When Juanita went to workout at the Mitchell Field Military gym on a mission to rehabilitate her back, she did not know that she would meet Harold, a U.S. Navy sailor, and the man that would revive her love life. They soon became good friends and set sail on an eight year journey that led to a romantic proposal in an intimate restaurant.
When planning their wedding, it was clear to the couple that they would have a nautical themed union. Juanita shares, “Our theme was ‘The Voyage of Love,’ because at the time of our wedding, Harold was soon to be a retired as a U.S Navy Sailor after 20 years of service. For that reason, Harold was determined to have our reception on a yacht and it also in honor of my father is also a deceased retired Navy Sailor.” The couple teamed up with Blessed Events NY, to insure their nautical theme was incorporated into every aspect of their big day. Their wedding invitations were monogrammed nautical passports books complete with maps and poems that Harold and Juanita wrote to each other. Their cake topper was custom designed in their likeness, with Harold in uniform bearing a hidden yellow rose. During the reception, guests grabbed their escort cards that were fashioned after boarding passes and mounted on vintage New York maps, and made way to their table, which contained tables numbers that were made in the likeness ship helm wheels. Everyone danced the night away on the luxurious yacht and left with wedding favors that were ship helm wheels inscribed with Juanita and Harold’s and names and wedding date! Alan Abrams Photography beautifully captured all of the creative details of the beautiful union.
- Wedding Location: Ceremony- First Baptist Church of Hempstead, New York
- Wedding Date: June 16, 2012
How They Met
Our relationship began at Mitchell Field Military gym while working out. Harold was a big supporter of me while rehabilitating myself after having back surgery and at the same time focusing on weight loss. We instantly became friends and shared plenty of laughs. As the Thanksgiving Holiday approached, Harold made it known that he did not have any special plans. So, being friends, I invited him over for to share Thanksgiving with my children and I. Soon after, we began dating and a magnificent love affair was in the works. When we realized we were each others soul mate, it really intensified our love relationship.
Eight years later, February 18, 2011, Harold proposed to me at Puglios’ Restaurant while having dinner at the most romantic table full of roses next to the warmth of a fireplace and in front of a crowd of people we didn’t even know. That was Harold’s way of letting the world know how much he was in love with me. After the band played my favorite song “At Last” Harold proposed to me on one knee in the middle of the dance floor, and I said “yes” while crying tears of joy. It was quite a welcoming surprise!
Our theme was “The Voyage of Love,” because at the time of our wedding, Harold was soon to be a retired as a U.S Navy Sailor after 20 years of service. For that reason, Harold was determined to have our reception on a yacht and it also in honor of my father is also a deceased retired Navy Sailor. My favorite color is yellow and I love the gentle romance of the Victorian era. The combination of both helped make of our Voyage of Love, which was brought to life by Blessed Events NY.
We sought after and hired the the most talented and inspiring Wedding Designer named Adrianne Harris of Blessed Events Inc. We spoke to several Wedding coordinators, but the Lord kept leading us back to Blessed Events NY. Following the spirit of God we hired her. Adrianne walked us through the process and was with us every step of the way. She took our vision and brought it to life in a way we never imagined. We loved working with Adrianne. She was always very jovial and our experience working with Adrianne will never be forgotten.
Our photographer was Alan Abrams of Alan Abrams photography. On our wedding day Alan captured everything beginning to end highlighting every special moment and bring our wedding day to life. Alan took our wedding day very personal and provided us with a lifetime of memories. He was such a pleasure to work with and we enjoyed our time with him as well during our Bless the dress session .
Most Memorable Moment
There were many special moments of this blessed day. On the morning of our wedding day, I surprised Harold with a custom love letter done in hand calligraphy lettering. The letter expressed my love to him and what it meant for me to become his lawful wedded wife. He surprised me with me with the most fabulous vintage bracelet which matched the earrings I chose for our special day.
My bouquet was composed of the most beautiful yellow and white roses you could ever imagine with yellow ribbon. My Bridal bouquet arrived with a baby blue Victorian cameo locket which held a picture of my father in his Navy uniform. When I saw the locket it was very emotional time for me. It was very difficult to hold back the tears and I will always cherish that moment. This was a special gift from our coordinator Adrianne and her staff so that my father would be with me as I walked down the aisle.
While being transported to First Baptist church of Hempstead it suddenly began to hit me that I would soon be a married woman. My heart fluttered rapidly. When I walked down the aisle with my brother by my side I could eventually see my handsome, loving husband to be awaiting his bride. As we took our vows I thought to myself “I waited 9 years for this moment.” When we were pronounced husband and wife I was at that moment the happiest woman in the world.
Incorporation of Culture
Our unity sand ceremony included our beautiful children and a traditional African tying the knot with cowrie shells. After the wedding we had all of our guests shuttled by charter bus to Brooklyn and boarded the Atlantica Yacht. We hired a steel pan musician to greet our guests along with cocktails. During the reception I presented Harold with a retirement plaque to celebrate him serving our country for 20 years. I had to let him know that his service was appreciated and that I was so proud of him for his accomplishment. Being that we both come from military families, we presented pins to all of our military guests and honored them on that night. It was so beautiful. Later in the evening we held a special balloon release to remember my father who could be with us.
Harolds nickname for me is “BEAR”. So little did I know that Harold had a treat in store for me. He’s always been known for his romantic surprises. Shorty after presenting Harold with his retirement plaque. I glanced over my shoulder I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The cutest sight ever! The Captain of our Voyage of Love, Captain Bear , headed towards me to carrying with dozen long stem yellow roses. Captain Bear and I shared a short dance and then traded places with Harold as we danced to “kiss from a rose” by Seal. It was truly an amazing moment.
- Reception Venue: Atlantis Yacht
- Bridal Gown: Village Bridal and Boutique
- Wedding Design & Coordination: Blessed Events NY
- Photography: Alan Abrams
- Hair: Hair for Me by Lisa
- Bride’s Jewelry: Suzanna Dai
- Tuxedos: Tuxedo Park of Long Island
- Hotel: Westbury Hilton Garden Inn
- Limousines: Camelot Limousine Service
- Invitations and Escort Cards & Stationary: CT Designs Inc.
- Wedding Cake: Little Miss Cake Company
- Table Signs & Love Letter: Deborah Nadel Designs -Hand Calligraphy
- Makeup: Diva Does Makeup
- Flowers: Leslie Palme
- Video: Photo Fx Studios