It was during a party on the campus of Norfolk State University where Rachel first laid eyes on Donte, spotting him from across the room and instantly capturing her complete attention. They dated intermittently throughout college and truly became serious upon graduation. Their first date was a romantic evening at a carnival followed by a moonlit stroll on the beach. Rachel fondly recalls how perfect a gentleman Donte was, and remains to this day.
Read all about Rachel & Donte’s love story, sweet proposal, and wedding aspirations in their stylish New York City love engagement – captured by MunaLuchi Coterie member Reem Photography.
Bride & Groom-to-be: Rachel & Donte
Occupations: Computer Programmer & Claims Adjuster
Wedding date: 02-23-19
Wedding location: The Grand Marquise Ballroom, Garner N.C
Location of Engagement shoot: New York City
Tell us how you met and all about the proposal. We met at Norfolk State University at a large gym party. I spotted him all the way across the gym, and I would like to mention I have pretty bad eyesight. I look back now and joke that that was God’s first sign to me. We dated on and off during college and we got pretty serious once I graduated from Norfolk State.
The proposal was at my 27th birthday dinner and we were in the Dominican Republic (for the second time). We had an amazing trip and just went snorkeling with sting rays and sharks. I really didn’t think the trip could get any better. Later at night during my birthday dinner as the hotel staff was singing me happy birthday, the music stops and Donte gets up from the table and gets on one knee. And for the first time ever, I cried happy tears (after the extreme rush of astonishment subsided). The irony about the location of the proposal is that, two years ago this was the same place he asked me to be his girlfriend.
Describe your engagement session. The engagement session was a lot of fun, and definitely a new experience for Donte and I. Our engagement shoot was our first professional shoot together. We did not have a theme, I do not like to limit myself to themes. I focused solely on how will this make me feel, making it true to our style, and more so where do I want to create one of our everlasting moments? Our wedding is in North Carolina, but I am from Harlem, N.Y. Since we will not be getting married in New York, it was extremely important for me to include a piece of New York into our wedding experience. I was fortunate enough to pick an amazing photographer who had no problem making this happen and he (along with his assistant) flew to New York for our engagement shoot.
What did you do on your first date? I will never forget our first date because it was something I always wanted to do. We went to a carnival and then after we went for a night stroll on the beach and talked for hours. I also found out how unique he was this night because he did two things only my father has ever done for me, to date. He walked on the outside of me, constantly switching to remain on a protective side and he also opened and closed my car door. He still does the same to this day, even strangers stop and compliment how great of a gentlemen he is.
What’s your favorite thing to do as a couple? Our favorite thing to do is travel. After college we lived four hours away from each other, so the first year and half was spent on traveling to see each other. But we wouldn’t just travel to each other’s houses, we would meet in different cities and states. To this day we still love travel and it’s pretty hard to catch us home on a weekend.
How has wedding planning been so far? Wedding planning started out to be a bit stressful, there are so many different costs being thrown at you and so much to choose from. The first thing I did was get a wedding planner and then things started to fall in place. Finally we are at the point where we can consider wedding planning fun and exciting. But let’s be honest here, it is also expensive. However my wedding planner told me some great advice, she stated, “the only other day you will have that will be this expensive is your funeral and you won’t be there to see it. So go for what you want, and make this a day to remember.” After that statement both my fiance and my perspectives changed.
Tell us what you’re looking forward to most on the wedding day. I’m truly looking forward to walking down that aisle, standing face to face with my soon to be husband and saying I do. After all that we have triumphed through, the amount of nights I have prayed that God would reveal who he has destined for me. The moment I say I do to my destiny is the very moment I ecstatically wait for.
Wedding Planner – Sacoya Jenkins
Photography – Reem Photography
Makeup Artist – Kamala Johnson
Venue – Grand Marquise Ballroom