Arielle and Steve were college sweethearts whose love didn’t blossom until their senior year. At first, Arielle insisted on being just friends. But then an “aha” moment brought her closer to her truth. “One night, he was getting dressed to go on a date with another girl and my antennas went up,” she tells ESSENCE. “I was like hol’ up, hol’ up. I don’t want him dating anyone else.”

Their careers briefly took them to different cities, but they continued dating long distance for the better part of a decade. Steve eventually proposed in front of Arielle’s closest family and friends, and although she had a feeling it was coming, she swept away by his grand gesture. “I was truly in shock to see that Steve had coordinated the attendance of my closest friends (and goddaughter) along with my family. I loved his attention to detail and was blown away by the grandness of it all!”

True to their relationship, everything about their wedding was the balance between quality and cost. Pinecrest Gardens in Miami offered the couple beauty and an affordable price. To add a unique factor, they opted for a brunch reception complete with tropical centerpieces and the finest Haitian cuisine. They also shut down the notion that day weddings can’t offer a knock your socks off reception. They partied until the sun went down and offered their guests an unforgettable experience. Best of all, they did it all under budget!

Scroll through the gallery and get into Arielle and Steve’s magical, tropical wedding day.

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