Having just walked away from an unsuccessful dating situation, Alana, almost as if a higher power were pointing her in the right direction, received a message in her inbox from someone who'd caught her eye. Vibert, feeling the same romantic curiosity, decided to take the leap and reach out to Alana in a decision that would positively alter the rest of their lives. Placing them on a journey from messaging, to hours-long phone conversations, romantic evenings together, to a wonderful surprise birthday proposal, and finally saying "I do" in beautiful country club ceremony in New Rochelle, New York.
Learn all about Alana & Vibert's love story, proposal, and wedding experiences - beautifully captured in this cinematic feature by MunaLuchi Coterie member Yamean Studios Films. With event photography by MunaLuchi Coterie member Joshua Dwain Photography, and event planning by New York MunaLuchi Coterie Ambassdor Victoria Nee-Lartey of Victorious Events NYC.
Bride & Groom: Alana & Vibert
Occupations: Alana - Clinical Research Supervisor and Graduate Student, Vibert - Middle School Science Teacher.
Wedding date: July 31, 2016
Wedding location: Greentree Country Club in New Rochelle, NY
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. 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 I signed on to Blackplanet and saw a message from Jay. I figured it was worth responding to 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 situation-ship 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 Francisco 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! 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!
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 and 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 a 15/10 feeling for me. So I said "Yes to the Dress!"
Did you incorporate any culture into your 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.
What is your best memory from your wedding? There were so many!
1. The carnival flag waving when everyone initially got on the dance floor
2. When everyone was palancing!
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 Vibert wrote brought tears to my eyes.
5. Literally dancing in the rain towards the end of the night.
6. Listening to our parent's speeches warmed our hearts.
7. The first dance! Hearing our loved ones sing "Is this love?" as we danced our hearts away.
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 of itself was going to be beautiful because the union was blessed - God sent us for each other.
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: The bridesmaids received wine glasses with their names engraved along with the wedding date. They also received handwritten notes from the bride. The groomsmen received engraved money clips with handwritten notes from the groom.
Favorite item on the menu: Everyone said that the food was great and they loved cocktail hour. The salmon I had for dinner was delicious, and Vibert enjoyed the steak.
First dance song:
We danced to "Is this Love" by Bob Marley.
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
Photography: Joshua Dwain Photography
Photo Booth: On Shoot Photo Booth
Videography: Yamean Studios Films
Wedding Planner: Victoria Nee-Lartey of Victorious Events NYC
Florist: Arcadia Florals
Cake: Nathalie Springer
Stationary: Lisa Zachery of Papered Wonders
Cocktail Hour Performance: Jah Pan Caribbean Steel Pan
DJ: Kooly Chat