Brenda + Billy | Engagement Session at Bethesda by the Sea

Updated: May 16, 2019

Full names: Billy Francois & Brenda Francois 


Billy - General Manager at Artisan Foods Catering 

Brenda - Administrative Support Specialist in the Special Events Department at Cross

Their Love Story

How did you two meet?

In August of 2016, Jouveline a close friend and line brother of Brenda expressed to her that there is a young man that she would like Brenda to meet. Around the same time, Andre a close friend of Billy, began to present the idea of meeting Brenda. Billy and Brenda had their reservations, as they were not too fond of match making situations. In retrospect, Andre and Jouveline were persistent and invited Brenda to visit a youth revival service at Billy’s church. Brenda agreed and to her surprise, Billy was actually the one who delivered the word of God that Sunday. It was great for her to see how he allowed God to use him and she was impressed by how he spoke with so much authority and confidence. After the service, Jouveline would not allow Brenda to leave without meeting Billy first. He later formally introduced himself to Brenda, shook her hand and thanked her for attending. To Brenda’s surprise, he did not ask for her number or anything of that nature. A few days later, they reconnected via social media and they spoke every day since.

Tell us about the proposal?

Well on September 23, 2017, Billy completely surprised Brenda and threw her for a loop. That was Billy’s birthday weekend and she has the whole weekend planned. He made Brenda believe that they were just stopping by his place of work, Artisan Foods Catering, to grab something before we enjoyed his birthday festivities. This was not out of the norm so Brenda thought nothing of it. When they walked through the door, the room was filled with their closest family and friend, in that moment she knew exactly what was happening and could not believe it. As tears began to stream down her face she walked into the room she was filled with so many emotions and the sound of a grand piano and her good friend singing one of Billy and Brenda’s favorite songs, Another you by Brian McKnight. Following the beautiful musical selection, a video montage of the timeline of their relationship and memorable moments they have shared was played. Lastly, Billy boldly expressed how he felt about Brenda and how he was sure that she is the one; he then got down on one knee.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to other couples for the engagement session itself?

The engagement season can be stressful but it is a great season to learn and grow together. We promise you will make it through the guest list and all the minor details will fall into place. In this important learning season, we would advise that you both are slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger.  

Tell us about the location and the overall theme of the shoot. Why did you choose it?

For this shoot, Kareem was a great help. Brenda shared the vision and he made the perfect location suggestion. Overall, the goal was for the shoot to be a true reflection of Billy and Brenda. They consistently like to exude a royal level of Godfidence (confidence powered by God). For the second look, they just wanted to have fun and show off their idea of casual while enjoying the beauty of the venue and each other.

Were there any funny or memorable moments during your engagement session?

Literally every moment was filled with so many funny and memorable moments. From time to time it was really amusing when Kareem would try to act out the next pose for Brenda and Billy.

How has the wedding planning been thus far? Any advice that you would give to couples?

Well, we planned the wedding in 10 months and the time literally flew. There were stressful moments but we learned so much. It was amazing to allow other married couples and pastors to sew into us and share their experiences. In addition, a few months before the wedding, we solicited the help of Melisa Brown from Lux Lifestyle Events and she made the process seamless and lifted so many burdens the couple had to carry. We would advise engaged couples not to make the process harder than it needs to be. Do not second-guess what you love and be sure about what you want for your special day. Remember, your wedding day is just the seed but your marriage is like a garden.

How was your experience during your session?

Our session was amazing! It was such a great time. Kareem and his creative director, Sandy made sure our vision came true. The session was filled with phenomenal service, laughter and positive vibes.

Vendors that helped make this amazing session possible:

Photographer: Reem Photography

Planner: Lux Lifestyle Events

Goddess Locs: braidedbyschmids

MUA: Yani Milan

Dress: Fashion Nova


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