Elegant Upscale Wedding at The Watergate Hotel, Washington, DC | Shemeka & Jeremy

Brides Full Name Shemeka Jacquelyne Neville
Grooms Full Name Jeremy Renard Watson

Tell us how you met and all about the proposal.
How we met: Shemeka and I met in 2009 in Atlanta during Greek Picnic at a Kappa House Party. I remember seeing her enter the room and thinking she was gorgeous, but I lost her in the party. At some point in the night, I go outside to grab some fresh air and there she is, leaning against a car talking to some guys. I make my way over and strike up a conversation. We ended up talking for the next hour about everything from Virginia Tech (where she went for undergrad and I went for my masters), engineering (we were both engineering majors in college), to DC (she was from DC and l lived there at the time). We exchanged info at the end of the night. She lived in Greenville, SC and I lived in Washington, DC. So we talked on the phone for about a month before the 7-hour drive to go on our first date. We’ve been together ever since.

The Proposal: It was Memorial Day weekend, May 2014. Jeremy was out of town for a friend’s wedding and I was in DC for my nephew’s first birthday party. Jeremy told me that he’d fly back on Monday, however, he actually flew back on Sunday morning. My best friend tricked me into going to a day party event at Meridian Hill / Malcolm X Park. My friend even made me change dresses into something slightly more formal, which seemed odd. I still had no idea because Jeremy was not even in town. Apparently, I made her late for the setup, so she drove what seemed 150mph, parked illegally on the corner and rushed us through this maze walkway through the park. All of a sudden, my friend made me pause for pictures at some random statue. Then, I noticed a trail of rose petals down a long pathway and a man standing at the end. I couldn’t make out who it was (was not wearing my glasses) and thought we were interrupting someone else’s proposal! After tiptoeing around the petals toward the man (my friend said the event was in that direction), I realized that it was Jeremy’s twin brother, Jerod (who was also out of town)! He throws up a hand signal and music starts playing. Cameramen (Jeremy’s friends) pop out of the bushes, and the park opened up to a beautiful scene with cascading waterfalls and an overpass fill with people watching. Jerod gave me a message and then told me to walk to the next checkpoint where my sister, niece, and baby nephew would be waiting with another message. Eventually, I arrive at Jeremy who himself had a message and then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said Yes! Oh, and he picked the ring out all by himself!

WEDDING DETAILS
Wedding Style: Describe your wedding dress. What was wedding shopping like for you?
Wedding dress shopping was like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I went to three different places with three different friends, and thus had 3 very different experiences. The first experience was at a high end boutique in New York and was overwhelming.

My second time was at a wedding dress sample sale. Good thing I had a friend who made sure we were there before sunrise and didn’t mind getting her hands dirty. It was very intense to say the least. I tried on about a dozen dresses and I unexpectedly fell in love with a dress that did not match my criteria. I was looking for a fit-and-flare, sparkly bodice with an exposed back, and dramatically long train. This dress was a fully beaded, sweetheart neckline, A-line dress by Stephen Yearick that was at least four sizes too big. It was breathtaking, but it was missing the “bride” look. I bought it anyway as a second dress.

My third and last experience is an experience that every bride should have. My friend, her baby son, and I went to Kleinfeld Bridal. It was as if my bridal consultant already knew me. We clicked instantly and he escorted us to our personal dressing room where I had a robe, was offered a beverage, and basically waited hand and foot. He picked out dresses, but had a good feeling about one in particular. This Dennis Basso dress was just about everything I wanted — fit-and-flare, sparkly bodice, sweetheart neckline, and a dramatic train to die for! The back wasn’t as low as I originally wanted, but I was fine with that. After putting on the dress, my consultant had me walk down a long hallway and into a waiting area with an audience where I would step onto a pedestal surrounded by mirrors. Everyone loved the dress. Inside, I knew it was the one. It was the first time I really felt AND looked like the bride I imagined. Then I was eventually asked the famous question!!! “Shemeka, are you saying YES to the Dress?!”. YES.

Culture: Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? If yes, tell us more.
Yes we had a money dance! Although my husband isn’t African we have a lot of friends who are! We thought it would a fun element to show our appreciation and love for the culture. We also dance to kompa all night!

Culture: Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? If yes, tell us more.
We chose to jump the broom in our ceremony for two reasons. First, no one in our respective families jumped the broom at their weddings, so we wanted to start something that hopefully our kids can continue. Second, we wanted to do it as a celebration and acknowledgement of our African-American history, slaves were not allowed to be married and jumped the broom to signify their union.

Also, we wanted to start the ceremony with spoken word, we both love open mic poetry nights!

Memories: What is your best memory from your wedding?
We chose to jump the broom in our ceremony for two reasons. First, no

Advice: What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Jeremy: My best memory is seeing Shemeka come down the aisle during the ceremony. I couldn’t hold back the tears, she was so beautiful and we’ve been through so much to get to this point, I was just overcome with emotion.

Shemeka: It’s hard to choose just one! Just before the curtain opened to walk down the aisle, there was a rush of energy, emotions, and nerves. There I was standing there waiting — staring at the black curtains, clutching my dad’s left arm, and waiting for my queue within the song ‘Latch (Acoustic)’ by Sam Smith. I got nervous and squeezed my dad’s arm. Then at the queue, the curtains sprung open and all eyes stared back at me. The room was breathtakingly romantic, as I had not seen it yet. Jeremy and I locked eyes and a rush of excitement overwhelmed me — so surreal like I was floating above my body. As I looked at my soulmate waiting on me with eyes filled with love, my heart filled with a sureness that I just cannot describe.

QUICK FACTS
Favorite item on the menu:
Specialty Cocktails
Bride – “Hollywood” (inspired by STK’s Strawberry Cobbler Martini)
Groom – “Smooth Criminal” (Hennessy Mojito)

First dance song:
John Legend – You and I


CAST & CREW

Wedding Ceremony Dress Designer: Dennis Basso
Wedding Reception Dress Designer: Stephen Yearick
Bride’s Shoes: Customized Steve Madden
Bride’s Headpiece: Bridal Styles Boutique (NYC)
Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Faviana
Groom’s Tuxedo Designer: Musika Frere
Groom’s Shoes: Magnanni
Groom’s Shirt: Bonobos, https://bonobos.com/
Groom’s Tie & Pocket Square: Tie Bar
Makeup Artist: Kendell Dempster Artistry
Hair Salon: Just Fabulous, Stylists: Shaunita Dennis (Bride’s Hair) and Taryn Jones
Photo Booth: Candid Clicks
Ceremony & Reception Location: The Watergate Hotel
Wedding Rings: Tacori
Jeweler: Mervis Diamond Importers
Photography: Joshua Dwain
Videography: Yamean Studios
DJ: DJ 59
Florist: Blue Vanda Design
Officiant: Dr. Craig L. Oliver (Elizabeth Baptist Church – Atlanta, GA)

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