Read all about Juanita & Cerleston's loves story, romantic surprise engagement, and stunning wedding at the Carnegie Institute of Science in Washington DC - featuring planning and event design by Florida MunaLuchi Coterie Ambassador, Roxanne Bellamy of Roxanne Bellamy Events, and confections by MunaLuchi Coterie member Deja vu Sweets. View the entire vendor list below.
Bride & Groom: Juanita & Cerleston
Occupations: Diversity/Inclusion Communications Specialist & Real Estate Investor/DC Transit Operator
Wedding Location: Carnegie Institute of Science, Washington DC
Wedding Date: April 19th 2017
Even though Juanita and Cerleston had resided in the same Miami-Dade suburb during high school they never truly connected until almost twenty years later when Cerleston reached out to Juanita via Facebook, asking her to give him a call. Their hometown connection quickly drew them together and the sparks flew, but with Juanita now living in Washington DC the relationship would have to be long-distance. For two long years they dated long-distance, rejoicing in every moment spent together, and never wanting to hang-up the phone when apart. Unable to remain apart any longer, Cerleston decided to pack up and move his life to where his heart already resided - with Juanita in Washington DC. There they would begin a new journey together…
Cerleston knew that leading up to the proposal he would have to tread lightly considering Juanita’s “keen female intuition.” So, while in Miami on the day after Thanksgiving, while preparing for another family visit, Cerleston suggested Juanita get her hair and nails done. This was a curious suggestion to Juanita considering that the family had already been together the night before for Thanksgiving, if she were to have paid a visit to the salon it would have been for yesterday’s holiday. Juanita’s suspicions continued to grow throughout the day, feeling like a proposal was imminent…
But much to her surprise there was no proposal that night. Juanita was more shocked than disappointed that her intuition was wrong, as she always trusts her intuition. The next day, with her guard down, they prepared to go to the home of Cerleston’s best friend for a gathering. Also accompanied by her own best friend, it was shaping up to be a memorable evening - just how memorable Juanita was soon to find out…
As dinner and drinks were being served, and all friends present, Cerleston suggested that everyone in turn talk about what they are grateful for this holiday season. Juanita went first, followed by the others. When it came time for Cerleston’s turn, he began by stating all that he was grateful for, including, and most especially, having Juanita in his life. As he was concluding, Cerleston got down on bended knee and before all of their friends asked if she would have his hand in marriage. Juanita was caught in complete surprise, answering with an emphatic “yes!”
For Juanita, with the help of her wedding designer, Roxanne Bellamy, wedding shopping was “pretty straightforward...Roxanne knew I was adamant about using all minority-owned businesses, and found the perfect dress for me.” While not her typically preferred style, the ethereal and romantic Marlo Ford low-cut with plunge neckline gave off a “sexy edge” that would be a style influence for the rest of the wedding.
Culturally, Juanita and Cerleston wanted to incorporate elements of all their combined cultural heritages of British, Ghanaian, American, and Bahamian. Brittish hot tea was served throughout the event. Invitations, menu cards, and gobo lighting was a design that consisted of Adinka (Ghanaian) marriage symbols to tie in their African heritage. And the menu was a Bahamian inspired meal including escovitch red snapper and pigeon peas and rice.
What is your best memory from your wedding? I danced with my father first, then my husband. While planning with Roxanne, I expressed that I desired a wedding based on creating unforgettable moments. I’m a strong-willed woman, usually, but in those moments - dancing in the arms of the two men I know who love and protect me, allowed me to be vulnerable. I felt secure.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? Keep it simple. Planning a wedding can be a distraction and ultimately, the end goal is marriage; not a wedding. Some people will distract you for their own selfish reasons, but remind yourself to stay centered and focused on your spouse only.
Event Planner + Designer: Roxanne Bellamy
Venue: Carnegie Institute of Science. Washington, DC
Caterers: Sensory Delights
Confectioner: Déjà vu Sweets
Event Rentals/Lighting: Rayne Events
Photographer: Ray “Neutron” Spears Photography
Videographer: Pope Weddings
Sound: Elite Mixers
Soloist: Viola Player: James Harman and the Urban Musician
Dress: Alea Lovely Gowns
Makeup: Nikki Fraiser – Beauty n’ the Bride
Event Sitter: Kids Contigo
Floral Design: The Simon Design
Stationery: Made Divine
Rentals: The Coveted Co.