The Wedding of ...
Crystal Cranmore & Akil Matthews
Ceremony: St. Teresa of Avila
Reception: Maritime Parc
Gown: Jean-Ralph Thurin
Tux: J. Crew
Photographer: 1314 Studio
Cinematographer: 5801 Wedding Cinema
Makeup: Juicy Looks by Abby and Robin Lynette
Hair: Andrea Johnson
Florist: Diva Blooms
Cake: Maritime Parc
Décor Rentals: Evolution Event Rentals and Lily V Events
Wedding Planner: Victorious Events NYC,
Akil and I met when we were both students at Howard University. Being new to the D.C. area, I was missing my family’s Guyanese cooking, so I wrote on Facebook to see if anyone knew a good Caribbean restaurant nearby. Akil, who is from Trinidad, not only jumped on the chance to recommend a spot, but he offered to take me! Nine years after that date, Akil planned a weekend trip to D.C. What I thought was going to be a trip to visit our college friends turned out to be a surprise proposal! Akil created a scavenger hunt for me at our alma mater. After a journey down memory lane, Akil was waiting with a ring and I said yes!
Both of us work in creative industries; I am a television reporter and Akil is an architect, thus making us very hands-on when it came to wedding planning. We wanted our wedding to highlight both the relaxed vibe of our relationship and our unique cultures. Maritime Parc was the perfect modern city-chic vibe we were looking for. The Sky Room, their reception area, has a unique cloud-like ceiling and large windows that offer stunning views of the NYC skyline. Elizabeth Stacey, assistant director of sales, and the whole Maritime team were so helpful throughout the process. Elizabeth coordinated very well with my planner, Victoria Lartey-Williams.
Akil and I were both baptized Catholic. While I grew up attending a Presbyterian church, it was very important to Akil that we get married by a Catholic priest. We chose our church based on its proximity to my hometown. We met with our priest before our wedding and he gave us some invaluable advice we will use throughout our marriage.
Our cocktail hour was held in the Aviary room at Maritime Parc, where various food stations were set up. Our favorites were the Mediterranean station with delicacies such as chickpea fritters and grilled octopus and a pasta station with classics like orecchiette and ditalini. Butlers also passed hors d’oeuvres like grilled oysters, pulled BBQ chicken empanadas, and more. Everything was delicious. When guests entered our reception, they saw the personalized seating chart that Akil and I created. As a tribute to where we first met, the chart was based on a DC metro map with train stops that represented special locations in our lives, such as Trinidad and Brooklyn. We always say we’ve been on “Cloud Nine” since we met 10 years ago, and we wanted our wedding décor to reflect that idea. The Sky Room, with its cloud-like ceiling, was the perfect start. We then worked with our design team to create unique centerpieces, menus, invitations, and a cake that appeared to float using acrylic material.
The first course for dinner was a baby arugula salad with hazelnut black pepper vinaigrette. For the entrée, guests could select from a beef duo of New York strip steak and braised short rib, roasted chicken with basil potato puree, brined salmon with mustard beurre blanc, or creamy polenta. Everything was delicious, from the incredible spread at cocktail hour to the hearty plated dinner dishes to desserts galore with macaroon platters and our vanilla wedding cake with cream cheese filling.
We incorporated our Caribbean backgrounds in several ways. Our DJ played Soca music and we did a traditional money toss for my dad who is from Nigeria. During the garter retrieval ceremony, Akil surprised me with a special choreographed dance. I felt extremely special and our guests really enjoyed it.
We are so grateful to have such loving friends and family to celebrate our wedding with. Thank you to all our amazing vendors and to Elizabeth and the staff at Maritime Parc for making the day perfect.
Jersey City, NJ