Melani and Rakeem crossed paths three times before officially meeting on May 13, 2018. The two began talking at a party and Rakeem put his number in Melani's phone. The next morning, she deleted the number but two days later she received an Instagram friend request from him. Melani followed him back and sent him a message saying, "I see you found me, but good morning." Rakeem replied, "When I see something I want I go after it." Since then, the two developed a love that could not be denied. They decided to tie the knot in a private ceremony in the same location where they had their first date, followed by a beautiful photo session captured by 3rd iPhotography.
Bride: Melani Harris, 33, HR Specialist and Newborn Photographer
Groom: Rakeem Chambers, 29, Real Estate Broker
Photography by: Najah Baker of 3rd iPhotography
Place of residence: Durham, NC
Wedding date: May 12, 2021
Wedding location: Private ceremony at Pelican's Snoball in Durham, NC and wedding day shoot at Suite Four in Durham, NC
Wedding theme/motif/inspiration: We were inspired by the color green. We wanted the look to be classic and timeless, but us.
Honeymoon Destination: Tulum, Mexico
What makes your love special?
What makes our love special is the vulnerability we have shared with each other. It is our commitment to each other and desire to be anchored in God. It is the "no matter what" mentality. I have your back and you have mine. Even in our weakest moments in our relationship, there was and will be growth individually and collectively.
Rakeem proposed on my birthday in March 2020. Due to COVID, my original birthday plans had to be cancelled. He still wanted me to be able to celebrate so he arranged for someone to cater a small birthday gathering at home later in the evening. He paid for me to get my hair done that morning. In the afternoon, we got matching tattoos on our ring fingers. We had already decided that we wanted to do life together. Our tattoos are anchors because we are anchored in God and our commitment to each other. Later that night we had the party. After we ate and played a few games, he wanted me to open my gifts. His gift was the last and it was him asking to marry me.
From the Bride:
Our wedding day was sentimentally perfect! We originally were going to get married on May 15, 2021 because it was the exact day we met/talked three years prior. However with COVID and just really wanting it to be about us, we decided to secretly get married on May 12, 2021 and have a wedding day photoshoot. We got married at Pelican's Snoball in the morning with just our mothers, my two children, our pastor, and the officiant for the brief ceremony. We ate at The Cheesecake Factory for lunch then I left to go get my hair and make-up done for the photoshoot later that day. It was such an easy, stress free day. I was so happy that we made the day about us.
From the Groom:
It was an awesome experience. I was able to make a covenant in front of the people I love. It was intimate and I am really happy we kept it small. I was at peace and anchored on our wedding day.
Your best/most memorable moment: I will never forget that we actually recreated our first date by getting married at Pelican's Snoball. It was also raining the morning we got married. That was a nice touch. It meant a lot!
Wedding song, explain choice for song:
The Carters - Jay-z and Beyonce, "Heard About Us" because it perfectly describes us. This song would have been the song we would have walked out to at our reception. I think how we decided to get married was different than the norm. We made it about us and just popped out married in our own way.
Favorite wedding detail: Favorite wedding detail would be our attire for the photoshoot. Rakeem's suit was custom made and my dress was everything!
What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?
We are looking forward to sharing and experiencing life with one another. Knowing there will be ups and downs, but we get to do it together. Excited to grow our family and create an amazing legacy.
Advice for a Bride/Groom on their wedding day:
Make it about you guys! Don't forget the reason for the day and why you decided to get married in the first place. And it's always great to add those sentimental touches.
Congratulations to the happy couple! We wish them a fruitful marriage and many years of wedded bliss!