Durham Couple’s Destination Wedding Story

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Robert Cheek and Joy McMillan celebrated their love story in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Robert Cheek and Joy McMillan at their wedding dancing on the beaches of Cancun.

By Isabella Reilly | Photography by Rock’n’Love Photography

Wedding Date Oct. 15, 2022

Occupations Joy is a radiation therapist at Duke University Hospital, and Robert works as a final assembly electrical technician for Altec in Creedmoor, North Carolina.

Crossed Paths The couple met through a mutual acquaintance at a Raleigh event in 2015. Joy says that the pair started out as friends, but she and Robert shared a “raw honesty,” which drew them closer and allowed their romance to “grow organically” after just three months of knowing each other. “It happened so naturally,” Joy says.

The Proposal Robert popped the question in March 2020 while the couple celebrated Joy’s 40th birthday at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New Orleans. “After midnight, Robert asked me to come downstairs to the lobby area,” Joy recalls. “There was a gazebo and romantic courtyard setting, with a bucket of Champagne on ice and two glasses.” While she was suspecting a proposal, Joy says she was still shocked when it happened.

Robert Cheek and Joy McMillan with their wedding party in Cancun

The Big Day Everything about the destination wedding at the Royalton Riviera Cancun in Riviera Maya, Mexico, “was absolutely perfect,” Joy says. She said “I do” in a gown from Gavin Christianson Bridal, and the couple incorporated traditional Mexican food, tequila tastings, maraca wedding favors and a mariachi band into their celebration. “I always envisioned having a destination wedding,” Joy says, adding that they chose Cancun to ensure the trip was affordable for their 75 guests.

Favorite Moments “One of my favorite details would have to be the reception layout,” Joy says, adding that every element was flawless. Robert says he cherishes the memory of watching his soon-to-be wife walk down the aisle. “He finally [saw] all the hard work and effort I [had planned] over the past year and a half,” Joy says. “I am truly blessed and thankful for all who traveled to see our union and how my vision came true.”

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