WEDDING WISDOM: DAQUAN & JAMAR
There’s no way but to have a memorable wedding with grooms that are as talented as Daquan and Jamar.
Their story begins when Daquan – a competitive dancer and cheer instructor –found himself back in his hometown of Philadelphia for a competition. He was living in New Jersey at the time.
His friend Ryan invited him to a house party. When Daquan arrived, a group of Ryan’s friends greeted him at the door. Daquan, asked for Ryan and was told he’d stepped out. Undeterred, he stepped into “see where the party was,” he said laughing. “I might have thrown some shade, too!” Well, turns out that might not have been the best first impression as Daquan had walked right past the host of the party and his future husband, Jamar.
"That is the first time he’s told that story in a factual manner, including the rude parts!” Jamar noted, also laughing.
First impressions aside, Daquan and Jamar took a shine to each other at the party, but spent a year getting to know each other as friends first. Part of that effort involved getting Jamar to become more comfortable with his sexuality as, while he was out to friends, he wasn’t really out beyond that circle. As they became more comfortable with each other, sharing secrets and intimacies, they really started “hanging out.” As Jamar said: “it was a slow, organic transition from hanging out in big groups of friends to realizing what was really happening between us.”
Their friends were finally let in on the relationship at Miami Gay Pride. “Even though it was a friend trip, our vibe couldn’t be hidden,” said Daquan. Jamar went on to say, “everyone could see the connection and was supportive of us.” It seemed as though these two were officially a couple.
But, not so fast!
Daquan and Jamar still had unfinished business with prior relationships and, perhaps, were slow to admit, deep inside, that they were meant to be with each other. However, things finally took off when, at Daquan’s birthday, his friend Tommy told Jamar to not give up the connection the couple knew they had with each other. A week later, Jamar told Daquan he was “all in.” Daquan said: “I was ecstatic and everyone else was cut off!”
Despite both knowing they’d be together forever, they weren’t at first on the same page about getting engaged. “I never thought it would be possible for us to get married, so I wasn’t thinking in that direction,” Jamar said given same-sex marriage had not yet been made legal. “I wasn’t going anywhere and we really didn’t need a piece of paper.” But, when marriage rights were granted, engagement became a real possibility; one that Daquan had had in his sights from the start.
For Jamar’s 30th birthday, he asked Daquan to arrange his party with friends and family at his favorite restaurant, but at the last minute Jamar changed his mind hoping for an intimate dinner, just the two of them. Despite the smaller affair, Daquan bought Jamar a suit to wear for the occasion. “I’ve learned to just go along with what he wants,” Jamar pointed out. To Jamar’s surprise, upon arriving at the restaurant 30 of their friends and family, including Jamar’s mother from Florida, were gathered to celebrate.
“I do not like surprises or getting emotional,” said Jamar. “But, the moment was amazing.”
Daquan encouraged Jamar to toast the group to thank them for coming to the celebration. Again, Jamar having individually thanked everyone over the course of the evening, “went along” with Daquan’s wishes. As Jamar got up to speak, one of their friends started singing the couple’s favorite song – So Amazing by Luther Vandross. Jamar turned to Daquan to figure out what was going on only to discover Daquan on one knee, with ring in hand and proposal in heart. “I was the only person in the room who didn’t know what was going on!” Jamar accepted on the spot, surrounded by all the people who matter most to the couple.
“The first thing everyone asks after you say you’re engaged is ‘when are you getting married?’” said Daquan. “I mean people don’t even give you a minute to enjoy just being engaged!” To the question, however, Jamar answered “maybe sometime 2017, or 2018-sh.” It was October, 2015. Daquan had another plan in mind. “We are getting married same time next year. Jamar likes to plan and be prepared. I am the one who jumps on the plane and just goes.” Needless to say, Jamar went along for the ride!
They first picked their wedding planner. Or, more accurately, their planner picked them! A year prior to getting engaged, the couple had exchanged promise rings. Darryl Wilson, of D’Concierge Events, spotted pictures of Daquan and Jamar and their promise rings on social media and reached out to them via Facebook, thinking they were engaged. But, when the time was right, the couple looked Darryl up.
“Meeting Darryl was the best thing that happened to us because he made us super comfortable and became a friend, he wasn’t just a planner,” Daquan pointed out. “He’s done many celebrity weddings and I wanted Jamar to have the best day possible.”
Given the couple’s busy schedule – their respective jobs, the parties they co-promote for Pride – “there was no way we could’ve pulled off planning a wedding without Darryl, especially in a year,” said Daquan. They described how Darryl sent them ideas and they’d quickly say yes. “At one point, we started to get stressed that we weren’t stressed about the planning, as we’ heard all these stories about things going wrong with arranging the details.” Darryl simply came through for the couple at every turn, identifying and coordinating vendors from everywhere but Philadelphia!
Curiously, as the couple shaped their wedding, Jamar, usually the planner, was very laid back, leaving Daquan to become the over thinker! “Jamar became almost too cool for me so I became a little crazy!” Daquan pointed out. At one point, Daquan had to ask Jamar if he actually wanted the big wedding they were planning. “Don’t forget, I didn’t feel we needed a big, expensive wedding,” said Jamar, “but I also knew how much Daquan did and so I didn’t want to mess too much with the glamorous, well organized day Daquan had in mind. And, as it got nearer, I got more personally invested.“
A friend of the couple’s, Robert Wise, a non-denominational pastor from D.C. with whom they promote LGBTQ events and parties, presided over the wedding. “It was Robert’s first wedding, ever! Not first gay wedding, first wedding period.” Robert tailored a ceremony that included both grooms, their families and friends. “He made us laugh a lot throughout the ceremony,” the couple pointed out.
What also stood out about the ceremony is that the couple barred cell phones. “I didn’t want anyone to go live on Instagram or Facebook as we were getting married,” Jamar pointed out. “It was way too important for us to be in our ceremony and have our guests with us, in the moment.”
Once they said: “I do,” the couple joined their 130 guests for a breakfast buffet complete with waffle, carving and mimosa stations and dance-off for the ages. What made it so?
Certainly the DJ-led dancing, but more importantly a surprise dance by Jamar.
“I had already told Daquan that we would not dance, so I knew it would be a big surprise, especially since it was one of the few times I had a real opinion about the wedding!” While the couple danced together for fun, very few people had seen Jamar dance. Behind the scenes he was working with Daquan’s best man on choreographing Beyoncé’s “Ego.” “It was so fun to see his silly side and realize he was always all about this wedding,” Daquan said laughing. “This was my favorite part of our wedding.”
But, the dancing didn’t stop there. Daquan had the same idea and choreographed a dance for Jamar! Imagine Darryl having to keep secret and coordinate two surprise dances.
For Jamar, his favorite moment was when they saw each other for the first time, prior to the ceremony. To see each other in their custom-made suits created by Groom Official, was a moment that everyone who witnessed, could tell was emotional beyond belief.
Asked what advice they had for future grooms, the couple said: “This is a celebration for you. You don’t have to do this to impress anybody and the moment you let that go, everything becomes easy."
"Planning a wedding doesn’t have to be stressful.”
More poignantly, they went on to say: “We never knew how many people were inspired by us, but people paid attention to our wedding and have told us they can now see a future with a husband.”
For every couple that says “I do,” and shares it with the world, there are countless more that get to believe they too will someday get to share a moment that was as inspiring, heartfelt and dance-filled as Daquan and Jamar’s wedding day.