Bridal Bliss: Alysha and Dwayne

Bridal Bliss: Alysha and Dwayne
ESSENCE.COM Sep, 08, 2009

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Brooklyn bohemian buppies Alysha Cassis and Dwayne Shaw tied the knot in a classy and quaint ceremony on July 4, 2009, at The Belvedere Mansion in Rhinebeck, New York.

By: Bridgette Bartlett

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

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Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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Alysha, a stylish Queens, New York, native who earns her living as an embroidery designer, kept her look clean and unfussy for her big day. Here, makeup artist Helen Anderson from a local Face Stockholm boutique accentuates the bride’s natural beauty.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

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Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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Alysha tapped into her fashion industry connects to score her dream Carolina Herrera wedding gown.

“The company I work for does embroidery for them. I purchased it at a sample sale the day after Thanksgiving and my parents happen to be in town,” remembers Alysha. “It was actually the first dress that I saw. Even my father liked it,” she adds.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

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Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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Dwayne, a creative director, is ready to make Alysha a Mrs. in his three-piece Tom Ford suit.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

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Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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The bride’s father escorts her down the aisle for the very last time as a single woman.

Dwayne and Alysha met during a Hurricane Katrina benefit event in 2005. Three years later (on her birthday!) while vacationing in Barcelona, Dwayne asked Alysha for her hand in marriage.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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A happy groom awaits his bride with younger brothers Donald and Dave by his side.

“The most memorable part of the wedding has to be when I first saw Alysha coming down that aisle. I know this will sound corny but she was even more beautiful than I imagined. I’ll probably never experience those few seconds or anything like it again in my life,” reveals Dwayne.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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The bride and groom are focused as they prepare to officially become husband and wife before all their family and friends.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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“We had an amazing officiant, Rev. Dr. Sheila Gay-Gross. She got to know us well. She told how we met and helped to make the ceremony very personable. It was really heartfelt and touching,” shares Alysha.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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“Our officiant, Rev. Dr. Gay-Gross, called guests up to give us their blessing. Bringing our friends and family into the ceremony added a personal touch. It was very interactive. I think at the end everyone was thinking, ‘Wow, I was present,’” reveals Alysha.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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All 175 guests witnessed the marriage of Alysha and Dwayne on July Fourth Weekend 2009. The couple chose a holiday weekend to take advantage of the holiday and help accommodate their out-of-town guests.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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With an eye for breathtaking aesthetics, Alysha opted for an apple green and chocolate brown color scheme. However, all of the flowers used throughout the day were white so the green and brown hues became accents.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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“One of my girlfriends, Kaia Black, who is a jewelry designer, made my earrings. We came up with the idea together. The earrings were her wedding gift to me,” explains Alysha.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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Although Alysha recalls Dwayne being reluctant to express his feelings for her initially, the groom admits he was smitten at first sight.

“The night I met Alysha I turned to a friend and said, ‘I just met my wife.’ But, I didn’t want to get too excited and then be disappointed. I figured I’d play it even keel and see what happens,” says Dwayne.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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“One of the things I love about Alysha is that she’s open-minded and reasonable. She’s special,” shares Dwayne about his lovely wife.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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Both Alysha and Dwayne are New York natives and Howard University grads. The couple enjoys traveling, and Alysha admits that the duo wouldn’t mind living abroad later on in life.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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The groom strikes a pose with his pint-size companion and goddaughter, Ella, who served as the flower girl for the day.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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Alysha says that she knew Dwayne was husband material from their first date.

“It all felt so right. I could be myself around him. We share a lot of quirky things in common like our love for ‘The Muppets’ and ‘Sesame Street,’” Alysha says.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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The newlyweds share a private slow dance in the lush gardens at The Belvedere Mansion. Guests were able to take full advantage of the long holiday weekend in the sleepy town of Rhinebeck, located in upstate New York.

“There are nice little cafes, boutiques and places for sight-seeing up there,” says Alysha.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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Not solely content with their altar kiss, the bride and groom share a private kiss between their wedding ceremony and reception.

The couple began living together in November 2008, seven months after they were engaged. Alysha admits, “He’s a neat freak and I’m a pack rat. Still, there’s really nothing about him I don’t like.”

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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The maid of honor, Alysha’s sister Kimberley, is escorted to the reception space by Dwayne’s brother, Donald.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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The happy couple cuts their gorgeous wedding cake. In addition to this cake, Dwayne’s Aunt Sonia baked traditional Jamaican black cake for wedding guests to enjoy.

“Both my husband’s parents are Jamaican, as are my paternal grandparents, so the black cake was a nod to our joint heritage,” explains Alysha.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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“The best part of our reception was the nonstop dancing. Age didn’t matter! Our DJ was the friend of a friend and wasn’t even a ‘wedding DJ.’ He played lots of feel-good music from artists like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan. There was also Poison by B.B.D.,” shares Alysha with a giggle.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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“One of the most memorable parts of the reception was the dance-off my friend Karen (center) had with Alysha’s cousin, Stevie. It was hilarious!” reminisces Dwayne.

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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The newlyweds say cheese for the camera as they are surrounded by loved ones who took a brief break from dancing.

Alysha shares, “There weren’t any real bridezilla moments. I was trying to rush around to all the tables to speak to all our guests during the reception but then I realized everyone was on the dance floor. So I just greeted them there.”

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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The bride’s mother, Barbara (center), holds court on the dance floor during her daughter Alysha’s wedding reception!

Read Alysha and Dwayne’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Nicole and Damien

Jeanne and Jay

Lori and Paul

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