For Shavonna and Joel the connection was immediate, "everything just clicked," Shavonna fondly recalls. Having met by chance coincidence at a lounge, they spent that first night deep in conversation for over four hours. It was as if for that moment all the right pieces of life's puzzle fell exactly into place just for them. They were an instant perfect match and would be engaged just ten months later.
Read all about Shavonna and Joel's love story, romantic surprise birthday party proposal, and wedding experience in this intimate and posh Las Vegas wedding.
Bride & Groom: Shavonna & Joel
Wedding Location: Aria Wedding Chapel - Las Vegas, NV
Honeymoon Destination: Half in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Half in Italy
Tell us how you met and all about the proposal. (Shavonna) I was at a point in my life where I had given up on love and didn’t have a lot of confidence in finding someone. The night we met, it all made sense why everything else didn’t work out. The only reason why I went to the lounge was because my furnace went out and I was at a girlfriend's house waiting for it to be fixed. He only went to the lounge because his friends told him there were going to be some cute girls there. We both feel like we married our best friend.
From Joel’s perspective, he thought I was just somebody to hang out with and the more we started hanging out the more he realized we enjoyed each other’s company and liked doing a lot of the same things. He wasn’t sure at the first introduction. What makes our love so special is because neither of us we’re looking for anybody. When we met each other and talked for 4 hours that 1st night, everything just clicked. It was really cute because he fake-proposed to me that first night and I jokingly accepted. We went to the movies the next day and were together every day since. Who knew what would have happened 10 months later.
December 12th was my birthday and I just wanted to go to dinner and a movie. We go to the movies every weekend and I thought it was going to be a regular Friday night. Then my best friend picked me up to get my nails done and reluctantly I went but I didn’t want to do any spa treatments because I hate spa’s, I should’ve known something then. Plus, I don’t like making a big deal about my birthday. We went to dinner at RPM Steak and Joel said we had a hotel reservation at the WIT hotel in downtown Chicago. He mentioned he wanted to rest for a few before we head to the movies and he’s on his phone texting the whole time, on my birthday...the nerve of him. He then came up with this bright idea to go look at the movie theater in the hotel. One thing about our relationship is we go to the movies EVERY SINGLE WEEK. As were on the elevator, I’m thinking this guy is still on his phone! I thought it was a complete waste of time to go see a theater in the hotel when we were running late already. I was trying to be patient and make sure I was a good girlfriend and cooperate. As we approached the movie room, the first person I saw was my best friend and when I walked in, I saw all my family and friends and they shouted "surprise." I was excited, but confused because I now I’m thinking I was having a birthday party and how did he get all these people here. We viewed the first movie we saw on our first date. I thought it was the best birthday ever and nothing could top it. Then when the move was over, there was a second movie reel that was a birthday tribute from who I thought was only family and friends. This reel included birthday wishes, from a few of my favorite entertainers, Oprah, Rihanna, P-Diddy, Tyra Banks, Beyonce, Jack Black (obviously these were pre-recordings from something they found online), and it also included some family that couldn’t make the party. So when I saw this I really thought it was the best birthday ever. Then to top it all off, it was a tribute from him at the end. It started with music playing in the background from a John Legend song "All of Me." It included every movie we had ever went to since we started dating, along with some of our first text messages and ended with a picture of the ring. One reason why this was so significant is because every time we would go out of town, we would try on different rings. I actually thought it was a joke and I stood up in the party telling people to calm down because it didn’t mean anything and it was a joke. As the tribute continued, there was one part I started to question what this whole night was about, I looked at the screen and there was a quote that read "Only as far as we seek can we go, and only as much as we dream can we be." Then he said, "I hope you really enjoyed your birthday and I wish it could last forever, or maybe it could." Then this beautiful ring showed on the screen, and at that moment I knew I was duped and no one else knew what was going on either because they were all in shock too. I then turned around and he was on one knee proposing to me. Then what started as a 40th birthday party, ended in an engagement party I’ll never forget.
How was wedding planning for you? I enjoyed almost everything about the wedding experience. Picking the location was all on Joel, he always knew he wanted to get married in Vegas because he’s all about the "experience." He wanted our guest to have a great time. It was a little challenging to plan a wedding out of state and especially in a city that never sleeps. The day of the wedding seemed surreal. We both wanted to be sure to take in every moment of the day so we were sure to have all our close friends to handle any kinks that were to happen that day, along with the wedding planner.
Joel says he had a pretty good wedding experience because he really cared about the guests having a good time. That’s the total reason why we got married in Vegas. It was like a show and he wanted everything to go well, and we were the main characters. On the big day, Joel said he was ready to get it over with. We had been together everyday since we met, so the day of the wedding was about all our guests.
What is your best memory from your wedding? The most memorable moment, as cliché as it may sound, is when they opened the doors to the ceremony and we saw each other for the first time. Although it was about 150 people in the room, it felt like it was only the two of us there. A close second to that was Joel's wedding vows. He wanted us to write our own vows and I should’ve known he was going to totally show out. He ended up writing the best poem I’ve ever heard and totally delivered it in a "spoken word" kind of way. Everybody in the room was clapping, gasping and crying the entire time. So glad this moment was captured with the great videographers we had for the day.
First dance song: Joel picked the wedding song, "My Best Friend" by Hollywood Anderson. The words in that song are to die for and it's totally "us." We didn’t think anyone would be familiar with the song, it was new and fresh. The chorus says "I’m in love with my best friend, I’m gonna love her until the whole world ends". It symbolized who we were; best friends. The lyrics didn’t include all the superficial things about relationships; it was all about being each other’s best friend.
What was your favorite part about your wedding? We had so many things that were our favorites, but it all started with our fabulous wedding invitations. We wanted people to know they were coming to a wedding in Vegas and not to a Vegas wedding and the invitations said it all. While in Vegas, it started with the lavender champagne we served prior to the ceremony. We had signs around saying "No Great Party Starts With Anyone Having A Salad". Then at our cocktail reception we had a Hip Hop Violinist that played all the current hip-hop and ratchet songs that the guests jammed to while we were away taking our pictures at the Neon Museum. When the reception started the guests entered the room to a caricature artist, photo booth with a flower wall as a backdrop, a dessert bar that included a cotton candy spinner to serve lavender with silver sprinkled cotton candy. When the ladies feet were hurting from dancing the night away, they could find a basket of flip-flops in various sizes to keep the party going.
What are you most looking forward to about being married? We are most looking forward to not thinking about planning a wedding or anything about a weddings anymore! LOL. Honestly, we’re looking forward to all that being married is about...spending the rest of your life with the person you like the most and want to tell all your secrets to...your best friend and partner in crime!
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? Forget about all the formalities of what a wedding is about. Make everything about your wedding, about the two of you. Your guests will feel the love in the room in everything you picked to represent you and all the things you love.Throw the traditions out the door. Do what makes you happy and not what anyone else thinks.
Scheme Events - Wedding Planner
The Wedding Chapel at Aria - Ceremony
Vdara - Reception
Naakiti Floral - Decor & Floral Arrangements
Sit On This - Chair Rentals
Paperflower Girls - Flower Wall
Peridot Sweets - Mini Cakes & Desserts
R2 Studios - Photographer
Major Diamond Productions - Videographer
Snap My Selfie Photo Booth - Photo Booth
DJ Fulla Flava - DJ
Las Vegas Wedding Music - Hip Hop Violinist
B Sweet Candy Boutique - Candy Boutique
Steve Beyer Productions - Caricature Artist
Jessi Dean Salon - Hair
Lina Mourey - Makeup
James Han, Custom Tailor - Tux
Teshaun Anderson - Barber
Ijorere The Invitation - Invitations
Garrets Popcorn - Popcorn
Wedding Atelier - Bridal Attire
Dress Designer- Pronovias
Neon Boneyard Museum - Photo Site