Bridal Bliss: Tonie Mai and Jimmy

Bridal Bliss: Tonie May and Jimmy
ESSENCE.COM Sep, 22, 2009

1 of 38 Courtesy of subject

Childhood sweethearts Tonie Mai King and Jimmy Andrews became husband and wife on January 3, 2009. The Liberian couple traveled back to their native continent for the fabulous nuptials and used the breathtaking “sundowner” as their backdrop as they tied the knot.

By: Bridgette Bartlett

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

2 of 38 Courtesy of subject

Zimbabwean makeup artist Yasmin Shambare uses her magic to get Tonie Mai extra pretty for her big day. The bride and her husband met while they were only teenagers on the Ivory Coast and have practically been inseparable ever since.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

3 of 38 Courtesy of subject

Jimmy is flanked by his boys as he waits for his bride to meet him at the altar. The handsome groom recalls the couple’s first impressions of each other.

“She just was not impressed! There was lots of eye-rolling. I guess she thought that I could only be trouble since I had a ‘reputation,’ so she just turned her nose way up. But I did think she was cute. I love a challenge.”

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

4 of 38 courtesy of subject

The blushing bride rode to her ceremony in style while channeling Havana, Cuba, in this vintage Dodge car.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

5 of 38 Courtesy of subject

Tonai Mai’s bridal party is pretty in pink. From left, the bride’s younger sisters Tiffany, Willyann and her new sister-in-law Emma.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

6 of 38 courtesy of subject

About 110 guests from all over the globe watched as Tonie Mai’s father walked her down the aisle.

“When she first appeared on the arm of her father, I felt my heart would burst. She looked like heaven and she was mine,” Jimmy confesses.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

7 of 38 Courtesy of subject

A family friend offers her rendition of “Heaven” for the couple’s wedding.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

8 of 38 Courtesy of subject

The groom gets anxious waiting for his bride. The young couple dated for nearly a decade before making their love official at the historical Hotel Cardoso, which overlooks the beautiful Maputo Bay in Mozambique.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

9 of 38 Courtesy of subject

The new Mr. and Mrs. Andrews bow their heads for a word of prayer after being pronounced husband and wife.

The bride admits with a chuckle that while both she and Jimmy are stubborn and determined, “We can’t stay mad at each other for more than a day.”

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

10 of 38 courtesy of subject

The newly wedded couple were high school sweethearts who stuck out their long-distance relationships even when they left Liberia to pursue their dreams. Tonie Mai traveled to Philadelphia to study at the University of Pennsylvania and Jimmy trekked to Paris to join the army.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

11 of 38 Courtesy of subject

Guests were entertained by a dance and drum group during the cocktail hour. Popular Mozambican entertainer Mazuzu also serenaded the couple.

Jimmy brags, “The dancing was the most memorable part of the reception. We danced hard! We are Liberians. There is no party like a Liberian party.”

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

12 of 38 Courtesy of subject

A happy family member and wedding guest grabs a couple of souvenirs and some culinary treats during the reception. Guests also sipped on champagne during the cocktail hour.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

13 of 38 Courtesy of subject

A dapper Jimmy dances with his proud mom during the wedding reception.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

14 of 38 Courtesy of subject

Mozambican cuisine was served during the reception. Guests dined on a delectable array of fresh seafood including grilled tiger prawns, lobster tails and Mozambican (a popular codfish dish).

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

15 of 38 Courtesy of subject

The rich hues typical of an African sundowner were the inspiration behind the flowers selected for this couple’s wedding cake. The tasty layers included fruitcake, carrot cake, caramel and vanilla butter. Tonie Mai explains that fruitcake is traditionally served at West African weddings.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

16 of 38 courtesy of subject

Tonie Mai and Jimmy had some guests who traveled 10,000 miles to witness their big day! To show their appreciation, the creative couple included luggage tags in their welcome baskets. Also included in the baskets that awaited visitors in their hotels were Swazi candles (made in Swaziland), Amurula Cream Liquor (a creamy South African beverage) and a “What To Do In Mozambique” guide.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

17 of 38 Courtesy of subject

While many long-distance romances dwindle away, the obstacle helped make Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love stronger. Even while Tonie Mai left Africa to study at UPenn and later Columbia and Jimmy moved to Paris, the twosome stuck it out.

“As the sun set behind us and I looked into my husband’s eyes, I was truly happy and blessed that indeed, through thick and thin, this would be my man,” says Tonie Mai.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

18 of 38 Courtesy of subject

The single ladies eagerly line up during the wedding reception for a chance to catch Tonie Mai’s bouquet!

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

19 of 38 Courtesy of subject

“We have pretty much grown together—she is a part of me now. We’ve already outdone most marriages! She is the only woman I’ll ever want or need. This is it for me,” shares Jimmy.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

20 of 38 Courtesy of subject

“My husband and I began our love affair about a decade ago in West Africa where we both grew up. Although young and perhaps naive, we endured a cross Atlantic romance for six years. Finally, we were bound in holy matrimony under the perfect African sun,” reflects Tonie Mai.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

21 of 38 Courtesy of subject

The bride and groom enter the makeshift tunnel during the Liberian Grand March, which kicked off their fun-filled reception. This is common practice during Liberian weddings.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

22 of 38 Courtesy of subject

The groom jokingly shows his bride how it’s done on the dance floor.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

23 of 38 Courtesy of subject

The beaming couple is surrounded by their beautiful bridal party on the steps of the Hotel Cardoso.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

24 of 38 Courtesy of subject

The newlyweds were ecstatic to show off their gorgeous homeland to loved ones from far and wide. While the actual wedding was on January 3, many guests arrived a few days before to bring in the new year in Mozambique.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

25 of 38 Courtesy of subject

“I got my African sunset!” exclaims the bride. She adds: “It was very important to both me and Jimmy to go back to the continent of Africa for the wedding.”

The couple’s unique week-long wedding celebration included safari trips to Krugar National Park to spot the Big Five, a Bilene beach excursion to take in San Martin Bay and the Indian Ocean and a rehearsal dinner with Ethiopian cuisine.

Read Tonie Mai and Jimmy’s love story

Check out these wedding albums:

Andre and Latoya

Alysha and Dwayne

Nicole and Damian

26 of 38

27 of 38

28 of 38

29 of 38

30 of 38

31 of 38

32 of 38

33 of 38

34 of 38

35 of 38

36 of 38

37 of 38

38 of 38