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real weddings | Leah Got garyed away!

Updated: May 24, 2019

Leah and Gary's love story was no love-at-first-sight romance. It began nice and slow from 2011 when they met at a Congressional Black Caucus day party. After exchanging information and a couple of dates, things fizzled out but as fate would have it, they reconnected in 2016 on Instagram. As Gary retold the series of events, he admired many qualities about Leah that were unique in his dating experience so he made it a point to remain in touch occasionally.

Gary says, "In our courtship, Leah and I have grown extremely close and most importantly we've grown spiritually".

Bride and Groom: Leah and Gary

Wedding Date: November 10th, 2018

Venue: La Maison Michelle, Barbados

Tell us about the engagement. Leah recalls the day of the engagement as unforgettable. It was a lazy Saturday, January 27th, 2018. I was binge watching Law and Order SVU when Gary came in and told me he was going to go put gas in the car (unbeknownst to me, while getting gas, he called my father to officially ask for his daughter's hand and inform him that he was going to propose that day). On the way back, Gary called and asked if I wanted to go visit his friend who lives in North Beach, Md. I said sure, threw on some sneakers and made sure his daughter, Shanti was ready to go. On the way there, Gary said he wanted to stop at the boardwalk because it was a nice day. Instead of thinking to myself, 'this is the first place where we had our first official date and he might propose', I thought to myself, 'Ok, but it's not that nice outside!' (lol). Needless to say, we proceeded to walk the boardwalk and after a few complaints from Shanti and I, mostly about being cold, we ran into a couple of Gary's friends (still unsuspecting). The next part happened so fast, but from what I recall, I turned to help Shanti with something and when I turned back Gary said, "well the real reason I brought you here is because..." I don't remember all that was said, but I know he had a huge smile on his face, I saw a box come out and he got on his knees, opened the box and eventually said, "will you marry me?", all the while his friend was taking pictures with her professional camera. I was completely surprised and elated. I immediately said, YES! To solidify an unforgettable moment, we asked Shanti a little later how she felt to which she responded, "well I was just happy and smiling the whole time because it looked like love to me."

"She is by far the most kind, caring, considerate, respectful, classy, God fearing and all around the most beautiful woman I've ever met. I can't wait to build a life and enjoy the experience of marriage with you Leah! I love you." - Gary

What makes your love special?

Our love is special because we both had a strong conviction from God that we were to be married. That strong conviction is the foundation for our love and marriage and helps to inform and guide how we love and treat each other.

Tell us about your best and most memorable moment. Our best moment by far was our first look when we first got to lay eyes on each other. We could feel the love we have for each other in that moment. It really set the tone for the rest of the wedding day experience.

Leah: "I felt like a celebrity or princess on our big day! And the way Gary looked at me all day made me feel so special..."

Gary: "...We had an absolutely EPIC celebration of our union and the entire experience was one of the best times of my life. Yet and still the most exciting thing about our experience was the fact that I was marrying the person that God sent to be my partner and best friend to navigate this thing called 'life'!"

How did you decide on Barbados as the wedding destination? "That's an easy one! We decided to have our wedding in Barbados because of Leah's deep love of the island. It is where both of her parents and family were born and raised and where she spent a lot of time as a child. Gary on the other hand loves to travel to Caribbean islands and wanted very much to have a destination wedding, so it was an easy decision to choose the gem of the Caribbean sea, beautiful Barbados.

Wedding Song. "I gotta be" by Jagged Edge

Favorite Wedding Detail. The fireworks we surprised our guests with at our reception! It felt like New Years Eve. They were absolutely stunning!

Entertainment Highlights. Steel Pan Player; Spiked Snow Cone Vendor; Fireworks!

Signature Drinks:

Bride's fave: Lychee Prosecco

Groom's fave: Red Sangria

What are you most looking forward to as a married couple? We are looking forward to growing together and working as a team in all aspects of our lives.

Any advise for a Bride and Groom on their wedding day? Enjoy your day to the fullest and really try to take in and experience everything you worked so hard to plan. It takes so much time to plan it but the actual day goes by so fast! Don't let anything get in the way of enjoying every minute of the day.


Wedding planner: Malissa Blackman of Weddings by Malissa

Ceremony location: La Maison Michelle Villa

Reception location: La Maison Michelle Villa

First Look Venue: Petrea Gardens

Bridal gown:

Sottero and Midgley Zoya Atlier Boutique Customized off the shoulder design by Zoya at Zoya Atlier 703-533-9600

Bridal party attire: Hailey Paige

Groom’s tux: Justin Shaw

Caterer: La Cuisine Gourmande Catering

Favors: Favor Boxes filled with a slice of sweet bread and Bajan black cake made by Bride's aunt, Deborah Thompson

Music: Andwele Waterman of Mixed by Andwele

Steel pan Player: DJ Steelpan Flowers: Robert Carter of Petals Paradise

Hair and makeup:


Petal Wedding programs: Jennifer Sanchez of SocialSavvyDesign

Table numbers: Journey Studios

Escort Cards: Classy and Sweet

Ring Bearer Sign: Creatation

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