I’ve been a long time lurker and sometimes poster but now that we are approaching our 3 month mark (ahh!!) I think it’s time to start my very own planning thread. Think this will definitely help me focus and hopefully make decisions J
How we met:
Jamal and I met a little over 4 years ago at a mutual friend’s birthday party. As usual, I went to this party with one of my best guy friends. We get to the bar about an hour into the party, say our hellos and make our way to the bar for drinks. After realizing that drinks were $15 a piece (gotta love NYC bars), I made a mental note that I needed someone else to buy me drinks that night haha. My friend and I always have the problem that people think we are “together” so we separate right away and go mingle. I did spot a cute stranger hanging out with our group but none of my immediate friends knew who he was. A little while later, as I was finishing my drink, coincidently, this cute stranger comes up to me and asks if he could buy me a drink J. We spent the rest of the night talking and hanging out. I eventually go to the bathroom with the birthday girl and find out that he was one of her really good friends and she assured me that he was a good guy. So when he asked for my phone number at the end of the night, I didn’t hesitate! To add a little twist to the story, the birthday girl knows him because he used to date her cousin and when they broke up she decided to keep her friendship with Jamal despite the breakup. She jokes that she kept Jamal in the divorce!
We had our first date a couple of weeks later and have been together ever since. This relationship felt different right from the beginning. It almost felt easy, if that makes any sense. He and my friends (guys and girls) got along very well right from the beginning and that was so important to me since they are my family here in NY. And now we have been living together for almost 3 years now and have been engaged for about 8 months.
It was Christmas morning 2014 and we were at my parent’s house opening presents like the big kids that we are. We take Christmas morning very serious in my family, we were onesies and my dad dresses up like Santa haha. This year was no exception. Jamal and I wore superhero onesies!
After I opened my presents I took my new niece Sophia, who was only 2 weeks old, from my sister-in-law so that she can open her presents. I'm obsessed with Sophia so I want to hold her at all times. Then suddenly my brother comes to take the baby from me and I'm not happy about it and I don't let him. Little did I know he was doing it for a reason. He tried again warning me about a dirty diaper so I gave in and handed him the baby. I got up to help clean up the living room since there was wrapping paper everywhere! Then Jamal says "oh wait there's another present". I turn around excited for another gift and there he is on one knee with a beautiful ring in front of my entire family! Being the lady that I am, I say "oh shit" and start crying immediately and everyone in the background is screaming in shock and happiness. He asks me to marry him and there are more tears. He finally asks again "uh is that a yes?" But come on as if it would ever be a no. So yes I was proposed to while in a wonder woman onesie by a man dressed as batman J
Superhero pic.jpg 94.39KB 11 downloads
This was the best way for him to propose – I loved that it was in front of my family. Since we don’t live near them (we’re in NYC and they are outside of Philadelphia), I usually miss out on random family events. And it was amazing to have them be a part of this.
Here is my ring
ring.jpg 70.66KB 13 downloads
Location / Timing:
It was never a secret to anyone that I would have a destination wedding. For me, a big, expensive NYC wedding never felt right. And in Jamal’s eyes, we could have grabbed our parents head, down to city hall and call it a day. Both sets of immediate families were immediately on board and that was most important to us. Before we even told them our plans, we decided that if we needed to pay for any of them to come, we would. As long as we have our parents and siblings there, everyone else is icing on the cake J
So as soon as we got engaged, the search was on. I must have spent hours and hours searching on google for locations/resorts. We had no idea where we wanted to get married but knew that we didn’t want Dominican Republic (so many friends have gotten married there already) or Jamaica (Jamal has distant family there and didn’t want to have to invite them). We finally came across Danialle from BeachBum Vacations and knew immediately we had found our travel agent. Right from the beginning she was helpful, knowledgable and super nice. She was able to help us decide that Mexico was the right place for us and our guests since we wanted to be considerate of our guest’s budget. Our resort requirements were:
- Somewhere different to get married – I personally don’t like the beach and sand very much so I didn’t want a beach ceremony/reception
- Keep costs for guests around $1,000 for 4 days/3 nights
- All-inclusive with amazing food
- Not a small resort
After seeing pictures of the skydeck at Azul Sensatori I fell in love! A rooftop ceremony reminded of NYC and it hasn’t been done in my circle of friends, where destination weddings are the norm. So after some more research and thinking, it was done. We were going with Azul Sensatori.
We didn’t want a long engagement but wanted to be considerate of our guests and their budgets, so after looking at work schedules (I’m an accountant so certain months are blocked off), we decided on November 2015. Based on availability at the resort, we selected November 20, 2015. Our travel agent was able to secure a room block for us. We started with 20 rooms in the block since we had to put down $100 per room to secure them. This was all done by end January 2015 so needless to say it was a very very busy few weeks.
Now as much as I loved the pictures, I was sooooo nervous about picking a place without actually seeing it. We and my friends are huge travelers and have become accustomed to really nice hotels and amazing service and are willing to pay for it. But because of work schedules, we weren’t able to make it out to Mexico and still get information out to our guests early enough so that people could start saving money and blocking that time off. But thankfully a friend of a friend had gotten married there in September 2014 and loved it and her guests had a great time. So knowing that we have similar friends that put me at ease. We still scheduled a visit to the BDR in June to make sure