An island bride brings the style and culture of her home country to the hostess city with a chic Caribbean wedding.
By Ariel Felton | Photography by Lyndi Redfern
When Bobby Davis and Rhonda Nimblette wed, they wanted to celebrate in the style of Rhonda’s Caribbean homeland—without subjecting their guests to the hassle of international flight.
“We wanted our friends to enjoy the city they were in,” says Rhonda, who lives with Bobby in Sumter, South Carolina, but hails from the tiny island nation of Grenada. “There’s something about Savannah—the quaintness and the culture—that I knew even my Northern friends would appreciate.”
Rhonda asked local planner Andrea Brown to help her say a Grenadian “I do” in the center of downtown Savannah, at the high-rise Hilton Savannah DeSoto hotel.
“I wanted a Caribbean theme, but elegant,” Rhonda says. “I called it ‘Caribbean chic.’” She laughs. “Well, I called it that in my head—never out loud.”
A Spice Isle Soiree
Faced with the task of creating a wedding that would celebrate the culture and style of Grenada without feeling “too beachy,” Brown and her team skipped the obvious seaside locations and sandy accents in favor of bright, Caribbean-inspired colors. Teal, purple, orange and a hint of silver gave the ballroom a festive feel.
By incorporating small touches of the island—such as vases of shells along the aisle and framed photographs of the tropics at each table—Brown created a wedding that was festive but not fussy.
The bride took her theme one step further with a steel drum player at cocktail hour—a nod to her her father, who used to play the instrument—and a DJ who mixed American pop with Caribbean Soca music.
“The mix brought together two cultures seamlessly,” Andrea says.
Rhonda also commissioned a Caribbean menu of beef empanadas, crab cakes and Grenadian grilled chicken—which was such a hit that the Hilton DeSoto later added the chicken to its regular menu.
Here Comes the Pride
As her guests continued to enjoy the celebration, the bride snuck off to her room. There she replaced her traditional white veil with a custom-made turquoise-and-orange-feathered headdress. When she returned, she and three friends performed a traditional Grenadian carnival dance to the delight of everyone in attendance.
“My intent was to have the reception be a true fête,” Rhonda says. “It means celebration.” Brown, who maintains a close personal friendship with the bride, says she’s never hosted such a happy group of people.
“Rhonda trusted me to craft her vision—and I learned a lot about her culture by working to create the picture she had in her head.”
Behind the Veil
The big day: Saturday, April 25, 2015
Planner /event designer: Andrea Smith Brown
Officiant: Minister Marion Simuel Jr.
Rehearsal Dinner: Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub
Ceremony: Hilton Savannah DeSoto Pulaski Ballroom
Reception: Hilton Savannah DeSoto Harborview Ballroom
Ceremony music: soloist Crystal DeMey, cousin of the bride
Gown: Maggie Sottero from Grace Bridal Atelier, McDonough
Hair: JaKeira Harper
Makeup: Verando Marshall
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Alfred Angelo Bridal
Groom/groomsmen’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Catering: Desoto Hilton
Reception music: DJ Cue, AKA Hubert Husband; duet by Crystal DeMey and her father, Anthony John
Florist: Kato Floral Designs
Cake: Katrina Knight
Rentals: Andrea Brown Events
Photographer: Lyndi J. Photography, lyndijphotography.com