Coronavirus Prevented Our Mexican Destination Wedding. So We Got Married at Home Instead

“No matter what, we have each other, and in this crazy world, our Black, queer love is resistance.”

Delaware County wedding

Turquoise Danford (left) and Anessa Howell’s destination wedding was canceled, so they held their intimate ceremony at their Delaware County home instead. Photography by Robert Carter Photography

Destination weddings, global honeymoons and — quite frankly — travel in general are all off the table right now due to the pandemic. It’s something this Delaware County couple knows all too well. They were prepping for a summer wedding in Mexico but had to change their plans. With the help of some Philadelphia-area experts (and only two weeks to spare) they were able to pull off a small at-home celebration inspired by their original tropical festivities — and the power of love. Discover their story, captured by Robert Carter Photography, here.

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Turquoise Danford and Anessa Howell met at a dinner-club party in late 2011, but it wasn’t until the next spring, during a chance encounter at Tabu Sports Bar in Midtown Village, that they really connected. Turq, a state corrections officer and licensed nurse, gave Anessa, a singer and the development and operations coordinator at Penn Museum, her number. Some six years later, Turq popped the question at home. “I felt her companionship was a treasure,” recalls Turq. “I couldn’t let the moment pass without letting her know.” Anessa said yes before Turq could finish asking.

The couple decided on a destination wedding at UNICO Hotel Riviera Maya, but when the pandemic hit, they pivoted — putting together a union at their Aldan home in two weeks. Anessa, who had planned their Mexican celebration, communicated with the initial vendors and guests. Back in Philly, Lovehaus Events and local experts created an “oasis” in the living room. One of Turq’s favorite details was the invitation suite designed by Lovehaus for the virtual celebration. ceremony ceremony ceremony ceremony ceremony ceremony

The theme was organic, modern and romantic, with a splash of tequila in honor of their original site — and future honeymoon plans. The fireplace (a.k.a. ceremony space) was accented with blooms inspired by tropical climes, and the 1920s architecture was a backdrop to the flowers, with seasonal coral peonies for color and green orchids. (Anessa had told RAM Floral that Turq was sad to lose the Mexican aesthetic.) Whipped Bakeshop dreamed up a vanilla buttermilk confection with strawberry meringue filling and summertime vibes.

There were a dozen in-person guests, with many others watching on Zoom. “At one point, Anessa sat in front of the computer and spoke to as many people individually as she could,” Turq says.

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As for the most sentimental moment? Their vows, notes Anessa: “After eight years together, a pandemic and social unrest, it was so beautiful to hear the words of love. It was a reminder that no matter what, we have each other, and in this crazy world, our Black, queer love is resistance.”

Photographer: Robert Carter Photography | Venue: Private residence | Event Planning, Design & Invitations: Lovehaus Events | Florals: RAM Floral | Catering: Mission Taqueria | Bride’s Gown: Willowby by Watters from | Bride’s Tux: The Groomsman Suit | Seamstress: Ajzha Khan | Hair: Tranzitions | Makeup: Shanah Washington of Shanah Makeup Artistry | Cake: Whipped Bakeshop | Videography: Dean Myers | Officiant: Pastor Kim Kendrick

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