A last-minute decision to go to happy hour ended up being one of the best decisions Jahira Chambers would ever make.
The 32-year-old Brooklyn native had been invited to a birthday soiree-meets-happy hour event by a friend who said his old college roommate would be a great guy for her to connect with. That guy was Chad Alonso.
“Our friend didn’t do the best job of ‘selling’ him to me so I wasn’t interested,” she admits. Nevertheless, she pushed past her doubt and made an appearance at the event. “I actually made a last-minute decision after work to stop by and show my face at the happy hour and just so happened to be at Chad’s table.”
Chad, 34 and a Brooklyn resident raised in Queens, actually didn’t know he was being set up to meet her. “Jahira and I were being friendly with small talk and I later found out my friend secretly wanted to connect us.”
The friend was on to something, as the two hit it off.
“It’s funny because that was the first, maybe only social event I ever went to without one of my girlfriends so I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and speak to people I didn’t know,” she says. “Chad was one of those people and he made it so easy.”
At the end of the night, they exchanged numbers — with pressure from their mutual friend — and their bond continued to grow, eventually evolving into love. Chad inevitably realized he’d found his person.
“She’s been in my corner during some rough times and with her I feel like we can get through anything,” he says. “She believes in me and inspires me to become a better partner and a better version of myself.”
And so, he popped the question in 2019, proposing on the Brooklyn Bridge the day after Thanksgiving (more on that later). Now the couple is planning to say “I do” with a Juneteenth wedding (more on that later, too). They shared their lovely engagement shoot with us, the theme being “young, Black, powerful, sexy and in love” according to Chad, and let us in on their very Black, beautiful, and meaningful wedding plans.
“The proposal was a bit nerve wracking,” Chad says of his Black Friday on the Brooklyn Bridge moment. “A lot leads up to the moment and you want to make sure it goes perfectly.”
Thankfully, it worked out as planned and was the “perfect” proposal for Jahira.
“We had a day-date planned to see the movie ‘Queen and Slim’ at the South Street Seaport. After the movie, Chad suggested we stop to grab drinks and walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Though born,
raised, and reside in Brooklyn I have never walked over the bridge so I was down,” Jahira says. “As we were walking, we were approached by a young man who claimed to be a student working on a photography project about ‘Black Love’ and wanted to feature us. I agreed to participate and after a few photos, I noticed someone who looked like my best friend filming us. That’s when Chad dropped down on one knee and proposed. The surprise wasn’t over. Once I accepted he said the three of us were going to grab drinks in DUMBO. Once we arrived, I was surprised by our family and friends who were waiting for us at the restaurant. He had planned the engagement and a beautiful engagement party. I couldn’t have asked for a better proposal.”
A Juneteenth Wedding
me, Juneteenth serves as a reminder that liberation is a continuous process consisting of obstacles that may seem too difficult to overcome. But it’s also a time to celebrate the triumphs that are the wildest dreams of those who came before us. It signifies
hope, resilience, and an unbinding perseverance — everything I think of when I reflect on the love Chad and I share,” she says of their wedding date of choice, June 19.
“When we were looking at the calendar to select a date, I saw Juneteenth was on a Saturday and there was no question that it was going to be the day we start our new life together. What better day is there to step into and celebrate Black love?!”
“I pride myself on being a detailed planner so the pandemic has mostly interrupted that,” she admits. “We had all of our contracts signed and deposits submitted a month before COVID shut everything down and were originally planning a wedding for over 200 guests. Once weddings
resumed in NY, we were told we could only have 50 guests and with no end date for this pandemic in sight, we began planning for that number, which was incredibly challenging. When the governor first expanded guest lists to 150, that did not apply to us because
our venue was in a “yellow zone,” so we could only have 25 people at the time. Fortunately, that has since changed and we can now invite more people, but it’s been a rollercoaster and decisions are being made as our local government officials announce new updates.”
The Wedding Venue
“Chad and I are both native New Yorkers. He’s from LeFrak City in Queens and I’m from Brooklyn. It was important that the venue reflected that,” she says. “The Queens Museum stood out to us because it’s not far from where he grew up and the educator in me loved the idea
of getting married in a museum. We’re having a black-tie reception and we can’t wait to see how fabulous all of our family and friends will look.”
Safety Over Satisfaction
“I’ve heard how stressful it is to plan weddings, but there’s nothing like being a COVID bride,” she says. “The stress and anxiety of worrying about everyone’s health and safety has taken away all of the excitement from this process, but as our loved ones begin getting vaccinated, things are starting to look up.”
Jahira also says that when COVID hit her home, she realized what was important while in the planning process.
“Chad is an essential worker, and at the height of the pandemic, he actually caught COVID through work and had to quarantine in a hotel. We’ve both since been fully vaccinated. So the pressures of the wedding were absolutely secondary to just trying to stay safe.”
When the Soon-to-Be Bride Knew She Found Her Groom
“Seeing how much Chad pours into the people he loves and how genuinely kind and loving he is, that’s why I know he’s ‘the one’ for me,” she says. “He’s the most resilient person I know and is always a source of light for everyone he comes in contact with. I knew very early he was the one I wanted to build a life and family with.”
Just the Two of Us
“I don’t have a wedding planner so Chad and I are handling all of the details and logistics on our own,” she says. “We’re lucky to have my day-of-coordinator who has been super supportive in helping me wrap my mind around everything. Shoutout to Suzette Scarborough!”
What Chad Is Looking Forward to on the Big Day
“I’m looking forward to marrying and stepping into this new chapter with my Queen, and for all our family and friends to witness this union in regal, posh, sophisticated but ratchet splendor!” the groom-to-be says.
The Wedding of Their Dreams — Despite a Pandemic
“We are incredibly blessed that our family members and closest friends are healthy and able to celebrate with us. We also don’t take it for granted that we are blessed to be in a position to still have the wedding of our dreams,” Jahira says. “After the year we’ve all had,
I am looking forward to just having a night filled with authentic joy and love as Chad and I embark on this new journey together.”