Bridal Bliss: Vanessa and Hakim

Vanessa and Hakim caught each other's eye from across the room during a business meeting. From that moment on, the two have been inseparable. Their lavish wedding was fabulous from start to finish—Lauryn Hill even performed! Share their love.

Charli Penn Jul, 17, 2013

1 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

“I knew Hakim was the one for me the very first time I laid eyes on him,” Vanessa admits. “And, after our first conversation, I knew he would be the man I would marry.”

2 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

In search of the perfect wedding dress, Vanessa, her mother and her bridesmaids ended up going to three different dress shops before she found this one.

3 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

“I ended up going with the gown that I loved and the one that made my mom cry,” says the bride.

4 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Vanessa had custom robes made for her bridal party. It was a sweet gesture that allowed for classic photo opps like this one.

5 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

The bridesmaids chose these pretty designer evening gowns from After 6.

6 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Vanessa chose shoes fit for a princess to slip into on her big day.

7 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Celebrity makeup artist Renny Vasquez was on hand to create the perfect wedding day look for beautiful bride Vanessa. Her makeup was absolutely flawless!

8 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"Hakim is my absolute best friend," Vanessa tells us. "There is no one else I'd rather go through the journey of life with."

9 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"My 'something new' was my garter belt, which was given to me by my mom," Vanessa tells us. "My 'something borrowed' was a handkerchief from my mom and mother-in-law and my 'something old' was my grandmother's necklace and my grandfather's handkerchief. Both were sewn into my dress."

10 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"My dress was an Allure Bridal gown," says Vanessa. "I actually had another African dress custom made, but I never got to change into it.  Finding my bridal dress was hard, but fun! I’m a former pageant girl, so dress shopping is one of my favorite things to do.  The problem was, I thought I found the dress three different times." 

11 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Hakim originally designed his own wedding day look, which had an ethnic yet contemporary feel to it, but it was made in the wrong measurements. Three weeks before their wedding, he had to come up with a new plan. He had another designer overseas meet him halfway on a new design and the new digs arrived just in time for the big day.

12 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

The bride picked pretty wheels to pick her up and take her for a first look with her groom.

13 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

The flower girl and the ring bearer bonded instantly. What a precious portrait!

14 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Hakim got a special surprise "first look" at his beautiful bride before their ceremony began.

15 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

And, he sure loved what he saw waiting behind him. Vanessa was absolutely flawless on her wedding day.

16 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"Vanessa is my best friend, my confidant and my inspiration," admits Hakim.

17 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

When it came time to plan all of the little details, Vanessa requested only the best. The bride's cousin Felicia was the florist at their wedding. Vanessa requested hydrangeas and roses be used throughout her wedding day. Celebrity hair stylist Shasha Leee Exclusive created her lovely updo.

18 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

The flower girl stopped to plant a kiss on the beaming bride and the result was portrait magic.

19 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Seven bridesmaids and a maid of honor were by Vanessa's side on the big day. They really worked those gowns!

20 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"I didn't want them to get custom outfits, so I went with an ethnic-inspired look for the groomsman that complemented the styling of my own custom garment," Hakim explains.

21 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Vanessa and her girls were all smiles as they got a little playful for the camera.

22 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Somebody grab a frame for this one. It's perfect!

23 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"Hakim has an amazing soul," Vanessa tells us. "He is deeply rooted spiritually and he nurtures my mind, body and soul. He has a heart of gold, and he's always genuine."

24 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Did we mention how much we adore Vanessa's classy updo? Oh, we did? Okay, well it's sure worth saying it again!

25 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"I chose Vanessa because of the woman she is and how complete she makes me by complementing all of my flaws and inspiring my strengths," says Hakim. "I have lots of great women in my life, like my mom, aunts and friends, that set the bar high as to what a woman should be and to find someone that embodies most, if not all of them, in some way shape or form is amazing."

26 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"We wanted to have a grand wedding, the likes of which most, if none, had ever seen before," says Vanessa. "Our bar was set pretty high from the beginning. The venue we chose, The Venetian, was number one out of about six we had on our list based on reviews and research." A custom aisle runner lead guests to their seats as they prepared to watch the happy couple tie the knot.

27 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"My father was out of the country so my little cousin walked me down the aisle," says Vanessa. "He's the other main man in my life and I've known him my entire life."

28 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"Looking into her eyes, I felt reassured and on top of the world," says Hakim. Vanessa was totally smitten and moved by the moment too. "It was so magical," she tells us. "At no point that day did I feel nervous. And, once I laid my eyes on his, I felt an even stronger sense of peace come over me."

29 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"Instead of writing our own vows, we had our respective clergy come up with the appropriate sentiments on our behalf," Vanessa tells us.

30 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Vanessa and Hakim chose an indoor interfaith ceremony.

31 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"I am so happy that everything we went through, good and bad, brought us to that moment," says Vanessa. "It was so overwhelming."

32 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

The newlyweds were all smiles as their guests cheered them on when they came back down the aisle. What a beautiful couple!

33 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Vanessa and Hakim chose to host their reception party in the same venue. As guests filled in to the space, a grand sweetheart table stood waiting for the happy couple.

34 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

To stay close to their movie premiere wedding theme, Vanessa and Hakim had a custom step and repeat backdrop created for the "red carpet" arrivals at their wedding reception to allow their guests to pose in style. We love, love, love this idea!

35 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

The couple hosted a romantic evening reception. Guests entered a grand ballroom filled with spectacular tablescapes and centerpieces.

36 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Tall centerpieces filled with lush hydrangea and decorated with hanging crystals were placed on each table. Candles and roses were also sprinkled throughout. Gold and ivory linens pulled the entire look together making the total visual effect a real stunner!

37 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

In keeping with their theme, Vanessa and Hakim chose to name each table after one of their favorite movies.

38 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Movie fanatics Vanessa and Hakim wanted to feel like royalty on their big day and pay proper tribute to their theme. They entered their grand reception party to the sounds of "The King's Motorcade" song from Coming to America. What a sweet, fun and romantic touch! #toocute

39 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

The couple recieved a warm welcome from their bridal party. We just love the excitement bursting through this photograph.

40 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

A custom gobo light with the newlyweds' monogram illuminated the dance floor when it was time for their romantic first dance.

41 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Prince's "Adore" played loudly throughout the ballroom as the new Mr. and Mrs. danced together for the very first time as husband and wife.

42 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

A fantastic cake for a fantastic couple!

43 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Guess whose made the guest list? Grammy-award winning artist Lauryn Hill who surprised the couple (and their guests!) with a rare impromptu performance.

44 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Oh, what we would have given to have been one of the guests there to watch Ms. Hill do her thing with those powerhouse vocals. (Admit it, you're jealous too!)

45 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Guests were entertained at every turn. Looks like it was a real good time!

46 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"The day felt amazing, like I was a king," Hakim admits. "The feeling of being a groom was akin to how I feel about my wife: surreal and more than I have or could have ever dreamed it would be."

47 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Love was definitely in the air for the bride and groom that night. (And all over their decor and menu too!)

48 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

DJ Rahiem spun nonstop party tunes throughout the evening to keeep the couples' guests on their feet.

49 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

"I felt like a total queen and I didn't have to turn into a bridezilla at all," Vanessa admits. "It was the best feeling of my life to date."

50 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

From cake pops to cotton candy, there were plenty of sweet treats going around for Vanessa and Hakim's guests to enjoy.

51 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

A fairytale wedding just wouldn't be complete without a dreamy exit for the bride and groom. The newlyweds plan to honeymoon in Hawaii this fall.

52 of 52 Paul Francis Photography

Are you obsessed with Vanessa and Hakim's glam fairytale wedding too? Tell us your favorite details below and don't forget to leave the couple a little comment love. Want to see your big day (or a friend's) featured in Bridal Bliss? Email us to inquire now!

Tags

# Weddings

Tags

# Weddings