Saturday, April 30, 2011

Featured Love :: Joi & Raphael :: A Bride's Point of View

It brings me such JOY to introduce you to my dear friends (and future siblings-in-law), Joi & Raphael Fairell!  I have known this couple since our days in college and I am totally ecstatic about what God has done for their lives and their love.  The bride, Joi, provided TBB with an account of what it took to get down the aisle...

From a bride's point of view

Per the bride, Mrs. Joi Fairell :: Here is the short and skinny on what it took to get down the aisle with a 2-year engagement, a 250 member guest list, and a bride with high expectations --> Love, Patience, Extreme Planning, and Money, Money, Money!

Every little girl dreams about her wedding day, right?  Well, maybe every little girl...except me, that is.  As a child, I grew up as a tomboy and a wedding never even crossed my mind.  BUT, when I became engaged on September 26th, 2008, my mind (along with my Mom's) went into wedding mode!

Because we knew it would be a long engagement, the inital stages began with brainstorming and getting our ideas together.  In January of 2009, the hunt for the perfect venue began.  I was certain that I wanted to get married outside in the fall.  We looked at 27 different venues before chosing the perfect venue.  I decided on the Crowne Plaza Ravina Hotel (Dunwoody, GA) as my venue because not only was it smack-dead gorgeous, it was more than I had ever pictured.  The waterfalls, the greenery, the ballroom with endless was beautiful without even one speck of wedding decor.  Once the venue was selected, the hunt for all the perfect details began. 

Get an inside look at the Reed-Fairell wedding pictures below.  Trust me, you are in for a treat!  This wedding was beautiful!

Brides accessories :: The necklace was worn with the bride's reception gown.  The earrings were borrowed from the brides' mother and the shoes were the bride's absolute favorite accessory because she loves shoes!  And what's not to love about these shoes that are embellished over 200 Swarovski crystals!

The bride and her bridesmaids :: The bride thought through every detail and wanted every picture, even the pre-wedding pictures, to look great!  She purchased all her bridesmaids matching purple velor suits to wear while getting hair and make-up done for the wedding. *TBB favorite!*

The venue :: Waterfalls at the ceremony site.  One of the primary features that emphasized the bride's choice to exchange her vows at the Crowne Plaza Ravina.

Bride's entrance :: The bride made her debut appearance from high above the ceremony site.  She descended towards the ceremony by starting her bridal walk under the atrium that was about 40 feet above where the guests were seated. She wore a custom, couture Jasmine ball gown that was embellished with hundreds of Swarovski crystals.  She carried a beautiful 16-inch cascading bouquet of purple hydrangea, light lavender roses, dark lavender roses, Picasso calla lilies, green dianthus, green coffee berries and variegated lily grass with sparkling Swarovski crystals placed in the center of the calla lilies.

Ceremony :: The groom shows his deep, heart-felt emotions as he lays his eyes upon his bride for the very first time. How sweet!! *TBB favorite!*

Ceremony :: At the entrance of the ceremony site, two large floral arrangements were placed in faux stone urns. The floral arrangements included purple hydrangea, light lavender roses, dark lavender roses, green athoes mums, green coffee berries, variegated foliage and curly willow.  These flowers matched the bridal party flowers.  The bride also had custom programs made to match the wedding colors.

Ceremony :: The first kiss as Mr. & Mrs. Fairell

Bridal party :: The groom surrounded by the beautiful bridesmaids and their bouquets.
The Bride :: The beautiful bride in a sea of florals! *TBB favorite*

The Bride :: Taking time to stop and smell the roses *TBB favorite!*

Bridal party :: The bride surrounded by the groomsmen

Mr. & Mrs. Fairell *TBB favorite!*

Taking a stroll, hand in hand...
The reception :: Guests were in for a treat!  The wedding favors were Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a true Southern sweet treat!  So unique!

The reception :: Beautiful, large floral arrangements adorned the reception tables.  The vases featured crystal teardrops in the center.  The tealights enhanced the candlelit mood.

The reception :: The ballroom featured stunning, crystal chandeliers.  The table linens were a shade of lavender that coordinated with the florals & satin chair sashes.  Uplighting created a romantic atmosphere throughout the venue.

The reception :: Color-coordinated printed menus awaited guests, wrapped delicately in white, linen table napkins and placed upon gold chargers.

The reception :: Guests danced the night away on the dance floor, splashed with a custom light image of the bride & groom's initials.

The reception :: A true Daddy's girl, the bride and her father take a spin on the dance floor.  *TBB favorite!*
The reception :: The gorgeous wedding cake stood 6 tiers high and featured different cake flavors.  The cake was adorned by coordinating florals at the base and top.  Two large floral arrangements were positioned in the rear to accent the cake.  The wedding veil of the bride's mother was used as an overlay for the cake table.  *TBB favorite!*

The reception :: The bride turned into the dancing queen!  She made a wardrobe change into a beautiful, short, strapless dress...with her sparkly stilletos to match!

Bridal Portait Session :: The 'other guy' in the bride's life, her dog, Einstein!  He dressed for the occasion in his best bowtie! *TBB favorite!*

Bridal Portrait Session :: The bride embraces her "top model" for this striking image. *TBB favorite!*

Bridal Portrait Session :: The bride is picture perfect, resting slightly against a beautiful, white baby grand piano. *TBB favorite!*

Joi is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Raphael is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  The couple resides in the metro Atlanta area.

*TBB is proud to have featured the wedding of Raphael & Joi Fairell!  I hope that their wedding day has truly inspired and blessed you.  Feel free to leave the couple a comment below.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beauty, Brains & Brands!

As a makeup artist, I get asked the same questions all the time...
  • What are some effective products for an indoor vs. outdoor wedding?
  • Are cost-efficient products just as effective as high-end products?
  • What are the "must have's" to keep my wedding day look perfect from start to finish?
Moisturize!  Moisturize!  Moisturize!!

A great moisturizer replenishes the skin, protecting it from premature dryness.

Cleansing and moisturizing your skin is extremely important and something that I cannot stress enough.  There are great products that can be purchased over the counter or through your local beauty agents.  Some of my personal favorites include Mary Kay's Timewise 3-in-1 Cleanser, Mary Kay's Day Solution Moisturizer with SPF 15 Sunscreen (protection for the outdoor bride), Clinique's Comfort Cream Cleanders and Neutrogena's Deep Clean Cream Cleanser.  Whether you are hosting an indoor or outdoor wedding, applying a makeup primer or matte creme (I prefer to use MAC or Smashbox) will keep the skin radiant and fresh!

More bang for the buck?  Or simply a bang to the wallet??

So many brands!  How's a girl to choose??

Now, let's smash the myth "the more it costs, the better it is."  Not necessarily.  When purchasing products, experiment with different varieties and chose what works best for you.  I battle between using high-end MAC or Make Up Forever concealers vs. the more cost-effective Black Opal or Covergirl concealers.  It's not the cost of a product that makes it any better than another, it's about the performance of the product.  Does it work for your skin?  Does it meet its intended purpose?  These are questions you should ask when choosing products to add to your makeup routine.

Dress?  Check.  Bride?  Check!  Wedding day beauty?  Double check!!

Wedding day preparation can mean all the difference between a picture perfect bride and...

...the frazzled bride!  (don't end up like this!)

Finally, as a woman, but most importantly as a bride, there are some "must have's" that should be tucked in the "lady pocket" of your wedding dress or within arms reach of your Maid-of-Honor.  These items include a blotter, lipstick or gloss, and a Kleenex!

Beauty tip of the week:  Remember to use waterproof makeup on your wedding day.  Specifically waterproof mascara and eyeliner.  This will prevent unsightly dark smudges or tear trails on the face.

Beautifully yours,


*Follow Rhonda, our resident makeup maven, on Twitter -- @FacesbyRhonda  Tweet her all of your beauty/makeup questions!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Featured Love :: Rhonda & Tony -- Proposal, Interrupted...Love, Reconnected!

Not only is Rhonda our resident makeup maven, but she is also a NEWLYWED!  Rhonda and her new hubby, Tony, tied the knot on August 29, 2010 in a beautiful ceremony at the historic Biltmore Hotel Atlanta.  TBB is pleased to feature Rhonda and Tony's story from campus crush to endless love!

Our Engagement Story

Tony planned to pop the question just before dark at the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. He thought he had a "fail-proof" plan...until he got to the parking lot! We drove around and around. When we finally got a parking space, it was too late and a security officer informed us that the park was closed.

We drove back to my apartment where Tony spontaneously "popped the question."  I, on the other hand, was getting ready to go to sleep. I got in the bed and he grabbed me and took me over to the bar. Then, he got down on one knee. I said, "Are you going to propose to me?" Then, he proposed! I burst out crying. It was emotional. It was beautiful. It was perfect.

Our Wedding Story

It all began one hot spring afternoon in Savannah, Georgia on the campus of Savannah State University in 2002. I was sitting in my sociology class and the topic that day, ironically, was about love and relationships. My professor called on the young man sitting behind me in class. She asked him what his definition of love was and his answer was so intriguing that the class immediately erupted in a series of "oohs" and "ahs". I had noticed him before, but this time I REALLY noticed him. The answer was poetic, like an excerpt from a love story. At that moment, I knew there was something special about him.

After class, he proceeded to stop me in the parking lot to make casual conversation, which was followed up by compliments on how attractive he thought I was and how he had been wanting to approach me. He then asked for my phone number so we could chat and get to know each other a little better. Immediately, we began talking on the phone and later going on casual dates. Our friendship began to grow, but with the rigors of school and other obligations, our encounters grew scarce.

In August of 2006, Tony called me and informed me of a job opportunity that he had accepted in the metro Atlanta area. Immediately, I was excited to know that he was moving closer to me. Besides, he was living over four hours away and I hadn't seen him in over three years. From the day that he arrived in Atlanta, we began to hang out more and simply enjoy each other. We starting growing inseparable. We began meeting for dinner every night and then would chat for five to six hours at a time throughout the nights.

We decided to pursue a relationship in 2007 and dated for two years before he proposed on June 19, 2009.

And those stories of love separated and proposals interrupted became the eternal love story of Rhonda and Tony! 

The bride making her entrance

The Rawls/Peterson ceremony - The Historic Biltmore Hotel

The first kiss as husband and wife

Meet Mr. & Mrs. Peterson!
The groom and his groomsmen

The lovely couple!  The bride carried a gorgeous bouquet comprised
of shades of red, amethyst, and creme.

Purple satin bows accented the beautifully crafted golden ceremony programs

The beautiful gown awaiting its bride

The "something blue" any bride would love!

This is one skilled bride!  Rhonda demonstrating her makeup artistry for her big day!

The symbols of love
Crafted with fondant and icing to provide a beautiful texture with golden ribbons along the bottom of each layer.  This creation was not only beautiful, but delicious as well!

The wedding...sealed with a kiss!

Rhonda is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.  She and Tony have chosen to reside in the metro Atlanta area.

*The Blessed Bride is proud to have featured Rhonda and Tony's wedding celebration.  A special thank you to the bride, Rhonda, for sharing your love story with us. 
- Angela

Meet "The Blessed Bride," Angela!

Angela was raised in the southern Georgia town of Metter.  She attended Georgia Southern University where she became involved in event planning for the student entertainment board of the university.  Additionally, she worked as a staff writer for the university newspaper and news director/host for the campus radio station.  Angela obtained her degree in broadcasting and relocated to the Atlanta area.

With a background that spans from entertainment to education, Angela has always shared a bond with all things bridal and wedding related.  From serving as a flower girl (multiple times over), bridesmaid (again, multiple times over), to now becoming the bride herself, Angela is ready to embark on her journey as "The Blessed Bride!" 

Angela's vision for The Blessed Bride (TBB) is to not only illustrate her experiences and encounters throughout the wedding process, but to launch TBB as a beacon of inspiration, encouragement, style, sophistication, and overall joy for every reader, whether a blushing bride-to-be or not.

Angela in a nutshell --> God's girl :: media / communications junkie :: connoisseur of the performing arts :: journalist in my own right :: music enthusiast :: peace advocate :: educator :: AKA :: releasing my potential

Angela's messageHi there!  I am so excited for the blessings that God has in store for not only me and The Blessed Bride, but in your life also!  It fills me with such delight to share my life and the lives of others with you through TBB.  I truly hope to add a blessing to readers, but to gain love, strength, and encouragement from you in return.

I encourage you to live like you've never lived before and love like you've never loved before!  Go after your goals, dreams, and ambitions with all your heart.  For it is through the heart and soul in which we truly live... - Angela

Contact Me

I love people!  I feel that everyone has a story to share...and I aspire to hear as many as possible!  Send me a message.  I would love to hear from you! 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The gift of glam! Meet our resident makeup artist, Rhonda!

It is with great excitement that I introduce The Blessed Bride's new resident makeup extraordinaire, Rhonda!  I have had the pleasure to know Rhonda personally (as a friend & sorority sister) and professionally (as my wedding makeup artist!) and I must say, the girl knows her stuff when it comes to all of the glitz, glam, and fresh-faced knowledge of makeup artistry! 

Readers, you are in for a treat!  Rhonda will contribute a weekly post devoted to all things beautiful, glamorous, fun, and flirty in the world of makeup artistry.  TBB is so blessed to have such a gem of a gal join the team!  She definitely has the gift of glam

Rhonda is a native of Atlanta, Georgia.  As a makeup artist, she specializes in bridal, fashion, pagentry, and practically any special event that requires a touch of glam.  She began her career as a makeup artist in high school.  What started as a hobby transformed into a career for this makeup maven!

While in college, Rhonda began working with local photographers.  Upon graduating with a degree in mass communications and art, she realized that makeup artistry was her natural career choice.

Rhonda's client list includes some of the top photographers in the bridal and fashion industry.  Additionally, Rhonda was featured as a spokeswoman for the "Healthy Makes It Happen" beauty campaign with Essence Magazine and Pantene Pro-V.  Rhonda is the owner of her company, "Faces by Rhonda."

Rhonda's mission is to capture a person's unique beauty and style while transforming them into perfection.  She parallels her craft to that of a painter -- transforming blank canvases into amazing works of art!

"I believe that beauty is skin deep, however, the surface also tells a story," says Rhonda.  "I am so blessed to do what I love and love what I do!"

"Beauty is not caused.  It is..." - Emily Dickinson

The Blessed Bride is so thankful to have Rhonda as a vital addition toward our efforts to assist our readers in finding their answers to all things bridal!

Have a question for Rhonda??  Submit it in the comments section below or email your question to  Please include your name and state.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Featured Love: Jennifer & Justin - "Surprise Proposal!"

Jennifer & Justin
Welcome Jennifer & Justin to "The Blessed Bride!"  Jennifer is one of my best gal pals.  She and her fiance', Justin, are preparing for their July 2011 wedding!  (I'm a bridesmaid!)  Join in celebrating their love by reading the story of how they met and how Justin surprised his beautiful bride-to-be with the ultimate birthday gift!

Jennifer doned a beautiful fushia blouse & jeans to compliment Justin's look
How We Met

Justin and I first crossed paths while attending college at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. We had mutual friends, so we came in contact quite often. In the spring of 2006, we attended NSBE National Conference with the college chapter. We stayed up one night talking and getting to know each other. Before we left the conference, we exchanged numbers. He made me put my number in his phone, so I did, without hesitation because we had great conversation and it was obvious some "chemistry" was there. He came over to my place regularly to hang out, grab lunch or just watch TV in between classes. He was really just a good friend at the time to "chill" with.  I just KNEW he liked me, but I was playing some SERIOUS hard to get!!  The summer of 2007, we both interned in Atlanta and spent a lot of time together, going on dates and what not. When we returned to school, I told him we either need to be "just friends" or we need to be committed.  LOL!  He decided to commit and on Monday, September 24, 2007, he asked me to be his girlfriend and the rest is history!!

The couple chose their alma mater, Georgia Southern University, as the location for their engagement shoot.

The Proposal

I thought I knew exactly when Justin would propose...or how he would do it. Justin is very simple and straight to the point. But his proposal totally caught me off guard!!! I was expecting a proposal maybe closer to the end of the year (2009).  It was Thursday, October 22, 2009 (my 25th birthday!) I woke up as usual and headed straight to work. It was a lovely day and had no idea what was to occur just hours later before our planned evening to celebrate my birthday. Right before we were to head to dinner, at the entrance of my apartment, Justin spoke these very words, "I know today is your special day...I just want to make it a little more special. I love you! Will you marry me?" After being in complete shock and crying tears of joy, I said YES! He placed the beautiful LEO solitaire diamond engagement ring on my left ring finger. We made our way to dinner and I was so elated about what had just taken place, I called to share the news with my loved ones. He asked my parents for my hand in marriage the weekend prior to my birthday.  We drove to my parents home to celebrate with them after dinner. He also showed the ring to my twin sis, Stephanie and my best friend Jessica. I kept the news from my closest girlfriends as I waited to tell them when we arrived at our annual retreat days later in the mountains of North Georgia! It was a WONDERFUL experience. I can't wait to marry my best friend and the love of my life!

Jen's sparkling LEO diamond!

Beautiful moment caught by the photographer

Laughter & Love
Jennifer is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.  Justin is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  The couple plans to reside near the metro Atlanta area.

*Photography courtesy of Virginia Hall of Moment by Moment Photography

**Special thanks to the bride-to-be, Jennifer for providing "The Blessed Bride" with your story of love.  Can't wait to share your wedding story!

- The Blessed Bride :: "Featured Love"