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DominiqueAmber's Wedding Planning Blog

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#1 dominiqueamber

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    Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:17 AM


    - January 2, 2012 - 

    I’m so excited to start this wedding planning blog. Those close to me know I’ve been planning this wedding since Raoul started calling me regularly. I’ve been driving everyone around me crazy with my plans and buying stuff for the wedding. I had to endure them telling me to hold on to make sure we are really getting married. Well now it’s official!

    I guess I should start with a formal introduction (because I hope to have more readers than just my mother) I’m Amber Dominique, a dreamer who strives to gain as many talents as she possibly can. I love eating “good” food, caring for children, being a part of my American Sign Language congregation, old movies & fashions, country music and most of all the love of my life – Raoul.


     (Us on Jaws Beach – right after he proposed)

     Raoul is just like me in all the ways it counts and opposite in all the ways that make us work as a team. If you would’ve asked me everyday up until I fell for him I never would have said I’d end up marrying a man from a different country. But that’s what’s happening! 

    I’m marrying a man who’s admired and respected by me as well as his family and friends. I love that he doesn’t mind being my best friend and lets me talk all night, he’s always determined to improve on himself and our relationship, he has high standards and a great big heart that loves me! 

     (Us in a Cave in Nassau – April 2011)

    We met in The Bahamas October 2009 when I was there on a cruise with family and friends. He might call it something else but the way he described it to me, he fell in love at first sight. After his relentless and charming efforts we started dating shortly after in December. Two years, thousands of phone minutes, six plane rides, and tons of hugs, kisses and tears later I made a decision.

     (We didn’t actually fly direct but you get the idea)

    We are supposed to get married – seriously. Because we’re not exactly a car ride away, Raoul FINALLY asked me to marry him over the phone and I had to wait a long, long, long (well it felt that long) time till we could be together again and he could put a ring on it! 

    (Showing off my prized possesion) All photos unless sourced are personal

     I always wanted to get married on a beach and once I started dreaming about marrying Ra all I could think was how amazing would it be to get married where the beaches are among some of the most beautiful in the world! So despite everyone trying to convince me a wedding in the states would be easier/cheaper/more convenient we are getting married in The Beautiful Bahamas! Together we are planning a very elegant, slightly vintage, all DIY, as green as possible destination wedding on the beach in Nassau and a reception in the woods in Virginia Beach with a little bit of money and a whole lotta love!



    #2 dominiqueamber

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      Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:19 AM

      Our History: Boy Meets Girl 

      January 4, 2010


      I love when Raoul tells the story of how we met. It involves him praying for a wife to come into his life, nearly falling in love at first sight and calling his friend all day to figure out how to spend time getting to know me. But to get him to tell this story is not easy. I on the other hand love telling stories. And so here is my version of how Raoul and I met:

      In October 2009 I went on a cruise with my Mom, Grandma and Aunt Roz and a group of friends. Mamma Law had contacted Raoul whom she had known from a previous trip to host the tour. We were docked in Nassau for two days. I was sick and didn’t go the first night to the meeting and Aunt Roz stayed back with me. When Mommy and Grandma came back they kept telling me about this great guy they found for me that I have to meet. Of course I wasn’t interest in someone from another country so I wasn’t concerned. The next day we set out on the tour and Mommy was talking about this guy who was going to be her “Winston.” I was distracted trying to get mommy’s slip to stay up on me (it wasn’t until we got in the sun I realized my dress was see-through.) Mommy introduced me to Raoul and I quickly went back to focusing on my slip before I even held eye contact. People started getting into the four vans they had for us. I would have been in Raoul’s van but no one wanted to separate their family so  Mommy volunteered us, and Grandma & Aunt Roz went with Raoul and Mommy & I jumped in another van. All day I barely noticed Raoul, mainly because I didn’t know what he looked like. Until reminded me later, I didn’t remember he came to find out inside Atlantis when we were seperated from the group. I do remember me sitting on the ground talking to him outside Atlantis about the weather in Virginia and the colors of our dirty water as we waited for all the vans to arrive so we can leave.
      Me sitting on the ground talking to Raoul outside Atlantis

      I remember asking him when we were going to eat at the Queen’s Staircase. (He had no idea then how serious I was about my food) He told us it was ok to eat the hot dogs from a street vendor which made me soooooo sick. He talked to me again when I was feeding and playing with a stray dog, known in The Bahamas as a “potcake” and he warned me not to pet him. I didn’t want to listen to Raoul, but I listened when my mother told me I couldn’t go back in the country if I touched him.

      As the tour ended, Raoul promised my mom to take her to get a Guinness beer (which isn’t the same as what we have in the states.)A few friends jumped in Raoul’s van and off we went to go get something to eat and go to the beach. Raoul said he would take us to his cousin’s restaurant at the Fish Fry. While walking there I complained he said “it’s right here” and it was actually a long way to walk. I was starving!

       It’s didn’t take long for us to feel at home there. We tried local food (like cracked conch and fried snapper) and drinks (like Sky Juice, Kalik and Guinness.) That day I fell in love with their amazing food. We also had dancing lessons from the waitress. I got a strange feeling like Raoul was watching me trying to learn to dance but I didn’t pay it any mind. I was calling Raoul my step dad all afternoon because of the whole â€How Stella got her Groove back” thing. We had a great time at that place!

      Raoul is second from the left and I'm in the middle

      When we were heading to the car to go to the beach, I realized they threw about my Kalik beer bottle (which I wanted to save for sand). Raoul offered to get me another and walked me to another restaurant on the strip. We argued because he wanted to buy it and of course I wasn’t having it. I remember he made a comment about my eyes and I gave in. I waited outside talking to his buddy Rasta who was making conch salad for two ladies. I noticed the ladies were going crazy over this “pistol” and Rasta gave it to them and they swallowed it right up. Rasta offered me one but I declined. (I’m not in the habit of putting just anything in my mouth)  Raoul came out from buying the beer and let Rasta drink it so I could have the bottle. While they were swallowing up “pistols” I asked Raoul what it was, he told me to try one, I hesitated but he told me not to worry it was safe. I figured “When in Rome” and sucked it down for the full Bahamas experience. It was salty and almost slimy. We headed back to everyone waiting at the car and I asked “Raoul, what was that I just put in my mouth?” He replied “A reproductive organ.” You can imagine the look on my face! I was UP-SET! I told him I thought I could trust him and I couldn’t believe he let me put that in my mouth! 

      Rasta making the Conch Salad

      I told everyone what had just happened as soon as we reached the car and they all wanted to go investigate. So back we went so a few of them could see what I was talking about and try one. I told Raoul I would always remember him for that experience. (I attribute Rasta, Conch salad and Kalik beer to how Raoul and I got together)

      My friend Quianna looking at the pistol before trying it but Mommy wouldn’t eat it

      He dropped us off at the beach and we all gave him our emails and I thought I’d never see or hear from him again. A few weeks later my mom called excited that Raoul had emailed her. I asked her to forward it to me and I noticed he sent it to everyone. I checked my junk folder and there my copy was. There was also another email. He sent me an email asking if I was married because of my hyphenated last name. He explained there had been times he let opportunities go by because he didn’t speak up and he regretted that. He asked if he could email and I said it would be ok.

      After a few nice emails he asked if he could call me. I had no idea how hard he worked and how much money he spent to get me on the phone for short conversations. Once he was able to get a magic jack, and call unlimited I was hearing that enticing accent more often than I ever expected. Raoul says it was the fact he was from the Bahamas and I think it was his voice and his intelligence but he won me over and soon my mother was telling everyone I stole her man. I couldn’t tell you when we officially started dating but I could tell you when through texts and emails we said sweet things to one another.

      Screen Shot from My Phone

      By the end of December I had pretty much figured out that I would fall in love with and marry this man. And the journey began.

      Did you know you were going to marry your SO before you started officially started dating? Do you believe in love at first sight?



      #3 dominiqueamber

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        Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:21 AM


        Our Journey: Long Distance Love
        January 6, 2012
        Before I was branded Raoul and I dated for two years. For some this is a long time and for others this is short. It took some time for us to get to know one another, work out the kinks and get things right but we finally did. During our first year of dating Raoul came to visit me in Virginia three times.
        Then in the second year I went to visit him in The Bahamas three times. 
         There was no big reason. My family made it clear he needed to visit me first and with work schedules and finding chaperones it who could be available, it just worked out that way. Oh yes, chaperones. That may be an ancient word to some but Ra and I take very seriously our belief that God intended for sex to be shared between a husband and a wife only. The only way for us to ensure that is to be chaperoned so were not alone giving ourselves the opportunity to fool around. We’ve both had our share of life experiences and in that we’ve come to feel that life is truly more successful when you do things God’s way. It makes us both so happy to be able to say that we waited and have kept a clean courtship and know that our marriage can be blessed for that. I’m not saying that anyone else will have a doomed marriage if  they didn’t wait but I feel faith is something that should make you feel good about what you’re doing and not make others feel bad about what they’re doing. I have to say though that it would have been a whole lot more difficult for us to abstain if we were not living in two different countries. A whole lot.
        If you asked Raoul would probably say I put him through hell. Good advice I’ve gotten says to ensure a successful marriage find a person that fits all your SPIES needs. That’s spiritually, physically, intellectually, emotionally, and sexually. This is not easy to do in any relationship and is nearly impossible when you live in different countries.  I had limited time to observe him in his surroundings, to talk to his family and friends and get a sense of who he really is. Being in a LDR means we don’t have tons of memories hanging out, we don’t have ton’s of pictures together and we haven’t had ton’s of dates. However, it does mean that we have had ton’s of good conversations and are getting very good at communicating. When you have time to talk about everything you can really get to know a person. I can pretty much tell what Ra is feeling or how many beers he’s had just by hearing his voice. My mother is sure I’ll develop brain cancer from constantly having the phone to my face.

        When I tell people we are in a LDR they always ask me “How do you do it?” and “Why would you want to do that!?” I can’t really come up wait a good explanation for that. The dating process for us is very difficult. Long distance relationships are not easy, no matter how much technology you have. We rely heavily on the Magic Jack which allows us to talk unlimited from home and manage to webcam a few times. In between we use the cell phone which is very expensive.

        One of the rare occasions he allows me to see him on the webcam

         I believe part of what makes us remain close is that we fall asleep on the phone together almost every night since we’ve started dating. Being apart is not something we want to do but when you fall in love with someone you do what you have to. There is a literal pain in my heart when I miss him or have to leave him at the airport. But we know it will all be over soon and this pain is temporary. I know that when we actually live together we’re going to be getting to know each other all over again and that’s actually both exciting and scary.

        I don’t think anyone in a good marriage had a smooth journey to get there. I believe that’s just a part of life. Have you ever been in a LDR? How long did you date before you were engaged?

        All Photos Personal



        #4 dominiqueamber

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          Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:23 AM

          Our Journey: Ring Shopping

          January 10, 2012


          This post could also be called: He likes it, now we have to pick a ring to put on it

          We had been talking about engagment and marriage for a very long time. There was no way I would endure the Long Distance Relationship if I did not forsee marriage in our future. He had proposed over the phone long before we found out when I had off work and booked my ticket. Many girls from a LDR can understand that the intention stated is all that is needed to make it real.  I had known in my heart we were getting married from some time and had been “not so secretly” working on wedding plans.
          Everyone hopes to have an amazing proposal story. I had read through hundreds of stories and dreamed about different ways Raoul could propose. I had even emailed him a few I really liked. When we talked about it I tried to take the pressure off, telling him I didn’t need all that jazz. I honestly didn’t want him to spend way too much money on a ring or proposal, but I wanted a sweet story to share with my future children. So my son would know how to treat a woman, my daughter would know how she should be treated, and they would know the love their father had for their mother.  
          I also wanted a special story for those who would feel he may not be “good enough” since I was not getting $3,000 ring. I wanted to prove that showing love is more important than buying love. Just as important as the proposal is “the ring.” Raoul talked to a few of his friends and decided that the money would be better spent on starting off the marriage comfortably and not a piece of jewelry that could always be upgraded. I agreed but mostly because I’m “cheap” and I know I lose everything so wearing anything on my hand that cost more than $50 scared the kitty litter out of me. Selecting the engagment ring was a big battle. I’m going to apologize now for the long post, it was a crazy long process. Raoul had purchased a wedding set minus the center stone. I accidentally saw it on his phone one day and I let it slip that I hated it and didn’t trust his taste. He wanted to see a picture of what I had in mind.  This was my first request.
          I love it because I could change it up. I could incorporate color and not worry about getting tired of it or it clashing. I also didn’t have to worry about the gap between the e-ring and the band. By the time Raoul saw the pictures he was so over rings he said I “had sucked all of the joy out of it”. Trying to salvage what was left of his feelings and make sure I was still getting a proposal I tried to work on a compromise. We decided to switch things around. So he would purchase a wedding band to propose with and get my dream etsy ring later (since it took a few months to be made and he had to save up) He told me to find a ring online and I searched and searched. I preferred etsy because it was unique and handmade, which meant it took longer. Raoul preferred overstock.com which I found to have either cheap or expensive and not much in between. I also search jewelry tv’s website and really liked their selections. But when they failed I turned to Google images.  The only ring I liked was more than I wanted to spend on the whole wedding and nothing compared to it.
          I just told him to pick whatever and I would be happy. Raoul went ring shopping for a few days and came back fustrated he couldn’t find anything I would like. The women at the store told him if I was being this picky maybe he should reconsider marrying me. He finally gave in (meaning he procrastinated) and said when I get there we will go ring shopping together. We were both burned out but all we could do was wait until I booked a ticket to go visit him.
          I learned not to stress out your man too much and that I can be a bit of a diva when I want to get my way. I didn’t exactly get my “dream ring” but I got something so much better, stay tuned to see. Did you have any input in selecting your ring?


          #5 dominiqueamber

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            Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:25 AM

            Our Journey: The Proposal

            January 12, 2012


            Raoul officially proposed during my visit to The Bahamas in December 2011. He had proposed over the phone 


            This is Jaws Beach but from April when I visited (Personal Photo)

            We sat down to rest for a bit and Raoul began to tell me how he felt overwhelmed and thanked me for my patience with him. He explained he had intended to propose at the restaurant the night before when we went out with the couples, he thought out on the water in front of everyone would be perfect. I disagreed but kept quiet (for once). He then said “I know I should do this on one knee but on two feet and two butt cheeks, Amber Dominique Roberts-Butler, will you be my wife?” I was speechless for the first time in my life and could only move my lips to form yes.

            I got my ring! YAY! (Personal Photo)

            The moment was overwhelming. Even though I expected it every moment, I was still caught off guard that it was actually happening. We were making history! I had only one little tear well up in my eye. I was more than happy, more than content and more than in love. We sat for a few moments longer, talking and hugging. I told him I was so glad he did it in my favorite place (the beach) and with just us for such a personal moment. I also told him I was pissed he messed up my pictures because he waited until I used up all my cute outfits and when my hair was no longer freshly done! I wasthinking of all the beautiful photographs I’ve seen on wedding blogs. We might have sealed it with a kissed. After we left went to see Raoul’s mom and show her the ring on my finger. We then went back to his house and Raoul took a nap while I used the internet phone to call my family to share the good news. Everyone asked did I feel different and I really didn’t because in my head we were “engaged” for a while. Once that pretty little ring went on my finger I did feel better than I had before – I felt it was more real. I felt he had finally peed on me and marked his territory!

            Personal Photos
            I felt my proposal was perfect even though it wasn’t what I expected. Were you surprised when you got engaged? Do you think it means a woman is high maintenance if she want’s to have a part in selecting her ring?

            #6 dominiqueamber

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              Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:27 AM

              Git er Done

              January 14, 2012



              Personal Image

              So the first accomplishment on our wedding planning was checked off the list, we had a date. Which meant I could really take off on planning and “Git er Done!” How long did it take you to finalize a date? Did you have to consider the schedules or family and friends? 



              #7 dominiqueamber

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                Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:11 AM

                My Big Fat Green Wedding

                January 16, 2012


                I love green! I love chartreuse, kelly green, mint, and olive. I love seeing spinach and broccoli on my plate. I love pearly green punch buggies. I love my green contacts. I also love green weddings. I’ve wanted one every since I found out they exist. So I’ve been having images of green wedding in my head as I dream about the possibilities.


                Can you tell the difference? I didn’t want the color green, I wanted eco-friendly green. I know little ‘ole me cannot make all the difference in the world, but I try in as many ways as I can to help keep the earth thriving. I figure if one person gets inspired and tries then I made a difference, and maybe they’ll inspire someone and so on. So a green wedding is a great way for me to make a small difference and since being green is contagious I can hopefully infect (er, inspire) a large group of people. Another advantage of being green is I can incorporate my love of nature. There are two places I love the most, the beach and the woods and having a celebration there would make me nothing but happy. I’m so excited about using wood and other elements from nature. I did plenty, plenty research on green weddings so I could learn all the ways I could possibly be green and choose what could fit us. On Weddingbee, Mrs.Cherry Pie gave me a great start and Mrs. Pino Noir helped me appreciate my (half) destination wedding could still be green. So here’s how I plan to be green:


                1. For the Bahamas wedding we plan to have the ceremony and reception at one place. Either at a restaurant, private beach or the national park.
                2. We plan to have the Virginia (AHR) Reception at a park.

                WEDDING ATTIRE

                1. Instead of buying a new dress I plan to revamp my mother’s first wedding dress and one of her prom dresses to create my own memorable dress.
                2. The requirements for the other members of the family/bridal party attire are that it must be either reused or purchased new with the intent of re-wearing. Hopefully no one will spend more than $150 on their attire.

                PAPER PRODUCTS

                1. We plan to buy recycled paper as much as possible. Response options can be either postcards (with no envelope) or responding online.
                2. We hope to create a detailed website to avoid having to use extra paper to give guests details not everyone will need.

                FOOD AND TABLEWARE

                1. Buying used with the hope of reusing or reselling will be my first choice if renting is not the cheaper option.
                2. We plan to not have styrofoam, plastic or paper products if at all possible to reduce what’s thrown in the trash. For the Bahamas reception we will purchase bamboo/leaf plates, wood utensils and use cloth napkins. For the Virginia reception I will try to collect patterned china from family members, thrift stores and craigslist. I hope to use real glasses or cups of recycled materials for both events.
                3. I would love to find different patterned cloth napkins to later turn into a quilt.
                4. I hope to collect wine bottles, glass jars and tin cans to use for decor and food storage.
                5. As much as possible the menus will consist of local foods.


                1. Flowers will be used as little as possible and if used will be local grown or potted plants.
                2. D©cor, bouquets and boutonnieres will consist of sola wood flowers, seashells, feathers and fabric.
                3. No birdseed or alternatives will be thrown

                GIFTS AND FAVORS

                1. Since it’s a destination wedding and were looking for guests presence and not presents we plan to not register for tons of things I mostly have since I’m established in my home.
                2. Gifts for wedding party members will be gifts they will get use out of.
                3. Favors will be edible or reusable so guests will get the most benefit out of them
                4. Because it’s a half destination wedding, guests flying will contribute to global warming via the carbon dioxide. It would be great to give each guest an 11-watt compact fluorescent bulb to replace a 50-watt incandescent bulb with their wedding favor will save 685 pounds of carbon dioxide. (Tip found in: Sierra Club Magazine‘s interview with an environmental studies and biology professor from Oberlin, Ohio)

                PROGRAMS AND MENUS

                1. Individual menus will not be necessary. We will display options for guest on one sign, maybe a chalkboard.
                2. Programs will be made with recyclable material and hopefully be a keepsake to save them trash.

                Towards the end of planning I hope to have accomplished all these goals! Are you planning to be green in your wedding planning or daily life?

                #8 dominiqueamber

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                  Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:13 AM


                  Pretty Ways to Say "Oh, You Better Be There!"

                  January 20, 2012

                  When I envision my wedding day I see all the people I love and care about smiling at me, hugging me and having a good time at a beautiful party.  I honestly feel bad that having the wedding in The Bahamas means I won’t have everyone there. I don’t want anyone missing from the group but I know with a destination wedding, in this economy, that’s not possible.  The upside is I don’t have to worry about having a super large wedding, which I’ll explain later. But to make sure as many as possible can be in attendance, I wanted to send out a 

                   Image via masonjarbride

                   It’s so pretty right. The best part is it’s green and cheap. It’s made with repurposed cardboard boxes, labels, lace trim and ribbon. I knew this would work well in my shrinking budget and I loved the contrast of the torn cardboard and pretty lace.  I liked all these STD’s because they were different than just a picture of the couple of someone’s fridge. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, I just feel weird about my face on your fridge until you get sick of it. Plus I have a strong desire to be creative, unique and different than the rest. Being the indecisive person I am I had such a very hard time choosing one. So it was time to start designing. YAY! Which do you like best? 


                  #9 dominiqueamber

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                  • 923 posts

                    Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:15 AM

                    The Colors Duke, The Colors!

                    January 23, 2012


                    I’m a child of the 90′s so I can’t talk about colors without hearing this comercial in my head.

                    Being a designer colors are one of my favorite parts of creating a mood. It’s not all what looks pretty, there is a large amount of psychology involved. Did you know that more people argue in a yellow room than any other color? Did you know blue is an appetite suppressant, making it a great color for dinner plates when you’re on a diet, but stimulates you to drink making it a great color for a bar? Did you know most fast food places use red and yellow because the two colors stimulate your appetite and the high energy makes you impulsive and order more? Did you know that they painted walls every color in prison and the only color that kept the men calm was pink? I could go on for days. That’s why I love color, it has such a powerful affect on people and they don’t even realize.  

                    I didn’t take the correct designer approach when I started choosing colors for my wedding. I had fallen in love with a bright shade called coral. I thought it was tropical, fun and gave me a enough of my favorite color pink without actually being pink. I was also crazy about the color of the water in the Bahamas. It was an aqua that made me feel all kinds of good things inside.  I thought how cute, a shade of pink for my favorite color and a shade of blue for Ra’s. I also loved that together the two colors were high energy and creating a fun, energetic, party atmosphere.



                    Isn’t she lovely?/ 

                    What a beautiful combination of peach and pink! 


                     When I looked back and the journey I traveled selecting my color scheme I realized my mother did the same thing. Only she changed her mind between two schemes everyday for almost a month and she drove me crazy. Hey it’s a very important decision to make!  Have you ever called a woman a bridezilla and later realized you did the same thing? Did you change your color scheme a few times?

                    #10 dominiqueamber

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                      Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:17 AM

                      Wedding Planned, Insert Groom Here

                      January 24, 2012


                       Remember I told you I had started not so secretly planning the wedding before we were officially engaged? The slightly type-A and slightly OCD crazed person in me wanted to get a head start so I can avoid stress and anxiety later. Plus I wanted to take advantage of good deals. I didn’t intend to just “Insert groom here.” I did a lot of research on The Bahamas and Raoul’s likes and dislikes to make it an event both of us would be happy with. I had asked Raoul tons of questions and he had input on our future wedding but he had no idea I had been collecting a secret Monica closet full of stuff for the wedding.


                      They discussed Marie Claire article about woman planning the wedding before they have the groom, which you can read here. It was comforting to learn I’m not the only one. Not that I want to be in the club with Kim Kardashian, sorry Kim. But not every woman does it to have a fairy tale, some are thinking of saving time and money. I believe my hard worked paid off. I have some amazing finds at a great price which I can’t wait to share with you and I was able to work out some kinks. Brides have a tendency to change their minds tons of time and drive those around them crazy. I was able to do a lot of research (which really means unproductively spends months and months saving pictures off wedding blogs and Google images) I found lots of great ideas I can DIY, finally figured out my color scheme, narrowed down venus and menus, became addicted to favors, bookmarked plently of sites trying to find the lowest prices and more. Winning!

                      Did you secretly pre-plan? It’s ok you can tell the truth, I won’t judge you.

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