Vanessa and Amir met in the hallways of their high school. They started off as friends before becoming each other's first loves. While circumstances of life would take these two apart, their hearts would always draw them back together. See the photos from their gorgeous Paris elopement and the sweet South Florida ceremony!
The Celestin Union
Bride: Vanessa Londa Charles, 25, Social Media Content Producer
Groom: Amir Ashaude Celestin, 26, Professional International Basketball Player
"I chose to make her my wife because it's what I felt in my heart," said Amir of Vanessa. "What helped me decide was the realization of how much she really cared for me as a person and how much she truly loves me. Throughout the years of knowing each other, she has always been there for me. Why wouldn't I make her my wife?"
"I always say you may not know how long you’re going to be with someone and you may not have all of life’s nuances figured out, but you’ll know when you’ve found the one you wouldn’t mind spending the rest of your life with," said the bride. "That was Amir. I knew life would have it’s ups and downs, but I only wanted to experience them with him. And it doesn’t hurt that he was fine, too!"
"I had honestly given up [on love] shortly before my husband came back into my life," said the bride. "But, just because we give up that doesn’t mean God has too. He still heard my prayers and had every intention of answering them. Little did I know, my answer was around the corner."
“I always thought I'd find true love. With who was always the question,” said Amir. “I believe that God saw fit to separate us after high school for growth and when the time was right he'd pair us back together. I guess you can say that's how I knew. You only have one true love and with the route we took to get here she is definitely mine.”
"She has so many qualities that I love," said Amir of Vanessa. "But, what I love the most is her heart. She's a very genuine, loving and selfless person. If she could, she would take care of the entire world."
After eloping in Paris, Amir and Vanessa planned a summer garden wedding ceremony and reception for their family and friends. The bride's father walked her down the aisle--she wouldn't have it any other way.
"My husband is a God-fearing man who would go to any depth to make me happy or spoil me. He’s genuinely a good guy. On the days we’re not husband and wife we’re best friends. And he’s always up for a good time—-he’s my dancing partner!"
"I was so happy that we finally made it to the altar," said Amir of he and Vanessa's wedding day. We'd been through so much building up to that moment and it was wonderful to see the woman I love dearly in front of me."
Vanessa decided to throw Amir a party after he signed his first professional contract to play basketball overseas in Israel. Little did she know, she was planning her own engagement party because Amir decided the time was right to ask for her hand in marriage. "I decided to throw an impromptu going away party with close family and friends," said the bride of she and Amir's proposal story. "I guess he thought this was an opportune time and he popped the question right in my parent's living room. He got down on one knee, hands shaking and asked me to marry him. I, of course, said yes as I cried like a baby."
"It felt wonderful to be a groom," said Amir of his wedding day. "To have a day devoted to my wife and I and celebrate with family and close friends is all I ever wanted. Being the groom to my dream girl was perfect."
The summer Amir signed his first deal to play professionally let him know Vanessa was the only one he wanted to spend his life with. "She gave me the motivation and confidence I didn't see in myself. She basically propelled me and I knew she was the one for me," he said.
"I dreamt of my dress being more of an avant garde wedding gown, opposed to a traditional one," added Vanessa on creating her one of a kind bridal gown. "With the help of a local seamstress my dream dress became a reality."
For their reception centerpieces, the bride and groom continued to incorporate their summer garden theme. "Each centerpiece had a letter from our last name (Celestin), a wooden fence, greenery and a tall vase full of flowers. The cutlery and chinaware were ivory and gold."
On their wedding day, the bride and groom gifted their guests with something small and special to help them beat the heat. "We personalized water bottles and fans because the south Florida humidity is unbearable," said Vanessa.
To contnue to incorporate their faith into their big day, the bride and groom's wedding cake was devoted to their love of God. "On the second and fourth tier, we had the scriptures 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It’s the famous verses about love."