I Threw an Over-the-Top Engagement Party—And It Was the Best Decision I Made (2024)

I already knew I wanted to make some noise around my look. I attended my first Richard Quinn show at London Fashion Week in February and saw this perfect dress walk the runway; I was thinking, ”Wow, it would be such a dream to wear that for one of the wedding events…” I wasn't even engaged yet. I just knew. If I have a gala to go to, I use Google Slides to visualize my look; this time, I made “Naomi Wedding Looks” with different sections: Dinner with our family, our engagement party, our civil ceremony, our wedding. I put in the Richard Quinn dress and asked them if I could pull it (very lucky that I have the access), Roger Vivier had the perfect shoes. I did want to do a veil and incorporate a bow. Because why not? There's only so much time you're going to be a bride or engaged. I want to enjoy this time now and milk everything out of it that I possibly can. Because I want to have fun. And I’m not getting married again.

Our dress code message to guests was “more-is-more co*cktail attire.” More glitter, more crystals, more rhinestones, the highest heels, your best pants, your best set, whatever. A lot of people asked me, “What do I wear?” and I was like, “Have fun with it.” Truly, everyone looked amazing. Chloe King was in a full green Christopher John Rogers suit and a beautiful crystal headpiece that dangled over her forehead, Aja Walton wore a gorgeous white and black dress and had black bows dangling from her nails (we bonded over that).

Devan Wallace is like a sister to me, and I can always count on her to have some piece of obscure fashion history in her closet; she wore an old Bottega dress with a Fendi stole and the cutest micro shearling baguette. My sisters the next day, they were like, ‘Everyone was so beautiful in that room. Everyone just looked to the nines.” It felt like the whole room was beaming.

Even with the fabulous looks, we wanted to make sure there was something informal to eat and drink. I worked with my good friend Terry, owner of 69 Crosby Consulting, who connected us with Tres Generaciones Tequila to provide drinks that quietly hinted at where we plan on getting married (Mexico, shhh..). Something that I absolutely love for birthdays and holidays is a grazing table. I wanted multiple cheeses, endless amounts of bread, unnecessary-yet-necessary veggies, and tropical fruits spread all around.

My good friend Gregory Werbowsky recently launched a bespoke culinary and event design service, The Fifth Season, with his husband David Bechtel and friend and pastry chef Alyssa Battaglia. They helped with the grazing table and the most delicious passion fruit tiered cake. I've always wanted that heart pizza from Williamsburg Pizza, and I finally got it here. In lieu of that cake-cutting moment, we brought people together for a slice (even the leftovers served as takeaway treats).

Blue is a DJ, so music was very important to us. We wanted a DJ who could curate the night and be able to both keep it lively and bring it down when need be. Niara Sterling is a trusted friend of ours, so we knew she would deliver. Before the event, we sent Niara a playlist of songs that we love. Haitian music was top of my list as I want to incorporate my culture as much as possible, especially since my parents are no longer with us. We also had a lot of songs by KEY! and Liv.e in the playlist—both artists have albums that have resonated with us since the beginning of our relationship.

Ultimately, I was able to connect with all of my guests and spend time with them in a very intentional and special way. It does prepare you for what to expect on the wedding day—the engagement party taught me that I need to find a way to let go of being a host, and enjoy being the guest of honor. To not stress that everyone's having fun. Is anyone dancing? Do people like the music? Do people like the drinks? Are people eating? Do they want pizza? I wanted to be in the moment and focus on everyone who made an effort to celebrate us. From our family who graciously flew in to be by our sides, to our friends who helped set up and break down the space, we are blessed to have such strong support. And at the end of the night (we had a hard stop at midnight), Blue was on the mic being a little goofy, like, “Well, we need to get out of here. If you have some hands, please help us pack up.” And everyone was more than thrilled to help, which filled my heart.

I used to dream of what my wedding would look like one day, so I leaned in, maybe a bit too much…but do I regret it? Not one bit. I finally understand what it means to be a bride and how to avoid being a Bridezilla (but remember, I’m a Virgo, so no promises). The engagement party felt like training for the big day, practice I never knew I needed. Now I know I need a planner and coordinator, for sure, and I understand how I want to show up for myself, my partner, and my guests. I can embrace the idea that everything may not go according to plan on our wedding day, and that is OK. I’ve never felt more beautiful and loved, and that is a feeling I will cherish forever. Do the most—and do it unapologetically.

I Threw an Over-the-Top Engagement Party—And It Was the Best Decision I Made (2024)
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