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Bride: Imelba, 32

Groom: Christopher, 32

Occupations: Imelba, homeownership counselor; Christopher, foreclosure specialist

Homebase: Queens, New York

Wedding Date: September 13, 2008

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Second Time Around: When the couple first met, they were fresh out of college with nothing more on their minds than becoming friends. But, seven years later, the two ran into each other again at a friend’s painting party and hit it off. In addition to their Black Greek affiliations—she’s a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and he is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.—the couple also found they shared an interest in real estate. “After our first phone conversation, I called a friend and told her ‘Wow, we are on the same page,'” she recalls. “It was a breath of fresh air. I’d never had that with other guys in the past.”

Swept Off Her Feet: One day while watching television at Imelba’s house, Christopher asked if she would marry him. “It took me a second to see if it was a real question,” she says with a chuckle, “then I said of course.” Weeks later she was meeting with her bridesmaids for dinner to go over wedding details, when a hostess called her name, saying she was needed and that an urgent call was waiting. Once she made it to the front of the restaurant, a live band began to play. Christopher appeared and grabbed the microphone, got down on one knee and proposed. “I said yes and then I fainted,” she recalls. “There was just so much going on, and I really didn’t expect it.”

Team Effort: “Sometimes you hear about the bride doing everything, but my husband was very helpful,” says Imelba, who was able to count on her groom for everything from ordering invitations to convincing their church to let them participate in pre-marital classes that had already begun. Friends and family chipped in as well. The couple managed to pull off a wedding and reception for $9,000. “If we’d done it at a hall, that would have already been like $6,000,” she estimates. Instead they used a friend’s beautiful home for the event and engaged in a bit of bartering with friends for services.

Intimate Setting: “We didn’t want an extravagant wedding,” explains Imelba. “Sometimes you go to a wedding and it’s like, yeah, they know you, but do they really know you as a couple?” To ensure the intimate wedding of their dreams, the couple limited the guests to 70 close family members and close friends. “I’ve known three of my bridesmaids for at least 20 years.”

Not a Cloud in Sight: A week before the wedding, the weather forecast was stormy. With a budget already maxed out and no back up facilities. There wasn’t much the couple could do, so they bought umbrellas and prayed on it. “The day before when we were rehearsing, it was like a monsoon,” says the bride, who spent the day decorating in the rain. However, on the thirteenth of September, it was all blue skies. “It was truly a miracle,” she says of the change in weather. “It’s like the rain follows me everywhere,” she says, citing that she was born in a snowstorm and every major event of her life has been dampened by shower. “But that day the rain pattern broke.”