Planning

Many of you may know me as the Senior Features Editor for Black Bride, but as of September 2016 I officially embraced my new favorite titles- fiancé and bride-to-be, when my boyfriend of three years, Jimmy Jean, asked me to be his wife. After years of sharing the beautiful love stories from couples all around the world, I finally have the opportunity to share my own! As I countdown to "I do," you guys get to join me on this crazy wedding planning journey. The transition from editor to bride has not been easy. Jimmy and I have already faced for better and for worse together, much earlier than we expected. But the trials and tribulations we faced this year only brought us closer. We are so happy to be on this journey together and we are hopeful that by sharing our journey, we can inspire others too.

Bride: C.K. Alexander, Senior Features Editor at Black Bride Magazine

Groom: Jimmy Jean, Life Purpose Coach at The Road to Purpose

Wedding Date: Fall 2017

Location: Los Angeles, CA

How We Met {From the Bride}:

On New Years day 2013, I declared that it would be my year for love. That February, while on a girl’s trip to Paris, my “Single of The Year” feature in Ebony magazine’s Love Issue had just been released and landed on the desk of Jimmy Jean. He had read my entire article and even pondered why a woman like me would be single. Fast forward to August, and I decided I would increase my odds of meeting a decent guy by trying online dating. After a few hell dates, I was ready to call it quits until I received a message from Jimmy. I instantly felt that he was a good person. Our first conversation led to several others, each one better than the last, and finally, against all of my dating rules, I met him for an impromptu meetup at Corner Social in Harlem, just a few short blocks from my apartment. Our first meeting lasted 5 hours. We talked about everything under the sun. Neither of us wanted the night to end. That night, when I got back to my apartment and I prayed and asked God for guidance. Turns out that Jimmy had said a similar prayer. From that moment, we were inseparable. It wasn’t until later in our relationship he realized I was the “cutie” from Ebony magazine.

Jimmy and CK at Khloe

The Proposal {From the Groom}:

I had this idea to propose at one of our favorite restaurants, Khloe, a French bistro where we had one of our first dates, but this time, we would have the entire place to ourselves. I wanted to make it extra special and give her a story she would remember forever. I rented out our favorite restaurant and customized a special menu, which featured milestones in our relationship. I got her favorite flowers, orchids, and a bottle of rosé for the occasion. Everything had to be just right. I told her a week before the proposal that I planned a special date night for us, but it would require her to look her best, and there would be high-profile people in attendance. That way I knew she would look her absolute best. Everything was set and ready for the big day. But on the morning of the proposal day, we received the devastating news that CK's father had passed away. We were both overcome with grief, but my mother and CK's mom encouraged me to go through with my plans I had for later that night, because that is what Mr. Parris, CK's dad, would have wanted. After the longest day of our lives, somehow we found the strength to switch gears and gathered ourselves, and prepared for our date night with heavy hearts. We arrived at Khloe and the place was empty. CK questioned me about why there weren’t any other people there. I told her that everyone else was running late. Finally, the restaurant owner came over with a menu that said, "It's just the two of you tonight." That is when I broke the news to her that I wanted to do something special for our 3-year anniversary, and tonight, this entire place was ours. The atmosphere was right- I had created a music playlist with some of our favorite love songs. We ate, talked, laughed, and reminisced about our journey together. After eating dessert, I asked her to dance with me. As we were dancing, I spun her around and whispered sweet nothings to distract her from what was going on behind me. I had signaled for the photographer I hired to come into the room to capture the moment. Finally, I spun her around and we were face to face ... our favorite song was playing. It was the perfect climax, and I told her how much she means to me and told her something I knew would mean a lot to her. I told her, in that moment, I received her dad’s blessing to marry her last month. She was overcome with emotions ... and so was I. She was so caught up in emotion she forgot to say yes!... I gently reminded her I still needed an answer, and she tearfully said yes, and it was as if God had given us this stolen moment from our current reality, where we could celebrate our love and our next chapter.

Our Engagement Party:

After a tumultuous two months, my amazing friends approached me about planning an engagement party for Jimmy and I, and of course, I said yes! I have the best friends and family in the world and I couldn't ask for a better support team. However, It was really hard for me to relinquish planning control, being that I am the planner of my crew and I am so used to executing events for my family, friends and my business. They kindly reminded me that it was my turn to receive as they got to work on planning a "Black Hollywood" ultra glam engagement party in Manhattan. Jimmy and I are pretty private, so we wanted the event to be intimate, fun and glam and our squad did just that. We are planning to get married next fall in Los Angeles, California so the Hollywood theme was perfect. Our engagement party surpassed our expectations and our planning committee had so many surprises, including pulling together some of our favorite vendors to create an unforgettable night!

Our Favorite Details: 

We loved everything! The room was filled with beautiful floral arrangements designed by one of my favs, Events by Nikki Diaz. The deep red and purple hues gave the venue a super elegant vibe. Speaking of the venue, it doesn't get more glam than an NYC penthouse with a view. The Sheffield was the perfect venue, thanks to my friends in high places, we were able to secure this exclusive spot. We also loved the Caribbean cuisine, which was catered by one of our favorite restaurants, Negril Village, which serves the best Jamaican cuisine in New York! If you haven't been to Negril Village, it's the perfect date night spot and the jerk chicken is to die for. Last but certainly not least, our naked cake from Sydney's Sweets was the focal point of the room and so delicious. She is my go-to dessert goddess and I was so excited that my friends knew exactly who to contact for the best cakes in town. We couldn't ask for more. It was epic #JeansDoComeTrue!

Editor's Tips: 

  1. Save your two cents: If you have friends and family who are willing to plan and execute your engagement party, let them! Trust me, you have a full blown wedding to plan, so sit back relax and enjoy being loved on. Take this time out and try to be as hands-off as possible; your friends and family know you and they got this (It was hard for me but I'm glad I did)!
  2. Bask in the moment: Don't feel pressured into announcing your engagement the second you get engaged. Take some time to enjoy the moment and be sure to call close family and friends before posting on social media. We decided to take our time with sharing the good news with the world and shared the news with close family and friends the old school way, via phone. We announced our engagement on social media a month later during my birthday trip to LA. It felt like we got engaged all over again.
  3. Trust and Believe: The week of our engagement party Jimmy's mother became ill and once again we found ourselves back in the hospital, two months after my father had passed. It seemed as though we couldn't catch a break. However, we didn't dare try to get through this alone. We increased our faith and prayed through the challenges and called on our loved ones to do the same. Remember when life happens and things don't go as planned, always trust and believe that everything will work out for your good. "You can't always control what happens, but you can control how you react."

Stay tuned for the next installment of CK's Countdown to "I do" and drop me a line in the comments below! 

We want to give a special thank you to all of the vendors who came together to make our day special! We appreciate you!

Photographer: Montenegro Photography

Floral and Decor: Events by Nikki Diaz

Linen: Elezye's Elegant Cover Ups

Cake: Sydney's Sweets

Catering: Negril Village + Plus Mom's Potato Salad

Makeup: Erline Louigene

Jimmy's Custom Suit: Alexander Nash

Venue: The Sheffield 

Printed Material and Signage: Designs by AJ

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