Meet Mr. & Mrs. Pernell S. Brice III

Bride: Mirlaine Onelien, 37
Groom: Pernell S. Brice III, 38
Occupations: Onelien, magazine executive; Brice, development and evaluation director
Homebase: New Jersey
Wedding Date: September 29, 2012
Wedding Location: ceremony and reception: David’s Country Inn, Hackettstown, NJ  

Divine Destiny A chance meeting at a 40th birthday celebration connected newlyweds Mirlaine and Pernell. Oddly enough, both Pernell and Mirlaine almost didn’t go. “My girlfriend Nya invited me. She ended up being out of town for the party but suggested I go anyway with her roommate — who I did not know. I thought, ‘Why not?’ Her roommate and I went, mingled and had a blast.” Pernell recalls, “I wasn’t going since it was in Manhattan and I lived in Jersey. But, I thought it might be an opportunity to meet a nice woman.” And a nice woman he did meet. He continues, “I thought Mirlaine was beautiful. I noticed she was comfortable talking with different people and had a radiant smile.” As the party came to an end, Pernell finally made his move. Mirlaine shares, “I was leaving and getting ready to hail a cab. We talked as I waited for my taxi. When the taxi came, he held the door open for me. I thought that was a good sign.”

Family Matters Both Mirlaine and Pernell were smitten. “Our courtship was not a whirlwind. We took our time and got to know one another,” says Mirlaine. She adds,”I learned Pernell is a great communicator. He wanted to talk on the phone (not text), he asked questions, he wanted to know who I was, what I was about and what I wanted in life. Pernell agrees and adds that it was Mirlaine’s close-knit family that made him want to get serious. “Our courtship was interesting for me as an African-American. Mirlaine is Haitian, and I strategically assessed that I was courting Mirlaine, her parents, her sister, her aunts, her uncles and godchildren. It was fun filled and involved eating tons of great Haitian food.” He quips, “I probably realized I was in love after the first meal she prepared for me. Seriously single ladies, cooking does make a difference!”

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[All images (excluding honeymoon pic) by Bryan Madrid Photography.]

Romance & Finance By the end of 2011, Pernell was ready to ask for Mirlaine’s hand in marriage.”We talked about marriage so I knew [a proposal] was coming. I just didn’t know when,” admits Mirlaine. After attending a pre-New Year’s Eve party, Pernell made a detour on their way home and drove to Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan. Mirlaine was nervous since it was after 1:00A.M. but Pernell assured her they were safe. He decided to propose in this park because it was where the couple had their first picnic. Mirlaine said yes and all was blissful in their world. However shortly after getting engaged, Pernell lost his job. “Normally that news would put me in panic mode but I knew we would get through it because of our faith in God,” confesses Mirlaine. Pernell says, “I was so nervous about breaking the bad news to Mirlaine but she was cool about it. It made me value her even more.”

Culture, Class and Camaraderie “Our wedding theme was vintage. We wanted a mature, classic feel and took that into consideration when selecting the venue, my dress and even displayed old family photos in the cocktail rooms,” shares Mirlaine. The bride and groom took full advantage of their resources while wedding planning like enlisting the talents of loved ones to create their programs and decorate their broom. Mirlaine even wore her own DIY hat to create some of the decor. A bona fide highlight for both Mirlaine and Pernell, who penned their own wedding vows, were the country flags guests were given during the reception. “I’m an honorary West-Indian American. I love the various [Caribbean] cultures: music, food, rum, etc. So, I figured it would add a real coming together of cultures and it would also be a cool wedding gift for our guests!”

Mirlaine’s Money-Saving Tips for Future Brides

Don’t Be a Mag Hag “Do not buy every wedding book and magazine out there. When you do your bridal registry you will get all these magazines for free,” warns Merlaine.

Friends & Family Discount Advises Mirlaine, “Tap into your [loved ones] and don’t be afraid to use their talents. My cousin’s sister in-law designed and printed our wedding invites as a gift. My mother in- law’s friend made our broom. My godbrother is a graphic designer and helped create our programs.”

Don’t Fall for the Okey Doke “Buy things at a non-bridal store and shop around on websites like Etsy, Amazon and Lightinthebox to get an idea of what you should be paying for things,” shares Mirlaine.  

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

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Venue: David’s Country Inn, Hackettstown, NJ

Wedding dress: Watters Two

Photographer: Bryan Madrid Photography

Videographer: Shar Adrias
 of Movements by Shar

Officiants: Reverend Gregory Davis and Deacon Montas Onelien

Hairstylist: Alnissa Hanks; Glamorous Hairstyles, Union, NJ

Makeup artist: Israelite Nazaire

Florist: Provided by David’s Country Inn

Bridesmaid dresses: Jasmine and Dessy

Groom, ring bearer and groomsmen tuxedos: Dante Zeller

Flower girls dresses: Purchased at Daffy’s NYC (now closed)

Broom decorator: Marilyn Erwin

Invitation designer: Micheline Jean Francoise