Since the day that I fell in love with my fiancé, Rob, I have always dreamed of the day that I would walk down the aisle and say "I do." To be frank, I have been envisioning my wedding day long before I even knew who I was meeting at the alter (No offense babe, but I'm sure I'm not the only girl who has dreamed of her wedding day since her adolescence). I can envision it now, the aisles lined with lanterns alongside assorted candles and flower petals to accompany an illustrious runner that would boast front and center the last name of my Prince Charming that would soon be mine. As you can see, I've always been so enamored with my future wedding day that I never really pictured my engagement; I even had a hidden folder on my Pinterest where I would plan the wedding I often fantasized about (the folder is now public, I just didn't want to scare him off beforehand because I couldn't help myself!) I never thought I would appreciate the day that I said "Yes" as much as I did, but Rob went through great lengths to create the proposal that I never knew I always wanted.
It all started with a reservation at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester County, renowned as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Rob is friends with one of the chefs, and told me that he was inviting us to come dine with the restaurant to indulge in their new menu for the Fall. A couple of weeks leading up to our reservation, I won a raffle for a free manicure, pedicure and facial that I was hoping for. Super excited about the news, I told Rob and he came up with the great idea of saving the gift certificate and using it prior to our date night. Now, normally if Rob had suggested for me to get my nails done I would have immediately started to speculate, but the combination of it being a prize that I just won and the stature of the restaurant we were going to granted him a once in a life time window to make the suggestion without raising a red flag, and he capitalized on it.
As the weeks went by leading up to the big day, I saw nothing out of the ordinary that would cause me to believe Rob had a surprise planned. In fact, I'm not sure where he would have had the time to plan it! The day before our reservation we took a trip down to DC (from Rockland County), and the week before he was across the Tappan Zee Bridge participating in a flag football tournament; or at least I thought he was playing in a flag football tournament. It turns out that Rob actually used the game as a distraction to drive more than 3 hours upstate to Hudson, NY to visit my Father's church, where he is a pastor, and ask for his blessing to marry me. He also took a personal day off of work, without my knowledge, to walk the grounds at Blue Hill to find the perfect spot to propose. He suggested to me that we go to the grounds early to walk around the farm and get the full experience of visiting Blue Hill, which played right into his plans. Upon reaching the grounds, he read a prayer that set the tone for the rest of the day; while the forecast warned us of a rainy day, the sun shined bright and set the stage.
After exploring the grounds for about a half hour, Rob lead me to a ledge underneath a large oak tree and told me that he had a gift for me. He then said to me, "I don't know if you remember this, but a couple years ago on this day I fell in love with you on our first official date, so I wanted to do something special for you." He then proceeded to pull out a photo album that he created that chronicled our journey from friends to significant others with a touching story he wrote. Already feeling emotionally vulnerable after reminiscing over our love story, Rob then fully opened up my heart with the final words of his story:
"When we first met, I didn't know what role you would play in my future, but I knew that I wanted you in my life forever. Like most things worth pursuing, it took some time but every second we spend together has made the wait that much more worth it. I cannot imagine life without you, and I hope I never will have to."
Just as my eyes began to fill with tears, he flipped the page and a large hand-drawn graphic read on the last page "Will You Marry Me?"
As he dropped from the ledge on to one knee, I was so overwhelmed with emotions from the book that I could not process the moment, and actually said "No…no way" in a state of shock before I immediately corrected myself and screamed "Yes!" Just as the moment could not be any more perfect, a hidden photographer popped out from behind us to put the final cherry on top. We proceeded to take memorable photos of our wonderful moment together, and were even able to utilize the beautiful grounds to take early engagement photos before capping the night off with a romantic dinner. Rob really made me appreciate this day in a way that I never thought that I would. The thought that he put into every step, from asking my father to tricking me into getting my nails done, it could not have been any more perfect. Through knowing me so well, Rob was able to make a dream come true that I never even had.
Destiny chose us to be friends Jonathan had David (bible reference ) ... Lenia had Christina! Christina and I have been best friends for life. Literally Christina was crawling around in a playpen at my 1st birthday party. From Sesame street, to basketball, Debutant Cotillion and prom, even first dates and beyond we've been inseparable. The other cookie to our Oreo, I know that whenever I need someone to talk to even if it is a disgusting story to tell,(I told a lot of those Esp when I wanted to be a doctor) she will always be there to listen and cringe later. I wouldn't want anyone else by my side as I start this new chapter in my life
Age 6, I already had a brother he was old news! So, I said to my mom you're going to have a baby and it's gonna be a Girl! Age 7, I got my baby sister in a blizzard even! We may fuss and fight sometimes but this beauty is literally my best friend I can talk to her about anÿthing she is the friend that God made for me! She is real, faithful, honest she is a tell it like it is girl! Gabrielle is also very smart, talented and beautiful! What better person could I pick the girl who I make try on clothes and go random places with me . Allow me to introduce to you my Honorary Maid of Honor.
Her job is to sing at all times, smile, listen to me as I complain and agree with me. And assist Christina when needed
I met Katie in Elementary School grade 2-4( it gets foggy).She was the girl with a 4th grade house party that consisted of spice girls music, a blue room, the smell of doritos, a 3 legged pug and huge family! Since fourth grade we have been inseparable, I call her and tell her every complaint in life. She listens and agrees with me.I have watched hairspray and high school musical at her house at least 50,000 times! When i'm not home (to this day) my family knows, I'm at Katie's house fast asleep on the couch 5 mins into a movie.We have had road tripped together, girl scouts, baking, painting, crafting. We dressed up like football players when stuck in a blizzard, we have cried together," boys are dumb throw rocks at them!", LBI, Daily college phone calls, wedding dress purchases! and the list goes on... We pretty much have done it all and it is an honor to have my best friend Katie stand by my side as i say I do to my best friend Robert!
Keisha!!!! A feeling of joy always comes into the room when you see Keisha! I have loved her since the day I met her! We first met at youth group, playing king elephant, but I really met Keisha our senior year of High School in the Boces New Visions Program ( she shared those bloody stories that made Christina squirm, but come on now seeing a baby born and touching a placenta is cool).
Back then believe it or not I was quiet and shy, and Keisha was the one that included me in the group.Thinking back, I think Keisha was the start of breaking me out of my shell! She has taught me to enjoy every aspect of life! She is daring, bold, smart, beautiful, super talented if i could dance like her my life would be complete! It is such a great honor to have Keisha standing by my side as I say I do.
Kendra the fashionista/baker and owner of o pie goodness!
Kendra is a girl after own heart, she fashionable has the best clothing and shoes, she bakes, she loves to travel and loves culture and Jesus! God obviously made us friends for a reason! I have missed a couple of trips that kendra has invited me to go on, but I plan to travel the world with this girl one day! (It looks like she has all the fun!) From teaching little girls how to dress and walk the runway to restaurant week adventures plans and that one plan for years to go to the Buddakan... then there are all the birthdays,karaoke, christmas plays, soca music and brunch. I can say that kendra is my friend and i am so honored to have her standing by my side.opiegoodness
Christina had a neighbor that was born 9 months before her, this baby she lived directly behind christinas house. So when Christina was born and it created a trio Lenia, Christina and Alise!. Every party Christina had I was there and Alise was there! We have played many games of tag and dolls. Then in middle school this trio had numerous classes together. In middle school we celebrated the basketball championship after endless training by Alise's dad who was the coach. We have experienced high school orientations, BBQ's, graduation, prom, cooking classes, restaurant week, brunch parties, running in front of a moving train, chris brown and bow wow concert. and the common love for Aruba! We have done a lot! Alise is such a driven, beautiful, fun, loving, caring individual and it is with great honor to be able to walk down the aisle with someone that has literally been around for every stage of my life.
Lindsay My February sister!
Lindsay saved me in 6th grade from an unwanted classmate by asking me to sit with her in history class! Automatic Friendship! Flour fights, club getaway, DC, Philly , birthdays, ugly sweater parties. potlucks and the list goes on. We have graduated from the same middle school, highschool, College SUNY Purchase and Gradschool LIU! We even completed the Gold Award for girl scouts together, Obviously i need this beatuiful, loving, artistic, funny woman by my side!
Violin stand partners is where our friendship began. Then leading to the end of highschool Kunj became the peanut butter to our oreo. We have been through everything together the celebration of numerous birthday, sushi nights, scandal nights, movie nights, group text messages, prom, ice cream, broadway plays, baking, learning how to wrap a saree and the list goes on! One of the fashionistas in my friend group. I could not say i do without kunj by my side!
It all began in 6th Grade, we became friends in home economics class! She is also the reason me and Lindsay became friends. Laura has always included me in everything. She invited me to be in girl scouts! We have a lifetime of stories of arts and crafts, baking, traveling, club getaway, rock climbing, ziplining, hiking, aflac, selling cookies, pool parties, flour fights, ugly sweater parties, holiday parties, movie days, confirmation party, still waiting on my invite to the hamptons. Sweet Sixteens, prom, late night pirates of the caribbean movie premier, sisterhood of the traveling pants, princess diaries ( lol we never started that book club) and the list goes on. o let's not forget Laura is sometimes my workout partner over the course of the years if we can catch each other.Laura is real and I love it! She is the life of the party and i am so happy for this friendship and I am glad to have her by my side as I do.
Do not call us cousins because we are more like brothers. We know each other's most embarrassing secrets/stories, but mainly because we were both usually involved in them together. When we weren't putting on a show for our families, we were either competing to be the best or catching our breaths from laughing so much. As one excelled on the basketball court, the other excelled in the rink. While neither one of us could beat the other in their respective sport, it never stopped the other from trying. In the end, we both came out winners because we have made careers out of what we love doing. Kimani is now a professional speed skater who is currently competing internationally on the World Cup circuit. He will be taking a weekend break from his intensive training schedule to be my Best Man in September before he returns home to Utah to get ready to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics qualifications.
Matt has been my right hand man since grade school. We are a combo like John Stockton and Karl Malone, like Mario and Luigi, like peanut butter and jelly, like…you get the point. Whether on or off the basketball court or baseball field, Matt has always had my back. Many of my favorite memories have featured Matt embracing them with me; there's not much we haven't done. We've rocked out together at Yankee Stadium for the notorious Eminem & Jay-Z Home and Home Tour, and we've grieved together over the loss of friends and loved ones. While many things have changed in my life, one thing that has remained consistent is our friendship; the two of us are just as tight today as we were in elementary school. Matt is only second to kin, which is why he will be my Honorary Best Man in September.
Security question: "What is the name of your first friend?"
Travis and I have been the best of friends since kindergarten. With the two of us being the babies of our families, we looked at each other as the contemporary neither of us had. We got off at each other's bus stops for almost ten years, and even after I decided to attend a different high school, Travis still continued to take the bus to my house to meet me after school. Going into college, the two of us made a pact to push each other as hard as we could to transfer from Rockland Community College to Tier 1 Universities. From joining the debate team, to serving on the Executive Board of Student Government as Vice President and Treasurer, to creating the Honors Program's first student run literary magazine, we left no stones unturned as we dragged each other into whatever endeavor the other was pursuing. Travis went on to attend the University of North Carolina, a city that he has called home for the past eight years.
"I'll sell you a basketball autographed by Michael Jordan." For whatever reason, these were my first words to Malcolm when we first met in middle school. Till this day, I have no idea why I tried to pull off this hustle, but I am happy that I did because it opened up the door for us to bond over the very thing we coveted…basketball. Malcolm and I spent many hours in recreational centers wreaking havoc as a dynamic backcourt. Our similar drive and thirst for competition lead us both to attend St. Joseph Regional High School. Although we grew up as competitors contending for similar positions, you would not be able to tell as the two of us have always pushed each other to succeed. Malcolm recently published his first book, Brother's Keeper: Lessons Learned in Gaining Access, and is currently enrolled as a law student at Columbia University.
My YouTube label mate.
Pete and I formed a friendship very quickly in high school. Through class, sports and a mutual friend in Malcolm, the three of us formed a brotherhood that cannot be broken. I will never forget the summer we had a brief buzz for our Sweet 16's rap freestyles: "Whole team fly, you would think we had a road game". Although we never got a record deal, we had great times joking around. Pete now spends his time traveling the world as a Commercial Jet Executive at Air Charter Services.
It is always Sagittarius season when we are around.
It all started when Kris challenged a group of friends to match his excitement at Summer Jam, and the rest was history. You would not be able to tell Kris and I just became friends within the past 5 years, as the two of us are thick as thieves. Feeding off of one another, the two of us became so close that our group of friends started blending our nicknames together because we might as well have been the same person: cue in Flup. Whether in the gym or setting goals, Kris and I enjoy motivating each other to seek the best.
My man taught me a new meaning for family.
Eddie and I grew from acquaintances back in the day to brothers in a short period of time. Through respect and loyalty, Eddie taught me a lot about what it means to really have friends in your corner who will have your back under any circumstances. He's a real family man beyond the traditional sense of the term. He was recently blessed with the birth of his first child, a beautiful baby girl named Eliana. Eddie is now a Correctional Officer at Rikers Island, so do not try anything funny at the wedding.
Thinking about the amount of laughs we've shared, I probably owe my 6-pack to this guy. When we first met, Jermaine and I were both very confused on who invited the new token black guy to the party. We both wasted no time checking each other's egos at the door, and it has been nothing but love ever since. Sharing many of the same interests from fashion to sports, Jermaine and I tend to vibe on the same level more often than not. Jermaine is also one of my current housemates, until my future wife and I find a place to call home sweet home after the wedding.
6:30, we the best hands down!
Vinny and I first met in college, and grew closer as friends through the Student Government Association. With us both having high aspirations for higher learning, Vinny and I have always admired each other's work ethic. When it comes to college friends, Vinny is at the top of the list; we were also housemates after college for over two years before Vinny recently moved to NYC to be closer to his job. Vinny went on to earn his Master's for Childhood and Special Education at St. Thomas Aquinas, and is currently a Special Education Teacher at Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy. He also serves as a Division Leader for Ramaquois Day Camp during the summer.