When you’ve got the right person by your side, you know that love is the greatest asset in overcoming even the hardest situations. Like so many couples this year, Rashaun and Emmanuel had to face some tough decisions when COVID caused them to postpone their plans. But a supportive relationship and an unwavering bond helped them to find a way to adapt through unprecedented times. With a shared passion for history and culture, Rashaun and Emmanuel started their relationship in the magical city of New Orleans. To bring it full circle, these two returned to the place where they first fell in love to officially tie the knot. Rashaun and Emmanuel dreamed up a beautiful Louisiana elopement that will stand the test of time – read more for their enchanting story!
We were introduced to each other in 2012 while both serving on active duty status in the military. Later, in 2016, we reconnected in New Orleans and our relationship thrived from there.
Emmanuel: She is fun to be around. I found her interesting and she was interested in the same things that I was.
Rashaun: I thought he was adventurous and willing to try new experiences, but mostly tall, dark, and handsome like every girl dreams of. I was and still am attracted to his easy-going personality and shared interest in history, culture, and hobbies.
Emmanuel: After our trip to New Orleans was over we went back home, Me to Rolla and her to Kansas City. We kept in contact through our travels home and the following days after. We had morning calls while I walked to campus and afternoon calls while she drove to work. One day, I was having problems dealing with an issue, and she decided to surprise me and drove down to Rolla after working a 12-hour shift. That’s when I knew.
Rashaun: One afternoon during our trip, we took a tour of the Mardi Gras World. Afterward, we were outside waiting for an Uber and it was raining and cold. Emmanuel covered over me with his jacket protecting me from the raindrops. For once, my mind was quiet and I felt warm inside despite being outwardly cold. It was at that moment, instantly, I knew that I loved him and he would ensure my happiness.
In February, Emmanuel planned an expensive dinner at a local restaurant, Novel. He was so nervous and kept checking his pocket to make sure he did not lose the ring. I thought he was continuously getting basketball updates on his phone. He chose not to propose at the restaurant because I am shy in public. So he drove us to the Plaza where we first met with the intention to propose in front of the fountain, but it was cold outside and I did not want to walk. Instead, we returned home where he dressed the three dogs up in tuxedos and popped the question! I was not expecting this gesture because we had already planned our elopement.
Emmanuel: The biggest thing I love about Rashaun, among other things, is that she cares. She has worked as an RN for a little over 10 years. In that time she has been working as an ER and ICU nurse. Most of the time people in this profession get jaded, so it is amazing for me to see her care so much about her patients. This trait obviously also extends to her friends and family. She bends over backward to make sure that a friend in need has the support during difficult times.
Rashaun: I love so many things about him. Mostly, I love Emmanuel’s ability to remain calm under pressure and offer alternative solutions to any problems we face. He keeps me balanced in that way. I can easily become overwhelmed or focus on the negatives in a situation, but he always is able to see the positive and put my worries at ease. He makes every effort to ensure that we are both happy and healthy.
Equal love and support of each other and our endeavors. Whether transferring jobs, sitting for board exams, or starting and finishing school, there has been an unwavering support to succeed in our dreams and aspirations.
We wanted to have the intimacy of an elopement but some elements of a traditional wedding – without the expense. We wanted to invest the money we would have spent on a traditional wedding into a home were we could build a family together.
One of my fellow ICU coworkers used Simply Eloped to elope in Hawaii last year. She spoke so highly of the company and her photos were absolutely breathtaking. When I mentioned the possibility of a courthouse wedding, she recommended we consider using Simply Eloped and returning to the city where we reconnected.
Laura was so helpful throughout the entire process to make sure Simply Eloped was the right fit. She was quick to provide suggestions and input that met our needs. The services provided were reasonably priced and we found the perfect venue to fit our personalities. We were able to have the traditional elements, such as hair and makeup, flowers, and photos, readily available without the stress of planning.
We wanted to have our ceremony in New Orleans so everything would feel “full circle.” We wanted to return to the city where we fell in love. We were attracted to City Park because the moss and trees would make a beautiful backdrop for our photos, and the city itself is rich in culture.
To be honest, preparing for our elopement was one of the most challenging experiences we have ever faced. Days before our scheduled flight, the entire U.S. shutdown for the COVID-19 pandemic. I went to work with the fear that I may not return or get the chance to marry my best friend. Never had we thought that something of this scale would happen. At worst, we thought we might have the normal wedding-day jitters. If anything, this experience has solidified our commitment to one another. We kept in contact with Laura about closures and restrictions. She was able to accommodate changes and put our minds at ease. Once we felt that we could safely and responsibly proceed with the elopement, we did. We were so excited everything worked out and that we were able to have a memorable wedding despite a global pandemic.
In two words, simply amazing! As I have mentioned, Laura was extremely helpful throughout the entire process, pre and post-pandemic. Janessa (the CEO and co-founder) even took a moment to reach out and express her condolences over how the pandemic affected our initial wedding plans, and allowed us to postpone until we were ready to pick back up.
Given the circumstance surrounding Covid, we had to cancel our original plans to celebrate. At this time, we still have yet to formally celebrate or travel for a honeymoon. Following the ceremony, we had a lovely dinner with our immediate family members to share in our joy. The nurses and other healthcare workers wanted to partake in something festive and threw a mini, COVID-friendly bachelorette party once I returned to work.
During this time where COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on everyone’s lives and relationships, couples that are considering marriage should realize that even though they may sacrifice some elements of a traditional wedding, eloping is the best way to optimize the health and wellness of their loved ones. One should not lose sight of why you’re getting married, it is for love and not materialistic things. While there were setbacks, in the end, we have each other and are excited about what our future together holds.
Planning: Simply Eloped
Officiant: Gina Rivere
Photographer: Natalie Wilson