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

Elegant Upscale Wedding at The Watergate Hotel, Washington, DC

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 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.

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


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)

Romantic Luxurious Guyanese Wedding at the Greentree Country Club, New Rochelle, NY | Alana & Vibert | July 31, 2016

Romantic Luxurious Guyanese Wedding at the Greentree Country Club, New Rochelle, NY Best NJ Wedding Video

Brides Full Name Alana Griffith-Parris
Grooms Full Name Vibert Parris

Tell us how you met and all about the proposal.
Believe it or not Vibert (aka Jay) and I met in November 2008 on Blackplanet.com (Do you remember that site?)…LOL. I had recently gotten into a huge fight with a guy I used to date and I thought “Hey let me just peruse Blackplanet and see who is on there”. I figured that it would be entertaining. I saw Jay’s profile previously and he piqued my interest, but I was “talking” to someone else at the time so I didn’t even think to reach out. None the less I was not one to make a move or send a guy a message. Immediately after hanging up the phone from my argument with the guy I dated I signed on to Blackplanet and I saw a message from Jay. I figured it was worth responding because I liked his profile and I was through with the shenanigans from the other dude. I wish I could remember specifically what he wrote, but it HAD to be interesting enough for me to respond because I remember deleting a bunch of other messages. He sent me a message soon after and before you know it we graduated to Yahoo Messaging and had our first phone conversation on his birthday in December of that year. I actually mustered up the courage to ask for his number to call him and wish him happy birthday. The first time we spoke on the phone we spoke for hours and it just felt natural–not forced, just good vibes and energy.

Since I was a senior in college in the woods of New Hampshire and he was a teacher and working part time at NYU hospital over the weekend we really got a chance to get to know each other for months over the phone. For him, Blackplanet was an opportunity to socialize since he was essentially working every single day. Jay’s crazy schedule and my previous terrible situationship laid the foundation for the two of us to initially meet.

Jay proposed to me on my birthday, February 17, 2014 in San Francisco with cupcakes.

Jay orchestrated the proposal with the staff at Arganout Hotel in San Francisco. The day of the proposal we went on a city tour, went to the aquarium, and walked the pier. While away we were upgraded to a suite and once we returned there were candles and rose petals everywhere. I felt so special on my birthday. To top it off he also arranged for a private couple’s massage. At that point I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday weekend–San Franciso was a complete surprise to me because I did not know where we were vacationing until we got to JFK airport, it was NBA all star weekend, and I was being treated like a Queen.

After the massage Jay asked me if I wanted to head out to dinner or stay in and look at a movie. We went to dinner and when we returned the room was filled with music and there were two boxes on the bed. I opened the boxes and I immediately saw cupcakes and I was SO giddy over the cupcakes (FYI: I have a cupcake obsession) that it took a few seconds for my brain to compute that the cupcakes spelled out “will u marry me?”. Once I realized what it said and saw that he was down on one knee–I was hooting, hollering, and acting a fool. Not to mention I snatched the ring out of the box and put it on my own hand. LOL. Eventually he did ask me formally again if I would marry him and he placed the ring on my finger. Soon after we called our family (who were all in on this plan) and let them know the good news!



Wedding Style: Describe your wedding dress. What was wedding shopping like for you?
My mother gifted me my wedding gown from Kleinfeld Bridal. It was a Dennis Basso princess ball gown adorned with crystals and pearls.
I had always imagined myself in a mermaid wedding dress and thought that would have suited my body most perfectly. However, when I first went to Kleinfeld with my mother, two aunts, and my cousin it turned out that wasn’t the style for me. I tried on ~8-10 dresses and with the opinions of so many people I became overwhelmed. My mother insisted that I try on a ball gown and as the saying goes “mother knows best”. The first ball gown I tried on was lovely and I gave it 8.5 out 10 so it wasn’t the one but I felt confident that after trying it on that I was in a better direction.
I left Kleinfeld without a dress and at a later date went to another store with just my mom in Long Island and tried on a few more mermaids (hey! I had to get it out my system) and more ball gowns. At that point I knew that the ball gown was the way to go. I finally returned to Kleinfeld a month and a half after my initial visit with my mom and cousin and found my perfect dress! I honestly had that magical dress moment. I was SO happy and beaming. It was definitely s 15/10 feeling for me. So I said “Yes to the Dress!”

Culture: Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? If yes, tell us more.
We most certainly did incorporate culture into our wedding! We are Guyanese (I was born there and he is Guyanese-American) and carnival is a huge part of our lifestyle. We thought wouldn’t it be beautiful if we could celebrate as if we were at Carnival and ‘fete-ing’. We knew our friends and family would appreciate that. So as an ode to our heritage and to be inclusive of everyone at the venue we had international flags for all guests under the table. Once the carnival music/soca started playing the DJ asked everybody to go under the table to get their flags and start fete-ing.
We also had a steel pan band play during our cocktail hour–steel pan is also a huge part of Caribbean carnival culture as well.
The song I walked down the aisle to and our first dance were also nods to our Caribbean too 🙂

Memories: What is your best memory from your wedding?
There were so many! It was such a spectacular day (no exaggeration!!!)
1. The carnival flag waving when everyone initially got on the dance floor
2. When everyone was palancing–LOL (Benjamin you kept up :))
3. The first look meant the world to me. Seeing my husband to be calmed my nerves and I knew the day was going to be perfect!
4. Hearing the vows that he wrote to me brought tears to my eyes.
5. Literally dancing in the rain towards the end of the night. Somehow we took photos in the pouring rain and Josh was able to capture some pretty amazing shots. Who would have thought messing up my press on my wedding day would have been so much fun?? LOL.
6. Listening to our parent’s speeches warmed our hearts.
7. The first dance!!! OMG. And hearing our loved ones sing “Is this love?” as we danced our hearts away.
8. Just too many to count.

Advice: What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Simple-prepare for the marriage not the day. Everything will work out as it is supposed to. It’s honestly in God’s hands. There came a point where I let go. I didn’t worry about the details anymore because I knew that no matter what the day in it of itself was going to be beautiful because the union was blessed–God sent us for each other.

Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts:
Bridesmaids: wine glasses with their names engraved along with the wedding date. They also received handwritten notes from the bride.
Groomsmen: engraved money clips with handwritten notes from the groom.

Favorite item on the menu:
To be honest we didn’t eat that much. But everyone said that the food was great and they LOVED cocktail hour. The last thing we wanted was for people to say the food wasn’t good. But the salmon I had for dinner was delicious and Vibert enjoyed his steak.

First dance song:
“Is this Love” by Bob Marley

photos CRUSHED by Joshua Dwain Photography


Photography: Joshua Dwain Photography
Videography: Yamean Studios Films
Wedding Planner: Victorious Events NYC
Florist: Arcadia Florals
Cake: Nathalie Springer
Stationary: Papered Wonders
Wedding dress designer: Dennis Basso
Wedding dress salon: Kleinfeld
Bridesmaid dresses: JLM couture
Hair: Jaselle Watkins
Make Up: Khadeen Ellis
Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Ceremony & Reception location: Greentree Country Club