Two Become One: The Haleys Say "I Do" Old Hollywood Style

Bride: Tamika Rice
Groom: Bakari Haley
Homebase: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Wedding Date: September 4, 2010
Wedding Location: The Historic Chamberlin; Fort Monroe, Virginia

Save the Best For Last: Sometimes the very thing you’re looking for ends up being right in front of you. That was the case for newlyweds Tamika and Bakari Haley. The couple grew up in the same neighborhood, attended the same high school and became best friends. “I always thought she was attractive and full of life,” shares Bakari. But since their friendship was strictly platonic, they dated other people for years. However one day just before Christmas 2008 while having dinner with Bakari at Applebee’s Tamika had a change of heart. “It just hit me; so I said ‘I love you,’ admits Tamika. And thus their whirlwind romance began.

Nature Calls: The pair officially became a couple in early 2009 and shortly after learned that Tamika was expecting. Ironically it was after a brief breakup that Bakari decided he wanted to ask for Tamika’s hand in marriage. “After we broke up and she was no longer in my life, I missed her and knew that I had made a huge mistake. At that point I knew how much I really loved her,” he says. “I was at the point of my life where I had found the person I wanted to spend it with. We had just gotten home from having lunch with her mom and I was helping her take off her shoes because she was pregnant,” Bakari explains. While he was down on one knee, he asked Tamika to marry him. Adds Tamika with a laugh, “I had big tears in my eyes and said ‘Yes!’ but right now I must go pee.”

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Support System: All couples experience difficult times and Tamika and Bakari are no exception. During the middle of their wedding planning, Tamika’s grandfather became very ill and a few months later passed away. Bakari was her rock throughout the painful process. “Bakari traveled with me back and forth to Washington D.C. to visit my grandpa in the hospital.  When my grandpa lost his battle, Bakari was one of the pallbearers at his funeral.  He saw me through one of the most awful times of my life,” Tamika reveals.

And the Oscar Goes To…: The couple decided on an old Hollywood theme for their wedding day because they both love the glitz and glamour of the time period. The ceremony site was a picturesque waterfront gazebo on Virginia’s historic army base Ft. Monroe. Guests enjoyed cocktails on the veranda of the Chamberlin Hotel adjacent to the gazebo and the Chesapeake Bay. A black-tie reception followed cocktail hour inside the Chamberlin’s Dining Room. Tamika recalls, “It was a beautiful candlelit room with ornante chandeliers, a gleaming hardwood dance floor and ornate crown moldings.” The couple pulled their fabulous day off with the help of Touche’ Weddings & Events who planned and designed the entire wedding. The wedding was wonderful but Bakari hasn’t lost focus of what is most important and declares, “Now that we are married I’m looking forward to growing closer and sharing all of our life experiences together.”

Tamika’s Budget Bridal Bites For Future Brides

Think Outside the Box: Tamika and Bakari opted to jump the broom at an army base. Not only did this provide a unique experience for their guests, in was a cost-efficient alternative to many traditional reception and banquet hall traditional spaces who prey on couples preparing to tie the knot.

Pick a Theme and Stick to It: Old Hollywood was the time period that inspired Tamika and Bakari’s entire wedding day. Once they agreed on this theme, they were able to focus on achieving it in the most frugal way possible. “Waiting until the last minute will cost more; especially in shipping,” notes Tamika. The candles, picture frames and pearls used at their reception to create the desired mood can be purchased at craft stores like Tuesday Morning and Michael’s for rock-bottom prices.

Take a look at past Tie the Knot Tuesday features here.

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