“As the poet laureate Common Sense penned, ‘We broke up, and got back together, and to get her back, I had to sweat her,’” groom Chris tells us pf how he knew Jessica was The One. “When we started dating again, I knew it was all or nothing. I realized something changed: I couldn’t imagine life without her again. I started thinking, talking and expressing the future and realized how aligned we were. My wildest dreams, most outrageous goals and everything that I wanted in life included her. It was then that I knew how lucky and privileged I was to find true love; not just in the abstract, but in the concrete.”
Jessica perfected her look for the big day with a little help from her glam squad.
“I picked out a dress I would want to wear to any formal event – minus the whole all-white thing,” low-key bride Jessica shares.
A tender getting ready moment captured perfectly by the couple’s wedding photographer.
“I am all about the bling!” Jessica shares. “Give me anything sparkly, bedazzled or bejeweled.” So, was it any surprise she wore these dazzling shoes down the aisle?
“Day-to-day I wear my natural hair – curly, kinky and usually pulled up,” says the bride. “For my wedding, I wanted something old Hollywood glam and vintage. I decided on a straight look and down instead of my usual pulled up styles. Many Pinterest pins later, I decided on a side-swept look that I’d worn before. I wanted something that I loved and felt like me, instead of something that felt foreign.”
From back to front Jessica’s wedding gown was sheer bridal perfection.
“He makes me laugh,” says Jessica. “So hard I can spend minutes rolling on the couch giggling.”
“Luckily, we had a great planner; Jade Lee,” Jessica shares. “She not only planned, but her and Ansley (her right hand woman) handled décor as well. The flowers for the bridesmaids, groomsmen boutonnieres, and flowers on the table were all picked by Jade and Ansley, but inspired by our theme.”
“I knew that this person was going to be the one to endure the ups and downs, the rough and smooth patches and still love me on the other side,” says Jessica. “He wis my best friend and my partner, and with him I feel like I am part of a super team.”
“When I put on the dress, despite trying on a sample size at least a size too small, I finally felt the sparks,” says Jessica. “Boom. Crack. And Sizzle! It was totally different than what I came into the shop requesting, but it still fit what I was looking for. I wanted something unique and full of sparkle with playful nods at my vintage Harlem Renaissance theme.”
Chris wore a custom midnight blue tuxedo on his big day and paired it with Ferragamo velvet party slippers. “He has immaculate taste!” boasts his bride.
“When Chris proposed, I felt, like, oh my God, someone is asking me to be their wife!” says Jessica. “For life! Forever! Of course, I started feeling that flash of heat you have before the tears start flowing. I snapped out of it and said ‘yes, of course I’ll marry you!’”
Chris got a “first look” at this lovely bride before their big moment at the altar.
We love the deep midnight color Jessica chose for these beauties. “I was absolutely dead against a traditional bridesmaid dress found in the ‘bridesmaid’ sections,” Jessica says. “And by doing this, I signed myself up for a completely independent search for five dresses that had to be in stock and all different sizes. I fell in love with this gold, embellished, navy Virgos lounge dress on ASOS. Of course, they had one size left! Never the person to accept ‘no’ on the first try, I looked up the designer and reached out to them directly to see if they would make the additional dresses for my wedding.” Smart thinking, lady!
Chris and his boys held it down during their photo shoot.
A big bridal party just means extra love and support on the big day. jessica and Chris’ carefully selected group had them covered. #Aww
“I honestly never wanted fantasies, dreams or fairytales,” says Jessica. “I wanted an event that felt like us and looked like us. I was really careful not to do things just because traditional prescribed. In the end, I felt like myself the entire time.”
Are Jessica and Chris picture perfect or what?
Another flawless moment with Jessica’s gorgeous bridesmaids and big day helpers.
The couple chose a vintage, Harlem Renaissance inspired decor theme for their big day.
Jessica wanted the first man to ever have her heart to walk her down the aisle; her dad. “I chose ‘At Last’ by Etta James,” she adds. “We wanted something that would call everyone to attention. All our songs had character, elegance and were anthem-like.
“We had a traditional Christian wedding led by Pastor Darrell L. Armstrong,” Jessica tells us. “He is the Pastor I grew up with and it meant so much to have someone who has watched me grow from a child to an adult commence this next chapter in my life.”
“Up at the altar, I felt like we made it!” says Jessica. “We finally got to this point and it sure feels good.”
“I felt fortunate and focused looking into her eyes at the altar,” says Chris. “It’s the most awkward moment, because you want to be zoned in completely, and simply adore how beautiful your wife is, but on the other hand, you’re like, I hope I don’t mess up the vows and I hope I don’t have to go to the bathroom. Oh and I hope my tux and shoes are dope.” We hear you Chris. The pressure is certainly on.
“We chose the standard vows led by Pastor Armstrong,” says Jessica. “The last thing we wanted to do was memorize vows and potentially flub anything in front of 200 people. I had enough pressure just walking down the aisle in a strapless dress with towering heels and a train.”
A perfect moment for a perfect shot. Cheers to romance at the altar!
Introducing the all-new Mr. and Mrs., and their spectacular newlywed glow!
“He works hard and he is always willing to work harder in relationships, in his career, and just about anything he sets his mind to doing,” says Jessica of her handsome groom.
“We’ve travelled the world, had good times and bad, prayed together, laughed together, grown together, and through it all, she’s been a great friend and partner,” Chris adds.
“I love her outlook on like,” says Chris. “She is always believing, always hopeful, always willing and will never settle. She reminds me of my Christian views in Philippians 4, Psalm 27, and Roman 8.”
The couple selected Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You So Long” for their first dance tune. “We wanted that old school crooning feel, so we fell in love with the words and the mood this song puts you in.”
“He comes from a house of love,” says Jessica. “He loves God. He loves his family and he treats his closest friends as if their family too.”
“We truly wanted this to be a seamless and fun experience for our guests,” Jessica tells us. “We were adamant about having both the ceremony and wedding reception in the same venue.”
“His proposal was one of the greatest moments of my life,” says Jessica.
“I first made her my best friend, then my girlfriend, and then I loved her, so marriage wasn’t a contemplation, it was fortifying something that was already in motion,” says Chris.
“We researched some Harlem Renaissance themes and key people, and had the prints as the backdrop to the menus, and food station descriptions,” says the bride. “We had signature drinks as well that were inspired by Paul Robeson and Josephine Baker.”
“We had an awesome cake with a vintage Harlem Renaissance cotton club type theme, but it was fake since Jessica doesn’t like fondant,” says the groom.
Jessica and Chris’ chemistry definitely shines through on camera.
“DJ Eclazz rocked our wedding,” says Jessica. “We picked him because we wanted an experienced club DJ. He had the party rocking! It felt like we were at one of the best parties we’ve been to and we were just getting honored.”
“We told the DJ we wanted a mix that would keep all ages on the dance floor,” says the couple. And, judging from the look of their photos, the plan was a success.
We love it when the sisterly moments that occur at the reception are captured this beautifully on camera.
Chris gets up and close personal with his lovely bride.
A classic moment between the bride and her girls. Aww, we love it!
Now this is how you party at your wedding!
“Some of our favorite wedding memories were having so many friends and family involved, and aving so many well-dressed people leave our wedding sweaty and disheveled because they had an amazing time dancing all night,” says the bride.