Brittani and Jared met in chemistry class in 2012. The high school sweethearts attended the same college, Howard University, and got engaged in 2019, the same year they graduated. Jared surprised Brittani with a trip to Paris in December 2019, and they spent New Year’s Eve taking photos around the city. “We went to a surprise rooftop filled with lush roses, a live saxophone player, and a scenic view overlooking the Eiffel Tower as he popped the question!” Brittani remembers.
The two agreed on a destination wedding at Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. “We loved the luxurious feel of the resort, the amazing backdrops, and the surprising price point per room,” Brittani says, “We wanted all of our guests to leave thinking this was the best wedding they’ve ever attended.”
Although the couple found it difficult to narrow down their guest list, they invited 171 guests to join them for an all-white welcome party and tropical themed wedding on November 12, 2021. Brittani and Jared found it important to work with black or minority-owned businesses as much as possible. “We both graduated from a historically black college and understood the importance of sourcing minority vendors to provide them the exposure and support that many don’t normally receive,” the bride says, “The majority of our vendors consisted of black women-owned or minority-owned businesses including our photographer, stationery, floral and design, wedding planner, DJ, cigar roller, and videographer.”
Brittani and Jared worked with Tiffany from Simply Breathe Events to plan their white and gold themed ceremony and reception, and curate a style guide to inspire their guests to wear tropical colors. Read on to see all the destination wedding details, captured behind photographer Elizabeth Austin’s lens.
Guests received word of the couple’s nuptials on chic acrylic invitations with details accented in gold. The modern meets elegant design was the perfect preview of the couple’s wedding design.
When I looked in the mirror, I saw the bride that I envisioned I’d be when I was a little girl.
With the humidity in Mexico in mind, Brittani chose a low bun hairstyle on her wedding day to combat the frizz and accentuate her neckline. She knew a strapless Berta gown with a sweetheart neckline, sheer nude lining, and lace embellishments was her dress right away. “While trying on dresses, my eyes were immediately drawn to the gorgeous lace details when I saw the Berta gown on the hanger,” she says. “When I looked in the mirror, I saw the bride that I envisioned I’d be when I was a little girl.”
She completed her look with a custom cathedral-length veil to match her dress, an embellished hair piece, and heirloom diamond earrings that were a gift from her Nana. She went with a soft nude and peach palette for her makeup look. “I didn’t want my makeup to be too bold, heavy, and distracting underneath my veil,” Brittani says.
Jared worked with Mochee Kent to create two custom-made tuxedos for the wedding. “My goal was to secure a timeless, yet bold set for my wedding day attire,” Jared says, “Coincidentally, both of my suits complemented both of my bride’s dresses perfectly with no prior hints or coordination. It just shows how we’re both on the same page.”
His ceremony tuxedo featured a cream-colored floral print and satin lapels. Jared wore custom Kappa Alpha Psi cufflinks as a nod to his fraternity, a gold Rolex watch, and Pantheré de Cartier sunglasses to complete his look. In the months leading to the wedding day, Jared used SOSS grooming products to condition his beard, and in the days before the big day, he got an exfoliation facial and a mani-pedi.
Brittani and Jared’s ceremony took place at sunset on the beach, where a white platform was set up on the sand. All-white floral arrangements lined the aisle and white geometrical structures created arches at both ends. Before the ceremony began, the couple shared a first look to get their nerves out of the way. “We totally had to get out of our jitters! We’ve been together for almost a decade so to be able to soak up the bliss of our special day, we wanted to share an intimate moment with just the two of us before we walked down the aisle,” Brittani says.
Brittani walked down the aisle by herself to “I Can Only Be Me” by John Keith. “Jared made a comment years ago about dreaming of me walking down the aisle to that song for our wedding, so I saved it in my notes for years and made sure to surprise him with that song!” Brittani says.
Brittani and Jared wrote their own vows. The bride was sure to include some Marvel jokes and reference old love letters the two used to pass back and forth in high school. The couple chose Kanye West’s “Good Life” for the recessional. “It was just so fitting for us and the song is spot on,” the bride says.
“It was everything we could’ve imagined! Very emotional and surreal like, Wow, look how far we’ve come, we’re really doing this! type of moment,” reflects the couple. “Tears were definitely shed on both parts because it was just the sweetest full-circle moment of cherishing all of the years of dating that led up to that specific moment.”
After the ceremony, Brittani and Jared joined their photographer Elizabeth Austin for portraits on the beach and around the resort. Meanwhile, guests enjoyed a live saxophonist and signature cocktails, including Brittani’s choice of a spicy margarita, and Jared’s favorite; a raspberry mojito.
A white structure with hanging lights and white floral strings surrounded the perimeter of the reception space. Tables were topped with white linens and paired with gold and white chairs. Some tables held low all-white centerpieces while others had tall tree arrangements. The place settings included gold-rimmed chargers, ivory textured napkins, and gold flatware. Acrylic table signage and menus were the finishing touch.
“One of my favorite memories was during our sneak peek at the reception venue,” Brittani says, “Jared and I were able to see our dream become a reality. We were so excited to have our guests be immersed in such a lush, intimate, and romantic environment while we danced the night away.”
Brittani and Jared shared their first dance to “Love Ballad” by T.L.D. Jared danced with his mother to “Mama” by K CAMP, while Brittani danced with her father, step-father, grandfather, and father-in-law to “My Girl” by The Temptations. “I’ve experienced many trials and tribulations throughout my life and each of them provided love and support in their own way. I felt like the best way for me to honor them was to share the love and have my first dance with them on my big day,” Brittani says, “All of the men popped each other out on the dance floor and it went without a hitch!”
The couple welcomed their guests from their sweetheart table, which was completely decked out in all-white florals. The gold table was set up in front of a white trellis covered in flowers.
The couple opted for a faux wedding cake with seven tiers. “Only the top tier was real,” Brittani says, “It made so much sense to us to have a sheet cake in the back to be served while preserving the simplistic and elegant design of the dessert for display throughout the night.”
Brittani is part of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, while Jared is part of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. “During special events like weddings, it is a tradition for the bride and groom to be serenaded by the members of that organization,” Brittani says, “To experience that moment by a special bond with your brothers or sisters is such an honor and a memory that one could cherish forever.”
Jared loves a fresh-rolled cigar on the weekends, so the couple found a local cigar roller from Vallarta Cigar Factory, to roll guests fresh cigars at the wedding.
During the reception, Brittani and Jared changed into their second looks. Brittani changed into a custom beaded Ryan & Walter gown with a sheer sleeve and dramatic slit. She also wore pink suede Jimmy Choo pumps with crystal and pearl embellishments. Jared’s reception outfit included a black velvet jacket with silver embroidery on the lapels from Mochee Kent. At the end of the evening, the couple exited under multiple floral arches.
“It was definitely a memory to last a lifetime and I’m so glad that we were able to make it happen in the midst of a pandemic,” says Jared. “It truly showed how much love and support we’re surrounded by.”
To couples planning their wedding, the couple recommends enjoying the process. “Although it may be stressful and you may come across a few obstacles, find the enjoyment of actually planning your wedding with the one you love,” Brittani says, “Bask in the moment of planning and maintain a positive vibe so you lead into your day stress-free.”