The former Elka Battle was married to Daniel Murillo in a picturesque ceremony on Aug. 30 at the Grand Palladium Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The bride, escorted by her father, was a vision in her white gown, which featured a sweetheart, scalloped corset bodice, draped mermaid dress with a chapel-train, and a fingertip double-bubble veil adorned with crystals. Elka and her bridesmaids all carried bouquets of white calla lilies.

The couple was joined by more than 115 guests who flew from across the United States to be a part of their special day.

The bride

Elka is the daughter of Bobby Battle, Air Force colonel and retired Judiciary Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action chief for the state of New Jersey, and Wilhelmena Battle of Voorhees, N.J. After many years as the director of communications at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Multicultural Affairs Congress, Elka began serving in her current position as deputy city representative for Philadelphia in 2012. She is a graduate of Hampton University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in mass media and public relations. Elka is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Living Faith Christian Center and the National Association of Black Journalists.

The groom

Daniel is the son of Daniel Murillo, Colombian professional international and U.S. national soccer player, and Joan Murillo, of Queens, N.Y. Attending Hofstra University with an academic and football scholarship, Daniel received a degree in business information systems. He currently works at Bloomberg LP managing institutional sales and trading client business in Toronto. Daniel is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

How they met ... the proposal

Elka and Daniel met briefly in the spring of 2006 at a graduation party in New York. The two barely spoke that night, other than a short exchange of words, but that would not be the last time their paths crossed. The very next weekend, Elka was on a trip to Jamaica with friends, and when she arrived she noticed some familiar faces in the customs line — Daniel and several of his fraternity brothers.

Not only were both groups staying at the same resort, but they also had similar itineraries. Elka and Daniel went a few days without seeing each other before they ran into each other at the pool. After a long conversation, Daniel and Elka spent the remainder of their trip together. For the next seven and a half years, the couple remained inseparable and in love.

On Dec. 26, 2013, at the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fa. Daniel proposed and Elka said, “Absolutely. Of course. Definitely…Yes!”

Then, their story came full circle when they returned to the island where they first fell in love — Montego Bay, Jamaica — to begin their journey as husband and wife.

The bridal party

Consisting of family members and friends from high school, college and work, the wedding party included: Nicole Bertrand of St. Thomas, VI; sister of the bride, Monique Bouggess of Mullica Hill, N.J.; Nicole Crawford of Voorhees; JeJuan Ford of Philadelphia; Crystal Robinson of Voorhees and Geneé Williams of Blackwood, N.J. served as bridesmaids. Daughter Kayla was a junior bridesmaid and niece Timia was the flower girl. The groomsmen included best man Frantz Jean-Baptiste of Long Island; Marc McCaw of Long Island; Rudy Racine of Jersey City; Tony Roche of Queens; Leyde St. Leger of Brooklyn and nephew Andre Tucker of Queens.

The reception

Following the perfect outdoor gazebo ceremony overlooking the Caribbean Sea, adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, the bridal party and guests — all dressed in white — gathered poolside at the resort spa for a reception full of Jamaican food, dancing and great music. The couple began their first dance as husband and wife to the classic song, “You’re All I Need” by Marvin Gaye and Tammie Terrell, only ending this dance with the remix of that hit by Method Man and Mary J. Blige. One of the highlights of the night was Elka’s surprise for Daniel — she flew in DJ Clue,, one of her groom’s favorite hometown DJs, to play at their reception. As the reception came to an end there were lots of smiles, hugs, love and memories to treasure for years to come.

Reflections

“The planning, location and ceremony choice reflected who we are as a couple — an eclectic mix of elegance and indulgent carefree relaxation,” said Elka and Daniel. “It embraced our family and friends that have been on the nearly eight-year journey with us. Our wedding was a deliberate respite from everyone’s lives to acknowledge our love by joining to witness our next steps and the beginnings of our new family. Our destination wedding unified all that were present, charging the hearts of all that love us as individuals, and now forevermore as a unit.”

The honeymoon

After spending a few extra days in Jamaica with their families and friends, Elka and Daniel departed for their honeymoon — a two-week stay at various resorts throughout Thailand. During their trip, the couple experienced local culture, enjoyed exotic foods and to Elka’s delight, even got to ride elephants.

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