A simple front lawn wedding was the most Janae and LaQuint could afford, but they were happy as long as they could be together. Sadly, when some by-passers decided to put them down, the couple became the butt of a cruel internet joke.
More Than Meets the Eye
Janae and LaQuint Rhodes had the kind of love that filled a room. After years of dating, the couple decided to finally tie the knot in 2018. However, at the time, money was a little tight and they could only afford a small wedding.
To be in love was more than enough for the happy couple, and they were content to share their vows on their front lawn. But, some outsiders turned Janae and LaQuint's special day into an internet joke. Little did they know, the Rhodes' had far more pressing issues.
One Happy Family
The couple had been together for a while, but it wasn't just Janae and her bae. LaQuint and Janae both had children from past relationships, making them one big happy family. They lived in Detroit and just when things couldn't seem to get better, the wedding bells began to chime.
Janae and LaQuint knew that they wanted to be together forever. They had found their soulmates in each other and couldn't wait to start their lives as a real family. But as you know, a wedding ceremony can be pretty costly, and neither of them were in a position to spend.
Since the lovebirds were both low on funds, they knew that this limited their options. They went back and forth on different ideas as to how they could pull off a low-budget ceremony, while still including their closest friends and family. It seemed like an impossible task.
Luckily, their love was enough to fuel their motivation and they came up with the sweetest idea. To them, as long as they left the ceremony as man and wife, they couldn't ask for more. They could never have anticipated that even their purest intentions would soon be criticized.
A Last Minute Wedding
In an attempt to spend as little as possible, Janae and LaQuint decided to throw a home-wedding. They invited 50 guests of close friends and family, to be held on their front lawn. But while this may sound a lot less complicated than a large event, they were immediately put under pressure.
You see, this decision was pretty last minute as they decided to have the wedding the very next day. With little time to plan, the couple only had the night before to prepare everything that was needed. Luckily, their families were happy to help make their day as special as possible.
One Night to Plan
“Everything we got for that day was between him and me and my dad — and Facebook Marketplace, to be honest,” said Janae. The bride and groom-to-be found some decorations and were awake with their families until around 4 am the next morning, getting everything ready.
After a few hours of sleep, it was time for Janae and LaQuint to enjoy their special day. As the guests arrived, the family assigned a different job to whoever volunteered to help. Slowly but surely, the sweetest front-lawn wedding started to take shape, and love was certainly in the air.
Janae and LaQuint shared their vows and finally, were introduced as man and wife. “It was happy, it was joyous, and it was memorable. It was intimate and personal," said Janae. The simplicity of the special occasion was more than enough for the happy couple and their family.
But as neighbors drove past, they happened to catch sight of the front-lawn wedding. Unfortunately, some saw the low-budget event as some type of joke and took to the internet to share their opinion. "What in the Detroit Hood wedding is this," captioned Krystal Davis.
The post on Facebook showed pictures of the front-lawn wedding paired with laughing emojis. It was clear that one person had found this humorous, and it didn't take long for other Facebook users to join in on the joke. In no time, many other people continued to share the post.
The internet can be a rather unforgiving platform, and the post spread like wildfire. In a matter of minutes, each photo had hundreds of likes and comments. People were making fun of the low-budget wedding left and right. Little did the haters know, Janae and LaQuint were occupied with more pressing issues.
The couple was completely unaware of what was happening on Facebook and hadn't realized that they were receiving such harsh criticism from strangers. You see, just as Janae and LaQuint were on their way downtown to take photos after the reception, they received a shocking phone call.
LaQuint's 6-year-old daughter, Lanashia, had been in an accident. She had fallen into a pool and nearly drowned. Of course, the couple put everything aside and rushed to the hospital to be with her. The short drive to the clinic felt like hours as they worried for the safety of their little girl.
"It Was Immediate Parent Mode"
When the couple arrived, they were greeted with a scene that no parent should ever experience. The 6-year-old girl had been placed on life support, and while she was stable, it was truly traumatic. The newlyweds never left her side and Lanashia was their only priority.
“We spent the night in the hospital in our wedding clothes,” Janae recalled. “It was immediate parent mode.” If this wasn't hard enough, the couple still had no idea what was happening on Facebook. The post had reached the likes of thousands, and the comments became more hateful.
In Their Shoes
Meanwhile, as events continued to transpire, the Facebook post reached the newsfeed of Randi Rossario. As a life coach and a local radio personality, Randi was instantly disturbed by what she saw on Facebook. Not only had strangers taken a jab at the couple, but they poked fun at their financial difficulties.
Randi couldn't stand the thought of passively watching this injustice. She knew that something had to be done. “The life coach in me was like, ‘Let me help these people and let me see what I can do because I know how I would feel in that situation,'” Rossario said.
The Least of Their Worries
Randi decided that she wanted to give Janae and LaQuint the wedding they deserved. She saw their simple wedding as a genuine sign of love and wanted to take part in their happiness. She made it her mission to track down the Rhodes family and didn't stop until she found them.
With all that Janae and LaQuint had been through, Randi felt that helping them celebrate their special day was the least she could do. And eventually, she managed to find their phone number and called the couple. It was then that Randi learned what was really going on.
In the Dark
When Randi spoke to the couple on the phone, she understood that the wedding was the least of their worries. They explained what had happened with their daughter and that they didn't have much time to process anything else. In fact, they were a little confused about why Randi was calling.
Until this moment, Janae and LaQuint had no idea that their wedding had become a joke on Facebook. They looked at the posts, and of course, they were hurt and shocked at what they saw. Each comment crueler than the next; The newlyweds and heartbroken parents were truly disappointed.
"Shocked and Appalled"
They couldn't understand why people would turn something so special and genuine into something so poisonous. It can be easy for internet users to forget that there is usually a real person on the other side of their screens, and this act of cyber-bullying was the perfect example.
“We were shocked and appalled,” LaQuint said. “Seriously? It was just unbelievable. Where do you get negativity when we were embracing love and happiness? That’s what we thought that mattered the most.” Thankfully, Randi had a great plan in the works.
The life coach and radio personality decided that she would give Janae and LaQuint the wedding they deserved. So, Randi took to Instagram to see if the internet would be a little kinder this time. She created the hashtag #DetroitReceptionChallenge along with a heartfelt caption.
"A friend of mine sent me photos of people making fun of a wedding and suggested we put together a reception for her," she wrote. "I’m challenging all Detroit business owners, entertainers to donate at least $5 or services to put on a reception for these beautiful people."
Going Viral... Again
In a beautiful turn of events, people who came across the heartfelt post were immediately moved. "We come together," wrote a follower. "Things like this make me proud to be Detroit born," wrote another. Randi also used her internet-radio station to spread the word.
She asked listeners, followers, and wedding vendors to step up and do something good for this couple. Janae and LaQuint were going viral again, but this time, it couldn't have been for a better reason. People were coming together solely to help these two caring parents celebrate their love for one another.
A Magical Wedding
Randi was thrilled to be able to pull off this magical wedding. "They wanted to be a part of something good," Randi said about the local vendors. "They said they're constantly hearing negative things about Detroit, and to see something positive being done, they wanted to do their part."
In addition to a magnificent venue and delicious food, Janae got all glammed up and wore a beautiful gown, something she hadn't imagined for herself. Love was definitely in the air at the Rhodes wedding, and this was a day that Janae and LaQuint will truly never forget.
Happily Ever After
"It was definitely a chance to relive a special day from beginning to end and actually have our hair down about it," Janae shared. "I had butterflies this time - I think we both had butterflies this time." The couple certainly had an unforgettable day, celebrating with their loved ones, but that wasn't all.
Janae and LaQuint also received an all-expenses-paid honeymoon to Jamaica. After spending practically all of their time caring for their children, there's no doubt that these love birds deserved a romantic getaway, and they were extremely grateful for this opportunity.
Shining a Positive Light on Their City
Of everything that came out of this unique situation, the Rhodes' were able to show off a side to their city that the media was less familiar with. "Detroit already has such a bad name because of different crimes or situations and all of that," explained Janae.
"So to have some light shine through the city was phenomenal to us." Seeing this city come together, whether from donations or just emotional support, Janae and LaQuint couldn't believe how much their community wanted to help. And Randi Rossario was certainly a significant part of this.
An Important Message
After taking it all in, Jane and LaQuint used their publicity to send an important message to their friends, family, and social media followers. "Be nicer on social media," Janae shared. "Social media is not just social media; It's real-life too, and you're hurting someone's feelings in real life."
With a bright future ahead, the newlyweds felt that it was their duty to try and turn the negativity around. They were grateful to have such a loving community supporting them at the end of the day, but there would still be those people bringing others down on social media.
The Power of Kindness
With the amount of kindness that Janae and LaQuint received from Randi and so many others in Detroit, they wanted to pay this kindness forward. This concept alone helped the incredible couple celebrate their wedding in an absolutely magical way, so they wanted to continue bringing positivity into the world.
"We both have a passion for just encouraging, inspiring, and uplifting others," said Janae. And even in her career, she tries to instill this kindness in others and do her part to help people whenever she can. That leads us to the Rhodes' today and how they're making a difference in the world.
Today, Janae's extremely focused on her career as a holistic life coach. She established GOAT Coaching, which she "Created for Boss Goddesses who desire balance in the areas of health, wealth, and relationships without sacrificing one for the other," Janae shared.
GOAT stands for Goddess of All Trades, and through this company, Janae "supports women entrepreneurs who desire balance without sacrificing one area for the other," as written on her website. As a life coach, Janae aims to improve her clients' happiness and quality of life.
LaQuint is also incredibly invested in helping others, so together, the couple established Uncut Rhodes, a resource offering holistic solutions for couples and blended families. Janae and LaQuint are using their knowledge and past experiences to help other couples through the journey of love and life.
"It's official!! My God'King & I are not playing this year!!" they shared on Instagram. "What better way to start 2021 off than with a little more #Love AND #Respect!!" In 2021, Janae and LaQuint are planning to offer even more guidance to those who sign up for the Uncut Rhodes membership.
A Beautiful Family
Ever since Janae fell in love with LaQuint, she also fell in love with his daughter, Lanashia, and raised her like her biological child. This also goes for LaQuint's second child and Janae's biological daughter; The Rhodes love their three children equally, no matter what.
In a YouTube video, Janae and LaQuint revealed that they both grew up in blended families, which has impacted how they're raising their children. "It's important that we, in a nutshell, are honest with our children so that they know what's going on," said Janae.
Family Isn't Defined by DNA
Janae and LaQuint also continuously emphasize the meaning of family on their social media platforms. "'Family' isn't defined ONLY by last names or by blood," the couple shared on Instagram. "LOVE made this family!! LOVE made THIS happen!!" they continued.
"DNA IS NOT REQUIRED ever to be a family of ours," the Rhodes' added. "We aren't 'step' family or 'half,' and in fact, we both hate those terms from having a blended family background before building up this empire of our own." For this family, it doesn't matter that the children don't share DNA.
Future for the Rhodes Family
Through Uncut Rhodes and GOAT Coaching, Janae and LaQuint plan to continue guiding other individuals, couples, and blended families through the journey of life and love. And there's no doubt that their negative experiences have proven that their love is stronger than any barrier.
"Life is too short to be stressed, unhappy, & settling, or tolerating," Janae shared. "Instead, I choose to spend it with people who make me laugh, want the best for me as I do for them, & make me feel loved as I pour out love." Hopefully, Janae and LaQuint can keep spreading love and positivity throughout the world.