It's been an amazing year for Black love! To celebrate, we've rounded up the most spectacular wedding dresses, cakes, bouquets and more for our first Bridal Bliss Awards. See which weddings made our list!
So Much to Love
Here at ESSENCE.com, one thing's for sure: we love weddings! Each week we bring you a look inside a fabulous Black wedding and share in each couple's joy. Although all weddings are beautiful, there are always certain aspects in each that truly stand out. See our list of our favorite details from this year's Bridal Bliss weddings and share the love!
Most Beautiful Backdrop
Instead of heading to the beach, lovebirds Staci and Joseph planned a destination wedding in the beautiful mountains of Sedona, Arizona. On their wedding day, the weather was picture perfect and so were the happy bride and groom.
When Ayanna and Nicholas threw an ocean-themed cliffside wedding ceremony at The Cliff House in San Fransisco, the bride dazzled in this gorgeous statement necklace, and we haven't been able to stop thinking about how much we love it.
Most Stunning Gown
Jillian and Ryan met on the dance floor at a nightclub, just like in the movies, and their love story was like a fairytale from then on – including on their wedding day, when the joyful bride chose this spectacular Anne Barge ball gown to feel like a real-life princess.
Tinique married Bill in these gorgeous Christian Louboutin Swarovski Crystal encrusted pumps, which matched her gorgeous diamond bracelet. Would you look at these shoes? Absolutely fabulous!
Newlyweds Janee and Jeffrey tied the knot in style when they said "I do" at The Brooklyn Children’s Museum in an intimate ceremony before those who mean the most to them. Their coordinating couple style was absolutely stunning!
Photo by Yosra El-Essawy Photography
Most Unique Gown
Amber chose this eye-catching, elegant origami-inspired Nicole Miller gown to marry A.Dee, the love of her life, in the backyard of their new home.
Most Fabulous Bridesmaid Gowns
Lovely bride Tinique chose these stunning Grecian-inspired, pale pink bridal gowns from Two Birds for her beautiful bunch of bridesmaids. The gowns are unique because one style can be worn 15 fabulous different ways.
Tamara's fierce fur wrap took her wedding day bridal style from fabulous to unforgettable in an instant. (Work it, lady!) She married her longtime love Jason at Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, and every shot they took was picture-perfect.
From the minute we first laid eyes on lovely bride Eniola's gorgeous cascading bouquet, we knew it was true love. The fun, flowing style paired with a pretty pop of pink was the perfect combination for floral success. Excellent choice, Eniola.
Shannelle and Sean's his-and-hers Chuck Taylors were irresistably cute. We love that they chose to combine comfort and style to get the most out of their wedding day.
Photo by Clifton Henri
Sweetest Love Story
While Aisha and JB were dating, she was diagnosed with lymphoma. He was at her side throughout the entire ordeal, including helping her shave her head after chemotherapy. That man's a winner, and Aisha knows it. Plus, their destination wedding style was as romantic as their story.
Stephanie and Kelton said "I do" in a lovely fall ceremony at Lake Lanier Island Resort in Buford, Georgia. Right before the ceremony began, Kelton and his groomsmen shared a quiet prayer on the grounds. This photo warmed our hearts.
Adora and Nathan, who met on the Obama campaign trail, made it official at the Riven Rock Ranch in Comfort, Texas. It was a picturesque day their guests won't soon forget. Their elegant attire really popped against the rustic beauty of the property.
Best Bridal Portrait
There is only one word for this shot of LaChelle posing pretty at the Gran Melia Resort in Puerto Rico, where she wed her dream guy Larry: stunning!
Bethani and Joel were looking for a romantic ceremony site, and they found that and some at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Ashevelle, North Carolina. The rose-petal covered aisle was absolutely breathtaking.
With nearly 200 comments and tons of likes, Staci and Joseph’s Bridal Bliss feature was by far the most popular of the year. Our readers really connected with Staci's story: Staci met Joseph in her 40s, thousands of miles from home, and long after her mother joked that she’d never find true love. It took just two months for them to realize that their love was the real thing and they weren't willing to wait on marriage any longer.
When Melanca and Moddie exchanged vows in the heart of Manhattan at Studio 450, they celebrated with a cake as memorable as their venue. The elegant cupcake cake, with a custom bride and groom topper, was a real scene stealer.
Reiko and Sean commissioned a custom painting of themselves wearing their wedding day gear that arrived just in time for their surprise wedding ceremony at a chic hotel suite. It was an instant hit with their guests, and it's now their favorite keepsake. What a cool idea!
After Kenna and Marcus, who met in college, tied the knot in an elegant Southern ceremony, they set things off at their reception party with a picture-perfect first dance. Can you feel the love just oozing from this photo? We sure can!
Best Color Combo
Tiffany and Joe's summer wedding style blew us away. We went nuts over their sunny yellow and turquoise color palette. It complements their bridal party style well and really sets the stage for summer fun.
When high school English teacher Charis and health administrator Peter tied the knot this summer they themed their big day around one of the final scenes of Romeo and Juliet. Every detail included a touch of romance, including their gorgeous wedding cake.
Many brides surprise their guests with a photo booth at their wedding reception, but rarely do they seem to have as much fun as Jessica and Aaron's friends and family did posing with them in their vintage-inspired booth.
Felicia and Antuan wanted a wedding ceremony and reception venue that spoke to who they are as a couple. When they decided to tie the knot beneath the Brooklyn Bridge then celebrate afterward at the hip Galapagos Art Space, it was a winning choice.
Memory's sorority sisters serenaded her at the reception party. It's so nice to see sisters sticking together throughout life's most important moments. Memory met her husband Stanley at a museum crawl, and the two were married at the romantic Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee.
When Ken proposed to Tania, the happy couple decided to take their time planning their wedding so they could throw a fabulous bash at their new brownstone home, just the way she'd always dreamed. The wedding day was a real success, and the newlyweds and their guests partied the night away right in their beautiful backyard.
Playful couple Reiko and Sean decided to prank their guests on their big day. They told them they’d already married at the courthouse, and they wanted them to attend their reception celebration. Imagine their guests’ surprise when they found out they were actually there to witness the couple exchange their vows in a trendy hotel suite. The big reveal came as the couple walked in hand-in-hand and escorted each other down the aisle as the DJ played “The Truth” by India.Arie.
After exchanging vows with her new husband, Ron, at the Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort in St. Lucia, Tanya rode off into the sunset on a horse led by her knight in shining armor. We love that Ron gave the love of his life the fairytale ending she deserved.
When Jillian and Ryan tied the knot in Pittsburgh, they made sure to include their brand new baby girl in all of the weekend's festivities. They even cut the cake together, and when they did, we cried tears of joy.
Cutest Sign Off
Crystal and DJ's happily ever after farewell signs put an instant smile on our faces. Their Maryland wedding expertly mixed casual chic with classic elegance. Which Bridal Bliss moment of the year do you remember most? Tell us about it below!