Nubia and Brian’s Romantic Malibu Engagement

Together since daycare, childhood sweethearts, Nubia and Brian have been acquainted their entire lives, dating periodically throughout high school. It wasn't until senior year that their love story truly took root and their relationship officially began to blossom. After high school the distance of attending different colleges created a temporary separation, but graduation would bring them back together in Chicago. Not too long after that, Nubia landed a job in New York City. Brian, not wanting to lose each other again, later made the move to NYC as well, together ever since...

Read all about Nubia & Brian's love story, engagement, and wedding aspirations, in their romantic Malibu engagement.

Bride & Groom-to-be: Nubia & Brian
Occupations: Global Marketing Manager & Menu Research/Development Chef
Wedding date: November 4, 2018
Wedding location: Malibu, CA
Location of Engagement shoot: El Matador State Beach, Malibu, CA

How did you meet? True childhood sweethearts, we met each other popping (milk) bottles (quite literally!) at Mrs. Hunter's daycare on the Southside of Chicago, as 3 month-old babies. We often glamorize our meeting by saying ‘our mothers touched bellies and our fate was sealed!’. When actually, our older brothers, who are both four years our senior, attended the same elementary school and it was logistically easier for both sets of parents to put us in daycare nearby. After Brian's family moved out of the neighborhood in 1992, we reunited as middle school frenemies in the Whitney Young High School Academic Center. Our distaste for one another was actually neither of our doing. Brian’s childhood best-friend made a hurtful joke about me, claiming that I looked like a ‘Nubian Goat’. While I applaud said friend for keen historical research about Eastern Africa, especially as a 7th grader, it was a cruel statement. And thus, I disliked Brian by association. The angst didn’t last long as Brian and I dated in 8th grade and a bit during the summer between Junior High and High School.

Our Junior High School courtship was short-lived as we reverted back to frenemies throughout High School until the fall of Senior Year, when Nubia caught my eye again during her dance performance in the Senior Talent Show. I called Nubia after the show to congratulate her and we met up for a group date at a local sandwich shop. After that night, we began officially dating and even attended Winter Formal and Senior Prom together, and were basically inseparable during the summer leading up to college. Despite Brian going to college in Tallahassee, FL, and Nubia to college in Washington DC, we vowed to stay together. And while we had the best of intentions, the distance between us and teenage immaturity led us to break it off during sophomore year in college. As Nubia tells it, she was in a committed relationship with me but I wasn’t in a committed relationship to her! A congratulatory 'check-in' call from Nubia to me in May of 2006 (she really wanted to see if I'd managed to graduate in four years!) rekindled our permanent flame. Nubia went on a short girls’ trip to Miami right after walking across the graduation stage and I picked her up from the airport in Chicago when she landed. We again were inseparable the summer after graduating from college, until Nubia left for her full-time job in New York and I stayed in Chicago. We suffered through the distance for a year before I took the leap and moved to New York to be with Nubia, moving to Harlem together in 2007.

Throughout our time living together, we often joked that if we received a dollar for every ‘when are you two getting married?’ conversation, the wedding would be paid for 3-times over. And although we were fairly comfortable with the structure of our relationship, I knew that if I didn’t take the next step, I may have lost Nubia. Although she enjoyed filling her time with her career, volunteer activities, and endurance events, she wanted the assurance to add me to the top of her priority list and didn't feel 100% comfortable doing so until I set things in stone. And together, we also knew how important our union was to our parents, especially as they respectively approach the sunset of their lives.
On November 4, 2016, I asked Nubia for her hand in marriage (shockingly, she says!) and on November 4, 2018, we will wed. We are truly grateful that there isn’t a point in our lives where we haven’t been connected – in space, time, or spirit. And we look forward to making November 4th the most beautiful and sentimental celebration to honor our lifetime of love…34 years in the making.

Tell us your proposal story. I decided I wanted to surprise Nubia and propose to her on her 32nd birthday, but the ring I custom designed with KatKim Fine Jewelry would not be ready in time for the big day. So, I lied and said the gift I planned to give her from Crate and Barrel (where I worked at the time) was back-ordered and wouldn’t be ready for a few weeks. When the ring was finally ready, I knew what I would do. I purchased a very lovely glass jewelry box from Crate and Barrel and decided to put the ring inside. I printed a fake shipping label, damaged the outside of the box a bit to make it look worn from the ‘shipping’ process, and pretended that it had been delivered and left it downstairs with our doorman. That night, we attended a comedy show at the Apollo Theater. Nubia is on the Young Patrons Board of the Apollo Theater and didn’t consider the outing a ‘big deal’ so she actually came to the show after a session at the gym, fresh faced and ‘no frills’ as she says. Because we lived in Harlem, we walked home after the show, stopping briefly to pick up some takeout on the way. When we got to our building, it was game on! I said to the doorman, “I think I have a package,” which he confirmed, and gave me the box (he was in on the surprise as well!). When we got up to our apartment, Nubia changed into her pajamas, turned on Netflix, and began eating her takeout. I said, “Hey, do you want to open your birthday gift”? “Oh yeah,” she replied. When she saw the Crate & Barrel box she sarcastically exclaimed “Oh! You got me a gift from your job? How sweet!" In full transparency, Nubia’s birthday is the first week of October and I proposed the first Friday in November. I think the timing also added to her unenthused response. When she opened the box, her reaction was minimal. “A jewelry box...that’s nice….oh wait, there’s something inside.” At this point I began to get down on one knee, as she looked a little closer. I took her hand in mine. “Is this a…..wait.....are you serious?” she said. I took the ring from the box and said “Will you marry me?” She said yes, of course, but sat there a bit shocked. There were no tears, but more a perplexed look as to how I planned all of this (figuring out her ring size, finding a ring designer, purchasing a ring, etc.) without her knowing. I actually had to explain the planning process in order for her to finally enjoy the moment! After sharing the good news with our parents and siblings, we made a video dancing around the apartment to Outkast - Int’l Players Anthem to commemorate the big day!

Describe your engagement session. Before we even had a theme, Nubia knew she wanted fellow South Side Chicago native, and remarkable photographer Dana Scruggs to shoot our engagement pictures. She actually contacted her shortly after we got engaged in November 2016 but a few twists and turns in our lives forced us to push back the timing of the shoot. Nubia began her career working in fashion and beauty journalism, and has always been drawn to strong imagery, dating back to an old coffee table book her parents owned, “I Dream A World - Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America.” This book, which chronicled the achievements of trailblazing African American women, inspired Nubia to seek bold, striking photos for our engagement series, which was right in Dana’s wheelhouse. Since we’re getting married in Malibu, we wanted our engagement session to be on the beach to give guests a preview of the beauty of the area, as well as showcase the intensity of our love. We felt that Dana captured the balance between our childhood love, dating back decades, but also our present-day maturity. We flew to LA, and drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to El Matador State Beach and Leo Carrillo State Beach, which are literally one mile from one another. We were initially afraid that we would be kicked off the beach by park rangers for not having official permits to shoot, but our fears were eased once we actually made it there and witnessed a few amateur music video shoots in progress! The groom’s looks were inspired by classic, cool tailoring and confident masculinity: A linen navy suit, solid knit tie, cotton cashmere sweaters and linen slacks. The bride’s engagement looks were inspired by the boldest, most powerful and beautiful women in America: think Rihanna, Beyoncé, Serena, and her attire was in our wedding colors – white, black, bronze, and nude. After getting dressed, we were able to get over the awkwardness of PDA (which we never do!) and managed to get some great shots as well as some incredible drone footage capturing the beauty and majesty of the SoCal shore.

What did you do on your first date? The first “date” either of us can remember involved meeting up at a local sandwich shop after the Fall Senior Talent Show, where I was wowed by Nubia’s beauty and talent as a dancer and ended up pressing her best friend for her number and calling her out-of-the-blue (Thanks Eryn!). Funny, Nubia didn’t have a cell phone in high school and I ALWAYS had to call her friends in order to speak with her! After that first encounter, we did typical ‘high school dates’ like going to the movies and eating out. I had a driver’s license and permission to use my mom’s car so I typically picked Nubia up for most dates.

What's your favorite thing to do as a couple? Go to a nice dinner or cook dinner at home. As a chef, one of my favorite things is to cook for Nubia (and her friends, if possible) and talk about food and great drink pairings. I actually have a blog that showcases the meals that I’ve made for Nubia over the years –

How has wedding planning been so far? Intense, to say the least. I can honestly say, I underestimated the level of focus it takes to plan and execute so many details. Nubia works in marketing and was fully prepared for the process but I’ve needed a lot of coaching and guidance. The stress of wedding planning was only compounded with Nubia’s job relocation which forced us into a long distance relationship for the past 18 months. We are also planning a destination wedding, and while California is domestic, most of our wedding guests don’t travel to LA frequently. Our wedding venue is a fairly complex property with many restrictions. Our wedding planner, Tricia Smith Brown, is an LA Native and has been absolutely amazing and patient with us and the many twists and turns our lives have taken since we got engaged.

Tell us what you're looking forward to most on the wedding day. We had a beautiful engagement party in February 2017 which gave us a good blueprint for the number of guests we wanted at the wedding, the preferred timeline, and overall feel for our big day. At the wedding, we are most looking forward to seeing all our family and friends looking their absolute best, celebrating our union FINALLY happening, loving of one another, and being wowed by the very special day that we’ve planned. Nubia specifically is most looking forward to the fashion! (We’ve given our guests a strict but purposeful dress code) as well as the live music we plan to feature throughout our ceremony.

Photography: Dana Scruggs
Videography: Amor in Motion
Videography (Shooter): Thien Nguyen
Nubia’s Hair: Malaika Frazier
Nubia’s Makeup: Farzana Zaman
Engagement Ring: KatKim Fine Jewelry
Nubia’s Earrings: Ellery
Nubia’s Top: Acler
Nubia’s Pants: AQAQ
Nubia’s Dress: AMUR
Nubia’s Dress: Solace London
Nubia’s Jacket: BHLDN Weddings

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