Essence and Manuel
July 7, 2018
How They Met
Manuel and Essence’s love story starts all the way back in elementary school, where these two Maryland-natives met. They grew up together, going to the same schools all along the way, but it wasn’t until high school that Manuel decided to take his shot.
Essence worked at a local hair salon, and Manuel would ask her to do his hair every time he saw her. They both went to college, but Manuel’s interest never wavered. On July 4th, 2011, they crossed paths again. With fireworks bursting, Manuel ran to catch Essence leaving. Essence explains, “We talked for a bit, he asked me for my number, and it’s been fireworks ever since!”
Manuel decided to ask Essence to marry him on her birthday in 2016. On most days, Manuel would drop Essence off at work and bring her breakfast later in the morning. Little did she know she was in for the best birthday surprise. “I was in my classroom with my students when an announcement came on for all classes to report to the cafeteria. I should have known something was up when my class was in the front row!” The whole school gathered to sing Essence happy birthday, and as the song was ending, Manuel popped out, looking nervous. “After the song was over, he took me on stage, got down on one knee and made me the happiest woman alive!”
When these two lovebirds toured Historic Mankin Mansion, they immediately fell in love and made their decision right then and there. “From the garden ceremony space to the tent reception setup, it was what I always dreamed of.”
Originally, they wanted to get married in Manuel’s home country, Belize but opted instead to have a tropical-themed wedding. For their colors, they went with purple and gold, since purple was a combination of their favorite colors and gave their day an air of royalty. They further incorporated their tropical theme through their food. “We wanted our food and drink to be a perfect combination of both of our family’s cultures.”
With everything from Caribbean beef patties to Jerk chicken, Exquisite Taste Catering & Events brought their dream to life. Their wedding guests cheered as the newest
Mr. and Mrs. Bowen walked into their reception, Essence’s favorite part of the night. “It was like a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I was no longer nervous, I had finally taken my heels off, and the entire crowd was cheering and dancing.” And as the July night cascaded around them, these two elementary school sweethearts came together as one.
“Sticking to a budget. We started with one budget, and although we tried to keep it simple, that budget quickly grew once we added on all the necessities that were looked over like hair, makeup, drink packages, and floral arrangements.
Best Piece of Advice
“Enjoy the moment! The minute you walk down the aisle as man and wife, everything goes by so quickly. Also, we tended to pay less attention to the small details of a wedding, but those are just important! And last, but not least, DON’T FORGET YOUR LIP GLOSS before taking photos and to refresh your lips throughout the night.”
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