If you cannot have a destination wedding in the islands, why not bring a bit of tropical garden paradise to you.
Jennifer and Olubunmi originally wanted to get married in Mexico, but the pandemic halted their plans. Instead, they worked with their wedding planner to pick a venue in the states that had a tropical feel and brought a touch of paradise to Rhode Island. Jennifer shares, “Our planner Hermela Belachew of Behind the Design created a beautiful, classy, and romantic ambiance within a beautiful indoor botanical garden that felt like we were in a tropical setting and not in New England.”
Florals and décor in shades of red, mauve, and maroon enhanced the romantic atmosphere of their enchanting nuptials. Keep scrolling to see all of the gorgeous details.
- Couple: Jennifer Rios-Peña, Business Strategy & Engagement Specialist & Olubunmi Afere, 31, Rehabilitation Counselor
- Location: Rogers William Zoo Botanical Garden, Providence RI
How did you all meet?
We met through a mutual friend. We were friends at first, then best friends, and became closer as the years progressed. This led to us dating and the rest is history!
Anything super unique about the big day?
Well, being in a pandemic in 2020 has been unique in itself which changed our original wedding plans but the outcome of our wedding day was incredible and we would not change it for the world! Hermela created a beautiful, classy, and romantic ambiance within a beautiful indoor botanical garden that felt like we were in a tropical setting and not in New England. We are so happy that we trusted her vision for the design and experience she created for us and our guests.
Where did you all go on your honeymoon?
Our honeymoon also changed due to the pandemic but luckily, we were able to still take one and we went to the beautiful island of St. Lucia. Sun, warm weather, beach, pool, Caribbean food, and drinks plus relaxation were all we needed to enjoy our honeymoon.
Tell us about your ceremony décor.
I wanted to do a different kind of seating for the ceremony. I opted to go with lounge furniture.
What was your overall wedding style?
Bride- A pure white A-line dress with visible boning details on the top, sweetheart bodice, off-the-shoulder sleeves, embroidered floral appliques that cascade down from the top to the bottom of the dress and a hidden slit. This was paired with silver accessories and a cathedral length white veil with embroidering at the edges. Shoes worn were Jimmy Choo Silver Lang heels. I wanted to wear a dress that I knew would be once in a lifetime while still feeling confident and sexy.
Hair was pulled back in a side part lower bun and makeup was a glam natural look as I had two outfits so I wanted both my hair and makeup to go with both.
Bridesmaids- a mauve long chiffon bridesmaid dress with waves of ruffles that fall from the one-shoulder neckline to the floor and a slit. Their hair was down with waves and a natural glam makeup look.
Groomsmen- Italian Tuxedos in Midnight blue with a contrast silk shawl and black bow ties
Groom- An Italian tuxedo with a white jacket and contrast black silk shawl, black tuxedo pants, black bowtie and gold accessories. Shoes worn were Christian Louboutin black velvet Marpyramide loafers. I wanted to stand out while taking a twist on the classic groom black tuxedo.
What was your planning experience like?
Stress-free! We did not want to stress out during the wedding planning experience and enjoyed how our wedding planner Hermela took care of a lot of the coordinating and kept us in the loop of the progress or any final decisions that needed to be made.
Did you hire an event professional to help pull everything off?
Yes! Behind the Design was the company and Hermela was our wedding planner. From wedding planning to our wedding day Hermela and her team made it a magical event we will always remember and that our guests are still talking about.
Hermela suggested it as we were supposed to have our wedding in a tropical setting before having to change our location. When we went to visit the venue and saw all the greenery it felt like we were in an indoor garden and automatically fell in love with the vibe.
Any tips you would share with other couples getting married?
Communication is key and make decisions together even if there is one person who does not care about a certain aspect of the wedding, still run the final plan by them. It is a great team effort that prepares you to make even bigger decisions going forward into your marriage.
During the ceremony did you use and religious or cultural elements or traditions?
We had a family member who is a pastor, officiate our wedding and the Father of the Groom bless the reception with a speech at the beginning.
Groom: I am Nigerian and it is a custom to have a traditional wedding before what we call the white wedding but due to the mix of cultures within our marriage we decided to dedicate our reception to the traditional elements. We dressed in traditional Nigerian attire that was handmade for us in Nigeria and a wedding gift from our family. We also had our wedding party dress in traditional attire since they were the ones who introduced us into the reception.
We danced into the venue to Nigerian music and once we entered it is a custom for our family and friends to join us on the dance floor and to spray money as a sign of appreciation to the couple.
- Planner: @behindthedesign
- Lounge & Rentals: @dez.collective
- Photography: @davidhdphotography
- Videography: @togetherforeverfilms
- DJ: @djtgif
- MC: @deejaymot
- Makeup: @faceslaybyshay
- Hair: @hairbyvdubbs
- Chairs: @beyondpartyrentals
- Signage: @sydneysmithdesign
- Bartenders: @tenders
- Catering: @theneighborhood_kitchen
- Florist: @fernflowersboston
- Lighting: @audioandlightingunlimited
- Paper goods: @boxedweddinginvitations
- Cake: @cakesbytonimarie