Candice and Hassan’s love story proves that sometimes, timing is everything. The pair had mutual friends for almost their entire lives but didn’t actually connect until high school. After dating for a few months, college put them on separate paths. 15 years later, they reconnected on Facebook, and Candice messaged Hassan with interest in purchasing from his T-shirt company. Both had been divorced at the time and weren’t looking for anything serious, but the chemistry was too electric to ignore. “We dated on and off for two and a half years before it became serious and then moved in together,” Candice tells ESSENCE. “I didn’t get my shirt but ended up in a relationship.”
Hassan proposed at Candice’s graduation party. The family took turns congratulating her on obtaining her MBA, and Hassan turned his speech into a proposal. ” I started crying and through the tears, said yes,” she recalls. From their love of travel, the couple decided on a destination wedding. They found clever ways to save, but most importantly, felt grateful that their religious beliefs were felt from beginning to end. “We are a Christian couple,” they tells us, “so it was important for us to have our relationship with God represented in the ceremony. “
Scroll through the gallery to see the most beautiful moments from Candice and Hassan’s destination wedding in St. Lucia.
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Love Leads The Way
Candice revealed that after the proposal, the two began pre-marital counseling. Admittedly, they say it was a difficult process that caused them to separate. However, God stepped in and turned the tide. "Hassan did the work to win me back, says Candice. "Once I saw the difference in him and saw that God was actively leading him, I knew he was the one."
The Big Day
Candice tells ESSENCE that she was at ease on the day of her wedding. "There were stressful moments in the planning process. However, once we made it to St. Lucia and I connected with my onsite coordinator all my fears dissipated."
Hassan says his wedding day exceeded expectations. "I felt regal, majestic, and excited!"
The Dress Was Meant To Be
It seems that the universe worked to help Candice find an undeniably perfect dress. She went to two fittings at different bridal shops. After explaining the look she was going for, both bridal consultants pulled the exact same dress. "When I came out of the dressing room, we all immediately knew that was the dress. It fit perfectly."
We Are Gathered Here Today
Candice and Hassan were joined in St. Lucia by 50 guests.
Hair Me Out
Candice's beautiful and extravagant diamind hair clip accented her natural curls beautifully.
A Few Good Groomsmen
"Since we were getting married on an island, we wanted everyone to be comfortable and also didn’t want the groomsmen paying a lot of money for the suits," says the groom. "We opted to rent the guys suits and kept them in neutral colors. This way their color scheme can tie everything together."
The Groom's Look
Hassan's custom-made suit was inspired by Indian-style royalty. "We wanted to bring forth a sense of regal, king and queendom," he says.
Headed To The Altar
Candice felt protected and loved as she was walked down the aisle by the three most important role models: her mother, father, and aunt.
Just Me And You
"[Our wedding] was really beyond any word that can sum it up," says Hassan. "I felt like no one else was there but my bride. It was heavenly."
God Over Everything
"We incorporated the three-strand cords into our wedding. This was significant for us because each cord represented God, Hassan, and I as we become tied to each other. "
Confessions Of Love
The Longs looked so in love exchanging vows they had personally written to each other.
Make It Official
Hassan and Candice share their first kiss as husband and wife.
Oh Happy Day
"Our photographer even commented that it was one of the best weddings he’s been to," says Candice. "It was a highly emotional affair and the weather was absolutely perfect for an outdoor ceremony."
Hassan and Candice head to take their first photos as husband and wife as their guests enjoy cocktail hour.
The Longs looked so in love at their beachfront ceremony. " My wedding was everything I prayed for and more," Candice says.
"I wasn’t looking for love when I met Candice, and neither was she," Hassan told ESSENCE." That’s when God said, 'your plan isn’t working. I have a better one.'”
"We didn’t want the wedding to be very traditional," Candice says. "Instead of bridesmaid dresses, my girls wore jumpsuits. Between the color, fit, and design, [the look] brought my aesthetic to life."
This Is Why I Love You
"Her smile brightens up the room to me," Hassan says of his wife. "Candice is ambitious, purpose-driven, and her love for life and seeing the world makes you want to enjoy life with her."
A Signature Reception
Guests signed their name on these sweet cutout hearts, creating memories for the couple to hold on to.
Love All Around Us
"Our photographer even commented that it was one of the best weddings he’s been to. It was a highly emotional affair."
A Royal Setup
"The décor for the dinner was modern and royal. The table setup was a U shape of long tables. Each table was lined with white flowers and candles. The room design featured lots of natural lighting, the scene was of the mountains and the beach."
The Yin To My Yang
"Hassan makes me laugh and lighten up," Candice says. "I’m the serious one in our partnership, and he reminds me to smile through it all."
"The dinner was emotional as many of our guests spoke and expressed their emotions. As we looked around the table and saw our family and friends that came to St. Lucia to celebrate us, we became very emotional. It meant the world to us."
Candice's Advice To Brides
"The wedding is about you and your spouse. Don’t apologize for planning and sacrificing for what you want and how you want your day to be."