A Classic Black-Tie Wedding in Freehold, NJ

Dawnne knew Rafael’s cousin and sister before she even met Rafael.  Then in 2003, the two met in tenth  grade Biology class at Plainfield High School. By the end of Dawnne and Rafael’s senior year, sparks began to fly and decided to give love a try. After 15 years of watching their love grow, the lovely couple tied the knot in a classic wedding ceremony in Freehold, New Jersey. Read more of their love story and check out more from their stunning affair captured by Hak Weddings

Bride: Dawnne Brown, 32, Executive Assistant to Chief of Police  

Groom: Rafael Carnegie, 33, Accounting Assistant for Nike & Model for Footlocker, Inc.

Photography by: Hendrick R. Leger of Hak Weddings

Place of residence: Plainfield, NJ

Wedding date: May 27, 2021

Wedding location: The Crystal Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel, Freehold, NJ

Wedding theme/motif/inspiration: Black Tie, Classic

Honeymoon Destination: Mini-moon to San Juan, Puerto Rico; Honeymoon next year to Spain

Engagement Story:

Rafael had just graduated from Rutgers University in 2018 and I wanted to celebrate that accomplishment with him. He is pretty selfless and wasn’t going to do anything in terms of a party or celebration so, I decided to throw him a graduation cookout. Towards the end of the cookout as people were getting ready to leave, he began thanking everyone for coming out. As he turned to me his voice began to crack and he dropped to one knee!   

From the Bride:

For me my wedding experience started out as exciting, then Covid hit and leading up to the day became very stressful. Covid pushed our date back twice. With that, it began to feel very overwhelming planning the wedding still. We started planning in 2019 way before the pandemic so the things that were completed before 2020 were fun. Like dress shopping with my mom, picking florals, etc. Still stressful but more excitement. The fun and excitement began to wane with the stress and uncertainty of a global pandemic and planning such a huge event. Once the day actually came I felt extreme relief, happiness, nerves, and a bit surreal. This day was 15 years in the making so we were ready. I knew we were going to have an amazing day filled with love, laughter and dancing with our family and friends. 

From the Groom: 

My wedding experience leading up to the day was pretty easy going. The tux I wore was one of the first ones I tried on, so that part was seamless. Also, I didn’t have to deal with a bridezilla! Everything fell right into place. All the planning and preparation helped me feel comfortable and calm leading up to and the day of. My wedding day was legit perfect. There’s really not much I’d change about it, I just wish I got more personal photos. 

Your best/most memorable moment: 

Bride: My most memorable moment was the father daughter dance. It wasn’t a traditional slow dance. We had an upbeat dance routine. We both love to dance so to perform a dance together was a lot of fun! 

Groom: My most memorable moment was seeing Dawnne walk down the aisle.   

Wedding song, explain choice for song: 

Miguel-Banana Clip; we chose this song because we like the vibe and feel of the song. It’s very smooth and laid back. We also think it bests describes the way we love each other. No matter where, no matter what our love will stand tall and strong.  

Favorite wedding detail:  

Our favorite wedding detail was the entire day! From the décor, to the harpist, to the weather. Our wedding day was the only day that week that was bright, sunny, and hot; not a cloud in the sky. 

What are you most looking forward to as a married couple? 

We are most looking forward to just doing life together. Building a bigger and even better bond. Creating our family and growing as a couple.

Advice for a Bride/Groom on their wedding day: 

Stay calm, enjoy every moment, and don’t sweat the small stuff! There will probably be a misstep at some point during the day but don’t panic! You will look back and think that wasn’t even that bad. The day is here and everything will be just perfect for you. 

Congratulations to the happy couple! We wish them many years of wedded bliss!


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