There are few things more satisfying to most people than an escape from the intense bite of the winter in November. Now, picture how much more exciting it is when your chance to escape the biting cold is also your opportunity to be joined to the love of your life for as long as you both shall live. That is absolutely magical!
On November 19, 2010, Rashonda Ambrose walked along the beach of the Riviera Maya up to her soon-to-be husband, Maleke Black, to the place where they would stand before each other as singles for the last time. Outside the Barcelo Maya Beach Resortwith the sun glistening and their hearts ablaze, the two would become one flesh….forever.
Each important detail was expertly captured by the couple’s very talented photograher and friend, Petronella. Her work is superb!
Their journey began in a truly 21st century fashion as Rashonda and Maleke met online….
“After a grueling 1st year of business school & during a summer internship, she reached out to Maleke via a social networking website because she thought they had similar interests & she was looking for someone to show her around Philly. So she actually initiated the first date but after that, he quickly pursued her.” I guess a good man knows a good woman when he sees her.
Their time together showed both Rashonda and Maleke that they had each met someone who was irreplaceable in their lives. Along the way, they fell in love with each other’s traits and knew that this was what they were both searching for.
[divider]Rashonda particularly loves that Maleke…. “[is] calm, cool, and collected, and it helps me to stay balanced.” Maleke most loves the fact that his leading lady…. “has a big heart.”
The cool, calm and collected Maleke would ask for the hand of his lady love….”over dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. I went to the dessert case; when I returned, I found my napkin laying over a navy blue velvet box. I opened it and saw a beautiful diamond and hubby-to-be down on one knee.” -Rashonda. Of course, she said, “Yes!”
As is almost always the case, Rashonda and Maleke agreed on a number of things, but disagreed on a few others. The first thing they agreed on right away, was the theme/location of their special day…
“We both love the beach so we opted for a destination wedding to Mexico. Of all the wedding-related decisions, this one was the easiest! While our theme was “tropical beach”, we wanted it to also reflect our style which is more contemporary.”
Even though they had the theme down and knew that they wanted their wedding to be in Mexico, narrowing it down to exactlywhere in Mexico was the tough part….
“We spent several weeks researching resorts. We created a spreadsheet with at least 15 different criteria so we could score our top selections – we thought this was the most democratic way to make the decision – but after the results were tabulated we weren’t happy with the outcome so the debate continued. Ultimately I let him make the decision, he usually picks our hotels, and I’d been happy with them in the past so I deferred to him and very glad I did: this hotel was absolutely perfect!”
Having a destination wedding is not the easiest decision to make, especially because it is inevitable that more than a few people will be unable to attend. Rashonda and Maleke knew this, but felt that this was the best decision for them….
“It was a hard decision because it meant that not all of our friends and family could attend. When we began wedding planning we promised ourselves that we’d prioritize ourselves, not something we often do. We wanted to make sure that our day was designed for us. We’re happiest when we’re at the beach – so it was the obvious pick.”
The beautiful Barcelo Maya provided most of the vendors for the wedding and reception so the lovely bride and groom didn’t have to worry about much. As for hiring Petronella as their photographer, Rashonda had this to say….“Our photographer happened to be a close friend. We didn’t consider any others. We wanted her because of her incredible talent and because it was clear that she would go above and beyond to capture our day.” And she really did :)
On what aspect of the wedding mattered most to them….
For Rashonda, it was…. “The first look! We decided not to take photos before the ceremony and it was one of the best decisions. To see each other for the first time at the ceremony was priceless – a memory I will always treasure.”
For Maleke…. “Because it was an outdoor ceremony, the weather was most important.” The bride’s most memorable moments at the wedding are both sentimental and hilarious…..“Exchanging rings in front of our family and friends,” and “My grandmother trying to take a shot of Tequila at the cocktail reception.”
Finally, Rashonda has some advice for engaged couples and brides-to-be….
“Establish a budget up front and decide on roles and responsibilities. Setting expectations ensures smooth planning! [Also], to ensure your big day is what you want, limit the amount of “planners.” Everyone will want to have a say, [but] try not to worry about pleasing everyone. Destination weddings are awesome – our wedding day really was more like a wedding weekend/family reunion.”
Rashonda and Maleke, may your hearts always be set ablaze with love and passion for each other, just as the sun at the Riviera Maya shines so brightly. May you always be each other’s escape from the coldness and bitterness of life, and be the warmth and sunlight in each other’s lives. Congratulations!!!
VENDORS BRIDAL GOWN: Kleinfelds SHOES: Pink Paradox-London MEN’S FORMALWEAR: Calvin Klein VENUE: Barcelo Maya EVENT DESIGNER/DECOR: Bride & Groom WEDDING PLANNER: Bride & Groom w/ Barcelo Maya FLORIST: Barcelo Maya CAKE: Barcelo Maya FAVORS: Bride & Groom BRIDESMAIDS GOWNS: Bari Jay HAIR/MAKEUP: Nickey from TRAX (hair); Bride (makeup) HONEYMOON: Riviera Maya, Mexico PHOTOGRAPHER: by Petronella Photography CATERER: Barcelo Maya ENTERTAINMENT: Local Mariachi Band CEREMONY PROGRAMS: Cherish Paperie Click any thumbnail below to see the entire gallery. [nggallery id=211]