For brides that are feeling overwhelmed and slightly uncertain about how your wedding day will turn out, Domiqiue + April’s Rickhouse Wedding was “living proof that you don’t have to be rich to have the most beautiful day of your life!” As an actress and teaching artist living in NYC, April would say her wedding was a total success! The advice she would give to other engaged couples is, “communication is key! Ask for help when you need it, you cannot do it all on your own! Leave room to go over the budget, it happens so plan for it! I didn’t think I’d have enough money to pull off my dream day. But we did, with minimal help.”
The Rickhouse Wedding
Complete with insights from the bride!
Dominique + April
May 6, 2017
The Rickhouse Durham
Share with us how you two met:
We met on an online dating website. I was only looking to meet new people but to my surprise it blossomed into a relationship.
Tell us about your proposal:
The kids were putting on a show at one of the Juvenile Detention Centers I teach at on Christmas Eve. I convinced Dominique to go. After a great show and a long day, our friends convinced us to come to Long Island to spend the evening with them. That’s when Dominique surprised me with the proposal! We finally had a private moment in the kitchen, he told me he wrote me a poem while he waited for me. He read it and the final line was “Will you marry me?” If it wasn’t for the show, he would have done it at a nice dinner, this was much more special. Of course I said yes!
Any bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts?
I gave my bridesmaids their jewelry to wear to the wedding along with different colored dashikis for us to get dressed in! It was less typical than wearing matching robes! I also provided my professional makeup artist to do their makeup!
Any wedding favors:
Deliciois mini bundt cakes from Rum & Yum Cakes! My husband is from the Caribbean where Rum cakes are popular.
How about the wedding invitations & stationery:
I wanted everything gold and white! The invitations from Paperless Post had lots of gold shiny foil with cursive handwriting. Everything else was gold and white. To save money I found a template on Etsy and printed all of the day of stationery out!
Tell us about you ceremony venue and what attracted you to it?
We got married at the Rickhouse, a newer event space and distillery in Downtown Durham. We live in NY and both love cocktails (I am a former bartender). This space provided us with the perfect NYC vibe in Downtown Durham. What I really loved were the glass walls that look into the distillery. The copper sills are beautiful!
Let’s talk fashion. How did you choose your wedding day look? How did the groom? Describe both looks in detail. What was wedding shopping like for you?
I wanted sexy, classy, Hollywood glam!!! I was originally going to go on Say Yes To the Dress so I had an appt. at Kleinfeld, however, days before I found out about their sample sale. I found a beautiful Mark Zunino dress for over 50% off. No one had even tried it on and it fit me! It was made for me! I also purchased a belt for more bling to go over the original belt. I wore the most beautiful pair of Christian Louboutin shoes that my friend gifted me from Bergdorf Goodman! They were like Cinderella Slippers, sparkly and beautiful just like my belt. I met a polish veil maker who custom-made a blinged-out veil. Dominique looked dapper in a light blue suit, a slightly different color than the groomsmen who wore navy blue.
The Rickhouse Wedding
What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day? What is your best memory from your wedding?
The most special moment for me was me immediately crying when I walked down the aisle. I was soooooo happy and full. My Dad passed away, so my mom and older sister walked me down the aisle. It was all so beautiful. The best memory was seeing everyone come together and be so happy. It made all the stress worth it!
Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style, or color palette?
The inspiration was Hollywood glam! I wanted the feeling of a modern Harlem Renaissance party. My colors were gold and white. I wanted low lighting, candles, sparkle, and gold accents (my favorite color)!
Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day? If yes, tell us more.
I practice Nichiren Buddhism where we chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to bring out our highest potential in ourselves and others. We gave a brief description during the ceremony and chanted 3x. We also said Buddhist Inspired Vows. We also had a beautiful candle lighting tribute for each loved one we have lost in our respective families.
The Rickhouse Weddings
Tell us about your bridesmaids:
All of my bridesmaids are people I have known for over 17 years! I had one maid of honor, my sister Hope, and a matron of honor, my bestie from College who helped me with the overall vision of the day and put up with my antics! My other three bridesmaids are really great friends who I grew up with.
Tell us about his groomsmen:
The grooms’ party was a combination of Dominique’s very best buds, his brother, and my matron of honor’s husband! It was a great mix!
Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
White candles, white draping, white market lights, white flowers with a beautiful 8-foot white flower centerpiece on the head table and gold accents!
What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
The florals were a mixture of white arrangements. They were beautiful! I almost didn’t have flowers due to budget restraints but we were able to reconstitute the flowers for different points of the event which was great! For example, the floating candles in clear glass vases were lined down the aisle, then went on the tables later! A great way to save money!!
Tell us about your cake.
My cake was spectacular! Gold and white plus grand and blingy! People thought it was me! The cake designer did a custom design based on inspiration from me! She was also my Caterer and made the food for my Bridal Shower.
Favorite item on the reception menu:
OMG, the shrimp and grits shooters at the cocktail hour were to die for! Honestly, all the food was sooooooo good. It was a mix of Caribbean food and soul food! Mixing it the two cultures since I grew up in Durham, and Dominique grew up in Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean.
What songs did you choose for your wedding ceremony and reception, and why:
I just had to walk down the aisle to Beyonce’s 1+1. Its the song I always try (and fail) to serenade Dominique with. We danced to You and I by Stevie Wonder for our first dance, then went into a reggae song called Good Good by Snoop Lion. The wedding party entered the reception to 24 Karat by Bruno Mars and Dominique and I rapped and sang our way in to “You’re all I need” by Mary J and Method Man! I incorporated Beyonce as much as I possibly could and Dominique did his garter dance to Love By Kendrick Lamar. We played a mix of Hip Hop, R&B and Reggae and Soca at the reception. It was a hip reception! We were excited to Love Train!
Tell us about your wedding photography:
We wanted our photographer to capture really fun moments and all the beautiful details so we went with In His Image! Dominique also does photography on the side, so we needed someone great! Dajuan was personable and so great to work with! He captured the best moments of our event!
And your videographer (if you had one):
The guests! We used an app called Wedding Mix which made the guests the videographers. After downloading the app, they uploaded pix and videos to it. The wedding Mix editors then make a video of our wedding. This was a great way to save $ and get the guests to participate! We also made a special hashtag for social media: #DidierPartyOf2
Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
One of my bridesmaids whom I was in Dance with in High School made up a dance for my bridesmaids to do before the bouquet toss! It was sooo much fun!
Do you have a honeymoon planned? Tell us about it.
We went to the Bahamas for a week after the wedding and had an amazing time! We stayed at the Hilton in Downtown Nassau and did some excursions on other islands! We still plan to travel to Europe next year (maybe for our 1 year anniversary) and also to Dominique’s hometown of Dominica in the fall.
Tell us about your wedding planner:
Sabrina was the first planner I met with. (It was imperative that we had one since we live in NYC.) I loved her right off the back but then I went with another planner through a family recommendation. We worked with her for a while but nothing really moved forward. By January of this year, I was so stressed that I decided to work again with Sabrina! This was the best decision! Her team is great! She was organized and so supportive throughout the whole event which turned out to be an absolute success!
What’s your favorite image from your wedding day, and why:
The glam pic of Dominique and me down in the actual distillery. We looked like a million bucks!
Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day? Any advice for future brides:
Trust your instincts when picking planners! Have a bestie like my matron of honor to keep you sane! Have fun doing as many events as you can leading up to the wedding (we had two engagement parties and I went on two bachelorette parties)! Don’t settle for less! I was so stressed about the wedding and budget but my wedding was proof that you can have something fabulous even on a limited budget as long as you are patient and open (and we didn’t do anything DIY).