Outdoor garden engagement session in South Beach, Miami has outfit changes (including traditional African attire), tropical backdrops, and a surprise ring proposal!
Jamila and Roger’s love story began online via Instagram. While they had been liking each other’s photos for years, Roger finally slid into her DM’s one New Years morning and they’ve never looked back!
Captured by the talented Stanlo Photography and Henry Adewale Films, the couple’s outdoor garden engagement session was at the Vizcaya Museum and Garden in South Beach, Miami. Posing before tropical flora and beautiful architecture, their love is truly radiant! A surprise proposal, multiple looks, and luscious backdrops are just a few highlights from their loved-up shoot.
For more on their romance and photos from their outdoor garden engagement session, keep reading below.
Jamila and Roger’s wedding was featured in the Summer 2021 issue of MunaLuchi Bride Magazine! View the digital magazine here.
- Full names of couple: Jamila Adams & Roger (Lapama) Hayford
- Occupations: Jamila is a High School Math Teacher and NJ Real Estate Agent; Roger is the CEO of Greenpoint Xpress Hauling LLC.
- Wedding date: July 24, 2021
- Wedding location: The Terrace, Paramus, New Jersey
- Location of Engagement Shoot: Vizcaya Museum and Garden South Beach, Miami
How they met…
Jamila and Roger had been friends on Social media (specifically IG) for years, but they didn’t communicate beyond liking each other’s photos.
Roger recalls, “I remember it was on New Year’s Day, I slid in her DM’s.” He asked for her number but she actually gave him a fake google account one.
“…I still have beef with her about [that] to this day because I believe I deserved her real number on my first try.” But, luckily for him, his patience paid off. “Shortly after, I got upgraded to the real number. I had won.”
For a while, “it was a long distance,” he says, “she was in NY and I was in PA, but we talked everyday. [And] after a few weeks she came to see me and the connection was instant.”
Their proposal story…
Roger originally intended to propose a year earlier; however, with the pandemic outbreak, he decided “it didn’t feel like the right time to do it in the middle of the madness.”
A year later, Roger felt it was the right time to officially ask Jamila to marry him.
“In our culture,” he explains, “the traditional ring proposal has become a modern day thing with the newer generations. I had already gone the traditional route and asked for her hand in marriage from her family, and paid the bridal price, which they all accepted.”
Although the cultural proposal had already been done, Roger knew “[he] wanted to get her a nice ring. One that she rightfully deserved and that fully portrayed [his] love for her.”
Jamila had no idea Roger was planning this.
“Up until then, she was under the impression the only ring she was getting from me was a smaller ring I gave her back in 2016.”
With help from Jamila’s sister (and their wedding planner), Ayisha, he was able to find the perfect ring. “I know we picked the right one because she won’t stop telling everyone about it!”
With the perfect ring picked out, Roger worked with Ayisha and their photographer, Stanlo, and videographer, Henry Ade, to execute his vision. They discussed “which outfit he should propose to her in… the signaling for when it was time, etc.”
With everything in place, it was finally time!
Roger recalls, “She thought we were going to Miami for just the photoshoot and for vacation. During our shoot, Stan put a mic on me and had us pose back to back. Then with his signal, I was on one knee. He told her to do a spin and she spun so fast, initially missing me, until she realized I wasn’t there and finally looked down. The look on her face was priceless!”
When they knew they found “the one”?
For Roger, it was their first weekend together where he realized Jamila was someone special.
“…We just clicked so well,” he says. “It was in a capacity I’ve never clicked with someone in before, and it was genuine. I knew in my heart she was the one.”
Jamila knew he was the one “from pretty early on.”
She says, “We just really clicked, had so much in common despite growing up in different countries and having different life experiences. I knew he was the one when he was the first person I would call when something good or bad happened to me.”
Their engagement session & theme…
The couple had the their engagement session at the beautiful Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, Florida. Miami in particular was significant for them.
“We wanted to pick a place in Miami because that was where we first had our baecation together,” he says, “and we wanted it to be somewhere that could really tell our story and capture our love.”
“When we got there, late of course, we were in awe. The museum was more beautiful than the pictures. Stan and Henry were amazing. I am truly thankful for them and for their creative direction.”
Reflecting on the day, Roger admits “everything just felt right. At one point I remember looking at my wife and thinking about how lucky I am. I knew I was proposing, so I was also nervous. But Stan and Henry made everything seamless. It was perfect.”
Their first date…
Their first date was simple and perfect.
“[Jamila] took the train to PA from NY. And I picked her up from the train station. We went to the movies and then I ordered some traditional African food when we got back home.”
Favorite thing to do as a couple…
Jamila and Roger love to travel!
“Traveling is our favorite thing to do. Before COVID, we traveled at least twice a year and sometimes went on road trips.”
Wedding planning so far…
Overall, wedding planning has been “going great.”
Jamila says, “My event planner/ sister/ maid of honor, really listens to my requests and tries to make it happen. Roger has also been great at letting me make the majority of the choices. We just let him know what we need from him and he gets it done.”
What they’re looking forward to most on their wedding day…
Roger is most looking forward to dancing.
“My dance moves haven’t been unleashed in a decade. It’s only right to bring it out on the day I marry my best friend lol.”
Jamila is “looking forward to sharing [their] love and celebrating each other.”
She adds, “People that hang around us say you can always feel the love that we have for each other and we just want to celebrate that.”
Looking for more outdoor garden engagement session inspiration?
- Planner: Ayisha Adams (Maid of Honor/ Bride’s Sister)
- Photographer: Stanlo Photography
- Videographer: Henry Adewale Films
- Mens 3 piece: Twist Connect GH
- Barber: N-less Cutz Barbershop
- Jamila’s Hair: The Dolls Project
- Makeup Artist: Nordia Cameron- Cunningham
- Red Dress: Sheyeoladejo Fashion House
- Pink Dress: Zhena Women Clothing Brand
- Blazer Look: Zara