If you’re looking for ways to help support the local Black community, following, elevating, and hiring New England’s Black-owned wedding businesses isn’t a bad place to begin your ongoing efforts. And by enlisting the pros highlighted below—from a husband-and-wife photography team with an infatuation for seaside soirees to a makeup artist who’s glammed up an Academy Award-winning actress, among other famous faces—you’re guaranteed to put together an all-star vendor team.
The list is intended only as a starting point and we’d love to expand our guide by including additional New England-based vendors. Let us know who you think couples should know about by emailing [email protected].
Delectable Desires Pastries and Cakes
Carlene O’Garro started baking cakes with her mother at age four, and many years later—after relinquishing an acceptance letter to law school to instead chase her culinary dreams—she was back at it in her own kitchen. With a culinary-school degree in hand, O’Garro started Delectable Desires in 2007 and later opened the company’s first storefront in West Roxbury in 2015. These days, the baker specializes in custom cakes with a signature look: Towering tiers, quilted detailing, rhinestone trim, and abundant flowers.
1755 Centre St., West Roxbury, 857-273-3244, delectabledesires.net.
Sam’s Spot Catering
It’s impossible not to feel your stomach begin to rumble while browsing Sam’s Spot Catering’s menu or Instagram feed, which features mouthwatering southern and Caribbean cuisine. Inspired by her grandmothers’ cooking, owner Samantha Anson started the company in 2014 with help from her mother and friends. Fast forward six years later, her business has grown by leaps and bounds with a plethora of options to cater to your taste buds, including honey BBQ wings, curried lobster, and baked macaroni and cheese.
Deejay Mot knows just how to get the party started—and keep it going. He begins with a highly organized planning process, which includes sharing a comprehensive form that outlines all of the music choices that couples need to make before the big day. Then, when it’s time to hit the dance floor, he’ll play a selection of top-40 hits, electronic tunes, hip-hop favorites, and more, all guaranteed to have even the shyest of guests showing off their moves. Bonus: He also offers uplighting and fog effects, including one that’ll make it look like you’re dancing on clouds.
DJ Backspin Entertainment
Freddy Fontaine first dreamed of being a DJ at age 14. Decades later, after gaining local acclaim for his work as at various events and venues, the Brockton native launched his own entertainment company in 2010. Now, with 22 years of experience under his belt, you can rest assured he’ll impeccably handle the music component of your big day, whether he’s flexing his top-notch planning skills or expertly reading the crowd to mix in songs that match the vibe of the evening.
With 16 years in the industry under his belt, you can trust DJ iET to make your dance floor the highlight of the night. For this local pro, all it takes is a vast library of music that can be tailored precisely to your tastes and a knack for first-rate customer service, including getting to know both members of the happy couple before the big day, swiftly answering any and all questions that come up, and catering to each pair’s unique cultural traditions.
Mike Amado, owner and president of Entertainment Specialists, has been a staple in the Boston celebration scene for over three decades. His career, which began when he started DJing at parties in high school, eventually lead him on to perform for and alongside names like Steven Tyler, Will Smith, Run DMC, and Ice Cube, among other hip hop and rock superstars. These days, in addition to performing at weddings and other events himself, Amado’s company maintains a long list of top-notch bands and DJs that you can book for your celebration, and also offers lighting, photobooth, and AV services.
If you’re in search of a planner who truly does it all, look no further than AJ Williams. The Boston- and Nantucket-based expert, whose varied background includes experience in publishing, catering, fashion, and marketing, can handle all of the design and logistical aspects of your event from start to finish, including floral design, audiovisuals, and more. When it comes to orchestrating your event, Williams and her team pride themselves on their meticulous approach and an ability to anticipate needs before they arise. As for the look of your day: It’s all about memory-making customization and ahead-of-the-curve style.
75 Newbury St., Boston, 627-267-2244, ajwevents.com.
Behind the Design
As a wedding planner, Hermela Belachew is the total package. With six years of experience, Belachew effortlessly combines a knack for organization and problem-solving with an exacting eye for details and design. The result: Romantic, one-of-a-kind affairs that go off without a hitch.
275 Boston Providence Hwy., Norwood, 857-991-6104, behindthedesign.net.
Designed by Delsie
Company owner Pearl Farquharson kicks off the planning process with a free consultation, taking the time to get to know both you as a couple and the unique vision you have for your special day. Catering to bespoke celebrations of all sizes and scopes, her Boston- and Providence-based team’s lengthy roster of services includes everything from planning and designing full-scale fetes to coordinating elegant elopements and microweddings—an increasingly popular option for today’s brides and grooms.
Endless Flair Events
Everything you need to know about Ieasha James’s planning firm lies in its name, Endless Flair; her celebrations are never short on style or surprise. How does she do it? By never overlooking a single detail, whether that’s finding the perfect charger to complement the rest of your tablescape or pinpointing an unexpected spot in a room for a balloon installation.
M&M Elite Events
Helmed by Myriam Michel, this Boston-based event production and design firm handles all manner of special celebrations (see: the private birthday party Michel once dreamed up for former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson) but it’s the company’s wedding work that truly shines. Trust the team to handily coordinate every last detail of your big day, from curating and overseeing a top-tier vendor team to dropping off welcome bags for your nearest and dearest.
The Social Butterflies
As their company’s name suggests, co-founders Valerie Francois (who also works as a floral designer for O Luxe Design) and Paige Pasley love a good party. As event planners, coordinators, and designers, they established the Social Butterflies in 2017, and today, the two want nothing more than to help you make your dream celebration a reality with a little help from the perfect venue, imaginative décor, personalized favors, and stunning florals.
O Luxe Design
Get ready to see your guests’ jaws drop to the floor, because that’s the power of Erica Jones’s showstopping floral arrangements. Jones (who started her career in the industry as a wedding planner before homing in on design) and team do it all: floral bouquets, centerpieces, chandeliers, arches, and walls. The company also offers event design packages that encompass tableware, furniture, and linen rentals, as well as custom-built altar backdrops. Another specialty? Planning Indian, Pakistani, and Bengali weddings, teeming with color and style.
Sydney Smith Designs
Whether your look is romantic and rustic or modern and ultra-glam, Sydney Smith will enhance your vision with flowers and signage that adds major wow-factor. Custom gold “Mr. and Mrs.” signage for your sweetheart table, gorgeous acrylic menus, and floral centerpieces that look straight out of an enchanted garden are just some of the tricks Smith has up her sleeve. But with her know-how, the possibilities are practically endless.
Boston Beauty Bar
The secret behind many a Boston-area bride’s wedding-day glow? Nykia Gurley (also known as Nicky Bundles), an experienced makeup artist with a hair-and-makeup studio located in the heart of downtown Boston. In addition to executing flawless, runway-ready looks and locks for brides on their big day, Gurley strives to help women maximize their self-esteem and feel beautiful inside and out, whether she’s working with someone who’s about to walk down the aisle or a woman in one of the domestic violence shelters where she proudly volunteers.
333 Washington St., 617-958-1115, bostonbeautybar.as.me.
Makeovers by Ligia
Every bride deserves to feel pampered on her wedding day. So says makeup artist Ligia Centeno, who creates stunning (and decidedly natural) looks for clients throughout New England. Backed by more than a decade of experience, Centeno is especially skilled in the art of airbrushing—a technique she’ll happily demonstrate during your pre-wedding trial.
Makeup artist and photographer Joanne Petit-Frere’s got the magic touch when it comes to bringing out every bride’s inherent beauty on her wedding day—and the resume to back it up. After graduating from Mass Art, she embarked on career in the beauty world, which—after 17 years in this biz—has included work for Maybelline and Bobbi Brown, features in magazines, ads, and on runways, and jobs with famous faces such as “Insecure” actress Yvonne Orji and Cicely Tyson.
Fergie Medar Photography
If there’s one thing Fergie Medar does best, it’s capturing candid moments that showcase the couple and their loved ones with a soft, dreamy quality. If there’s another, it’s capturing the details that make each and every wedding day unique. Oh, and a third: her ability to make even the most camera-shy couples feel at ease. In addition to working at larger affairs, Medar also offers elopement packages for brides and grooms planning to tie the knot in a more intimate fashion, whether in a faraway locale, a backyard, or at city hall.
Flavio D Photography
Flavio DeBarros first discovered his interest in cameras as a teenager in the 1990s. Now, 12 years into running his studio, the Arlington-based pro—and self-professed “sucker for love”—channels his passion into top-notch wedding photography, working with local couples on creative engagement shoots and gorgeous full-scale celebrations alike.
Hatian-born, Boston-dwelling shutterbug Hugue-Robert Marsan documents celebrations with a photojournalistic style that captures all the intimate moments, raw emotion, and romance behind tying the knot. Plus, he’s got years of know-how, having made a career for himself behind the lens since 2003. Aside from weddings, Marsan also often shoots fashion and beauty campaigns—so you can bet he’ll know how to make you shine in your closeup.
Jamal & Lashana Wedding Photography
Based in Newport but serving brides and grooms throughout New England, this upbeat husband-wife team has a penchant for capturing seaside soirees—as one scroll through their charming image galleries can attest. Head to the couple’s website to browse beautifully shot celebrations at venues such as the Newport Officers’ Club, OceanCliff, the Towers, and more.
Jamerlyn Brown Photography
Light, movement, and emotion—photographer Jamerlyn Brown is a master of all three. With an incredible eye, a film-school background, and a firm belief that taking photos on your wedding day should actually feel fun instead of awkward and posed, the Connecticut-based pro, who also serves Boston, NYC, and beyond, is the perfect sidekick for your “I do’s.”
An experienced fashion photographer and filmmaker, NewGenn founder Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah takes an artistic approach to shooting weddings, capturing everything from pre-ceremony sips of champagne to your late-night dance moves with an impressive eye for detail.
Oak and Lace
This Boston- and New York-based photography studio prides itself on capturing all the moments from your wedding day that might go unnoticed to the untrained eye but are never missed by Oak and Lace. Above all, you can expect that your love story will be caught on camera with a timeless style inspired by fine art and fashion photography. The company also offers videography services, as well as drone coverage if you’d like to record views of your venue from up above.
Piper Brown Photography
Since founding her Rhode Island-based studio back in 2012, photographer Morayo Sayles has lent her expertise to more than 300 wedding celebrations—each joyfully captured through an engaging mix of posed and candid shots. The best part? Sayles aims to deliver image galleries to clients in just three to four weeks, so you won’t have to wait long to relive your special day.
Norman Oates Photography
Hartford, Connecticut-area photographer Norman Oats jumpstarted his career in 2012, when a friend asked him to take photos for an event. Once the self-taught talent got going, he never looked back. Time and time again, he brings the one-of-a-kind spirit of every couple’s day to life through natural-looking imagery with absolutely zero fuss involved.
Shawon Davis Photography
Pure joy. That’s what we see—and feel—when browsing photographer Shawon Davis’s enchanting portfolio, where newlyweds and their loved ones shine from every angle. Whether the Medway-based shutterbug is snapping photos of laughs between your bridesmaids or chronicling your heartfelt vows, her images are sure to encapsulate the happiness of each wedding-day moment.
Randall Jenkins Video
Ready to translate your story to the big screen? Randall Jenkins knows just how to capture your love on video for you to cherish for years to come. Catering to clients throughout New England, the skilled videographer and editor has been making films in his home base of Connecticut for more than a decade. And yes, we can pretty much guarantee there’ll be tears the first time you see his work.
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