Justin, a High School Basketball Coach & CFO of Follow Through Foundation and Traci, a Child and Family Therapist, got married in Cap-Haitien on the north coast of Haiti on February 23, 2017. According to Wikipedia, Cap-Haitien was historically nicknamed, The Paris of the Antilles, because of its wealth and sophistication, expressed through its beautiful architecture and artistic life. It was the absolute perfect backdrop for Justin and Traci’s wedding. They chose the Cormier Plage Resort as the location for their nuptials. Their wedding festivities were all immersed in Haitian culture since they chose to have a destiination wedding in Justin’s home country. From the food, to the tours of the Citadel and Sans Souci Palace, to the beautiful people and countryside, every aspect of the celebration was rich with culture.
How We Met, as told by The Coordinated Bride Traci
Justin and I met in 2005 at FAU when we were both 19 years old. This is the short version of the story: he told me I was very beautiful, he pursued me, and I forgot his name. Following a moment of awkwardness and embarrassment we began to build a friendship that quickly transformed into a deeply rich love. I fell and continue to fall in love with his heart; the way he loves others, the way he loves his Savior, the way he loves me.
We have been on a very long and challenging journey since then with miles of distance between us over the years. In 2007, Justin left FAU and moved to Washington D.C. Little did we know that from this point forward, our relationship would be long distance. The distance ranged from 1,015 miles to as little as 40 miles (but was still over an hour drive); all of which have been traveled by flight, car and even train. This is a pursuit that will continue as we capture and recapture each other’s hearts throughout our marriage.
The long awaited proposal occurred on May 6, 2016, Justin’s birthday. I knew he was going to propose soon, but I did not know when. I spent all day baking a German Chocolate cake from scratch (which was challenging to say the least) for his 30th birthday. He came up to my place on the night on May 5th so he could begin his birthday with me. The plan was to light 30 candles on the cake at midnight and later during the day on the 6th we would do fun birthday shenanigans. The candles were lit, wishes were made, and then things got weird. I was nervous about the cake but Justin did not want to cut it right away. Instead, he led me out of the room and gave me a blindfold. I was confused and a little bit frustrated because I was sleepy and really just wanted him to taste the cake. He leads me blindfolded back into the main living area of the apartment and I hear “Never Stop” by Safety Suit start playing. He instructs me to take my blindfold off and he is standing in front of me with tears in his eyes. He says all of these beautiful things, gets down on one knee and asks me to marry him while holding up the most beautiful ring ever in the history of rings (I’m biased). Of course, I do not actually see the ring yet because I have tears in my eyes (and running down my face). I say YES! And we hug and cry our tears of joy in each other’s arms. Justin recorded the whole thing and once we collected ourselves, we watch the video and started crying all over again. Oh, and the cake was delicious!
We were going for a romantic feel. The wedding dress was lace with pearl beading. Shopping was pretty quick and easy. I do not enjoy going to several places and trying on hundreds of options. That is discouraging for me I am no longer enjoying the experience. So instead, I found the dress on my first shopping trip, at the first and only boutique I went into: David’s Bridal in Gainesville, FL.
We were so happy! There was so much joy in every moment. Some special memories were the surprises we had for each other during the ceremony. Justin picked out his own tux so we saw each other’s attire for the first time at the altar. Also, we each selected bible verses about marriage to be read during the ceremony without knowing what verse the other chose. We wrote our own vows and, lastly, our wedding bands were a surprise and first seen by the other during the ring exchange. The best man speech was also pretty superb.
Advice for future Coordinated Brides
Be present in the moment. It is easy to have your mind on a thousand different details, but when it comes right down to it, none of it matters. Bask in every moment. “Don’t let the engagement drag on. Don’t propose if you’re not ready to tie the knot!”
Photographer Wendell Daltirus and Aaron Rose were able to capture so many wonderful images of the bride and groom as well as images of Haiti. We wish all the best to Justin and Traci! See the breathtaking photos below. Enjoy!
Everything for our ceremony and reception, including décor and food were provided by the Cormier Plage Resort || Photographers: Wendell Daltirus- DW Digital Photography, LLC || Photographer: Aaron Rose- @theclasslesssociety || DJ Power Mix Wedding dress: David’s Bridal – Oleg Cassini, Style: CRL277 || Bride shoes: Nine West || Bridesmaid dresses: Amazon || Groom and Groomsmen attire: Men’s Warehouse || Sans Souci Palace and Citadel Tour- Lojistik S.A. Tour Haiti|| Amiga Island Tours- email@example.com || Bridesmaids and the bride completed their own hair and makeup; bouquets were DIY