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
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