PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO
We have been together for 12 years. December of 2008 is when we started dating. We met when we were freshmen (Bobby) and a sophomore (Joel), specifically in our English 102 class at Wichita State University.
Tell us about the proposal.
Bobby: The proposal was very intimate and laid back, which is similar to our relationship style. I proposed in our first home that we purchased together. Joel’s favorite number is 8. Therefore I bought him 8 gifts and strategically planned out a scavenger hunt. Each gift was hidden in a different room with clues that explained how that gift was connected to a special moment during our time together.
When Joel got to the 8th gift, which was me down on bended knee with the engagement ring, his face was priceless. I also proposed on 1-8-18, the number 8 also represents the infinity symbol. Therefore the significance of the proposal date was the fact that I’ll love him from day one to infinity, which has always been a tagline of ours.
Why Hard Rock Vallarta?
Honestly, we also envisioned something intimate and tropical. We researched Destination Weddings and had the pleasure of working with Kimberly Koehn, who presented us with multiple options. Ultimately Hard Rock Vallarta is what we chose, and we did take a trip there to meet with the vendors and experience the property. Which led to us falling in love with everything, we couldn’t wait for our guest to experience such a fantastic experience.
What was the inspiration behind the theme?
We are HUGE Jay-Z and Beyonce fans, and with our initials J&B it was fitting. Our hashtag was #Ontherun, which was inspired by the joint tour that they did. Our colors were rose gold and navy blue, which was pretty easy because part of our home is decorated in those colors, and we felt it would be complementary to the beach setting.
And, you took on some DIY projects?
OMG, YES, Joel is the most crafty person I’ve ever met. He designed our invitations, wedding party gifts, wedding favors, the floral arrangements our bridesmaids carried, and the Wedding Survival welcome gifts we gave our guests upon arriving.
Joel: I love an opportunity to bring a moment to life and felt that each item had to add to the experience of our big day, a token of love to thank them for making the trip to celebrate our love.
Tell us about how you found the perfect suits.
Joel’s brother, Matthew, shared with us a tailor on Instagram, Jacob Clayton. He is based in Dallas, Texas, and has designed many custom suits for some of the men who play NFL. We made two trips to Dallas and went over dozens of fabrics, and customized every aspect of our suits. I wore a cream suit with a navy blue vest, and Joel wore a Navy Blue suit with a cream vest, and we wore matching Christian Louboutin navy blue loafers.
Tell us all the details of the wedding day.
That morning we had breakfast on the balcony of our suite, we then went around the resort and delivered personalized gifts to each member of our wedding party. After that we then worked on some final details for the wedding, our photographers came and took pictures of us getting ready, the videographer also captured moments of us getting ready. Once we were ready we took pictures with our wedding party prior to the wedding.
The wedding itself took place at a gazebo with the ocean in the background, there was a slight breeze and just the right amount of sunshine. Once the ceremony concluded, Joel and I took pictures on the beach, from there we changed into more comfortable shoes and headed to the reception.
Our reception was in a banquet hall that was arranged PERFECTLY, and the lighting was unmatched. We had an LED dance floor that changed colors, and we had pyro during our first dance and, of course, a tres leche wedding cake. We danced, ate, and drank for about three hours, then went to a lounge at the resort and just relaxed and smoked cigars with all of our close family and friends. The day couldn’t have been more perfect.
What are your favorite moments?
Bobby: My favorite moment was the reception, our first dance was amazing, and we even had pyro! It was just such an intimate moment that I’ll never forget.
Joel: My favorite moment was after dinner dancing the night away. We had so much fun laughing, singing and dancing. Overall it was an absolutely amazing experience!!!
What does marriage mean to you?
Bobby: Marriage is a partnership, Joel is my best friend, and I’m committed to creating life long moments with him forever. As a gay Black man, I never envisioned what marriage would like for me, and I’m thankful to have someone who loves me supports me like him.
Joel: Marriage means finding your person, the person you chose to give your all to while navigating this journey we call life and sharing your love, happiness, experiences, and success with that person. All while cheering them on when times are not the best.
Advice for other couples planning a wedding?
Budget! Plan! And prepare for things to go wrong! All in all, enjoy the process and remember it is only about the two of you. Also, if you do a destination wedding, make sure that you chose an all-inclusive resort!!
Schedule time for fun and relaxing the day of your wedding, even if it’s just thirty minutes, no phone, no email, just a moment to relax and remind yourself to cherish the day.
I’m glad that we made time to have moments to be alone. Sometimes, the wedding day’s stress can be overwhelming, and honestly, ours wasn’t too bad. We made sure that we had breakfast in bed together, and we also spent forty-five minutes alone between the ceremony and reception, which helped mellow and relaxed us.
Photographer by Silk and Thorn
Bow Tie Ralph Lauren
Cake Topper Design Lee Studio
Catering Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta
Cinematographer HDC Photo
Florist Floristica PV
Lighting Presentation Services
Shoes Christian Louboutin
Stationery Alexia Vondrachek, Abbi Choi
Suit Designer Jacob Clayton
Venue Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta
Wedding Favors 1801 & Co
Wedding Party Gifts Quintessential Woodworking
Wedding Party Outfits La La Mira, Express
Wedding Rings Burnell’s Fine Jewelry