Love Looks Like This: We Had a Destination Wedding During a Pandemic

"I just kept faith that it would work out."

Aisha Johnson Love Looks Like This

Photo by Hugo Coelho

Brides is committed to guiding ALL couples through not only their wedding planning journey, but through relationship milestones and ups and downs. Every love story is beautiful, has its own distinct history, and its own trials—there's no relationship that looks the same. To celebrate that uniqueness, we're asking couples to open up about their love story, for our latest column, "Love Looks Like This." Below, self-care blogger and speaker Aisha Beau Frisbey of Aisha Beau tells her story from West New York, New Jersey.

David and I were introduced by friends back in 2016. Our eventual maid of honor Natalie wanted to connect me with him. I was open to meeting someone, and while she and I talked about him for a little bit, we never set a specific time to meet. One day when Natalie and I were supposed to get manicures, she told me we were instead going to a sports bar to meet her husband and David. I was really caught off guard but thought ‘whatever happens happens.’ David greeted us with a huge smile and I immediately felt really comfortable with him. I felt like I already knew him, and we talked throughout the entire game. 

I expressed to him that I love travel and he told me that he was looking for a new travel buddy. His friends who he traveled with were busy getting married and having babies. We had just met each other, for maybe an hour at most, but he told me he was going to Portugal and I knew I was going with him. Our first trip together after many months of dating was Portugal, which was why we chose to get married there.

After being set up with each other, we hung out every weekend. We were just so consistent from the beginning. We do things as a unit. When we moved in together, I was having a really tough time at work. I was in fashion PR in New York, and had become a director of communications. It was what I had worked toward for so long, but I was still unhappy. I didn’t know what I should do, but I did know that this path was no longer for me.

I remember being in a crystal-encrusted bathroom of my former office and calling David. He told me to quit. He is so risk-averse so I was surprised that he said that. Him having confidence in me being able to figure it out gave me the confidence to leave PR. I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost four years now. He supported me emotionally and business-wise by helping me make the best decisions to grow in the long term. It was a hard time but it brought us together. I am a successful entrepreneur now because of him having faith in me. 

Aisha Johnson

Photo by Hugo Coelho

We got engaged in December of 2019, a little over two years after moving in together. We had to do 98.5 percent of our planning virtually. We chose my wedding planners MUZA Weddings Concept remotely in March of 2020, and then had to put all of our faith in them due to the pandemic. We didn’t see our venue in person until two months before our wedding. The uncertainty of the entire planning process really took a toll on us. David really held it together better than me. 

During the planning process, I was reading the news constantly and pretty much became an expert on international relations. I was fielding questions from friends and family about a contingency plan. We were hoping that planning a wedding in September, 2021 would be okay, but three weeks before the wedding, the EU made a suggestion that EU countries close their borders to U.S. travelers. Thankfully, Portugal decided to leave their borders open and still allowed U.S. travelers in. We were really hanging on every single day. I felt like a crazy person at some points planning a wedding during the pandemic. I just kept faith that it would work out. 

On the day of the wedding, my whole family in Jamaica watched the ceremony via Zoom. My dad and sister were planning on coming, but we found out a month before the wedding that Jamaicans were still restricted from traveling to Portugal. I ended up making a Zoom conference room to share the day with everyone. My friends Erica, who is also Jamaican, and Twyla recorded our entire ceremony from the front row. I had brought David to Jamaica for the first time in February of 2021 to meet them. They had a chance to see David and talk to him before he walked down the aisle. They were really hyping him up. I was busy walking down the aisle, but I heard there was a lot of excitement! 

Ultimately, we had 54 friends and family join us for our wedding at Casa dos Penedos in Sintra. During the wedding, we had those moments where we just stood back and looked at the people that we had there and appreciated everything. We made it a point to be really intentional about that. The entire day was a complete fairy tale-we were in this huge house that resembled a castle. We did Covid tests before so we were able to, for at least that night, feel like things were normal. It felt good to hug everyone and dance with my friends and family all night. 

I’m very close with my family, so it was hard to say goodbye to them after the wedding. For a mini-moon, David and I went from Sintra to Madeira, which was just stunning. The weather was perfect, the skies were clear blue. We stayed at the Savoy Palace hotel, right in the middle of Madeira with these rooftop infinity pools that overlooked the entire island. It was nothing like I’ve ever seen before. 

couple in portugal

Photo by Hugo Coelho

This planning process made our relationship a lot stronger because we had no choice but to focus on being a team and making everything a joint effort. It took a lot of pressure off, too, doing it together. Now, we’re gearing up for our full honeymoon, which we will do next year after we recover for a little bit from wedding planning. For that, we are planning to go to the Maldives. 

In the meantime, every morning I make sure we have a really long hug. I visit David while he’s at his desk (he wakes up before me), and I say ‘come on, stand up’, and it brings us together. Those deep hugs that we share each morning help us set the tone for that day and that week, and keep us connected. It’s something we look forward to each and every day.

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