How did you all meet?
Ramel and I got married in 2004 in Milwaukee , WI. After meeting in college at the University of WI at Whitewater. We dated for 5 years and Ramel proposed to me on my parent’s front porch. We were originally married at the Marcus Center of Performing Arts on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and honeymooned in Jamaica. In 2016, we decided we wanted to renew our vows and create an experience for our family and friends back to our favorite vacation destination, Jamaica. It was also important to include our children Rasean, 12, and Laylah 10 and show them our love on another level. When I initially met with Cheri, she helped me put my vision to paper and that’s when we decided to do a destination wedding, downscale our invite list and focus on the details we didn’t have the first time around. We spent the next 2 years planning what would be the most memorable experience renewing our vows in Jamaica.
Anything super unique about the big day?
We renewed our vows to simply celebrate Love! We wanted to celebrate what we have coined as “The Blylife” experience. Blylife is a hashtag we started some time ago and it represents our lifestyle. The Blylife is family, friends, good food, laughter, hip hop, r&b, traveling, so many other things but the most important of them is love. Our entire wedding party including our planner and photographers spent five days together in Montego, Bay Jamaica at Silent Waters. We renewed our vows on the helipad of the grounds which overlooks the Cayman Trench between Jamaica and Cuba. The view was absolutely breathtaking and made the ceremony very unique. My brother Corey Lewis officiated the renewal ceremony while Laylah and Rasean stood by our sides. We exchanged new/written vows which were held in custom cases for our iPhones by Ola Morin- Muhammed of Ijorere. Our kids Rasean and Laylah also read their own statements of love about living the Blylife. After the ceremony guests went back to the owner’s suite where they were served appetizers and champagne before dinner. They were escorted by Jamaican drummers from the owner’s suite to the pool side dinner overlooking the Caribbean.
Any tips you would share with other couples getting married? Planning is critical and having a good planner is also important. I would not have been able to have the details I desired without Cheri and her expertise. When Ramel and I first married, we also built our home in the same year. Due to that, our budget was small and we could not afford a lot of what we were able to do in renewing our vows. Cheri made sure I had fresh flowers, a cake that was designed to match the details on my invitation, ensured each vendor knew their role and did the itinerary for each day. In addition, she assisted with my dress and photo shoots. I would also share that it is important for a destination wedding or renewal to make your guests feel special and thank them for the investment of their treasure and their time. We had custom cuff links, cigars, beach bags for the ladies, sunglasses, and t-shirts for all of our guests. When they arrived at their suites we also shipped photos of each of them to be posted in their bedrooms along with a bottle of champagne to personalize and welcome them to their space while at Silent Waters.
I would also encourage other couples to invest in quality photography. I am so pleased with our photos from Joshua Dwain and having him and his wife Anye there all five days with us was awesome. They blended in with the rest of our friends and family so well. And our photos were just stunning and worth the investment.
What was your planning experience like?
Cheri was our wedding planner/event professional to assist with our vow renewal. In working with Cheri I was able to source the best in black creatives in the wedding industry. This made the day extra special for us. From working with Andrea Pitter-Campbell, Joshua and Anye Dwain Frith, Ola Morin Muhammed, Sue Gregg, Ophellia Mcknight, Rochelle Gordon, Dami Okuboyejo, Lauren Atwaters, and Camille Flimn, we went from New York all the way to Jamaica with black creatives!! Cheri utilized planning software that kept track of our meetings, conversations, and every invite, flower, dress, and venue that we looked at. In addition to that, it kept our budget and also a website to keep our guests informed of details for the trip. She shipped several items to Jamaica ahead of our trip to ensure we were not overwhelmed while traveling and executed the day of events with the wedding party and vendors flawlessly.
Tell us about the wedding dress!
My dress came from Pantora Bridal! Living in Milwaukee, I took the opportunity to fly to Brooklyn, NY twice before my vow renewal for fittings. I wore a gown from the Andrea Campbell Collection along with a custom Pantora Bridal cape. The gown was an off white fit and flare floor length with button detail down the back. It also had off shoulder straps with a sweetheart breast line. The cape was custom made and I was able to choose the beading of my desire around the shoulder and back of the cape. The cape was sheer with the shoulder portion custom selected for my skin tone.
Describe the Groom’s and Groomsmen look
Ramel wore a white suit by INC. Shoes were white loafers by La Coste-kept it simple and chic!
Your Wedding Style
What inspired your theme/style? What was your color palette? Why was it important to you?
I was inspired by rose gold, cream, and blush colors. I love warm colors but wanted to ensure we had a little pop with the rose gold and kept the summer feel with the blush and cream. I was also inspired by our destination and our invitations and stationery by Ijorere really helped to set the mood for this. We did a save the date, formal invite, place cards, custom vow cases, and menus with Ijorere.
Ceremony & Reception
Tell us about your ceremony décor.
We kept the ceremony decor simple and elegant. Due to the location and view, there was not much required. The view was breathtaking and I truly believe and know God was present in that moment, in the hills overlooking his creation. We decided on rose gold chairs in a “U” shape so everyone could have a good view of the ceremony. In the center we had two mirrored pillars each with a bouquet of flowers on top and next to those were two small tables, on each side which held our BlyLife Vow Renewal cases for our iPhones. It was simple and oh-so chic. We did that and God did the rest!
What inspired your reception style?
I really wanted large flowers and elegant design for the reception. Given it was a smaller reception, Cheri was able to bring all the elements I desired. Like Jay Z said in Black Effect, “might hit you with the rose gold all summer, for the culture!” Cheri made it happen with rose gold elements like candles, silverware, custom plate charges, and other decor to pull it all together. Unique to our decor were custom plate chargers made by Parchment by Dami and custom napkins made by Rishawn Lawson of Adorn Limited. In addition to the table decor, in the lounge area of the venue, Cheri placed photos of us in rose gold frames and also had custom sequins pillows made. The pillows said BlyLife when you rubbed the sequins back and forth…rose gold of course! The pillows were made by Lauren Atwaters of Ten23 Designs.
Describe your cake.
We chose a three tiered wedding cake consisting of 6, 8 and 10 inch rounds. We chose raspberry filling with vanilla cake and primed with vanilla buttercream. All three tiers were covered with a blush colored fondant and the middle tier was textured to match our renewal invitation designed by Ijorere. The cake was also painted with a rose gold luster. In addition to this flowers were added with small crystal/rhinestone centers. Our cake was designed and backed by Camille Filmn of Couture Cakes JA. We also had a glitter cake topper custom made with our initials by Parchment by Dami-Dami Okuboyejo.
Custom Cigars -Bly Life Labels
Custom Lip Chapstick-Blyllife Labels
Custom Sunglass cases-Personalized with Guest Names
Custom Beach Bags-Personalized with Guest Names
Custom Initial Cuff Links
Bug Spray to use during the Stay
Small Accessory Kits
Two weeks before the trip I sent each guest a custom rose gold luggage tag with their last name and a card that said the following ” Might hit you with the rose gold all summer, for the culture!” -Jay Z -Black Effect. Love is in the air, friends with food and drinks to share, family is all you got at the end of the day, let’s prepare for this time together as we jet away, the warm breeze on our skin as we shine in Black Excellence, We’ve enclosed a luggage tag for the Blylife Experience!