After years of friendship, Maryland residents Ayana and Duriel took the leap of love. The college sweethearts made the ultimate pledge of their lives to each other on July 4, 2009 at the Glenview Mansion in Rockville, MD.
Ayana was happy to have friends and family to help her on her wedding day. One of her best friends did the makeup for the whole bridal party while a nurse she used to work with took control of the hair.
Ayana spotted her dream dress online. When she couldn’t find it anywhere, she bought material in Trinidad and had her favorite seamstress in Maryland replicate it. She also made her vintage-inspired scalloped veil.
In the end, the beautiful bride spent a total of $1100—$800 for her seamstress and $300 for the material—on her dress, a mere fraction of what a bridal gown costs these days.
Duriel and one of his groomsmen are Sigmas, so naturally they wanted blue incorporated into the wedding. Luckily the blue of their vests complemented the bridesmaids’ purple dresses so well, it was a natural fit.
In appreciation of all of their help, Ayana surprised her bridesmaids with engraved bracelets for them to wear down the aisle.
Ayana played the steel drum, which originated in Trinidad and Tobago, all through high school. She found a group of siblings to play Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” on the pans while her parents escorted her down the aisle.
Since they had already exchanged rings once before, Anaya surprised Duriel with a second ring on their wedding day. The band was engraved with all of the couple’s most significant dates including one future milestone—their 50th anniversary.
Duriel returned the favor by having a bracelet delivered to Ayana’s room while she got ready.
The newlyweds hold each other after being declared “husband and wife.”
The wedding’s food and refreshments were catered by Maryland Country Caterers, whom Ayana used to work for. They created a signature drink—the Golden Sunset—that incorporated tropical guava and sweet cherries, for the wedding.
The newlyweds sneak away for a little post-wedding smooching session.
Ayana’s loyal bridesmaids sip their Golden Sunsets while they cheer on their best friend’s new union.
Ayana and Duriel entered their reception hall as husband and wife to the sounds of Jill Scott’s “Golden” to celebrate Ayana’s recent name change.
The spontaneous husband and wife switched it up on guests by strutting to Salsa, Bachata and Merengue for their first dance. They learned the steps at Pure Lounge on U street in Washington D.C.
Ayana’s aunt made a bunch of traditional cakes (13 all together) from Trinidad and Tobago for the wedding reception. They surrounded a beautiful waterfall centerpiece with floating purple bubbles, that Ayana’s caterers assembled.
Adding a touch of African tradition, the couple had sashes made with the embroidery “Mrs. Golden” and “Mr. Golden” that wedding guests pinned money to as the new husband and wife did a jig.
With the clear sky in background, guests gather round to take shots of the gorgeous bride on the balcony of the Glenview Mansion.
Even as the night winds down, Ayana is still filled with the spirit of love.
Ayana and Duriel took some extra shots two days after their wedding day at the National Harbor. The newlyweds coo and kiss for the camera on the waterfront.
The couple’s photographer donated these gorgeous hydrangeas to the shoot.
Duriel is in the Marine Reserves, and reports for training one weekend a month. Ayana finds her man in uniform simply irresistible.
The new wife salutes her fellow officer in the battle of love.
“We’ve done so much to get to this point,” Ayana sighs. “and there’s so much more life that we have together.”