Luxe Destination Wedding at the Hacienda Rio Luna in Loiza, Puerto Rico

Brides Full Name Tanyanika DeLions
Grooms Full Name Shayne Smith

Tell us how you met and all about the proposal.
Well we met around 10 years ago while at my previous place of employment as I handled his commercial insurance policies. We developed a genuine friendship over the years and then fast forward 5 years, the wick of attraction was lit. The proposal was a mix of beauty, romance and comedy and Shayne being Shayne I was perfect. He “spontaneously” took me on a long sunset stroll along the Rio Mar Beach located in Rio Grande Puerto Rico, to talk about our future and what we both wanted out of life and each other and upon our return back to the hotel , he started acting figedty dusting sand off my legs asking if I was okay and then got on one knee and asked me to marry him. Now we obvisouly know I said yes lol but I must add that he asked me on APRIL FOOLS DAY, so until I saw the ring I wondered if this was a prank cause we prank each other all the time. I was blessed that this was no joke…he was so nervous he never realized teh date and after I mentioned my apprehension he laughed at his missed opportunity.

Wedding Style: Describe your wedding dress. What was wedding shopping like for you?
My dress was designed by Ms. Andrea Pitter-Campbell from Pantora Bridal I decided early on that I wished for a gown with all over sequins but nothing too loud, something cultural in pattern and the sequin pattern was absolutely perfect. It had somewhat of a tribal-esque look and that flowed perfectly along with celebrating my Taino roots and location of the reception. Andrea was very pleasant to work with and very easy, from our first meeting where she brought the vision of my gown to life to physically delivering the dress to me less than 12 hours before I left to depart for Puerto Rico she perfect.

Culture: Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? If yes, tell us more.
Oh we incorporated tons of culture in many areas throughout the wedding day as well as weekend wedding.
Let’s start with the location – Loiza holds deep rooted African culture in all of Puerto Rico, it is also known as “La Capital de la Tradición”- “The Capital of Traditions” as it serves as the birthplace to a traditional dance called “bomba”. Loiza is also home to cultural folk art and insanely delicious food.

A Bomba and Plena troupe performed to welcome our guests to Puerto Rico immediately upon disembarking

While Shayne and I don’t eat pork, In honor of my latin heritage we decided to serve the traditional LECHON (roasted pig) during cocktail hour. We were blessed but honored to have our meal created & served by celebrity Chef Enrique L. Piñeiro. We welcomed our guests before the ceremony began with a refreshing drink of Sangria.
The day before and after we also infused cultural dishes for our guests to enjoy as fresh water coconuts, Coffee Barista, Piraguas (Puerto Rican shaved ice served with local fruit flavored syrup with or without alcohol), the ever so famous Paella and an empanada station served alongside custom sauces.

We had a cigar roller who showcased his talents and our guests were able to enjoy the culture and taste of hand rolled cigars.

Our guests also donned handmade “capias” (pin-ons), they were made by our Matron of Honor. Capias are small favors given and pinned onto the guest to serve as a token of appreciation of their presence at the festivity.

We also honored our ancestors and African American heritage with a traditional jumping of the broom.

To end off the evening with a bang, we knew we had to introduce our guests to the carnival culture of Puerto Rico, so we created our own and had a HORA LOCA (crazy hour) to parade through the gardens of the venue and to have everyone let loose and well…go crazy lol. Our guests were surprised to the percussion driven musical traditions, called Plena. The plena performers sang folkloric songs and raised the energy bar up a notch. The Stilt walkers and carnival girls were an amazing touch performing tricks and instructing guests to key movements and responses. We also incorporated a more than 400 year folkloric character, the “Vejigante” also known as the “life of the party” who by the way also traces its roots to the town of Loiza. The Vejigante engaged, pranked and danced with our guest throught he night and this is a memory our guests continue to talk about till this day.

Memories: What is your best memory from your wedding?
My best memory from the wedding other than marrying my love is two fold as I cant choose one. First was the sand ceremony which included our children and making them a part of the ceremony. Shayne’s four children had to play an integral part of this union. So as they are all super shy, we felt the best way for them to present and be seen was to have each one choose a color sand that represented them. During the ceremony they were all asked up to the alter and we all took turns blending our individual jars of sands into a larger jar to serve as a symbol of our single, inseparable unit that is our family.

The second was honoring my beloved grandmother, who hails from Puerto Rico during the wedding day. She was a lover and avid collector of the hand fan and I made sure to treat every guest with one as a keepsake along with an explanation as to why. I also had a special fan created in her style and honor that came all the way from Nigeria. This was such a special touch and I just knew she was there smiling on all of us.

Advice: What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
The best advice we could give is to newlyweds is to BREATHE, everything will work out perfectly. Another small but important piece of advice, especially for destination weddings is to check on the wifi or signal strength. A few details that required this during our wedding had to be nixed as our location was so remote, that signal was either a hit or miss.


Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts:
Groomsmen gifts – leather wrapped personalized flasks boxed sets
Bridesmaids gifts – personalized silk robes, personalized leather key chains and Bvlgari perfume

Favorite item on the menu:
Tanya – Skirt steak with “chimichurri” sauce
Shayne – Pan seared Chilean Sea Bass filet

First dance song:
Exceptional by Babyface


Weekend & Day of Coordination Planner – M & Y EVENTS
Ceremony & Reception Venue – HACIENDA RIO LUNA
Officiant – Aran Santana of SANTANA MINISTRIES
Florist & Design- BLANCO BY MARA
Wedding Menu, Ceremony Programs & Vow books- PARCHMENT BY DAMI
Bridal Clutch – CLUTCHED BY DAMI
Bridal gown & reception gown – PANTORA BRIDAL
Bridal shoes – BADGLEY MISCHKA
Bridesmaids Dresses – WHITE BY VERA WANG via DAVID’S BRIDAL
Grooms Suit & Reception Jacket – MIGUEL WILSON COLLECTION
Hairstylist – NICKY B ON HAIR
Chef – MESA 364 / Enrique L. Piñeiro
Farewell Brunch Chef – IN HOUSE CHEF
Artisan Piraguas – PIRAGUA PREMIA
Welcome Party DJ – DJ FOKUZ
Sound & Lighting – REVOLUTION SOUND & DJ’S
Bomba & Plena Troupe – CAFE D’ PLENA
Custom Hand Fan – AFRICAN QUEEN
Lounge Furniture Rentals – GALA RENTAL (San Juan)
Ceremony Soloist – Charlene Wynn

Romantic Urban Garden Wedding at the W Loft in Brooklyn, NY | Aja and Dynel

Brides Full Name Aja Williams Powell
Grooms Full Name Dynel Powell

Tell us how you met and all about the proposal.
We met on Court Street in Brooklyn. I was leaving a smoothie place and he was working. He saw me leave and his SGT told him to drive back around. He caught me while I was about to pull out my parking spot and he told me my tints were too dark but he would ignore it if I gave him my BBM pin

I was 9 months pregnant with our son. He wanted to do it on Christmas day in front of my family ( my favorite holiday ) but my mother broke her leg and refused to come to my house so we spent Christmas at her house. My best friend came to town that weekend and asked me if I wanted to get my nails and make up done. I thought they were setting up a maternity photoshoot and I didn’t want that so I gave them a really hard time. They tried to get me to go to Brooklyn because he wanted to ask at the location we met but I was being a jerk and it was raining. They ended up telling me that we were going to adopt a cat. I really wanted on but we already have 2 dogs. He proposed right there in Petco (lmao) on December 26, 2015. I thought they were bringing me a cat but I got a ring instead.

Wedding Style: Describe your wedding dress. What was wedding shopping like for you?
Lace… I love everything about it. I got a Claire Pettibone dress from her Couture Collection.
It was pretty easy. It was the first dress I tried on 🙂

Culture: Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? If yes, tell us more.
We had a wine box ceremony and we jumped the broom.
Dynel is Jamaican so we had Caribbean food during the reception.

Memories: What is your best memory from your wedding?
EVERYTHING!!!! Best day ever!!
but I would say the ceremony and just being with our family and friends during the cocktail hr and reception
The décor was amazing !!!

Advice: What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Save!! Start saving before you get engaged. Hire a great wedding planner and take your time. Enjoy the whole experience


Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts:
Bridesmaids box – champagne gummy bears, personalized stemless wine glasses, robes, eye mask and bottle of rose. Also, paid for the makeup on the wedding day
Groomsmen – Bottles of Henny Black and some other type of liquor ( they love alcohol)

Favorite item on the menu:
Aja – The cake and wine pops
Dynel – Oxtail
Jermaine – Mac and cheese

First dance song:
Jackson 5 – I’ll be there


Planner/Designer: Victorious Events NYC
Venue: W Loft
Photography: J&R Photography
Cinematography: Yamean Studios Films
Lighting: Mike Music
DJ: DJ Spynfo
Hair: Hair by Sadiku
Makeup: Khadeeniam Ellis
Dress: Claire Pettibone
Florist: NYC Flower Project
Stationary: Taylor and Hov
Bakery: BCakeNY
Catering: Omars Kitchen, Island Pops
Design & Decor Elements: The Finishing Touch NY, Ten 23 Designs, Broadway Party Rentals, Big Dawg Party Rentals, Two of a Kind Rentals, Patina Rentals, Westside Party Rentals
Bride Jewelry- Sara Gabriel
Bride and Bridesmaids robes – Plum Pretty Sugar
Shoes – Badgley Mischka
wedding dress tailor and veil- Esin from Sew Elegant Bridal