Have you ever been to a surprise birthday party, or baby shower, or perhaps a surprise bridal shower? Chances are, you’ve been to at least one surprise party, or maybe even helped plan one. But what about a surprise wedding? And no, we’re not talking about the Zuckerbergs here. Today’s fashionable couple did just that. Family and friends thought they were attending a surprise 30th birthday soiree for the soon-to-be bride but instead learned that it was actually her wedding. Guests dressed in all white were invited to a picturesque mansion in Texas decorated with a Miami beach vibe. The bride, was dressed in a gorgeous colorful custom-designed gown…not white. And the groom wore an orange custom suit. They did everything exactly how they wanted to, and loved every bit of it. The photos were taken by no other than Raheem of Rhphotoarts. Also, we’ve shared this fashionable wedding with our friends over at Ebony.com. Be sure to check it out.
Bride: J’Antae D. Hall Groom: Emmanuel B. Eloundou Wedding date: September 4, 2011 Location: Private Estate in Houston, TX Photography: Rhphotoarts
On how they met…
We met in Chicago via professional affiliations and developed a wonderful friendship. Our friendship subsequently blossomed in something more upon our mutual recognition of our parallel values, interests and genuine enjoyment of each others’ presence.
Our event concept was a unique one (at least we think so :-), as the majority of our guests were unaware of our impending nuptials. The guests were invited to attend a surprise birthday soiree in honor of the bride’s 30th birthday. Much to the guests surprise, that “surprise” party turned into their surprise – a wedding.
The concept of the event was derived from our desire to wed in a manner reflective of our personalities and lifestyle. We enjoy vibrant, joyous occasions with a contemporary flair and wanted to treat our guests to that as well. We both possess a more fashion-forward sense of style and wanted our garments to be our gifts to each other on our wedding day. More specifically, neither of us knew what the other would wear on that day, not event the color(s) that each of us would select. All we knew is that all guests were asked to wear white and theme was to bring a tropical feel to the urban Houston landscape. There were no other discussions regarding color schemes. We both greatly enjoy trying to out-style the other…and our wedding day was no exception.
The decor concept was based on a South Beach-style white party with a heavy focus on LED lighting, acrylic and mirrored furnishings, vibrant colors and an extreme attention to detail (including uplit place settings, polished coconuts and neon LED straws to hold the frozen beverages). The evening began with a “Miami Minis” themed cocktail hour, featuring miniature appetizers and cocktails. The event then progressed into the follow-up segment, which included the surprise nuptials, not to mention the groom’s self-designed and styled orange tuxedo with a built-in vest and white trim and the bride’s vibrant-print gown and custom jewelry. The remainder of the evening included a blend of southern and Cameroonian foods, a baked-to-order brownie-a-la-mode bar, plentiful cocktails and a jam-packed dance floor.
Some of the key challenges to producing the event included keeping the true nature of the occasion a secret among friends and family, producing a wonderful experience within only 3 weeks (the wedding was expedited to accommodate an immediate family member’s international travel plans) and constantly reminding vendors that the desired outcome of the decor and overall experience was to be one synonymous with a party vibe rather than the more traditional wedding expectations.
On incorporating culture…
Culture was incorporated into the event via dinner selections. Guests were treated to southern cuisine to reflect the bride’s southern upbringing, together with Cameroonian cuisine to reflect the groom’s Cameroonian background.
Congrats to the happy couple and thanks for sharing your story. View the full gallery here.
- Event Concept Design: J’Antae D. Hall
- Groom’s Attire: Bengjof Couture (Self-Designed and Styled)
- Coordinator: Dure Events
- Photographer: RHPhotoarts
- Bridal Jewelry: Najite Designs, Houston, TX,
- Bridal Make-up/Hair: Lyzadora Beauty (Tokini)