Munaluchi Bride #1 chic and stylish magazine catering to brides of color. Tue, 24 May 2016 16:07:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 8 Stunning Styles from the 2016 Billboard Music Awards Tue, 24 May 2016 13:57:40 +0000 bbma pic-9 The 2016 Billboard Music Awards took place on Sunday, May 22, at the new...

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The 2016 Billboard Music Awards took place on Sunday, May 22, at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The red carpet, or in this case, the pink carpet was filled with many stunning styles. A stand out beauty was Zendaya in a peach Calvin Klein crop top and a matching full-length skirt, accessorized with gorgeous rose gold Montblanc bangles. Take a look below to see our top 8 favorite styles from the Billboard Music Awards.


In a Plein column dress and silver Casadei heels

Credit: David Becky/Getty

Laverne Cox 

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In a Michael Costello gown with mermaid hemline and Ofira jewels

Credit: Steve Granitz/Wire Image

Demi Lovato  

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In a tweed jacket, lace bralette, and wide-legged pants, all by Chanel, with pointed-toe pumps

Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty

Rachel Platten

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In stripped separates by Alice + Olivia with pointed-toe pumps

Credit: John Shearer/Getty

Jessica Alba 

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In a long-sleeved dress by Zuhair Murad and over-the-knee Stuart Weitzman boots

Credit: David Becker/Getty

Keke Palmer 

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In a magenta House of Harlow dress, St. John jewels, and striped shoes

Credit: Steve Granitz/Wire Image


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In a peach crop top and matching full-length skirt by Calvin Klein

Credit: John Shearer/Getty

Kelly Rowland 

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In a metallic, semi sheer Labourjoisie halter dress

Credit: Steve Granitz/Wire Image


 Which one of these stunning styles from the 2016 Billboard Music Awards is your favorite?

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NY Bridal Fashion Week: Maria Elena Spring 2017 Collection Thu, 19 May 2016 17:24:00 +0000 maria elena 32 Maria Elena, the renowned bridal accessories designer, unveiled her Spring 2017 collection during Bridal Fashion Week...

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Maria Elena, the renowned bridal accessories designer, unveiled her Spring 2017 collection during Bridal Fashion Week at The London Hotel in NYC. Maria Elena's new collection was inspired after she visited her daughter's rustic beachfront home, which is encircled by lush, supple trees and overlooks an infinity of water. The ambience brought her back to a time when she was a child, playing in her garden with her mother in Havana, Cuba. She blended shades of metals to create the beauty she envisioned.

Each piece from the collection is handcrafted in the United States by specialized craft jewelers, and set with Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones, fresh water pearls, and mother of pearl. The greatest feeling was when we (The Munaluchi team) tried on each crown from the collection. It was a moment where we all felt like Queens for the day. Every bride should feel like a queen on their wedding day! We invite you to take a look at Maria Elena's spring 2017 collection


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Which one of these beautiful bridal accessories would you wear on your wedding day?





Photographer: Snowdrop Photography








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A Brooklyn Love Story Engagement Session in NYC: Antia + Gary Tue, 17 May 2016 16:24:06 +0000 Anita-And-Gary-Stanlo-Photography-Brooklyn-Engagement-Session703 They say the most memorable night for any high school student is senior prom...

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They say the most memorable night for any high school student is senior prom night. And for Antia, it would be the night that she'd meet the love of her life. But their story didn't exactly begin quite like a fairytale. "After prom a couple of friends and I went to a diner to eat. At the diner were some friends of a friend and Gary was one of them" shares Antia. The group chowed down diner style and headed in their separate directions home. Though Antia wouldn't see Gary again for almost a month, her best-friend later spilled the tea that Gary had been asking about her all night. "He says he thought I was so beautiful and he loved my style - so I guess that explained the staring all night!" laughs Antia.

After a few months, the pair began dating and would remain a couple for 3 years. But as life sometimes has it, the two would also split for a total of 3 years after that. During their separation, the two took time to separately mature but true love always has a way of finding it's way back. And again, they found their way back into each others lives and have now been dating for almost two years.

Fast forwarding to March 2016, Antia planned a surprise birthday party for Gary, complete with a jam session for his musician friends - but little did she know she'd be the party in for the real surprise. "After we sang Happy Birthday to Gary his best-friend comes up to me with another cake that read 'Will you marry me?". I was still so unaware of what was going on but then it clicked! When I turned around Gary was standing there with a guitarist and a singer, I could not believe what was happening and I was so shocked!" says Antia.

Next, Antia's fairytale came full circle. Gary proceeded to get in formation and got on one knee to ask Antia to be his bride. "I'm still shocked about it today. He knows that I love surprise's and he made sure that this one would top them all" says Antia.

In celebration of their upcoming nuptials, the two shot this epic Brooklyn Love Story engagement session in various areas of New York City, with coterie member, Stanley Babb of Stanlo Photography. Check out the amazing visuals below while reading more on their love story!


Bride-to-Be: Antia Joseph
Groom-to-Be: Gary Coach Jr.
Occupations: Antia: Singer/Songwriter & Gary: Musician & Producer
Wedding date: 5/5/17
Wedding location: TBD! (But the pair is planning for a rustic/fun wedding!)
Engagement shoot location: Brooklyn, NY (Dumbo, Clinton Hills) & Central Park (Manhattan, NY)

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Describe your engagement session. Did you have a theme?
Our engagement session just represents who we are individually and together. It was fun & spontaneous. Since music is also a big part of our lives we incorporated that as well. We also got to reenact one of our earlier dates at the Central Park Boathouse. It was a blast to shoot in Brooklyn and at some of our favorite NYC spots - not to mention Stanley is an amazing photographer!

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What did you do on your first date?
Antia: Ha! So the first date almost didn't happen because i was a couple of hours late - so bad! I cant even remember why I was that late (which Gary later reminded her that her tardiness was due to her being at a photo shoot) but Gary waited around. We were supposed to go out to eat but we had to go to a diner on 14th street because the restautraunt was closed. On the first date I actually spilled water on Gary's phone - yeah I know, charming!

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What's your favorite thing to do as a couple?
As much as we love to eat, we would say that performing together and making music together is our absolute favorite thing to do. To be able to create with the one you're created for is an awesome feeling.

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How has wedding planning been so far?
Antia: We haven't started planning yet!!

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Tell us what you're looking forward to most on the wedding day
Antia: The answer Gary wanted to give might be more appropriate for the wedding NIGHT! (the pair is practicing abstinence). But, all jokes aside, to finally be joined together as one and to be able to share that moment with our loved ones.

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Photographer: Stanley Babb, Stanlo Photography


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Intimate Wedding At The DeKalb County Courthouse: Onteria + Fredrick Fri, 13 May 2016 15:29:43 +0000 Onteria-And-Fredrick-Wedding-LHunterPhotography-Courthouse-Wedding-Georgia605 The classic Bill Withers song, "Just the Two of Us" can serve as the...

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Onteria-And-Fredrick-Wedding-LHunterPhotography-Courthouse-Wedding-Georgia611The classic Bill Withers song, "Just the Two of Us" can serve as the theme song for Onteria and Fredrick's relationship aesthetic and intimate wedding ceremony. The two met at a barbecue at Fredrick's cousins house, chatted and later exchanged numbers. But it wasn't until a few weeks later, when Fredrick invited Onteria over for taco night at his place, that she got "that feeling" that he would be "the one".

And, alas, on Christmas Even 2015, Onteria unwrapped the gift of a lifetime. "We always spend Christmas alone together in Savannah, as that was our first travel destination as a couple. We love to travel. That night we decided to open gifts. He opened his first, and opened mine after. Once I began to unwrap my gift (which was a large box), I noticed there was nothing inside. I turned to him to let him know there must have been a mistake" says Onteria. But, there was no mistake. "[And] there he was on one knee with a blue box wrapped with a white bow. It was totally surprising and I was so unsuspecting. Needless to say, I burst into tears of joy, then I said yes" says Onteria.

This beautiful couple decided to opt out of a large wedding ceremony and wed at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Decatur Georgia. Their elopement and intimate ceremony spoke to their solid bond as a couple. Check out more of their love story and enduring wedding photos captured by photographer and coterie member, Lajoy Hunter of L. Hunter Photography.

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Bride: Onteria Nash
Groom: Fredrick David West, III
Occupations: Bride: Healthcare Consultant | Groom: Accountant
Wedding Date: 5/6/16
Wedding Location: DeKalb County Courthouse - Decatur, GA

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Describe your wedding style
Our wedding style was simple. We had talked in the past about not having a large wedding, and knew we wanted to take the courthouse route. We decided early on to have it be just the two of us since we do everything together all the time. We didn't want our wedding day to be any different, and thought it would be even more special for the day to really speak to our bond with each other.

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Tell us about your wedding dress! What was dress shopping like for you?
Though I knew our wedding would be simple, I wanted to add my own elegant touches of personal style. I had a simple white, lace dress that I found in a department store. It was very complimentary to our simple, yet elegant theme.

Dress shopping was pretty easy. I am usually a bit indecisive, so wanted to be sure I had more than one option for a dress on my wedding day. I found a few white dresses in a couple of department stores I liked, and finally settled on three. I knew that I would choose the one that I felt prettiest in on the day of.Onteria-And-Fredrick-Wedding-LHunterPhotography-Courthouse-Wedding-Georgia602Onteria-And-Fredrick-Wedding-LHunterPhotography-Courthouse-Wedding-Georgia604 Onteria-And-Fredrick-Wedding-LHunterPhotography-Courthouse-Wedding-Georgia605

Quick Facts:
Favorite item on the menu:
In place of the traditional wedding cake, we had cupcakes provided by Gigi's Cupcakes. We had our first meal together as husband and wife at Del Frisco's Grille since we had accommodations for our honeymoon night right across the way at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. The Cheese Steak Egg Rolls are one of our favorite appetizers on the menu!

Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding?
We'd say somewhat. We think we went very non-traditional with this, being that we eloped at the court house; however I did want a bouquet and a white dress so that there would be some traditional components. I also really wanted for us to feed each other cake! We decided to order a few special cupcakes from Gigi's Cupcakes instead of having the larger traditional wedding cake.

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What is your best memory from your wedding?
For both of us, seeing the smiles on each other's faces was the best memory. We were both just so happy. We are best friends and the day really highlighted that connection between the two of us. We would also say the experience in the court house and having a courthouse wedding was memorable. There are a lot of characters in that environment, and a lot of what went on kept us laughing. We love to laugh together.

What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Focus on your love for each other, and why the day is important. Try not to worry so much about the planning. Have fun, and really make it a memorable day. It will be the first day of your lives together as a married couple. In the end, that's all that matters.

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Photography: L. Hunter Photography
Wedding Consultant: Nickie Jones Events
Bride's Hair & Makeup: Adrienne Smith, Hairstylist and Make Up Artist 
Bride's Dress: Dillard's
Bride's Shoes: Macy's
Groom's Suit & Shoes: Macy's
Florist: Chelsea Floral Designs
Cupcakes: Gigi's Cupcakes


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Wedding Planner Getting Married – Stationery Suites: They’re Not Just Paper! Fri, 13 May 2016 14:33:15 +0000 02_invitation_suite_victoria_and_michael It’s time for another installment of my blog series and this is one I’ve...

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It’s time for another installment of my blog series and this is one I’ve been super excited about for a long time!

[Laughter is the best medicine. Photo Credit: Alakija Studios]

As a wedding planner and designer, I’ve always appreciated the art of stationery. But it wasn’t until I started planning my own wedding that I fell head over heels in love with paper! But it’s not just paper -- wedding invitations are a beautiful keepsake for one of the most momentous days of your life. They also serve as a first impression for all of your guests. From your color palette, to the paper selection, even the wording – it sets the tone and creates a buzz of anticipation for your big day.

My fiancé MikeMusic and I wanted our guests to know that our wedding was going to be something special. We wanted them to be excited while making it clear that they should come “dressed to impress.” So we had to have one of the BEST stationery designers, fellow Coterie member Olatokunbo Morin Muhammed, founder and creative officer at Ijorere The Invitation, design our very own first impression.

Rose gold was an important element that I wanted to incorporate into our invitations and overall wedding theme because of my beautiful engagement ring, and Ola knew just what to do. We decided on a gorgeous rose gold foil gatefold design with an ivory belly band, and on the reverse was a quote from one of my favorite poets, Rumi.

I was ecstatic when a huge box arrived on our doorstep containing the prettiest invitations I have ever seen:

[It’s all in the details. Photo Credit: Tarji Michelle Photography]

As soon as I opened the box I was in complete awe. Ola and I had spent months via email and over the phone chatting about this design, so seeing this perfect invitation suite come to life was a thrill! It simultaneously spoke to our wedding theme and colors, as well as my father’s Ghanaian heritage.

Tucked within the rose gold foil embellishments were West African Adinkra symbols. Not only do these symbols serve a decorative purpose, but they also signify meanings that are often connected with African proverbs. Michael and I selected seven different symbols to represent our current relationship and what we hope to maintain throughout our marriage ranging from commitment, endurance, patience, abundance, love and God’s security.

[Consider incorporating your culture and heritage into your stationery design. Photo Credit: Tarji Michelle Photography]

And for an added element of surprise, once our guests removed the invitation card from the middle panel, one of our engagement photos was revealed.

[The element of surprise is always a nice touch. Photo Credit: Michael Williams]

Needless to say, our invitation suites were a big hit and really created a wow factor for our guests. Ola’s background as an architect makes her a master of finding innovative ways to design stationery that’s truly outside the box.“Transitioning from architect to stationery designer was a no brainer -- I absolutely love what I do,” says Ola. “I started this journey wanting to change the mindset of people who think invitations are just paper. I want it to be a conversation piece, a work of art. I try to make it functional so it won’t be discarded or thrown away. People will be compelled and proud to put it on display.”

But when it comes to luxury invitation suites, there are definitely some “Dos and Don’ts.”

“No labels.” Ola advises. “Dressing your envelopes is just as important as the invitation itself. Select a unique die cut envelope flap, custom stamp, and finish it off with beautiful hand written calligraphy. There is something so personal about receiving a hand written envelope in an era where receiving letters or hand written anything is almost obsolete!”

[Photo Credit: Tarji Michelle Photography]

But if you cannot afford to splurge on calligraphy, there are other options. “Although there is nothing like handwriting, digital or screen printed calligraphy is an alternative that’s classy, but won’t break the bank,” says Ola.

Another tip is keeping your wedding stationery cohesive throughout the planning process. “It is so important to use the same stationer from beginning to end,” says Ola. “A good stationer knows that the invitation is a reflection of a couple's personality and will work to form a close relationship with them in order to understand their needs. It looks disorganized when the save the date, main invitation and day of stationery have different fonts, styles, paper type, or color. When you find a stationer you love be sure to retain their services till the end of your grand affair.”

It’s also a good idea to plan ahead and start early. Luxury invitation suites aren’t created overnight. “Look at the creative process like aged wine,” says Ola. “The longer it sits, the better it tastes. In that same respect, when you know you're in the market for luxurious or custom stationery, it's best to select your stationer well in advance. This will give them plenty of time to be creative when designing a new concept.”

And last, but not least, understanding your budget is key. “Most discerning brides looking for a luxury or very personalized wedding suite understand that custom doesn't come cheap, so they set a realistic budget from the very beginning. Luxury invitations come at a premium, so it’s best to give yourself time to save up.”

From engagement announcements, save the dates, and bridal shower invitations, to your rehearsal dinner, ceremony programs, menus and favor tags, stationery is an integral part of wedding planning. I couldn’t be happier with our decision to splurge on this. Not only am I an Ijorere Bride, but I’m also an #ijorerelifetimeclient! I received impeccable service and gained a good friend in the process. I can’t wait to show you all the day-of stationery Ola is cooking up for my wedding! It’s going to be fab!

In my next blog post, I’ll be discussing wedding soundtracks and all things music related with none other than my love MikeMusic!

Happy Planning!

Xoxo – Victoria

Victoria Nee-Lartey, is a contributing author for Munaluchi Bride online and owner of Victorious Events NYC. To keep up with her, follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

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Getting the Best Out of Your Makeup Trial Thu, 12 May 2016 14:26:49 +0000 tacoyaBridalBeautyPortraiture_0116_retouched We feature a lot of weddings. And while the weddings are gorgeous and inspirational,...

The post Getting the Best Out of Your Makeup Trial appeared first on Munaluchi Bride.

We feature a lot of weddings. And while the weddings are gorgeous and inspirational, often times we want to just focus on the beauty. Because after all, you have to look your best on your wedding day, right?  Clear skin, dreamy hair, perfect makeup — our beauty articles will give you all the beauty inspiration and tips you need to look flawless on your wedding day, or any day truly.

In this week's beauty feature, our coterie members Sharon of Sharon S. Davis Makeup Artistry and Dajuan of In His Image Photography teamed up for a beauty shoot highlighting various makeup and hair styles + Sharon is dishing out her top tips for getting the most out of your makeup trial.  We hope you love these beauty looks as much as we do.

Getting the Best out of your Makeup Trial
Text by Sharon Davis

As our brides say the magical words “I do,”  It is time to begin the planning process.   Makeup is one of the most important investments for a bride next to her dress.  Brides desire to look their best and timeless for their day!  It is very important that a bride select a professional makeup artist and complete a Makeup Trial.   A makeup trial can be easy for some or sometimes a challenge.  The reason it can be a slight challenge because the bride is not sure what she is looking for or what to expect.  As a makeup artist, I  pace out for my clients that they will experience a full face application.  This is the time to try various looks and better understand professional makeup application compared to your everyday makeup routine.   There are a lot of questions that occur in  the consultations and I have chosen the three most popular  and provided a visual to help guide you on the quest. 

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I want to look natural, a better me!

To use less makeup I encourage my brides to invest in a great skincare routine!  There is no way to get around it; beautiful skin starts from within. 

Complexion:  I created glowing skin on my model by concealing and mixing her color completion in a moisturizer as well as adding a little shimmer cream in the mix. 

Eyes:   a neutral color palette was the palette of choice.   Use of Matte  texture eye shadows with a hint of shimmers in browns, gold, and peach defined our models eyes.  The grand finale for our models eyes is to finish the look off with a set of beautiful lashes. 

Cheeks:   Bronzer with a hint of Terra Cotta and Tangerine shades of blush provided a kiss of warmth on our models cheeks.

Lips:   Build upon the bride’s natural color in the lips and then add a highlight utilizing a white gold or soft rose color in the center. 

Finish:   Softly Contour the cheeks and the temples of the forehead. 


How can I incorporate my wedding colors into my makeup look?  Will that be too much?

Yes you can and it won’t be too much considering the color of choice.  There are ways to add pops of color into your look without looking dated.   The look above consist of  various violets.  This has been a reoccurring color combination this season among my brides.  My goal with this look is to display a gradation of colors   and how this color palette can complement each other and not compete against each other. This palette is perfect for any spring and summer bride.

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Is a Smokey Eye appropriate for a wedding?

Absolutely!  In this photo our model is displaying how to wear a smoky eye.  In such a bridal look, it is ideal to let the smoky eye be the focus feature, therefore softening the lips with a neutral color palette.   This look is a sultry and classic look for any bride. 

Brides these are just a few tips and inspirations to help you better select options for your day.  Take advantage in your Makeup Trial to be open and honest with your makeup artist.  Take to the time to connect with your artist for this person is with you for an extended period of time for your big day.  As you select your beauty fit, allow your artist to be the professional and watch the  beauty magic happen.

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Makeup:   Sharon Davis, S. Davis Makeup Artistry // Instagram: Sdotmua
Photography:  Dajuan Jones, In His Image Photography // Instagram: inhisimagephoto
Hair:   Gia Peebles,   Aura Salon and Boutique  // Instagram:  BoutiqueAura
Model:   Tacoya  Harris

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Old Hollywood Glamour Engagement Session in The Bahamas: Pamela + Ryan Thu, 12 May 2016 13:00:10 +0000 Engagement Session Pamela and Ryan we're connected by their Godson and originally met through mutual friends...

The post Old Hollywood Glamour Engagement Session in The Bahamas: Pamela + Ryan appeared first on Munaluchi Bride.

Engagement Session

Pamela and Ryan we're connected by their Godson and originally met through mutual friends at his christening. After a whirlwind courtship, last year Ryan gifted Pamela with what every girl deems is her best friend and what every girl in love dreams of receiving on her birthday - a diamond ring.

"It was a total surprise as I did not expect it. Knowing that I would want my family, as well as friends, there he made it where they all came at a certain point in the dinner. He then got on one knee, in the front of my family and friends and asked me to be his wife" shares Pamela.

Now, this gorgeous couple scheduled to wed this fall, are sharing their Old Hollywood Glamour themed engagement session, shot at the luxurious Old Fort Bay Club House in The Bahamas.  Scroll on for more of their haute-glam images captured by Scharad Lightbourne of PictureBox Weddings and read their love story below.

Engagement Session Engagement SessionBride-to-Be: Pamela N. Lightbourne
Groom-to-Be: Ryan A. Major
Occupations: Bride-to-Be: Hospitality Professional | Groom-to-Be: Golf Course Manager
Wedding date: 11/26/16
Wedding location: Nassau, The Bahamas
Engagement shoot location: Old Fort Bay Club House - Nassau, Bahamas

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Describe your engagement session! Did you have a theme?
Our Engagement session was well planned out in going with our theme for the wedding "A Glamorous Romance" we decided on doing a old Hollywood inspired e-session. It was filled with glitz and glamour. I felt like a movie star just for a day. Our photographer was fully on board with the theme and just as excited as we were. The location was also perfect at the Exclusive Old Fort Bay Club house. The session was a complete dream come true.Engagement SessionEngagement SessionEngagement Session

What did you do on your first date?
We went to one of my favorite Chinese restaurant on the island East Villa.

What's your favorite thing to do as a couple?
We love local festivals it's our thing we make sure to attend every Food festival, Wine festival or art Festival. We love exploring new things and enjoy having fun with each other.

Engagement Session Engagement Session

How has wedding planning been so far? So far it has been pretty easy we both know what we like and want in our wedding and we have agreed on a set budget to make our dreams of our big day a reality.

Tell us what you're looking forward to most on the wedding day.
We're both looking forward to sharing this day with our friends and family and becoming Man and Wife.

Engagement Session

Photography: Scharad Lightbourne,  PictureBox Weddings
Makeup: Sarsha Taylor, Sarsha Lepeche Makeup
Hair: Yonarda Beneby


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Parisian Garden Wedding in Charlotte, NC: Stephanie + Thommy Wed, 11 May 2016 17:31:40 +0000 Parisian-Garden-Wedding-Stephanie-and-Thommy-Love-Shutter-Photography466 Stephanie and Thommy's courtship was one 12 years in the making. The pair met...

The post Parisian Garden Wedding in Charlotte, NC: Stephanie + Thommy appeared first on Munaluchi Bride.

Parisian-Garden-Wedding-Stephanie-and-Thommy-Love-Shutter-Photography466Stephanie and Thommy's courtship was one 12 years in the making. The pair met on July 14, 2003 (which Stephanie notes, is a day she'll never forget) in Bordeaux, France while Stephanie was studying abroad in Metz. "One weekend a friend and I ventured to Bordeaux. We were looking for a restaurant and happened upon two very friendly gentlemen. My friend spoke French and asked for directions from one of the guys. The whole time other guy was staring at me. I was like, 'oh Lord, please don’t let him try to speak French to me”! To my relief, the guy who was staring spoke English and introduced himself, his name was Thommy" says Stephanie. Following their meeting, the friendly Frenchmen accompanied the girls to dinner and later invited them to a party. While of course the party blared in the background, Stephanie and Thommy spent their time getting to know one another and immediately the chemistry was undeniable. The pair exchanged email address' and promised to keep in touch.

Once back in Metz, she held her end of the bargain and e-mailed Thommy. He requested that she come back to Bordeaux to visit him before departing for the States. Though, at the time she wasn't single, something lingering in Stephanie told her to go anyway, and luckily she didn't fight the urge. "Being young, fearless, and a tad bit crazy I set off to Bordeaux all alone for a weekend with Thommy. I had a great time as he showed me around Bordeaux! When Thommy put me on the train, as I was leaving, I wasn’t sure if I would ever even see him again and I definitely could not have imagined that this man would one day be my husband" shares Stephanie.

Fast forwarding 8 years through countless e-mails, phone calls, post cards and several life changes - the pair didn't encounter again until 2011 when Stephanie traveled to visit Istanbul, Turkey. From the moment they laid eyes on each other, the two embraced as if no time had passed - the chemistry was undeniable indeed. And for the first time both were single and ready to mingle. However, Thommy was in the process of relocating for business and Stephanie was at a crossroads. While the two continued to chat via phone and e-mail, they wouldn't physically meet again for almost 2 years.

After making some major life and career changes, relocating to Charlotte, NC and gaining a little inspiration from a friend who encouraged her to open her heart to love - Stephanie was armed with a new frame of mind. While she wasn't sure what to expect, she reached out to Thommy saying she wanted to come visit him. And, yet again, from the time the pair locked eyes it was a magical experience. "He treated me better than I’d ever been treated before, showed me more love than I’d ever been shown before. And when I left, I knew that my life would never be the same. It took 12 years but I was finally the woman I needed to be for Thommy, he is the love of my life. We got engaged 4 months later on April 19, 2014. I was so ready to marry the man who has been in my mind and my heart for the past 12 years. I thank God that everything is as it should be" says Stephanie.

Continue on for more of this stunning couple's Parisian Garden themed nuptials in Charlotte, North Carolina while viewing their photos shot by Love Shutter Photography.

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Bride: Stephanie Louise Hughes
Groom: Thommy Luc Martial Malela-Sissy
Wedding date: 11/15/2015

Wedding location: Ritz Carlton Charlotte, NC


Tell us about the proposal!
Stephanie: The proposal took place in Paris France in a small apartment which we were staying in for my trip. I was completely clueless that he was going to be proposing as it had only been 4 months since we “officially” got together. I was expecting a “typical” relationship/courtship for an “atypical” kind of love. I thought that we were just having an intimate conversation about our future when Thommy asked me, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life with me?” I paused for a moment because this is a serious question. I responded yes. He then said, “well do you know what that means?” I looked at him confused and he was digging around in his pocket. Still not sure what was going on. He pulled out a little red box, opened it, and held it out to me. I was in shock. Everything was so unexpected! He then put the ring on my finger. Later he told me how nervous he was. He said that he had all these things plan to say and was going to get down on one knee, but due to his nerves none of it happened. I immediately called my parents afterwards, where they were equally shocked. It all worked out the way is should.

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Describe your wedding dress! What was wedding shopping like for you?
My wedding dress was a Pronovias mermaid style gown with tulle draping and a fabulous ostrich feather neckline. The dress was form fitting and fared out to a fluffy tulle and nylon bottom. I wore with sparkly silver drop earrings and a large jeweled belt. My veil was floor length with a blusher. It was a lot going on, but I felt that with my height (I’m 5’ 11”) I pulled it off!Parisian-Garden-Wedding-Stephanie-and-Thommy-Love-Shutter-Photography432

I went to many stores and tried on many many dresses, this dress being the last one I tried on. I started looking with the idea that I wanted a ball gown. My approach initially was to invite my mother and bridesmaids to come help me make a decision. However both turned out to be a mistake for me. After a couple shopping trips accompanied by other I felt that their opinions were hindering me to find what I really liked. So I set off on my own and visited multiple places on my own. I found a shop that I like and narrowed it down to two dresses that I loved. I then asked my mom and dad to come to the final dress shopping to help me decide between the two dresses. It was then I knew that my dress was the one.

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Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding?
Absolutely! Thommy is half Congolese and half Russian. I am American. We met and developed our relationship in France. So there was a great deal of different cultures coming together for our wedding. Instead of lighting a unity candle during the ceremony Thommy and I did a wine unity ceremony.


We took two different types of wine (white and rose) in carafes brought by the different sides of the family (my mother brought in my carafe and Thommy’s brother Eric brought in his carafe). We then poured them together into 1 glass and each gave the other a drink from the glass. This was representative of the traditional wine exchange ceremony that occurs in Congolese cultures and represents the families coming together. We also utilize French themes in décor and with macaroons as our guest favors. Thommy also did a toast to me where he spoke to me in French. We also made sure to have plenty of African music at the reception which was a big party.

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Quick Facts

Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: Bridesmaids: Make up bag, assorted cosmetics, J. Crew jewelry. Groomsmen: Personalized bottle openers
Favorite item on the menu: Wild Mushroom Soup
First dance song: "The Beginning" by John Legend

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What is your best memory from your wedding?
There were so many great memories but I have to say the best was a moment during the reception. The reception was in full swing, everyone was having a great time, the music was amazing. There was a moment when I looked around and I saw my husband Thommy, my little brother Michael, my dad, Thommy’s brother, best friend, and several of my very best and closest friends all laughing and dancing together. I realized that all the loves of my life had come together in that moment.


My family and friends have always been so important to me. However given the nature of me and Thommy’s super long distance relationship those two parts of my life had been separate until that moment. For the first time all day I broke down and started crying tears of happiness. I felt so blessed. Of course it killed the moment as everyone stopped dancing and panicked to see why I randomly started crying. But once I told them the party continued.

Parisian-Garden-Wedding-Stephanie-and-Thommy-Love-Shutter-Photography476 Parisian-Garden-Wedding-Stephanie-and-Thommy-Love-Shutter-Photography474 Parisian-Garden-Wedding-Stephanie-and-Thommy-Love-Shutter-Photography478What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? When it comes to planning the wedding please just keep the focus on each other. What you want. What you like. Other people (family members, friends, wedding party, etc) will think that your wedding is about them, but it’s clearly not. That was one of the most surprising things that happened to me. You must be considerate and polite but ultimately it about celebrating your love and only you and your groom can decide what that looks like.

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Wedding Dress Designer: Pronovias 
Wedding Dress Salon: Lily Rose Bridal (Cornelius, NC)
Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin, Neiman Marcus
Wedding Planner: Nekia Miller, Posh Affairs 
Hair: Erin Wells, Studio Riche Salon 
Nails: Kianna Baskerville, De La Casa Salon 
Make up: Celeste Kenton (Philadelphia, PA)
Groom’s Attire: Francesco Smalto 
Groomsmen Attire: Jos A Banks 
Bridesmaids Dresses: JJ House 
Ceremony & Reception Location: Ritz Carlton Charlotte 
Photography: Love Shutter 
Videography: Crown Alley Films 
Florist: Springvine Design 
DJ: C’leb Entertainment 
String Quartet: Charlotte Strings 
Wedding Favors:  Café Monte (Charlotte, NC)
Cake/Dinner/Cocktail Hour: Ritz Carlton Charlotte
Rings: Diamonds Direct (Charlotte, NC)
Invitations & Save the Dates: Wedding Paper Divas
Wedding Programs: Minted
Officiant: Sonya McAuley-Allen, Better Together for Life 
Ceremony Draping: Party Reflections


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A Greek Urban Romance Engagement Session in Downtown Ohio: Chanel + Maurice Tue, 10 May 2016 20:17:34 +0000 Chanel-And-Maurice-Engagement-Session-Ohio-Twenty3rdletter-Photography523 It's ironic how long true love takes to cross ones path, but when it...

The post A Greek Urban Romance Engagement Session in Downtown Ohio: Chanel + Maurice appeared first on Munaluchi Bride.

Chanel-And-Maurice-Engagement-Session-Ohio-Twenty3rdletter-Photography485It's ironic how long true love takes to cross ones path, but when it does, it's kismet energy sparks a flame that no man can extinguish. Chanel and Maurice were both born and raised in the same neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio (more matter-of-factly, only one street separated their childhoods), both attended The Ohio State University and even shared a similar circle of friends. In addition, one is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and the other, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated - yet their paths never crossed. However, on the fateful night love came knocking on Maurice and Chanel's doors and luckily, both were home to answer.

"My sorority sisters wanted to hang out with the Omegas after one of our sorority events. Since it had been forever since we had hung out, I was excited to see what the night had in store! We all decided to meet up at Brothers, a bar in the Arena District. Upon arrival, I saw a group of Omegas, all of whom I assumed were married. While having a conversation with one of my sorority sisters, we started talking about Cleveland" says Chanel. Maurice, adoringly eavesdropping on Chanel's enthusiastic conversation about her hometown later injected. "[He asked] 'what part?' I replied, '93rd' to which he asked 'what street?' I said 'Orleans'. He then said, 'oh we are really family now, I grew up on 93rd and Heath'! We started traveling down memory lane, recalling street names, corner stores and high schools, laughing, joking, and having a great time thinking about our childhoods" shares Chanel.

After spending more time at the bar, the Omegas suggested going to another spot and Chanel and her sorority sisters decided to follow along. Following their arrival at the next bar, Maurice asked Chanel to dance but she agreed only under one condition - IF he wasn't married, in which he emphatically proclaimed “I’m not married! Who told you that". The pair trailed off to the dancefloor and proceed to dance the night away.

"We did the Cleveland Shuffle and the Trans Euro Express, but one particular song had us in our Stomp The Yard moment, when Columbus Short and Meghan Good were dancing in the club" says Chanel. That song is the melodic 90's inspired hit, "Play No Games" by Big Sean. As the two danced the night away, Maurice cutely sang the lyrics "I ain't like them others and I ain't trying to play no games wit' ya", in Chanel's ear. And after they departing from the bar, the two talked on the phone for hours.

"As the months progressed, we start finding out that our families already knew each other from the neighborhood, that we played together as kids, that we sat on my best friends porch together as teenagers, and that we had the same circle of friends from The Ohio State University! I'm a Delta and he's an Omega (Coleman Love!) and we never crossed paths until November 14, 2015! It was in God's plan for us to finally cross paths and I am so glad he has granted us our Soulmates! I know this sounds like a fairy tale story, but I love every bit of it and don't want it to stop!" shares Chanel.

Their fateful love story is nothing short of a divine plan. Read on for more of this unique couple's love story and view their Greek urban romance themed engagement session in downtown Columbus, Ohio shot by Herbert "Trae" Wilborn of Twenty3rdletter Photography.

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Bride-to-Be:Chanel I. Norton
Groom-to-Be: Maurice C. Lee
Occupations: Bride-to-Be: VP Product Manager | Groom-to-Be: Educator & Coach (Football & Basketball) 
Wedding date: 7/30/16
Wedding location: Columbus, Ohio

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Tell us about the proposal!
Maurice: On March 26th of 2016 the day before Chanel’s birthday we went to a Jazz restaurant with two of her close friends and their husbands. Initially I was going to pop the question on her actual birthday, but the vibe was perfect to ask her hand in marriage. To my surprise my Dean of Pledges was there with his wife so I honestly believe it was no one but God telling me to take our relationship to the next level that night!

I had the ring in my pocket just in case the perfect opportunity was presented. When you have Christ in your corner, there's not a time frame attached to your commitment level. Chanel and I had only been dating for four months but when you meet someone that you have an instant connection with and the same goals, you automatically know this is nothing but God. I asked the waiter if he could assist me in getting the mic from the performer, he gave me the thumbs up. Once I obtained the mic, I professed my love to Chanel and asked Chanel to marry me… She said YES!

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Describe your engagement session. Did you have a theme?
Chanel & Maurice: We tried to get inspiration from magazine, Pinterest, and even Munaluchi but did not find any inspiration that fit our personality! We settled for something simplistic, and sent our photographer an inspiration board but he had something else in mind. Herbert “Trae” Wilborn the owner of Twenty3rdLetter Photographer said, “Let’s do gritty, grungy, graffiti, broke glass, steel, brick, and concreate type backdrop”. Trae knows that our style is completely different then the next and we are having an unconventional/non traditional wedding.

We wanted our engagement shoot to truly show who we are as individuals and wanted to show that no relationship is “peaches and cream” smiling and looking pretty every day. There are going to be moments of discomfort and confrontation but nothing real can be threatened…and that’s TRUE LOVE! 
While shooting our engagement pictures, we had so much fun! Our engagement photos is completely different then what we have seen in the past! It incorporated our personalities, our style, and the city were we reside.

The photo shoot provided the vision of urban meets romance, classy meets gritty, and especially Omega meets Delta! 
What did you do on your first date? We meet each other on a Saturday right before Chanel was traveling to Paris and London that following Monday. We decided to hang out that following Sunday afternoon for an early brunch. We went to a soul food restaurant and had the opportunity to learn more about each other. We were a nervous wreck!

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What's your favorite thing to do as a couple?
We really enjoy listening to music and dancing!

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How has wedding planning been so far?
Chanel: Wedding planning is great! We are having a small and intimate unconventional wedding. Maurice and I are wearing black! Yes, I am wearing a black dress! While our guest are wearing white! We asked all our guest to wear white because we want every attending individual to be incorporated within our wedding. Everyone woman present is my maid of honor and every man is Maurice's best man!

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Tell us what you're looking forward to most on the wedding day.
We are excited about becoming one and sharing the same last name! We are also looking forward to dancing the night away and having the best night of our life!

Photography: Herbert "Trae" Wilborn, Twenty3rdletter Photography.
Make Up: Latoya Marie
Hair: Tamika “Tiki” Baytops
Stylist: Chanel Norton (the Bride-to-Be!)

The post A Greek Urban Romance Engagement Session in Downtown Ohio: Chanel + Maurice appeared first on Munaluchi Bride.

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#MunaMusic: DJ Perfect of Perfect Entertainment Shares Insider Tips On Hiring a Wedding DJ Tue, 10 May 2016 10:00:36 +0000 Laptop Skin - DJ Perfect (2) If you are taking a few minutes of your time, to read this article,...

The post #MunaMusic: DJ Perfect of Perfect Entertainment Shares Insider Tips On Hiring a Wedding DJ appeared first on Munaluchi Bride.

Laptop Skin - DJ Perfect (2)

If you are taking a few minutes of your time, to read this article, you will be pleased to hear some bits of information that may provide insight into the world of the Wedding DJ. It is truly an honor to be trusted with one of the most important days in a couple’s life.  

Anyone who aspires to become a DJ spends many hours honing their craft, developing a style of mixing and blending that keeps people dancing.  In 2001, I began the transition from spinning mostly at parties and clubs to weddings. What I quickly learned is that like the classic TV show - it was a different world from where I was coming from!

One can rock crowds in a club or house party with ease and then be a fish out of water without proper knowledge and experience working weddings. When I began performing at weddings, I lacked wedding experience, which was reflective in my services, equipment, and pricing.

If you have never planned a wedding or worked in the industry, you probably wouldn’t know what to look for in a wedding DJ. Perhaps, you would think that it does not matter if the DJ does not have wedding experience, state-of-the-art equipment, or excellent presentation. Well, it matters big time. There are no do-overs when it comes to wedding entertainment. Keeping this all in mind - I’d like to share a few Tips for Hiring a Professional Wedding DJ:

Go see the DJ live or schedule a face-to-face consultation. Nothing beats live interaction. After viewing the preliminary information and images on their website, ask to meet in person. This should be no problem for a full-time professional DJ; in fact, many encourage it. If the DJ has a residency at a club or venue, go see them mix live and interact with guests. You will be able to discern if the entertainer’s style and presentation matches your vision.

How do past clients and wedding professionals view the DJ?  It is difficult to choose a wedding DJ with so many choices available, and it is even harder when you have not experienced the DJ for yourself. If the entertainer has been in business a number of years, he or she should have plenty of reviews to assist in your decision. The feedback can come from wedding industry sites, personal referrals from family, friends, co-workers, or event professionals. Your wedding planner likely has seen it all when it comes to wedding DJs, and is a good source for identifying the best fit for you. Some DJs post video testimonials from past clients on their website or social media platforms. Every client is different, with varying opinions and perspectives. Ideally, a professional seeks to have many reviews with a 5-Star Rating. It goes deeper as well. Look at the number of reviews and how many years back they go, in order to get a good picture of their level of sustained excellence. Every now and then, even the best entertainers may get a few reviews that are not 5-Star. I have seen fellow wedding DJs that I know are top-notch get an overall 4.8 or 4.9 out of 5.0 and wonder who would not give them 5 stars. It happens. However, the overall rating should be stellar and close to an overall 5 out 5 stars. Look carefully at the information, and when it is all said and done trust your gut.

Take a good look and listen. Of course, it is always best to hear the DJ spin live or listen to mixes on their website or platforms such as Mixcloud or Soundcloud. This will give you an idea of their style of mixing, blending, and song selection. Videos and pictures of their equipment and presentation are also important. The system needs to sound great and the presentation should be visually pleasing. People tend to overlook the importance of sound quality until they experience a DJ with a bad sound system. Often it is due to either cheap equipment (all they can afford) or improper usage. This is one reason why a professional wedding DJ is worth the investment.

A Wedding DJ should also be an MC and use the microphone properly.  It is still surprising when wedding planners and others tell me that they have worked with wedding DJs who either refused to perform MC duties, or were not prepared to do so.  Your wedding planner or relative should not have to announce anything or keep the guests engaged. There is also a such thing as doing too much. Excessive talking, using corny jokes or gimmicks throughout the reception will make for a bad experience. The DJ/MC should also work well with your planner to keep your timeline on schedule and even provide you with music planning assistance. A professional spends hours preparing for your wedding. In your initial consultation, check with the DJ to find out their approach to this important part of your wedding.

There are so many tangible and intangible factors that work together to make a DJ a great Wedding DJ/MC, and it cannot all be covered in one article. This was meant to start the conversation and help individuals to know where to start. Look for more on this topic soon.

Chuck "DJ Perfect" Walls, of Perfect Entertainment, is an established DJ not only in his home-base of Atlanta but nationwide. DJ Perfect, specializes in providing top-notch DJ/MC entertainment, luxury sound and lighting for weddings, corporate functions, galas, concerts, birthday's, fashion shows - and more! Follow DJ Perfect's happenings on Instagram, @IAMDJPerfect, become his fan on Facebook, and check out his website! Also head to his MixCloud page to hear his melodic range of music mixes!

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