Featured in the Spring 2018 issue of MunaLuchi Bride magazine, Caressa and Nathaniel celebrated five wonderful years of marriage with a gorgeous vineyard anniversary celebration at Morais Winery in Virginia. Some key advice from Caressa for a successful marriage is to "being willing to accept that you cannot change a person, but loving them enough to call out the best in them and help them grow. Love, trust, respect and commitment to stay in it. Marriage can be tough, marriage is work, but the grass is only greener where you water it, what you feed grows and we choose to feed and focus on the good."
Read all about Caressa & Nathaniel in their gorgeous vineyard anniversary celebration. View the entire vendor list below, and see the complete selected gallery here.
Wife & Husband: Caressa & Nathaniel
When did you get married and where? December 2nd 2012 in Fredericksburg, VA
What was your wedding like? We wanted the atmosphere of our wedding to feel enchanted, with our love infectious and joy overflowing. We went for a very sophisticated adults-only evening, black-tie ceremony and reception. Since we are High School sweethearts our goal was for our guests to feel like they had a second chance to go to prom and fall in love with their honey all over again. We put heavy emphasis on the food, music and decor.
As you celebrate your anniversary, what do you remember most about your wedding day? To this day people still tell us our wedding is the most fun party they've ever went to. What we remember most aside from how much fun we had was the opportunity we had to take first look photos outside because it was unseasonably warm for December in Virginia. We were able to walk along the river and share precious moments with one another. The ironic thing was as we celebrated our anniversary and took these photos the weather was almost identical to our wedding day!
Was there anything you would have done differently for your wedding? Our wedding day was perfect from start to finish, we had a long engagement on purpose to ensure that we got the wedding of our dreams.
What are your favorite things to do as a couple? We are super competitive people and love to challenge other couples to game nights. Our friends always look forward to our big annual game night and our adults only field day. Adventurers at heart we love to travel and learn about the history of where we are and the culture of the people there. We also lead very busy lives with an incredibly active toddler, so any opportunity we can get to lounge together and watch movies in bed we take it.
Who cooks? I (Caressa) cook every night, that's the way it was for me growing up in my house and I wouldn't have it any other way for my family. Even when I'm out of town for work I plan ahead and leave home cooked meals for my boys. Nat gets his chance to shine during the summer when it's grill season.
Do you have any children or pets? We have one son, Tres, he is 19 months old. We also have a dog named Khalessi (we are huge Game of Thrones fans), she is 4 years old.
When it comes to Career, what do both of you do and how do you make time for each other? I (Caressa) am the Owner and Lead Event Designer at Caressed by Design, a full service event planning firm. I am also a motivational speaker and HIV/AIDS prevention and stigma advocate. Nathaniel is the Owner and Co-Founder of the Fredericksburg Area Basketball Organization; an exposure basketball and student athlete development program. He is also the varsity basketball head coach at Riverbend High School. With such busy lives we try to eat dinner together every night we can (eating late isn’t the best for our bodies but it works for nurturing our relationship right now). We also try to get away for at least one overnight trip quarterly.
What would you say are the most important elements for a successful marriage? First being willing to accept that you cannot change a person, but loving them enough to call out the best in them and help them grow. Love, trust, respect and commitment to stay in it. Marriage can be tough, marriage is work, but the grass is only greener where you water it, what you feed grows and we choose to feed and focus on the good.
How do you keep the spark in your marriage? We are always willing to grow together, fall in love with whom the other is becoming. The wonder and discovery helps to keep things fresh. We also aren't afraid to try new things in the intimacy department.
Tell us about the shoot. What inspired it? Five years ago when we got married, I (Caressa) planned our wedding from top to bottom. As I searched around town for vendors I realized there wasn't an overwhelming amount of minority business owners in the bridal business in our small town and surrounding areas. Even though couples like us had the money to spend we were severely underrepresented in the market. Over the last five years that has changed and black business is booming here. When we decided to do this anniversary shoot commemorating our five year anniversary we began to think back to the black renaissance movement and how important it was for us to energize and mobilize businesses within our community.
The inspiration behind this shoot was "black love is enterprising." Though this shoot may look like an amalgam of beautiful metallic and elegant florals every element is symbolic. My brooch bouquet was made of jewelry from all the women in my family whom were married before me, there is even a key to my great grandparents first store that reminds us to just keep building together. We chose the tones of precious metals and diamonds to symbolize the beauty that comes from the hard work of pressing, melting, welding and cutting … all tools used to make precious metals and diamonds. Much like marriage and growing businesses it doesn't start off as gorgeous as it ends. We had my original wedding dress reconstructed into a completely different piece to show that an original thing just like love can always be reworked, remodeled, and reshaped into something totally different but still equally stunning and beautiful as we grow older together.
What do you love most about them? We love that these photos rival the ones that we took on our wedding day. Michelle just allowed us to celebrate and bask in our love while she captured the essence of who we are on camera.
What advice can you give for newlyweds? Enjoy every phase of your marriage, as each part is very special and unique. For instance, If you don't have kids then don't rush it, enjoy “dink” (Double Income No Kids) life, sleeping in and doing brunch. Also take time and plan for the future, not only in your finances but in the very core of your relationship.
Styling and Planning: Caressed By Design in collaboration with A Beautiful Day By Antonia
Photography: M Harris Studios
Dress: Judd Waddell bespoked by Mackenzie Clare
Suit: Aspetto styled by Mackenzie Clare
Rentals: Memorable Moments
Florals: Embellished Details
Hair: Kurly Klips in association with Hair by Reyunna
Makeup: Makeup by Shanelle Squire
Broom: Brides and Brooms by Marayah Lane
Cakes: Piggy's Babycakes
Stationery: Pretti Paper
Venue: Morias Winery