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Top 10 Engagement Rings of 2013 // by SimplyBridal

Finding the perfect wedding photographer for you can be challenging. But when you find a photographer you connect with, someone who sees your vision, then you will have the right match.

Diamonds really are a girl’s best friend, and when it comes to engagement rings this couldn’t ring more true! Ask any loved-up lady what their ring preference is and you’re sure to get a wide range of different replies! Round or princess cut, white gold or platinum, double halos, art deco… the list goes on and on! These are the top 10 engagement rings!!!

Although the size and price tag of an engagement rock may vary, the ultimate choice should be based on the style and personality of the fortunate female who receives it. We have seen many beautiful rings pop up on many celebrity fingers this year. And as we see these beautiful girls turn into beautiful brides, we know that their amazing fashion will trickle down to all of the beautiful brides!

Once a budget is determined, you can figure out what cut, clarity and carats are within your price range by doing your research both online and in store. To give you an idea of what some of the more extravagant engagement sparklers will set you back,  SimplyBridal has created an infographic to give you a breakdown of the 10 Most Expensive Engagement Rings Of 2013. Be prepared to feast your eyes on an incredible amount of bling!
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Jason & Tifarah | Wayfarer's Chapel & Palos Verdes Golf Club | Palos Verdes Wedding Photographer

• Inspiration behind the theme of your wedding? I kind of liked the rustic theme so, I ran with that.
 
* What was your most memorable moment from your wedding experience? The part where all my family and friends came to celebrate with me, the next journey of my life.
• Did you do any DIY projects? Which was your favorite? I made my own place cards, table numbers, decorated a manzanita tree, set up of the place cards, handled most of the candies and containers for the dessert table, and labels for the wedding favors.
Any advice you want to share with future brides-to-be? Go to a few bridal shows, this will truly help you figure out what you need and give you the proper tools to start the planning process. I recommend checking out pricing for a few vendors and meeting with them to see if you feel comfortable with them. Every vendor is different and your personality might not match with theirs. Another thing is to try to delegate responsibility to your bridesmaids and other people that are willing to help. Also, do not wait until last minute to get things done. Have a checklist and check off each item that has been executed. For the day of wedding select a day of point person (if you do not have a wedding planner). Make sure they know everything that is going on and give them a list of vendors and contact information. The vendor list is just in case they don’t show when they are suppose to so, they can call them to see what is going on. Don’t stress about the little things and try to let others handle the finishing touches on the day of. the wedding. Finally, the most important thing is enjoy your day, it’ll go by in a flash. You planned, stressed, sweated, maybe even cried now go and party with your hubby!
• Your favorite part about being married now. Just being settled and having someone to come home to everyday. Someone that is there to listen, comfort, bring you down to reality when need be and is there for you when you need them and vice versa of course.

VENDORS
Venue: Wayfarers (ceremony) and Palos Verdes Golf Club (reception)
Photographer: Sun & Sparrow Photography
Dessert Table: Butter (butter.dd@gmail.com or fb http://facebook.com/butter.dd?ref=ts&fref+ts)
Photo Booth: Mad Mochi (www.madmochiphotobooth.com)
Milk Tea: Volcano Tea House (www.volcanoteahouse.com)
Hair and Make Up: Salon Del Sol (Megan) (www.salondelsolhair.com)
DJ&MC: MichaelAngelo Music (www.michaelangelomusic.com)
Wedding Cake: Mayers Bakery (www.mayersbakery.com)
Florist: The Events Boutique (www.theeventsboutique.com)

FASHION

Brides wedding dress is from Thailand
Grooms Tux from Korea Town
Bridesmaids dresses from Thailand, Necklace from Thailand, wore their own shoes
Groomsmen wore their own suit but, Tie was from Nordstrom Rack, Cuff Link from Billy the Tree, Vest from Macy’s
Flower Girls dress Thailand
Ring Bearer tux  Mens Warehouse

 

Eric & Talisha | A musical wedding to remember Westlake Village Inn, Santa Barbara wedding photographers

THIS WEDDING WAS PUBLISHED ON WWW.BLACKBRIDE.COM ON 5.15.13

From The Bride:   One of my biggest fears was from the many stories I’ve heard from both bride and grooms, that it went by like a flash, they were so caught up in the details and they really didn’t  get to enjoy themselves…The best advice anyone could have ever given me was to “take it all in, connect”…and I/we did!  I Felt present in every moment. I can close me eyes and relive it as if it were yesterday. I saw faces as I walked down the aisle that simply filled me with joy… We had so much fun!!! The presence of God was everywhere!

Favorite detail:    “OMG!! Everything was picture perfect, from Eric singing and his Dad (Bishop Dawkins) and our Uncle (Elder Warren Campbell) performing the ceremony to the most gorgeous day (it rained Friday and Saturday before the wedding)…the decor was beautiful, the food was delicious, the cake was not only gorgeous, but mouthwatering, DJ Darius set the party off, our friends and family had a ball! If I can say, it was THE BEST wedding I have ever attended! We had so much freakin fun..the presence of God was EVERYWHERE!!!  We literally planned our wedding in 3 weeks from start to finish!…nothing but the Grace of God!”- Tish

First Dance: Luke James our dear friend and lil’ brother surprised us by performing “I Want You”    Congratulations to the lovely newlyweds Erica and Tish! We wish you many more years of wedded bliss! Want to see more of this gorgeous wedding! Check out their amazing wedding video shot by Dabling Harward of Spin Flight Studios below!

Engagement Story :   “Eric surprised me with a 40th birthday party  on April 22, 2011, the day before my birthday, with about 50 guests in his backyard. That Evening he proposed on bended knee after serenading me with a song he had written “It’s Whatever,” to which I walked down the aisle six months later.”

Wedding song:    I was so surprised to see Eric singing “It’s Whatever,”  as I walked down the Aisle. I was clueless! “It’s Whatever,” our engagement now Wedding Song was written for me by the love of my life Eric Dawkins

Vendors:

Photography: Sun & Sparrow Photography/Wedding Planner: Sandra Campbel/DJ: Darius Farrelly DFEnterprise.com/Event Rentals and Designer: Jennifer Larsen of Dress My Party/Caterer:  Nikita Leone of Italian Soul Catering/Wedding cake: Sara J Pastries/Make-up artist: Stacy Gibson/ Wedding Dress: Lili Bridal /Wedding dress designer: Alvina Valenta/ Videographer: Dabling Harward of Spin Flight Studios

 

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Stacy and Sekou // Poetry, Promise & the Power of Words // WestLake Village Inn Wedding Photographers

We are so blessed to have been part of this WestLake Village Inn Wedding. Stacy and Sekou have to be the most romantic couple we have encountered. Watching them throughout their wedding day was like watching a night sky of fireworks. Every turn burst with magic, wonder, and love. I know that sounds super corny, but this wedding was so very powerful. One aspect about Stacy & Sekou that I loved was, not only how romantic they were, but their love was so real and intimate. Skeou had such a deep understanding of people which he expressed poetically. His love for poetry and the spoken word made their wedding incredibly special.  Their ceremony was filled with poetry, that friends and family shared. Their wedding was more than I could have imagined on my own, thats for sure! After the ceremony, I remember thinking, “Wow, that has to be the coolest ceremony I have ever seen.” Let me talk about Stacy!!!  She was just plain stunning… not just through her obvious gorgeous beauty, but her heart as well. She showed everyone so much love and respect, and even helped people out on her own wedding day. I loved this wedding. I’m so honored and blessed to know Stacy & Sekou and I hope that so many others get to experience the love that these two share with the people in their lives.

If it isn’t obvious, the next couple photos were my favorite part of the day. Their ceremony wasn’t just about the two of them, but about everyone. They included friends and family to participate in poetry as the two united in marriage. What a special moment!

About the bride from Sekou’s perspective: 

I was friends with Stacy for about 5 or 6 years before we started dating. During that time I primarily just knew her to be big-time make up artist who was always working on some movie and galavanting to some country with some celebrity. Since we started dating, here’s what else I’ve learned about my best friend so far…She is hauntingly beautiful and makes me smile when I think of her.She has an incredible aesthetic eye! If you ever get a gift from us … it will be wrapped … and she’ll have wrapped it (cause my wrapping aint pretty). And she is very resourceful. The downside is she has expensive tastes and doesn’t like to be told she can’t have something.  The upside is, if she can’t afford it, she will make it, or dig around til she finds it, or haggle with the seller until they surrender to giving it to her for her price. She is intelligent, ambitious, and is the hustler’s team-mate I’ve always wanted in a wife.”She is my healthy comfort food”It makes perfect sense that she is expanding her expertise from outer beauty, as a makeup artist, to inner beauty, as a nutritionist. She was always in that role for community. She was the one I called about which supplement to take, and what the latest healthy fat burner was, and what particular kind of bark I needed to chew on in order to cure cancer and learn how to fly.She can’t sing, she messes up popular sayings, and she drives like a girl. (Fellas, back me up here)She shops for juicers like most women shop for shoes. *BTW, the only reason she doesn’t shop for shoes like that is because until we can afford to build another wing for her shoes, I make her shop in her shoe closet.”I know I’m in this for the long haul because her thighs alone are a lifetime commitment. Her curves, a full-time project.”She has a smile that … honestly I don’t even need to come up with poetry about it … just look to your left. Look at that thing! Who wouldn’t want to wake up to that every day?She is boundlessly thoughtful and considerate. She is a BEAST in the kitchen! Crab potato salad! Whaaat?? Shrimp grits! C’mon son! Rum French Toast, Jambalaya, Ox tails!! Stop playin! She once made red velvet cookies for my family for Thanksgiving.  They were so good, a year later she got an influx of requests from my family that she better be bringing some red velvet cookies fo our cousin’s day reunion. Not only did she make them WHILE she was on a 40 day juice cleanse (so couldn’t have any herself), but before anyone could dig in, the pyrex dish shattered all over the cookies. So an hour later she slipped out to the store, fought through the torture of being in the kitchen surrounded by food she couldn’t eat, and made a whole new batch of ’em.  My family signed off on her as my wife instantly.”She is both who I prayed for AND who I pray for.”The name of her new nutrition and juicing company is HomeoStacy’s. How brilliant is that?!  Admittedly, I’m a little ticked off that I didn’t think of it. But I love it nonetheless, because a balanced homeostasis is what she provides for me and what she will bring to the world.She makes a mean rum punch. It dangerously delicious. I wish we could bring  liquor to the wedding venue so you could taste it!As a successful makeup artist for many years, Stacy has been in the business of taking people’s natural outer beauty and amplifying it.  As a burgeoning nutritionist, she is now in the business of amplifying people’s inner beauty. Since I have been with her I she makes me look good and feel better. So I’m gonna say… she’s a keeper.  People ask me all the time, “What is the first thing that attracted you to her? Was it her smile? Or her eyes? Or her body? Or her personality?” My answer is always, “Yes!”  I mean, look at her.  It’s going to take me a lifetime to figure out what I’m most attracted to about her. Good thing we just happen to have a lifetime… to spend together.

About the Groom from Stacy’s perspective: 

In 2006, I was having a conversation with God as I sat on one of the most beautiful, serene beaches all by myself wishing and wanting to share it someone special.  So I asked God, “What do I need to do to prepare for this special guy?”  He very clearly told me, I already know your needs & wants but write them down specifically to see if you really know.  We’ll work from there.I got pad and pencil…yes a pancil because I knew there would be many revisions therefor I needed an eraser.  So my list started with “I want him to be 6’4”, 245 lbs., athletic, handsome…blah, blah, blah then got to the important stuff.  I need a Godly man, one who will pray with me, loves his family, loves his friends, is honorable, has a great relationship with his mother AND Father, adores me, spoils me, respects my intelligence & savvy, an alpha male…and so on and so on and so on.So you did notice that I started this list with height & weight right?  Stupid lil’ shallow me put height & weight before him being Godly. That was revision number one, but I erased height & wieght & just moved it further down the list – stupid me again.  Now this list ended up being about 3 1/2 pages long – but only because I wrote it as though I was having a conversation about this man with God.  And then I closed that notebook & put it somewhere.Sekou was my very platonic go to for his opinion on guys friend at the time and he always gave very sound & objective advice.Fast forward to Sekou & Stacy are in a relationship (all that info is in the welcome & our story tabs) now and I come across the notebook and the list I wrote titled “My dream guy.”  It was so humbling & moving to read that list and realize that God had answered my prayer…Sekou was EVERYTHING on that list…besides 6’4″ and 245 lbs.  which not ironically was moved so much further down the list.  I am so blessed and have actually come to enjoy God’s sense of humor because I told God right after my last relationship that “I am done dating! I feel as though I have my PHd in dating so if the guy is coming, please send him with pink neon flashing halo over his head because I need to be sure he is who you sent and ok for me to proceed.”  Ironically, he sent him 9 years ago but added the pink neon flashing halo only 3 years ago. I thank God for him every morning, throughout the day and before I shut my eyes…even when he gets on my nerves.  But if you don’t know Sekou yet & are meeting him for the first time at the wedding, here’s a few things to know about who he is:His name is pronounced SAY-COO…practice so you don’t butcher it when you meet himHe is a Cookie-birthday/weddingcake-donut-anything sweet MonsterHe has a deep, Mufasa & KJLH-quiet-storm voice He’s the most thoughtful & romantic man I’ve ever met & he’s mine :0)He is not only a talented poet but motivational speaker, music producer and media director…as you can see very ambitiousHe loves his mother so very much.He’s fine ain’t he?…I can’t even stay mad at him too long. Looks like his dad, MalachiI have so much fun laughing with him even when we’re doing nothing at allHe is uncle Sekou to his friend’s kids & they love him to death…but not more than me now – ha ha.  He’s going to be a great dadHe has an appreciation for all music – even a little countryH’es not into sports…I might actually know a bit more than him in this area.  He’s a black man that can’t play basketballHe makes the most delicious turkey burgers, won’t give me the recipe & tears up the kitchen like a cyclone hit when he makes them.He’s an alpha male with a pimp stroll…gotta love that He’s gonna be my husband & I’m the most blessed woman on the planet that he chose meI could go on, but to know him is to love him…I love him more than I thought I was capable of.  I find something new to love about him daily.  I will be so proud to officially become Mrs. Sekou Andrews in front of all of you on August 5th.  See you in 30 days!

HOW WE MET

Sekou’s version: 

Some people have private jets or timeshares in Europe and can propose on in the South of France. Some people have friends who manage a stadium and can have a private, candlelit dinner centerfield. Me… I got poetry. We use what we got. So I proposed to Stacy on stage at a club, in front of 300 people where I performed a 35 min love set at one of my home poetry venues – the Flypoet showcase.Once I was ready to propose to Stacy, God truly stepped in as the silent partner on this venture, making sure that the universe lined things up perfectly for me.  I had been toying with the idea of proposing to Stacy on stage but wasn’t sure.  God chess move #1: John Hensley, the host, called me during the holidays and asked if I wanted to feature at the Feb Flypoet.  Coincidentally, I had been quietly working on finishing my first full-length love poem about Stacy, so  timing was perfect.  But I knew I couldn’t gather her friends & family for February’s showcase without raising suspicions that I would propose.  God chess move #2:  Turns out the March show date would fall exactly on Stacy’s birthday! So I asked John to give me the March date instead.  That provided the perfect cover, and I began inviting folks to a birthday party for Stacy at Flypoet where I would be unveiling my first poem for her as her gift.  It worked like a charm.God chess move #3: A week before the show, I was to present a speech at a Deepak Chopra conference at a luxury resort for the weekend. My mom, who lives in Atlanta, is a big Deepak fan. So I offered to put her up at the resort and treat her to the conference. I also told her about the “birthday party” and asked if she was down to stick around until that Wed to attend the show. She did, so I was able to get both our mothers present for it!God chess move #4: I had an unusually busy February, was burnt out leading up to the show, and I had NO time to write. I had already decided to perform 3 poems for my set – one of my old classics, the new love poem, and the surprise proposal poem… which, as of 2 days before the show, had yet to be written!  Luckily God cleared some space in my life and my head and I literally sat all day in a café and, despite my lack of sleep that month, wrote the proposal poem in 1.5 days! (God’s joke move #1: That night my mom sat on the couch beside me and asked “So Sekou are you gonna propose to this girl tomorrow or what??” I emphatically said “No” after which I endured a 45 minute lecture titled “What are you waiting for??” I thought to myself … “24 hours!”)During the show, the first piece I performed was a classic of mine called “If Not That.” I followed that up with the unveiling of “Straight R&B” – that first poem for Stacy. I then brought my partner Steve Connell on stage and we performed an excerpt of our comedy piece about the difficulty in choosing things, which ended with him challenging me “I know love is the hardest choice of all, but you’ve got to choose.”Finally I whipped out my paper and performed “The Chosen One.”  Anticipating that, by then, the room would be teeming with ladies abuzz with wondering if I was going to propose, I wrote a well-timed diversion into the poem to throw them off the scent.  But needless to say, by the end I ultimately proved them right! I wont give it all away because here’s a link to a private Youtube video of it for your enjoyment.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfkD8DIloSs) But it really was a magical night! Afterward, we went out to celebrate at a bar and have her birthday cake.  Mind you, birthday cake is my FAVORITEST CAKE EV-ER!!! So you know I had to  be beyond tired from planning because I was literally at the bar with a tequila in hand falling asleep standing up as they sang happy birthday to Stacy.  But the night and hearing the word “Yes,” were all well worth the work!

Stacy’s version: 

It was the end of February.  Sekou’s last gig of a crazy month. I was joining him at a resort where we met his mother for the Deepak Chopra conference. I missed him, was excited to join him and NaNaEema for his performance and head home to celebrate my birthday. He asked mom stay over in LA to celebrate my birthday. I was excited to have him home, have time with his mom, but was most excited about finally being able to see Sekou on stage to perform a poem he specifically wrote for me!  People assumed his love poetry was about me. In reality, his career had transitioned so successfully into the corporate world that he hadn’t had time to write about love or anything personal since his career transition grew so quickly.I was soooo happy! I sat in my seat at the Fly Poet Lounge with a huge smile saying hi to both of our mom’s, family & friends and waited for my man to hit the stage with an ode to me for the very first time on my birthday! It was my night!  He started out with a old comedic favorite. Next he performed the piece he wrote about me…titled – Straight R&B. There is a link included so that I don’t ruin it for you but it was hilarious, moving, captivating, showed how much he paid attention to everything about me, showed how much he loved me & gave me goose bumps. Made me fall even more in love with him in that very moment as I wiped tears away trying not to mess up my make up.  He hit the stage with his partner & brother from another mother – but the white version – to perform a piece about choosing. And then, completely to my surprise, he had written another piece just for me! It was so fresh, he kept the paper close by because it wasn’t memorized yet.My smile grew knowing that he had surprised me once again…Sekou is excellent at romantic surprises. He began talking about how he needed the assistance of the audience to help him choose the ending of this poem since he was undecided.  I thought nothing of this, as Sekou is huge on audience participation. Little to my knowledge, the audience thought a lot of this– omg! He’s gonna propose. Again, I thought nothing of this – they don’t know how romantic he is all the time, they just don’t know that the plan is to get engaged after we find a house & we are not even close to finding one yet, they just don’t know that he just told me his thoughts on a couple he thought would be together forever are getting divorced and how he was questioning marriage a bit. They just don’t know our lives outside of this night & this performance. Just as I was thinking all of this, he interrupted his performance to say “Look, I feel yall’s energy in this room and explained that “This is not the proposal poem, simmer down, It’s her birthday poem, I’m nervous enough with her sitting right here so know that I’m not getting down on one knee & I’m not pulling a ring out of my pocket. This is just her birthday poem.” I sighed with relief thinking, Thank God he cleared that up, now let’s hear the rest of my poem please! After another captivating piece that brought me to tears in disbelief that this piece was about me and us I was just trying to cry pretty. Again, I fell deeper in love with him at that moment.  I was still so much in that moment during his performance that when he said “I am choosing to go with the predictable ending, I am getting down on knee, and I am pulling a ring out of my pocket and asking, will you marry me?” I was frozen in my seat. Sekou knows me well & had strategically placed our very good friend Emily (his right hand in this proposal production) to literally push me from my seat to the stage where he was kneeling on one knee with the most beautiful heart-shaped diamond ring I’d ever seen. I was blissfully surprised, I said yes, he stood up, and I looked into his eyes…I fell in love with him deeper in that moment – our moment, realizing I was now looking into the eyes and kissing the lips of  this man God sent to me as my friend, partner for life and husband to be.

©2013 Sun & Sparrow Photography // WestLake Village Inn Wedding Photographers

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