Vows: Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you
The look of love: Krystal and Abdoulaye share an intimate moment. (Photo: Adrian McDonald)

Jamaican Krystal Cunningham and Togolese electrical engineer Abdoulaye Diaw, who now both reside in California, USA, are still basking in the aftermath of their nuptials that took place on Friday, November 4, 2022, at Eight Rivers, Prospect Villa, Ocho Rios.

The most unlikely connection: Abdoulaye, who had lived in New York, first saw his soulmate Krystal in 2015, but the two didn't exchange words, neither did Krystal notice him. The connection would come later that year when the National Society of Black Engineers held its annual convention in Anaheim, California. Both found themselves on the convention planning committee. Let's just say that Krystal's entrance stopped the room and completely distracted Abdoulaye. He was immediately drawn to her. The feeling was, alas, hardly mutual. She neither saw nor introduced herself to him.

Cupid's arrow continued to hover, however, and would score a bullseye two years later when fate brought them together... again. This time around, Krystal had moved to New York from Los Angeles for a year-long fellowship and was formally introduced to Abdoulaye by mutual friend Erica. The two would later hang out for months before Krystal discovered that Abdoulaye had known her the entire time.

As the year progressed, their love of coffee, wine and finding the best chicken and waffles New York city had to offer created a special bond. With Krystal's time in New York winding down, their friendship transitioned into a romantic one.

Despite grad school, work, distance and a pandemic, Abdoulaye flew to Los Angeles on October 10, 2020, in the middle of the night to pop the question... of course, Krystal said, "Yes!"

A Memorable Destination Wedding

The rustic chic-themed ceremony took place on the lawns of Eight Rivers, a well-appointed villa in Ocho Rios.

At the altar stood Abdoulaye, smart in a custom navy blue suit from Articles of Style and a purple bow tie.

Prompted by the strains of Calum Scott's You Are The Reason, Krystal — beautiful in a Sophia Tolli gown from Modern Day Bride and clutching a bouquet of lavender and spray roses, calla lilies, carnations, mums and seeded eucalyptus — made her way to her bridegroom. She was escorted by her brother Andre Cunningham.

The proceedings were officiated by Pastor Granville Codling.

In an untraditional spin, the Diaws had the reception separate from the dinner, rather than incorporating both into one. To kick-start the reception, the newly-weds transitioned their guests to the dance floor. It was an easy task as I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas was spinning. The reception opened up with the couple's first dance to Reine by Dadju and Mirrors by Justin Timberlake, followed by the uncle-niece dance and then the mother-son dance. Thereafter the ladies gathered for the tossing of the bouquet, followed by the gents for the garter toss. Abdoulaye and Krystal then slipped out to change into West African outfits as an homage to Abdoulaye's culture.

Melodies of Afrobeats, dancehall and even a little calypso, spun by DJ Courtney, signalled a cultural exchange. Abdoulaye's family learned dancehall moves like Bounce by Ding Dong while Krystal's family joined in on the Afrobeats moves.

"It was truly a night we will never forget and, to end it all out, before saying goodbye to our family and friends, the last dance of the night was to Marry You by Bruno Mars," shared the newly minted Mr & Mrs Abdoulaye Diaw.

A honeymoon will follow at a later date.

Photographer: Adrian McDonald

The beaming bride is escorted up the aisle by her brother, Andre Cunningham, to You Are The Reason by Calum Scott. (Photo: Adrian McDonald)
The two-tiered dark chocolate semi-nude cake with espresso buttercream by Vinisha Samtani/@pieceofcake.Adrian McDonald
The newly-weds, during their first dance as husband and wife to Reine by Dadju and Mirrors by Justin Timberlake. (Photo: Adrian McDonald)
The newly-weds with members of the bridal party: (From left) bridesmaids Elniqua Farris, the bride's cousin Lauryn Cobbs, Shelloney Hylton, Miracle January, Kimberly Fraser, maid of honour and the bride's sister Samantha-Jo Cunningham, flower girl and the bride's cousin Abirayne Bailey, best man and the groom's cousin Adje Mensah, the groom's brothers and groomsmen Ibrahima and Moustapha Diaw, the groom's cousin Brice Afko, Larry Balo and Cedric Abgo. (Photo: Adrian McDonald)
The bride's cousins and flower girls Hailee Davis (left) and Abirayne Bailey pave the way for the bride's arrival. (Photo: Adrian McDonald)
Krystal is assisted with her wedding gown by her mother Donna Baychue (left) and sister Samantha-Jo Cunningham. (Photo: Adrian McDonald)
Krystal shares the frame with her mother Donna Baychue (left), sister Samantha-Jo Cunningham and brother Andre Cunningham. (Photo: Adrian McDonald)
It's all smiles as Krystal and Abdoulaye perform cake-cutting duties. (Photo: Adrian McDonald)
The tossing of the garter (Photo: Adrian McDonald)
Annie Magloe joins her son on the dance floor for the mother-son dance to Nye Dzi by Bella Bellow. (Photo: Adrian McDonald)
Krystal and her uncle, Trent Cobbs, enjoy an uncle-niece dance to That's What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick. (Photo: Adrian McDonald)
Krystal and Abdoulaye are joined by the groom's family (from left) uncle Kofi Afko, cousin Brice Afko, aunt Lydia Epou, brothers Moctar and Ibrahima Diaw, mother Annie Magloe, brother Moustapha Diaw, and cousin Lucie Afko. (Photo: Adrian McDonald)
Ring bearer and the groom's cousin Lucie Afko (Photo: Adrian McDonald)

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