Giselle and Cardel at The Love of Jesus Family Church
CJ (Cardel’s nickname) and I knew a few months into our relationship that we wanted to spend our lives together. I was ready to marry him immediately, however, I had to play it cool and wait for him to ask me. When we were approaching the end of 2019, we agreed that we were going to get married in 2020 and we should start planning for it, but I was secretly confused- why would we do things in reverse. I resolved that I had to trust that the moment would come, so we went ahead and started planning. We secured our venue and decided to book our engagement photoshoot before it got too cold. Yes, we had our engagement photos taken before there was any engagement. On the day of the photoshoot, we were taking photos when we came across an area that had pink boxes spread all across the lawn. I didn’t think anything of it because the whole scenery was a popular place to take romantic photos. Our photographer kept suggesting different poses and told me to start looking in the boxes that were laid out on the lawn. I opened a box and it had my picture in it! I thought to myself, “Wow, we hired a really good photographer! She did her research on us and everything!” I continued opening more boxes- there was a puzzle in one that turned out to be a photo of CJ and I when we put it together, a letter from CJ in another. After we had opened all the boxes, CJ began speaking and he got down on his knees and asked me to marry him with the last box!
What started out as a grand celebration, became drastically scaled down as a result of complications associated with the pandemic. We booked our original venue back in October 2019 and booked everything from the florist, to the DJ, to the transportation. Once 2020 came around, everything was still on track for our May 23rd, 2020 wedding date. But suddenly the pandemic stopped everything. Once that happened, pretty much every idea we had originally planned for our special day was thrown out. Instead, we had a small micro wedding with our families and were able to keep some of the elements of our original wedding day. We had a tropical wedding theme to represent our West Indian culture and aspects of our bright personalities, so that meant lots of bright colors in our floral arrangements, and decorations of the church and space for dinner. Our wedding colors were a combination of fuschia pink, yellow, and orange. The bridesmaids dresses were fuschia pink and the groomsmen wore gray suits with fuschia pink ties socks. Because our wedding was scaled down so drastically, the actual day proved to be quite calm, almost serene. Everything flowed smoothly and we were able to take in every moment of what was happening. While we were initially disappointed that the day wasn’t as we originally anticipated, our micro-wedding alternative proved to be absolutely beautiful and memorable.Why did you choose your venue?
To be honest, because of the restrictions associated with the pandemic, we did not have much of a choice when it came to venues because they were all closed. Thankfully, my dad who is a pastor, allowed us to hold our entire wedding day right inside of the church space. It was small, intimate, and beautiful.
Though our wedding was small, we made sure we had a variety of foods for our guests to choose from. Our menu included garden salad, salmon and chicken as our proteins, and penne vodka or rice as a side. In addition to that, we had other non-traditional foods to add in, such as macaroni and cheese. For dessert we didn’t want to have typical desserts because we love sweets ourselves and wanted our guests to indulge with us. We decided to offer a dessert table with cakes, pies, macaroons, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, various chocolate candies, cake pops and of course our amazing wedding cake! We wanted a red velvet cake but we also wanted it to match perfectly with our tropical theme. We knew that only Erika of Chic Sugars Bakery could offer such an option to us- she made the perfect pink velvet wedding cake. It was simple, but beautifully decorated with fondant and a spray painted fusion of our wedding colors.
I actually found my gown very early in the planning process, literally two weeks after I got engaged. My mom and I went to three stores to look around, and at the third store, Bijou Bridal in Paramus, we found the dress. It was a Maggie Sotero dress, the only one of its kind in the store, and it was offered as a sample sale dress. I initially did not want to try it on because the dress was only offered in that one size, but when the bridal consultant encouraged me to try it on, I immediately fell in love. It was an ivory colored mermaid fit, high necklined dress in the front and back, and heavy beading all around the top of the dress, and just enough flowy material at the bottom of the dress. The dress fit me as if it was made specifically for me!
My favorite moment of the entire day was during the ceremonial wedding vows when my dad recited the vows for Cardel to repeat. Before he could finish getting the sentence out for Cardel to say, Cardel loudly uttered, “I DO!” Everyone laughed because it showed his willingness and anticipation to be married, and it warmed my heart.
One detail I couldn’t live without was the tri-color scheme. Cardel and I are lively, bubbly people and we wanted to still have aspects of our personalities portrayed throughout the day. We felt that the bright colors we chose accurately demonstrated who we are as colorful people, and the colors also had an additional effect of making our guests feel uplifted, which is what we try to do on a daily basis with how we carry ourselves overall. It was perfect.
What went wrong was actually something that is pretty comical. We forgot to serve our wedding cake to our guests! We catered our wedding cake to feed 45 people and none of our guests got to taste any of it. We currently have a two tier wedding cake sitting in our fridge.
“When God Made You” by NewSong and Natalie Grant.
After having gone through, and survived, planning a wedding in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, my only advice to other brides would be to not lose your sense of humor through it all. Without a sense of humor, planning this wedding in the midst of obstacles and ever changing restrictions would have been impossible for us. You absolutely have to be able to keep laugh, even if things don’t go your way.
We decided to stay local, and had a quick mini-moon in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island.