In October 2016, self-care blogger and speaker Aisha Beau Johnson thought she was off to get a manicure with her friend Natalie. Instead, she was tricked into going on a blind date with David Brandon Frisbey—the man who turned out to be the one. "Natalie's now-husband is friends and was a former colleague of David’s. They decided to set us up and tricked us into a casual blind date at a bar in the Upper West Side," shares Aisha. "Just as I was about to leave, she said ‘Actually, we’re meeting John and Dave at the bar.’ I walked in and David had a huge grin on his face. His energy was magnetic and the rest was history!"
The pair quickly hit it off, taking a trip together to Portugal months into dating and eventually moving in together. Then on December 19, 2019, David popped the question when the couple were on a romantic trip to the St. Regis in Bal Harbour. "David didn’t tell anyone, not even my mom, that he’d be proposing," explains Aisha. "His original plan was to propose outside, but that night it was pouring down rain. So, as I soaked up in the tub in our suite, he was frantically running around the hotel trying to find a good spot. He told me he was looking into a car to bring us to dinner."
"I began getting suspicious when I was doing my makeup and it took him a little too long to get back. Once we were ready, we headed downstairs to have a drink before dinner—or so I thought," she shares. "We walked past a beautiful Christmas tree in the lobby of the hotel and as we admired it, he turned around and got down on one knee. My heart was racing and he barely got the words out before I yelled ‘Yes! Yes!’ As he put the ring on my finger, I heard a ‘click, click, click’ behind me and realized he had a photographer capturing the entire moment. We chose not to tell anyone that night—aside from our parents—and just bask in the moment."
When it came time to choose a wedding location, the couple knew they wanted to do a destination wedding in Portugal, the location of their first trip together. They settled on the stunning Casa dos Penedos in Sintra, Portugal. "David and I love to travel, so we knew a destination wedding would make the most sense for us and capture the vision we wanted," says Aisha. "I knew I wanted something romantic, timeless, and memorable. So, we scouted (virtually) a number of different venues in Portugal and after seeing this one, I fell in love. The lush greenery and the fact that it truly exuded the essence of Portugal let me know it was the one."
As for her wedding vision? "I saw our wedding as a high-fashion fairytale, exuding Black excellence and glamour," shares Aisha. "Not to mention, lit! We wanted our guests to look and feel fabulous, while partying the night away!" However, planning a wedding wasn't exactly easy during a global pandemic. "We decided on our planners in March of 2020 and from there, secured a venue days after lockdown for the pandemic began. This was when we all thought it’d only be about three weeks, but we were in for a big surprise," she says.
The couple teamed up with Bruna Santos and Rita Melo of MUZA Weddings to execute their wedding, making most of the decisions virtually with the couple. "Bruna shared venue and vendor information with us and without actually seeing anything or meeting any teams in person, we made our choices," she shares. "They executed our vision perfectly, and then some. I found them while searching through various hashtags on Instagram and instantly fell in love with their work. They are so talented and have such an amazing eye for a chic design aesthetic."
After navigating the many changes in global travel restrictions, the couple was able to host 54 guests (and a few more virtually) at their nuptials on September 18, 2021. Ahead, explore into the stunning and intimate fairytale wedding, planned by MUZA Weddings and photographer by Hugo Coelho.
The beautiful invitations set the tone for the wedding day. They evoked the stylish and modern design scheme, which emphasized florals and a color palette of bordeaux and white, with shades of pink, violet, and peach nudes. The planners at MUZA Weddings designed the invitations themselves. "Bruna and Rita are former graphic designers, so they killed it with every single detail," shares the bride. "We became fast friends and this relationship is one I know will last for years to come!"
David's wedding day look perfectly tied in with the wedding's palette. The groom donned a custom Bordeaux-hued tux by Matt Harpalani of Imparali Custom Tailors along with Paul Stuart shoes and a Movado watch. "Although our wedding was black tie, he wanted to do something a little more fashion-forward and go without a bowtie. Instead, [he] left a few buttons undone at the top," explains Aisha. "We saw a photo of a celebrity rocking the same color tux a while back when we began planning the wedding, and that’s what inspired his look. From there, we coordinated all of the wedding décor around it."
"For David’s wedding gift, I gave him an Hermés Tournis Tresse Bracelet. I knew he’d have gold accessories on the day so I figured this would complement them perfectly," shares Aisha. "As soon as my bridesmaid Brittany gave it to him, he put it on immediately!"
Before getting ready, Aisha connected with her family who could not attend. "One thing that was unfortunate about the wedding was that we found out a month beforehand that Jamaican citizens were banned from Portugal due to COVID restrictions," shares Aisha. "My father and some of my siblings live in Jamaica still, so were then unable to attend the wedding. This was heartbreaking, but on the day of the wedding as I got ready privately, I Facetimed my dad for a heart to heart. We cried and he encouraged me to enjoy the day. It was an intimate moment that only myself and our photographers and my makeup artists witnessed. I also set up a Zoom login so he and my family would be able to watch the entire ceremony, which he really appreciated."
While she had Afro Braids Hair Salon and Claudia Pereira put together her beauty look in Portugal for her big day, Aisha made sure to prep back home in New Jersey, too. "I am big on nail art, so my wedding day was no different," she explains. "I had my amazing manicurist Myrna Liz Santana of Rose Nails Lounge hook me up with something fun. My pinky and thumb were white, while I had white with nude ombre and gemstones on my ring and middle fingers. On my index fingers, she added 'fairy dust' that glimmers in the light."
She also worked with Elizabeth Betancourt of Two Zero One Salon to get her brows and lashes ready. "Elizabeth gave me individual lash extensions before I left for the wedding and also created custom strip lashes for me to give my makeup artist to use during the wedding weekend," she adds.
"Given that we were in the height of the pandemic when I bought my dress, I was only allowed one guest. So, I brought my maid of honor," shares Aisha, who shopped at The Mews Bridal in New York City. "We Facetimed my mom and she started crying as soon as I walked out in the first dress. Her crying made me, my maid of honor, and Fabienne, the shop attendant, cry as well!"
"I’m a very decisive person, so I had a clear idea on which dress I wanted before I went to my appointment," explains the bride. "I, of course, selected a few others to try as well, but seeing the Gaga Dress by Rime Arodaky in person, I knew it was the one!"
"I loved the classic silhouette of this gown," says Aisha of the fitted crepe dress. "It was chic, but still made a statement with its large sleeves and low back. I also loved the lace floral detailing on the train. It was simple, yet elegant and unconventional."
David and I were very intentional about taking small moments for ourselves throughout the wedding day.
"David and I were very intentional about taking small moments for ourselves throughout the wedding day," shares Aisha. "We knew that it’d be easy to be pulled in a million directions so we took things very slowly."
Aisha carried a stunning bouquet that was infused with the floral design by Kckliko for the rest of the event. "In terms of colors, the marsala, burgundy, and purple flowers were in perfect harmony with details of lilac, soft pink, and white flowers, as well as greenery, bringing complexity and different textures to the floral work," the bride explains. "The shapes were all asymmetric, organic, and full of textures and scales."
"The ceremony took place at lower garden with the stone wall and lake as the background," shares Aisha. Instead of an altar, the couple had beautiful floral arrangements atop acrylic columns serve as a backdrop for the couple. "The arrangements had white-painted palm tree leaves on the back to make them stand out from the walls," she notes. "This helped to add more volume to the centerpieces."
"We had one of our close friends Terance Takyi officiate our wedding! He and his wife Twyla have been such a tremendous support throughout our relationship, so it was only right," shares Aisha. "He had such beautiful words to say and anecdotes, which made our wedding feel even more personal. Not to mention, he looked very dapper and complimented the overall aesthetic very well!
I did my best to hold back tears but it’s a moment I’ll never forget.
"My mom and brother walked me to the end of the aisle, and then I walked the rest of the way on my own," shares the bride. "We call each other the three amigos. My mom, brother, and I have a very close relationship and deep bond so it’s only right we did this together. My mom cried the entire walk down and my brother teared up. I did my best to hold back tears but it’s a moment I’ll never forget."
During the ceremony, the couple both recited vows they wrote themselves. "It was really important to us that we make this moment as personal as possible. One thing I thought was cute was that both David and I mentioned our morning hugs in our vows, which was a nice coincidence," shares Aisha. "Every morning, I make it our priority to take a moment to give each other a deep meaningful hug to kick off the day. It always makes us both feel better and allows us to be intentional before diving into our responsibilities."
For the recessional, the couple took their first steps as husband and wife to “You and I (Nobody In The World)” by John Legend. Aisha adds, "Our guests threw heart-shaped confetti at us to celebrate!"
The couple's advice to those planning their own weddings? "To relish in every single moment of the process," Aisha says. "David and I made it a habit to celebrate each milestone and not take any part of the process for granted. Especially since we had to do most of it remotely. It also makes the day of feel even more special. We have no regrets and feel completely satisfied with how it all went down."
After taking a quick stroll together to take in the moment, the couple took photos with their wedding party. "Given that it was an evening black tie event, we decided to do black for David’s groomsmen," shares Aisha. "We wanted something chic, clean, and didn’t want to play with too many different colors, so it was the obvious choice. Similar to David, they didn’t wear ties or bowties and kept it casual with a few buttons undone. All of his groomsmen are pretty chill, so this fit their vibe."
"All of my bridesmaids are beautiful with their own unique look. So, I wanted them to have their own moment to shine," shares Aisha. "I allowed my bridesmaids to select their own dresses, as long as they were a dark emerald green color. I presented them with a few options and from there they made their selections."
"For my male best friend, Charles, we went with a tux that had emerald green and black so he’d coordinate with the other bridesmaids and the groomsmen," she adds. "I think it’s important that everyone feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful. We’re all celebrating!"
At the entrance to the cocktail hour in the venue's greenhouse, the couple decided to add some fun signage to get the party going. Aisha adds, "We also had our hashtag throughout for guests to use, #FinallyCaughtTheFrisbey."
"To walk into our cocktail hour, we played 'Toast' by Koffee, a Jamaican artist," shares Aisha. "I was born in Jamaica, so I had a Jamaican flag with me as we danced our way in."
The reception was hosted in the stunning main room of the venue. "The concept was royal and modern, full of floral details, candles, beautiful colors, and gorgeous and delicate decoration pieces creating a very unique atmosphere," shares the bride.
On the menu for the evening? A multi-course meal including options like curry shrimp, oxtail ragu, braised grouper. "David and I are big foodies so our menu was really important to us," shares Aisha. "I also wanted to make sure we incorporated some Jamaican flavors into our options to make it a little more unique."
Fortunately, Portugal remained open, and we made it by the grace of God.
The couple was entirely grateful that their wedding day was able to take place despite all the travel restrictions that U.S. travelers faced throughout the pandemic. "We really had to keep up the faith all that time and just continue to press forward with a positive outlook," Aisha says. "It was tough fielding all the questions about what our contingency plan would be, updates on the restrictions, and so forth. It was really difficult at times to stay positive, but we did our best. Fortunately, Portugal remained open, and we made it by the grace of God."
After the couple took some time to take in the views and the guests finished cocktail hour, the reception went into full swing. "In order to enter the dinner reception, we had tequila shots by the seating chart. So, our guests had to 'take a shot, and take a seat,' which was very fun," shares the bride. "We also, had an entrance song for each part of the day. To walk into our dinner reception, we played 'Friends' by The Carters to honor our friends and loved ones who made it all this way to celebrate us."
"During dinner, we purposely chose to have a separate table so that we could actually eat and take it all in," shares Aisha. "At one point David and I were at our table looking out at all of the guests who were so beautifully dressed, engaged in conversation. It felt and still feels amazing to know that over 50 people flew across the ocean to celebrate with us."
The couple made sure that all their guests would have a blast partying into the night. "We had a late-night snack of jerk chicken wings and festival—two Jamaican staples—come out at 11:45pm while everyone was on the dance floor," says Aisha. "This helped to keep the party going even longer!"
As Aisha and David reflect on the day, the newlyweds emphasize how special it was to be able to host their wedding day with so many loved ones. The bride adds, "It’s something we’ll cherish forever."
Venue Casa dos Penedos
Planner MUZA Weddings Concept
Officiant Terance Takyi
Bridal Gown Designer Rime Arodaky
Bridal Salon The Mews Bridal
Jewelry Sucre Couture; Aurate; Ana Luisa; Jenny Bird; 8 Other Reasons; BHLDN
Shoes Cult Gaia
Makeup Claudia Pereira
Brows & Lashes Two Zero One Salon
Rehearsal Dinner Attire Retrofete; Larroude
Bridesmaids’ Dresses Amsale; BHLDN; Lulus
Mother of the Bride Dress JJ’s House
Groom’s Attire Imparali
Groom's Stylist Cicely Ryan
Engagement and Wedding Rings Josh Levkoff
Floral Design Kckliko
Invitations MUZA Weddings Concept
Catering Penha Longa Catering
Rentals The Rental Factory
Accommodations Penha Longa Resort
Photography Hugo Coelho
Videography Fullcut Weddings