Fall 2017 MunaLuchi Magazine Cover Couple: Christina and D’Qwell

MunaLuchi Bride Magazine - Fall 2017 Feature!

"Weddings are a celebration of love. Whether you’re the couple getting married or an attending guest, you are there to witness the power of love. Though Christina and D’Qwell shared circles of friends, it wouldn’t be until the weekend of July 4th 2010 at a mutual friend's wedding that their paths would finally cross forever changing their lives - and according to D’Qwell that moment almost never happened…"


Bride & Groom: Christina & D’Qwell
Occupations: Lawyer/Lobbyist & 11-year NFL Veteran Player
Wedding Date: April 8th 2017
Ceremony location: Abbey San Galgano, Siena, Italy
Reception location: Belmond Villa San Michele, Fiesole, Florence, Italy


Weddings are a celebration of love. Whether you’re the couple getting married or an attending guest, you are there to witness the power of love. Though Christina and D’Qwell shared circles of friends, it wouldn’t be until the weekend of July 4th 2010 at a mutual friend's wedding that their paths would finally cross forever changing their lives - and according to D’Qwell that moment almost never happened…

“I had been traveling all around that summer and had just returned from a mission trip in Sierra Leone. I was exhausted, and called my college buddy whose wedding was coming up to tell him that I wouldn’t be able to make it. His emphatic response, ‘You do not want to miss this wedding!’ I’m so glad I listened to him…”

When attending the reception Christina remembers how she “knew the majority of the groom’s friends were married, so my expectations were low when I took my seat at the massive ‘singles table’ at their reception that had to have at least twenty women, and maybe four men... As I chatted with the other ladies, D’Qwell sat in the empty seat next to me (he will tell you a different story)...”

D’Qwell recalls how it felt good to be “back on my old stomping grounds at the University of Maryland for the wedding, and to my pleasant surprise, saw twenty or so of the most beautiful women I had ever seen in one place at a time. I was on cloud nine! But one in particular stood out... As Christina walked by, I told my agent who was seated in front of me, ‘Who is she? I like her!’ He responded, ‘Dude, you have no chance with a girl like that!’ At the reception, I saw an open seat next to the beautiful woman I spotted at the ceremony and grabbed it, and thought, ‘here’s my chance’ (Shhhh…don’t tell her that. I’ve been saying for years that she sat next to me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!). We had a great conversation - it was refreshing to talk to a beautiful woman with substance and a sense of humor. I decided at that moment that I wasn’t going to let her out of my sight. We ended up hanging out the next night, but then I had to return back to Cleveland to get ready for training camp...”

“The next evening, which happened to be the Fourth of July, we met for drinks on U Street and talked for hours and hours,” Christina fondly remembers. “It was then that I realized that D’Qwell played professional football for the Browns and lived in Cleveland, OH... I wasn’t about to travel for someone I had just met, so even though we promised to keep in touch, I had pretty much assumed that the spark between us had reached a dead end...I was wrong.”

Busy with training camp in Cleveland, D’Qwell, recalls how “over the next few months, I did my best to keep in touch with her; I’d call her every now and then, and we’d talk for hours the way we did on that first fourth of July that we hung out. But it wasn’t until I returned to Washington DC that we really started to spend time together…”

“A few months later, a combination of circumstances aligned and brought D’Qwell back to DC for several months. Once we started hanging out again, we never stopped. It was during those first few months that we made the risky decision to take a trip to Italy together. Though we hadn’t known each other for that long, I had a gut feeling that we would have an amazing time, and we absolutely did!” Italy brought Christina and D’Qwell closer together than ever before, solidifying the thought in both of their minds that their meeting was more than just coincidence - that perhaps they were always meant to be…

The proposal occurred in November of 2015, San Francisco. D’Qwell told Christina that he had a surprise planned. A car picked them up, taking them to the French Laundry in Napa for lunch, which Christina assumed was “the surprise.” Arriving a few moments early they sat in the garden to enjoy the weather, and that’s when D’Qwell chose his moment...with eyes only for Christina, lost in the beauty of the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen, D’Qwell asked Christina to spend the rest of her life with him as husband and wife... A hidden hired photographer captured the entire unforgettable moment. After the proposal they enjoyed an amazing lunch followed by a private wine tour with the master sommelier at Vine Hill Ranch vineyard. The next day, they flew back to DC for what Christina thought would be a small dinner to share the news with family. Instead, it was a huge surprise engagement party on the roof terrace of the W Hotel overlooking the Washington Monument, a location frequented earlier in their relationship.

Seeing as Italy was the location of a great turning point in their relationship, Christina and D’Qwell thought it only fitting that it also be the location of the wedding. The ceremony would take place in the Abbey San Galgano historic ruins, an exquisite 12th century gothic cathedral in the Tuscan countryside of Siena, Italy. Without roof or windows, the sun beams light the space creating an ethereal atmosphere, complete with perfect acoustics turning birdsong into beautiful melodies - a truly spiritual experience.

Within the sanctuary of this space, Christina, adorned in a nude colored, mermaid style dress with intricate beading and delicate lace appliques, met D’Qwell, the love of her life, donned in a custom Tom Ford. Before loving family and friends they became husband and wife in a stunning and unforgettable ceremony.

The reception took place in the Villa San Michele beginning with a formal coursed dinner at La Loggia, a 15th century setting with exceptional cuisine providing stunning views of Florence. After dining, guests moved to the main courtyard where they danced long into the night under a clear canopy with full view of the stars. The reception decor included ivy adorned chandeliers, white Ranunculas runner, antique gold taper holders, and marbleized stationery.

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What is your best memory from your wedding?
For the ceremony, every moment! For the reception:
1) Dance off between the groom and his brother.
2) Go-go set. I grew up in the DC area where go-go is the local popular genre of music. It’s something we don’t get to hear often, so we all went bananas when the DJ played a few hits.
3) The moment we walked into the tent and saw all the smiles on the faces of our friends and family right before our magical first dance. Even with everyone there, it felt like just me and D’Qwell for a moment.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engage couples?
1. Get a good planner (emphasis on the “planning” aspect. So much the ability to really enjoy the process of planning your wedding, and enjoying the wedding itself lies with having a solid planner who you can trust to have everything under control.)
2. Do what makes YOU happy. Others will have a lot of opinions, but it is your YOUR wedding.
3. Make the wedding personal. Our guests loved the tiny details that were illustrative of our personalities, and appreciated them far more than what kind of plates they ate on, or the table linens or all of the other mundane decisions that brides tend to get stressed over.
4.Take pictures before you do. If we hadn't done our First Look, I am not sure when we would have had an opportunity to have some of my favorite pictures from the entire day.
5. Take it all in, as it goes by way too quickly.


Vendors:
Ceremony location: Abbey San Galgano, Siena, Italy
Reception location: Belmond Villa San Michele, Fiesole, Florence, Italy
Wedding planner: Luxe Fête Event Planning and Design Studio, Miami, Florida
Wedding stationery designer: LetterHeads, Miami, Florida
Event Design: Luxe Fête Event Planning and Design Studio
Floral Production: Vincenzo Dascanio, Milan, Italy
Rentals: Vincenzo Dascanio, Milan, Italy
Favors: Connubivm, Madrid, Spain
Caterer: Belmond Villa San Michele, Fiesole, Firenze, Italy
Cake designer: Amazing Pastry Chef Belmond Villa San Michele, Fiesole, Firenze, Italy
Ceremony music: String Quartet
Photography: Lisa Poggi, Florence, Italy
Videography: Marco Caputo, Magna Graecia, South Italy
Hair and Makeup: Lara Navarrini, Florence, Italy
Tent: Le Coperture

  1. Jennifer

    Easily one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen.

    Reply
  2. Sam

    This is absolutely stunning!

    Reply

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