Author and blogger, Demetria Lucas-D’Oyley who graces the Spring/Summer 2015 cover of MunaLuchi Bride Magazine celebrates her one year anniversary with her husband, Greg this month! Today, we’re looking back on her gorgeous shoot and what she had to say in her first months of marriage! Such wise and timeless words. Beautiful.
Happy Anniversary, Demetria and Greg!
In 3 words who is Demetria Lucas?
Happy black girl.
What influenced you to create “A Belle In Brooklyn”?
When I began my blog in 2007, I didn’t see a lot of images or characters in pop culture that reflected my friends and me. We were in our mid-20s, living in New York, dating working and trying to figure out life. We were coming “of age,” but that story, at least not for black women, isn’t often told. I was complaining to anyone who would listen about black women being left out of the equation, and finally one of my friends yelled, “Just write your story already!” So I did.
As a former Relationships Editor for Essence Magazine, how has that helped or changed your personal view on love and relationships and marriage?
One of my favorite stories that I wrote for Essence was about black women who found love “despite the odds.” We’re talking about women who were widows, who had multiple children, who were over 40, etc. I interviewed one woman, I think we dubbed her a “Workaholic,” the type of woman everyone says is too invested in her career to ever have a husband. But she was never deterred by naysayers. Her outlook was “I am one woman, looking for one man. The odds are in my favor.” I wasn’t looking for a husband really, “just” a boyfriend, but I did adopt her outlook.
Your career has taken off tremendously, what advice do you have on balancing love and a career?
This is something that I struggle with. I love what I do and I could easily be considered a “workaholic.” I really throw myself into my projects. When my now-husband was still my boyfriend, I had to realize I can’t treat everything about my work as a four-alarm fire and not treat him the same way. He had to know he was a priority, at least as important as my job. My career grew because I invested a lot of time and effort into it. My relationship required the same level of attention, if not more.
How did you meet your love, Greg? What are your favorite things to do as a couple?
We met on the subway. I went out one night to a holiday party at a now defunct lounge, Butter, and accidentally spilled my cocktail on some poor man. The next morning I was riding to work, and that poor man and his best friend spotted me on the train. The best friend asked me if I had been at Butter the night before. I’m thinking, “How much did I drink that I missed him?!” He sat next to me and struck up a conversation. On our first date, he admitted that he lied about being at Butter, he just needed an “in” to get my attention. We enjoy traveling. We’ve been to Mexico, France, and South Africa together. Our favorite Brooklyn activity is heading down to DUMBO, sitting in the park and taking in the view of the Manhattan skyline with a glass of wine.
How did Greg propose? Did he do it privately, surrounded by friends and family, in a public area? We love hearing proposal stories!
Because of my job, we’re not really into big displays. Keeping it simple is how we convey real meaning. Greg proposed in my apartment. I was in my bedroom packing to head out of town the next day and he called me into the living room. He was sitting on the floor, doing something with his laptop. He said, “We need to talk.” which everyone in a relationships knows is code for “this is impending doom.” I’m sitting on the couch wondering what went wrong and he says, “You know we’ve been together for a long time and you know how I feel about you…” I’m looking at him like, “Huh?” I had no clue what was happening, then he rose up on one knee, and it finally dawned on me, like, “OMG! HE’S ASKING ME TO MARRY HIM!!!!” I said “Yes,” of course. After he slid the ring on my finger—the one I asked for—I dove on top of him and knocked him over.
Many girls fantasize about their dream weddings, even when they’re single. But it’s not until you’re actually engaged that the real planning begins. What were some of the first things you did towards planning your wedding after you got engaged?
We were engaged for a while before we even began planning a wedding. Once we set a date, the first thing I did was call a wedding planner. I actually wasn’t one of those girls who spent her life dreaming of a wedding. I was pretty indifferent about getting married before I met Greg. The only thing I was clear on were the colors – ivory and gold, it had to be in Brooklyn and I only wanted 2 A.M. guests, i.e., people I could call in an emergency and they would answer.
Were you very hands on with your wedding planning?
My talent is writing, not event design. So with the bigger details? I was hands on. The venue, of course, the cake, the food, the dress, and the bands. I insisted on a flower wall for the ceremony. But the equally important details that really make a wedding “pop!” such as the lighting, cocktail stirrers, or the table settings, I left that to my wedding planner Lauren Beamon of Elle Couture Events. I gave her an overview and a Pinterest page of my vision and she went far beyond my expectations.
Was your husband very involved with the planning? If not, how did you get him excited about it?
He was pretty hands-off, actually. The only aspects he got excited about were the venue, food and cake tastings. He asked that his Caribbean heritage be acknowledged in some way. We had Black Cake as our wedding favor and I surprised him with a steel pan band at the reception.
Planning a wedding can be stressful for a couple. Did you and your husband butt heads at any point when making decisions for the big day? Do you have any advice on how to overcome tensions that come with planning?
We absolutely did. Greg was floored by some of the wedding costs. I’d been reading wedding magazines and researching on sites, so I had an idea. But Greg was clueless. There was a lot of disagreement about the budget. Admittedly, I may have gone overboard at some points, and in retrospect, I’m glad he reeled me in. Breathe deep, be patient and kind even when you don’t feel like being patient and kind, and focus on what really matters: the actual marriage, not the day you celebrate it. Your long-term happiness with your partner is not based on the amount of the flower or entertainment budget.
When selecting your vendors what did you look for the most?
Experience, style, service etc. I was adamant about utilizing Black-owned businesses because too often, they don’t get the recognition they deserve. I wanted the best of the best for my Big Day, and only they could give it to me. I said “Give me Harlem Renaissance” and everyone knew exactly what I meant and they nailed that fine line between ornate and ostentatious. I felt much better about writing all those checks when I knew another black person was benefitting.
What was the motivation that inspired your wedding theme?
I’ve always been fascinated with the Harlem Renaissance. It was the Golden Age for Black writers. I was particularly drawn to the extravagance of the parlor parties hosted by Madame CJ Walker, one the first, self-made female American millionaires, who was an enormous benefactor to the Black Arts movement. I created the theme of my wedding around her legendary celebrations.
Did you incorporate any cultural elements into your wedding? If so, tell us about them.
My husband is Jamaican by way of Brooklyn, which has the largest Caribbean community outside of the actual Caribbean. We incorporated his culture with Black Cake favors – a Caribbean specialty—and a steel pan band playing his favorite reggae songs. Our caterer, Chef Mike Valli, is a “country boy” who cooks like someone’s black great-grandmother, magnificently blended backroad Georgia with Caribbean spice.
We know you’ve been dubbed the “Black Carrie Bradshaw.” Did you have any Sex in the City elements within the wedding?
God, no. I hate being called that. I will say that my friend, mentor and former Vibe and Essence.com boss, Emil Wilbekin gave the most awesome toast at the wedding. He said, “Our Belle in Brooklyn is now our Bride in Brooklyn.” He has such a way with words. #abrideinbk became the official hashtag for our wedding.
After having the wedding of your dreams, if there was one thing you could have changed what would it be?
The wedding was so perfect, even the very small mishaps. Maybe I would have walked slower down the aisle. The band played an amazing rendition of “Betcha By Golly Wow” by The Stylistics as I walked down the aisle. I would have taken it all in a little more, if possible. I was so nervous that day.
What was the most memorable part of your wedding?
Standing at the altar with my now-husband. It was just so surreal. It felt like I was living someone else’s life. Untraditional, never-getting-married me is now standing in a poofy dress, which I swore I would never wear, pledging my life – forever, ever? — to another person. It was absolutely the right thing to do and the right time to do it, but it was still like, “OMG! What are we doing?!” This is the most adult decision I’ve ever made. I was laughing hysterically throughout the ceremony. I was so happy, but also thinking, “OMG! I am getting married!” It didn’t really hit me until that moment.
As newlyweds, has anything changed since you got married?
We didn’t live together before we got married, and I’ve never lived with a partner before. I’m an only child who lived alone for more than a decade. It does take some adjusting to, I admit. It’s funny… Greg will move sometimes and I’ll catch a glimpse of his ring and I’ll go, “Dude. We. Are. Married! Like married-married!” In my immediate circle of friends, I’m the first one to get married, so my new name is “the Mrs.” It hasn’t really sunk in yet. It feels like a dream.
Do you have any advice for our brides-to-be that will help them get through the planning stages?
Hire the best wedding planner and make up artist you can afford. Say “yes” to one major extravagance for yourself. Do one thing to make your parents happy. And please, talk to other brides. There’s like some secret society of married people where they only get real with inductees when a date for the wedding is set. A lot of the crazy emotions and ridiculous arguments you have as a bride-to-be are completely normal, which you’ll never know if you don’t talk to people who’ve been through it.
Finally, what are your top 3 pieces of relationship advice for our readers who are not yet engaged?
- Be candid about your desire to get married. There’s no shame in wanting to be a wife.
- Don’t act like a wife unless you are one. If you’re doing everything a wife does without the actual title, your partner has no incentive to make you a wife. You’ve shown that you don’t require that title to play that role.
- If you have a good guy with a good plan, who just needs more time, be patient. He’ll come through for you. If you’re being patient for a man with no plan, re-think that
Photography: Keith Cephus Photography
Venue: Oheka Castle
Stylist: Vainglorious Brides
Hair: Nikki Nelms
Makeup: Ashunta Sheriff
Cover gown: Yumi Katsura
2nd look (white blouse/blush skirt) Chaviano Couture
3rd look (shorter beige dress) Pantora Bridal
Tablescape design: ellyB Events
Flowers/Bouquet: Makini Regal Designs
Stationery: Royale Amethyst
Cake: Desserts by Dana
Cake topper: LBV Designs
Video/Drone: Chip Dizard
Headpieces: Happily Ever Borrowed and Elisha Caplan
Earrings: Thomas Laine Jewelry