposed to his mother with. It was so beautiful and magical.” Their gorgeous garden wedding in Austin, TX exemplified their theme of modern elegance. Beautiful florals in blush and cream complemented the natural beauty of their garden venue. The succulents in their floral arrangements were a nod to their Central Texas surroundings and Rob's green thumb. As soon as they saw each other, Rob and Kami burst into tears. Kami was angelic in a full sweetheart A-line gown, her natural tresses adorned with romantic white flowers. For their lively reception, Kami changed into a custom gown with a feathered skirt. They did not hesitate to get the party started. Kami shares, “Being from big Southern families, the food and the party were also very important to us. We wanted our guests to feel well fed and exhausted from dancing to good music at the end of the night! We made sure our band played ALL the line dances along with great wedding hits. We
wedding highlights Bridesmaids/Groomsmen Gifts: Bridesmaids - custom bags and robes; Groomsmen - custom whiskey set Gifts for one another: Bride - Kendra Scott jewelry and bouquet; Groom custom dog socks, college football candle, boudoir shoot book Ceremony entrance song: “Best Part” by HER First dance song: “Livin for the Love of You” by the Isley Brothers
"My best memory is the moment I started walking down the aisle. I had to walk down this set of stairs and the moment they opened the doors, I saw Rob. Both of us burst into tears. I walked towards the man of my dreams. Our eyes stayed locked on each other the entire time I was walking down the aisle. I'll never forget that feeling. Any time things are challenging I want to remember that moment." - Kami
even had Topo Chico, Austin's favorite sparkling water, and breakfast tacos at the end of the night.” It was a stunning wedding that perfectly blended Rob and Kami’s personalities with southern charm and modern accents.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Double Knot Pictures, VENUE: The Terrace Club WEDDING CAKE: Sweet Treets Bakery GROOM'S CAKE: Paige's Bake House STATIONERY: Zola FLORALS: Wild Bunches BRIDAL SALON: Blush Bridal Lounge WEDDING DRESS DESIGNER: Stella York BRIDE AND BRIDESMAIDS JEWELRY: Kendra Scott GROOM AND GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: The Black Tux SECOND BRIDAL DRESS: Carter Creations HAIR FLOWER: Camellias and Curls HAIR: Tiffany Nicole MUA: Nia Ford BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Nordstrom BRIDESMAID DRESS DESIGNER: Alfred Sung BRIDE’S SHOES: Torrid BAND: Royal Dukes LIVE MUSIC: Beth James Band
HEATHER + CHARLES LOS ANGELES, CA FEBRUARY 17, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y T h e T i m e s We H a v e
Text by Angela Conner
ohemian island vibes meets Old Hollywood glamour. Heather and
Charles’s wedding seamlessly weaved these seemingly opposing styles together. When Heather and Charles met online in 2014, they quickly bonded over their love
of Hip-Hop music and culture. After years of courtship, Charles proposed at sunrise in Heather’s hometown of Oahu, Hawaii! For their California nuptials, they decided to pick a venue that reminded them of Heather's island roots, but was also reminiscent of the Old Hollywood roots of Los Angeles. She shares, “We found this estate and loved its grand staircase and bohemian feel. We got married in February, so we stuck with a winter color palette of wine, blush, gold, earthy green, and
black. This allowed our love of plants and color to take the spotlight. I always knew I
wanted to wear a traditional Hawaiian lei
Tracy Bowles Flawless Weddings and Events FLORIST: Falynn Thompson Flawless Weddings and Events HEAD LEI: Leilani Kanaauao Leis by Leilani
po'o or flower crown, and I incorporated our wedding colors into it. We also really wanted to work in the Old Hollywood feel of the venue, and we stuck to rich fabrics (velvet and lace) in our bridal attire to complement it.” Their wedding was the perfect mixture Black History, California cool, Hawaiian
The Times We
BRIDAL GOWN & ACCESSORIES:
Maggie Sottero “Narissa”
GOLD AND LAVA ROCK BRACELET –
Lemon Sweet Jewelry BRIDESMAN SUIT: The Black Tux
Wedding flowers: A mix of Hawaiian tropical and California blossoms with a “handpicked” feel. First dance song: Our first dance song was “Get You” by Daniel Caesar. Charles first played it for me before we got engaged and always felt it perfectly captured the feeling of being in love.
GROOM'S ATTIRE & ACCESSORIES:
The Black Tux
GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: The Black Tux CAKE/DESSERTS: Top Tier Treats CATERER: Grilled Fraiche BEVERAGES/BARTENDING: Sunseri’s VENUE: Private Estate in Los
culture and love.
Our wedding was a perfect representation of us. It was covered in fresh flowers and plants, super alive with music, and focused on having real moments with our guests – not stuffy traditions. Looking back, we love the mix of Black History, California cool, and Hawaiian culture weaved together to make our day.
wedding fashion My dress was an all lace Maggie Sottero Narissa I also wore a vegan leather jacket custom painted by my Maid of Honor which read “All Me, All the time”, an inside joke about marriage.
Most décor provided
Makeup by Napoleon Jinnies & Francesca Bevens RENTALS: Opus Event Rentals INVITATIONS: The Groom- Charles Kidd II SIGNAGE: The MOH Aubrey Lee Glover FAVORS: Custom wildflower seed packets by PlainJane2424 on Etsy VIDEOGRAPHER: Jonathan Chou MUSICIANS/DJ: DJ Kwess VIOLINIST: Victor Ekpo HAIR & MUA:
CO N T E N T S
DANYELLE + WILLIAM TA L L A H A S S E E , F L
MARCH 2, 2019 P h o t o g ra p h e d b y L a J o y P h o t o g ra p hy
Text by Angela Conner
ollege sweethearts Danyelle and William met while studying at Florida A&M University. For a year, they balanced dating with the ups and downs of completing their programs. It was a year that solidified their commitment to each other. They realized they did not have to choose between success and love; it was their love that made them successful.
Nearly a year after meeting, William proposed to Danyelle during dinner at a restaurant in Tallahassee, FL. Danyelle recalls, “We were celebrating our almost one year anniversary and his upcoming move to attend grad school hundreds of miles away. The night was perfect. Our parents and our best friends appeared when William dropped to one knee. It was followed by a surprise engagement party with about 30 of our close friends and family.” Two years later, they returned to Tallahassee to exchange vows. It was a rainy day, but miraculously, the sun broke through the skies right before their beautiful outdoor ceremony. They had a vibrant wedding full of fresh florals in shades of pink and ivory, soft glam, and rustic touches. Danyelle is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the Groom is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Their sorority and fraternity tributes during their reception sparked nostalgia and got the party going. It was a stunning wedding that exemplifed the unity of love, faith, brotherhood and sisterhood.
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Gifts: Bridesmaids were gifted silk robes, hair, makeup, earrings, personalized wooden hangers, and reception shoes. Groomsmen were gifted personalized tie clips and cigars. Gifts for one another: We decided to forgo gifts to one another because we wanted to focus on our family and loved ones attending to witness our union. Ceremony entrance song: "This is Why I Love You" by Major First dance song: "Still in Love" By Brian Mcknight
WEDDING PLANNER & DESIGNER:
Picture This Photo Booth Perks of Beauty Marie Ross London
EP Luxe Event Design and Rentals
Leland Events VENUE: Goodwood Museum & Gardens
Angel Love Beauty &
Aminah Abdul Jillil
Rev. Dr. R.B. Holmes, Jr. - Pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
CO N T E N T S
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Photo: V alery V ill ard P hotographe
CO N T E N T S
The Islands of the
BAHAMAS fly away