Written by: Jessica Burke | Photos: James Willis Photography
paige + hakeem’s story
Paige and Hakeem met in a public speaking class during their sophomore year of college and became friends after working on a group project together. The summer after that fateful meeting Hakeem asked Paige to be his best friend on “Best Friend Day” and exactly two years later he asked her out on a date!
Hakeem took Paige shopping to pick out her dream engagement ring, but kept the details of the proposal to himself. To keep the actual moment a surprise, he made it a point to practice his monologue on her so she wouldn’t know when the actual proposal was happening.
He chose her 26th birthday for the big moment, asking for her hand just before dessert at her birthday dinner, convincing Paige that the waitress was taking a commemorative birthday photo, but having her video the moment he presented her with the ring. Paige cried tears of joy and of course, said “Yes!”
the first look
“Our favorite part was the First Look,” shares Paige. “We were already married technically, but we were both nervous and super excited to see the other person.” Hakeem was overjoyed to see the joy on his beautiful wife’s face and Paige was excited to see Hakeem in his custom-made suit.
Paige and Hakeem began planning their April 2022 wedding in the summer of 2020, however the April 2022 date would become their second wedding date. The couple was married in May of 2021 after Paige’s mother received a poor prognosis for her brain tumor. Paige and Hakeem were able to celebrate their wedding with Paige’s mother and Paige treasures the memory of her mother seeing her in her gown, one of the last things she saw before losing her vision.
At their 2022 wedding, the couple honored Mrs. Jones with a bouquet of flowers on a chair reserved for her at the front row of the ceremony. Among many pieces of special jewelry, Paige wore a pearl bracelet, a gift from Hakeem’s aunt, with a photo of Paige and her mother from the first wedding.
the jumping of the broom ceremony
Hakeem and Paige wanted to honor their ancestors and the sacrifices of their loved ones for them to be in the position to marry and become successful, so they chose to include the Jumping of the Broom ceremony at their wedding. The broom was provided by Paige’s parents, who had it in their possession for years and decorated by Paige’s maid of honor.
Jumping the broom was a tradition of African slaves, representing that a marriage was official. “Although its creation may be based in a painful history, the tradition itself represents jumping over obstacles together into a new chapter,” shares Paige.
the wedding reception
Paige and Hakeem knew they wanted to get married in New Orleans from the moment they got engaged. New Orleans is where they met while attending Xavier University and the city holds a special place in their hearts.
With the help of their planner, Tenisha Keller of Chocolate Bunnie Events, they found the perfect location to celebrate their wedding. New Orleans City Park offered the outdoor space that Hakeem envisioned and The Pavilion of Two Sisters in the park offered the beautiful indoor space with large windows that Paige desired.
the first dances
During the pandemic, Paige and Hakeem took a virtual salsa class and fell in love with the genre. The couple decided that a Latin inspired first dance would be the perfect way to start their reception and “wow” their guests. Paige choreographed the high-energy first dance and taught it to Hakeem.
Paige’s father knew the perfect song for their dance, “Not Just Knee Deep” by Funkadelic, a song they listened to together on the way to doctor’s appointments and grocery store runs. “Once the decision was made, Papa Jones grabbed two pairs of sunglasses and jammed out with his daughter before retrieving his cane from the best man.”
The newlyweds celebrated with their guests who included brothers and sisters from Paige’s sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha and Hakeem’s fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha. Both Hakeem and Paige are active and their membership played a part in their wedding colors, pink for Paige and gold for Hakeem.
NOW Featured Vendors:
BRIDE’S GETTING READY VENUE: InterContinental New Orleans Hotel
GROOMSMENS’ ATTIRE: John’s Tuxedos
EVENT PLANNER: Chocolate Bunnie Events
ADDITIONAL VENDOR CREDITS:
GETTING READY LOCATION: DoubleTree New Orleans (groom) | CEREMONY LOCATION: The Peristyle at City Park | OFFICIANT: Dr. Elizabeth Cleveland | RECEPTION LOCATION + CATERING: The Pavilion of Two Sisters | REHEARSAL DINNER: New Orleans School of Cooking | BRIDE’S GOWN: Pronovias, Unveiled Bridal (Little Rock) | BRIDESMAIDS’ GOWNS: Bella Bridesmaid | GROOM’S ATTIRE: Luca Falcone | PHOTOGRAPHY: James Willis Photography | VIDEO: Joseph Video Production | FLORIST: Herbivore Floral Designs | BAKERY: Zoe’s Bakery | CEREMONY: Hilda the Harpist | RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT: DJ Zeus | TRANSPORTATION: Alert Transportation (bride) + Riculfy Livery (getaway car) | HAIR + MAKEUP: Crown Salon Studio | DECOR: Memorable Events | JEWELER: Genesis Diamonds | FAVORS: Alchemy Body Werks | INVITATIONS: The Bride, Sabrina Brooks, + LSbM Photography