Today we are very happy to introduce you to our final Certified Coordinated Bride for the first half of 2015, Renita Junior!  Jermaine proposed to Renita on February 13th, 2015, yes she is a brand new bride to be! Renita is currently in the early stages of planning her 2017 wedding so let’s play catch up and get to know this Certified Coordinated Bride!

The Single Life

Hi lovlies.  Im Renita Junior and just got engaged 2/13/15 to my snooka Jermaine Mnceil.  Eeeek already two months ago and I still can’t believe it.  I honestly didn’t think I’d ever get married so when my now fiancé asked me, it was one of the best surprises of my life!

I’m a 29 year old mom to a 6 year old boy.  For the last 4.5 years of my life, my entire existense consisted of taking care of my son and making sure he didn’t want for anything.  Dating was definitely on the bottom of my priority list.  I wasn’t walking around like a single bitter woman, but I didn’t want to be that mom who cared about finding a man more than she cared about raising her child.  I dated here and there and even introduced my son to someone when he was 2.  After that relationship didn’t work out, I decided to put the dating life on hold all together.  My focus was my baby and becoming genuinely happy with myself.

Of course, I constantly got approached with “when are you going to find someone?” and “geez you’re still single?”  None of this bothered me because I knew I wasn’t quite ready.  I had some serious work to do and I knew that when it  was time, I’d be ready for that forever kind of love.    I needed to become the best me for my son, myself and my future mate.    My mom, who wasn’t really pushing at the time, started suggesting that I sign up for dating sites, mostly the ones you see on TV and all the ones that cost money.  I am cheap! Lol or how I like to call it, frugal.  I just couldn’t justify spending $30/month on a site for something I wasn’t even that comfortable doing.  Thank God for Google though.  A quick search for free dating sites brought me to Plenty of Fish.  I’ve heard of it before and thought why not?  I’d never been on a dating site before but have met guys via Facebook and MySpace (who remembers MySpace? Lol), so the thought of meeting a stranger online, wasn’t completely off limits to me.

Well Hello There Jermaine

Plenty of Fish was an interesting site, to say the least.  Lots of weirdos!   I was on for a total of 3 weeks.  I received A LOT of messages.  So many that I couldn’t read them all.  I came up with a system to filter out the weirdos.  First I looed at their profile picture.  Then, if I thought he was attractive, I would open the message. If he sounded decent, I would then proceed to look at his profile.  If that was cool, I  would respond to the message.  My now fiancé caught my eye right away.  I guess it was his smile.  After reading his profile my first thought was “hmmm he seems to have it together.”  Sounds too easy right?  Having it together was more than I can say from most of the other profiles I read at the time.    So I responded, after a few corresponding messages, we exchanged phone numbers and started chatting via phone.

I can be a little shy at first but I remember feeling pretty comfortable with him early on.  Jermaine was funny, smart, and seemed to have a lot in common with me.  Now of course I didn’t take it too seriously at first, especially since he lived in Ohio.  Yes, Ohio.  I was in San Diego.   He had moved to Ohio with his children and now ex-wife but after things didn’t work out with them, he was relocating back to San Diego, his home town.  I’ll be honest, he seemed really cool, but I just didn’t have any major expectations.  He seemed like he had a lot going on so I wasn’t going to hold my breath on meeting him.  I continued on the site and even met a few more people.  Obviously they didn’t work out.  People don’t know the importance of being honest on these sites, especially when it comes to height.  A woman who is 5’9, will notice if you’re 5’8 instead of 6’ like your profile stated, just saying.    After 2 failed meet ups, I was done with POF.  I continued to speak with Jermaine but then he told me he was no longer moving to San Diego.  I had no feelings about it really.  I just thought that’s a bummer but just more proof that this site isn’t for me.  Two weeks passed and I continued to live my life.  Then all of a sudden I get a call from him saying he was here in San Diego and wanted to meet me.  I was excited but to be honest, the timing couldn’t have been worst.  I was moving into my very first apartment and I had no time for meet and greets.  I don’t know why I didn’t tell him I was moving.  After a few times of him asking what I was up to and me not being available, I thought to myself, I better make some time for him or else he’s going to think I’m not interested.  So I moved in my apartment on March 8th, 2013 and met him the following day.  I wasn’t even unpacked yet and I remember I had to wear something that I didn’t want to wear.

So pretty much after that, we hung out all the time.  At times things seemed to be moving really quickly but mostly it felt like it was progressing perfectly.  He quickly became like my best friend.  I introduced him to my family and to my son.  We decided to move in together the following summer in 2014.  That definitely brought some crazy times.  Times when I thought we wouldn’t make it, but we did.  It made our love grow stronger. We’ve blended our families pretty well, I think.  His kids and my son practically look alike and his ex and I are more than cordial.  I wouldn’t say we’re friends yet, but I think we can definitely move into that direction.  I have an understanding and respect for her that I think she recognizes and appreciates.

The Proposal

Getting married was something we talked about before we moved in together.  That was what we wanted the end result to be.  We had been living together for about 6 months and my mom would ask me practically weekly when we were getting married.  I didn’t feel the need to pressure him because I knew it would happen when the timing was right.  Around the holidays we began looking at rings but still, I thought it would happen towards the latter part of 2015.  On the day of the proposal, it really was like any other Friday.  I got off work, picked my son up from school and headed home.  Jermaine was already home and quickly asked my son to go play outside with him.  About 10 minutes later, my little actor comes running in the house saying “come quick, Jermaine is hurt!”  Now, I would have taken it more seriously if my son wouldn’t have been laughing the whole time lol.  I go outside and see Jermaine laying on the ground.  So I run over kind of panicking and ask if everything’s ok.  He says yea with a look on his face that I’ve never seen before.  As I recollect I can now I can describe the feeling as a  combination of nerves and pure love all wrapped in one.  Jermaine begins to get up and stops on one one knee.  When I tell you, I was started shaking like crazy! The red box comes out and I nearly dropped to the ground.  He opened the box and says something like “We’ve known each other for a little while now and you know I love you, will you marry me?”  My eyes filled with tears and I said of course. I immediately gave him a kiss and went into panic mode.

Was I dreaming?  Did this really happen?  

Renita+8

I seriously thought it wasn’t real lol.  I kept saying “Are you serious?”  He was like yea.  Then he explained to me that he spoke to my parents earlier that day and he asked my son if it was ok.  That’s when I lost it.  It was SOOOO very important to me that he spoke with my parents first and even more important that he asked my son if it was ok.

I called my mom, a few of my closet friends and texted a few people.  Other than that, I wanted to enjoy the moment and Valentine ’s Day with my fiancé.  We got engaged on Friday and by Sunday, we had a date set. We will be getting married on July 23, 2017.  Seems so far away, but I wanted to be done with my BA and almost done with the accelerated nursing program before we said ‘I do.’  There’s so much to do when trying to plan a frugally fierce wedding, so I’m thankful for the 2+ years I have to do so.

Renita+2

Wedding Planning – Renita Style  

The planning was super overwhelming at the beginning.  Mostly because everyone was asking me about dresses, and venues, and who would be in the bridal party.  My response was, “Slow down, it hasn’t even been a week yet!”  I downloaded two apps, The Knot and WedHappy.  They have been lifesavers.  The WedHappy app broke everything up for me.  It said all I needed to do was announce our engagement and the planning wouldn’t really start until July.  Well I couldn’t wait that long.  We’ve set a budget, I’ve ordered a potential dress online (but still plan on going dress shopping) asked my bridesmaids to participate by giving out adorable DIY invitations/survival kits and looked at a potential venue.  I’ve also been pinning like crazy on Pintrest.  I’m really looking forward to the planning process and think all the time I have will keep me from going crazy.  It will also help me to stick to my budget.  Above all else, I can’t wait to marry my bff and officially become Mrs. McNeil.

Sit back and enjoy the journey!

-Renita