When Rashida and Ryan first met, they instantly bonded over their shared love of music festivals, travel, fitness, and their home state of Florida.
Their natural chemistry eventually blossomed into a beautiful three-year relationship. They share, “As we matured in our walk together, we knew God was calling us to a lifetime of commitment to each other.” Ryan took the first steps to make a forever commitment when he proposed to Rashida in the picturesque Canadian Rockies, near the summit of Whistlers Peak in Jasper, Alberta.
They were on their way to planning a beautiful wedding when COVID-19 threatened to cancel their big day. Their florist Royal Events and Services shares, “This wedding occurred right before the closures of all venues due to the COVID pandemic. The bride wanted to call off the wedding because guests were canceling, however, we quickly reminded her what the day was about. Even if it’s just you and him, exchange your vows, express your love, and make it a bomb photoshoot. With that said, more than 150+ of their closest family and friends still attended. We were their florist and pulled in the bride’s desire of shades of pink and lush greens with an ombre effect used consistently throughout.”
Besides the unique decor, the couple incorporated sweet personalized touches into their reception they share, “Since our wedding fell on pi-day, we served our guests mini pies in observance of this math holiday.” All of the heartwarming and unique moments were perfectly captured by Joshua Dwain Photography.
- Full names of couple: Dr. Rashida Karida Jones and Mr. Ryan Matthew De Souza
- Occupations: Bride: Pharmacist and Epidemiology PhD student; Groom: Social Impact Consultant
- Wedding date: March 14, 2020 (Pi Day)
- Wedding location: CAVU Tampa
- What gifts did you give to your bridesmaids and groomsmen: The bridesmaid proposal: I am still a southern girl at heart, so I wanted to propose to each of my friends asking them to stand by my side on the big day. Since none of my closest friends are within driving distance, I had to be a bit creative due to shipping, but nevertheless I created a proposal box complete with Foundation Coffee beans, a personalized coffee mug, Florida marmalade, sugar scrub, facemasks and a note asking each lady to join my squad.
- Bridesmaid gifts: I gifted my girls matching robes, slippers, and earrings to be comfy and chic while getting ceremony ready. Additionally, I commissioned Philadelphia street artist Amber Lynn (better known as Amberella) to create a custom screen print which consisted of two hearts printed on hot pink metallic paper that read “Dream it, Believe it”. I chose to give my bridesmaids this print because no matter how many miles lie between us I want my girls to always remember you can achieve anything- if you first believe you can achieve it.
- Groomsmen gifts: Ryan gifted his groomsmen fine cigars and Canadian Whiskey.
- Ceremony entrance song: We incorporated Ryan’s Jamaican culture into our wedding, as we entered the reception to Ding Dong’s “Fi Wi Dancehall” – with a choreographed dance to match. We surprised a lot of people with our moves!
- First dance song: Avant’s “My First Love”
How did you meet?
Our story began in Washington, D.C., on a warm July night in 2015. We bonded over our shared love of music festivals, travel, fitness, and our home state of Florida while bowling in Georgetown. Our relationship blossomed over the years, dancing to some of our favorite artists at legendary D.C. venues like 9:30 Club, Echostage, and U Street Music Hall; traveling to new and familiar locations; earning obscene amounts of “splat points” at OrangeTheory Fitness; and spending quality time with family in Tallahassee, Tampa, and Lehigh Acres.
Tell us about the proposal.
As we matured in our walk together, we knew God was calling us to a lifetime of commitment to each other. Ryan quickly became an expert in shopping for engagement rings, sweating the details until he found the perfect dazzling emerald-cut diamond. On August 5, 2018, we got engaged in the picturesque Canadian Rockies, where Ryan proposed near the summit of Whistlers Peak in Jasper, Alberta.
Describe your Wedding Style.
Like most, when I was a little girl I dreamed of wearing the most extravagant princess-style ball gown on my wedding day. However, when my 29-year-old self began trying on wedding gowns, I completely fell in love with more form-fitting, mermaid gowns complete with a long dramatic train and veil.
I said yes to the dress over the course of a weekend after visiting four local salons in Tampa with my family. Funny story, after visiting the third salon on Saturday, I felt that I had found a gown I liked but wasn’t totally in love with. During my last appointment, the bridal consultant asked me to show her a picture of the gown I sort of loved and simply replied “I can beat that” as she pulled a Martina Liana gown from the rack and placed it into the fitting room for me to try. She was definitely right! After trying on this single gown, I said yes to the dress!
After multiple visits to Suit Supply and exploring options, Ryan selected a beautiful midnight blue tuxedo, capping off his dapper, tailored look with a black bow tie, and suede Magnanni loafers.
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding?
We “jumped the broom” to signify our new lives together! Since our wedding fell on pi-day, we served our guests mini pies in observance of this math holiday.
What is your best memory from your wedding?
Our entrance dance, or when Ryan misstated his vows saying “with this wing I thee wed” which resulted in laughter of our 140+ guests.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Be patient and enjoy the process. It’s a moment to celebrate, but it’s also a moment to cultivate your relationship with each other as you set the stage for a bright future.
- Photography: Joshua Dwain
- Wedding planner and event designer: Jessica Campbell Events
- Wedding Dress Designer: Martina Liana
- Wedding Dress Salon: Malindy Elene
- Bridesmaids dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
- Bride’s hair: Janique Hobbs and Amber Mimz (loc adornments aka Hair Sprinkles)
- Bridal party hair: Carmen Mcleod
- Bridal party makeup: Nicki McPherson
- Groom’s hair: Loc’s of Wisdom
- Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo
- Groom Shoes: Magnanni
- Ceremony and reception location: CAVU Tampa
- Videography: Suzanne Delawar Studios
- Florist: Royal Events and Services
- Cake: Alessi Bakery
- Stationery: My Favorite Things
- Groom’s attire: Suitsupply
- Groomsmen attire: The Black Tux
- String Quartet: Julie Paradies
- DJ: Bradmasterj Musiq
- Linens: Over The Top Rentals
- Kate Ryan Event Rentals
- Elite Events and Rentals