Love Blooms in the Desert: Rebekah and Javan’s Picture-Perfect Engagement Session

A "leap of faith" is defined as believing in an outcome you have no proof to support. For Rebekah and Javan the proof was in each other, of which they believe whole-heartedly, and the outcome would be, as Javan so affectionately describes it, the "past, present and future at the same time" culminating together on the day they say "I do."

Having met as teenagers at the University of North Carolina in an a cappella group, these two music lovers would find themselves complimenting each other's lives in synchronized harmony throughout multiple college degrees and across thousands of miles.

Read all about their story together, the romantic beach proposal, and stunning engagement session photoshoot below!

This amazing engagement session along with many other beautiful stories are featured in the Fall/Winter issue of MunaLuchi Bride Magazine. Pick up your copy here while issues are still available!

Congratulations Rebekah and Javan on your recent wedding! Best wishes to you both on your life together from all of us at MunaLuchi Bride!

Bride-to-be: Rebekah Dianne Israel
Groom-to-be: Javan Anthony Cross
Occupations: Public Health Program Manager and Resident Director at UCLA
Wedding date: 11/12/2016
Wedding location: Charlotte, NC
Location of Engagement session: Nelson, Nevada and Boulder City, Nevada

Tell us how you met and all about the proposal:

We met as teenagers at UNC Chapel Hill, two undergrads without a care in the world. I was in an a cappella group on campus and Javan joined to sing back-up…he thought he was slick. Our love of music and admiration for one another evolved into a deep friendship and eventual relationship that lasted long distance when I attended American University in Washington, DC for my Master’s degree. I took a leap of faith when Javan got into grad school at UCLA and drove 3000 miles across the country to start a new chapter with him. Javan took his leap of faith next when he surprised me with a trip to the Puerto Playa in the Dominican Republic after he graduated. What I thought was a summer vacation ended up being a walk to remember as he proposed on July 26, 2015 after watching the sunrise together.

Describe your engagement session:

We had three themes, believe it or not! Javan is the creative one – he came up with the themes and location for the shoot. He and Lauren Cowart, our dear friend and photographer, are truly a creative match made in heaven. The first look for our shoot was the “Casual” theme. We wore outfits that we would wear on any given day and we shot on a random street about an hour outside of Las Vegas. The second was a “Bonnie and Clyde Part III: On the Run…Again” theme. In this sequence we shot at the Nelson Ghost Town in Nevada and we wore leather jackets and shades. Finally, we had a formal shoot that was very much a “Glamour” theme complete with formal attire. And this was shot on the Dry Lake Bed in Boulder City. We shot all day long and snacked like crazy on Pringles and chocolate covered pretzels…clearly a beach shoot was out of the question! As the sun waved its final goodbye over the mountains in the distance, we drove to Las Vegas and contemplated eloping! We decided our mothers would kill us so we spent the night on the strip instead and hit a grand jackpot of $2.14 to get our wedding budget started.

What did you do on your first date?

We were in college and broke so I’m guessing the dining hall? The first date we actually both remember was Valentine’s Day 2011 when Javan prepared a dinner complete with roses and chocolates. It was really sweet. Both of us remember the food was pretty good, but then again, cheap wine was also flowing so who knows!

What's your favorite thing to do as a couple?

All of the things! When we first met we instantly connected on music and movies. We should have frequent flyer miles at every movie theatre in a 5mi radius, but prefer slow evenings vibin’ to classic R&B and soul music.

How has wedding planning been so far?

It’s been relatively pleasant! The thought of planning a wedding 3000 miles away was a bit daunting but luckily we got the ball moving early. We have a ton of friends and family in NC so they’ve been really helpful in scoping out the venue and helping us with taste tests. We also have a long engagement so knowing we have a lot done with still so much time left until the big day eases some of the stress. We’re especially excited about our venue, Project 658, which provides services to the Charlotte community that tackle food insecurity and champion other faith-based projects.

Tell us what you're looking forward to most on the wedding day:

“I’m looking forward to sharing our vows in front of all of our loved ones. Until our engagement photos went semi-viral on Instagram, we’ve been a pretty private couple but I’m excited to share that moment of love, truth and vulnerability with our family and friends.” -R

“I’m looking forward to the moment I see her walking down the aisle. It’s one of the few times in life where I feel like I’ll be able to see my past, present and future at the same time.” -J

Vendors: List your photographer and any other vendors you'd like to credit for your engagement session.

Photography: Lauren Cowart Photography 

  1. Anastasia

    I cant deal with ya’ll. Too gorgeous for me to even deal with!! I am just UNABLE!!! ALL OF THE YES!!!! Sheesh!!! Congrats!!

  2. Kim

    Gorgeous pictures of a gorgeous couple.

  3. Kim

    Gorgeous pictures of a gorgeous couple.

  4. Jennifer Scott

    DOPE!! That’s the only word to describe it all.

  5. Bobo

    Javan & Rebekah-All I can say it was off the chain-very classy

  6. Lisa Owusu

    This is just so gorgeous. Bravo and congratulations.

  7. Josette

    The images and interview is absolutely Aese !

  8. Blissful1

    What a beautiful shoot! I had to double back to the article to see if it was not a model shoot. Breathtaking!

    The photographer really captured your vision! Hopefully, they will be your wedding photographer.

    May God bless your union.

  9. TotallyTaurus

    This is the most incredible engagement shoots I’ve seen! Stunning!

  10. Dorothy Palmer

    Absolutely Gorgeous

  11. Dani

    There are no words, so I don’t know why I decided to comment, but God Almighty!!!!!!! Gorgeous photos and an even more gorgeous couple! Wedding will most certainly be on fleek–don’t use that word often, but it describes this perfectly. I love black love!

  12. Darriane

    Whoa! Rebekah your photos are amazing! Congrats to you and Jovan. It’s funny when you actually know the feature!

  13. Shamaya Teate

    Really no words!!!! Just HAUTE!!! Love Love Love!!!!! So creative!!!!


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