Set among the blooming landscape of the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens, Eric and Elaine tied the knot among friends and family with the setting sun. With an Allure Bridal Collection gown and Calvin Klein suit, this power couple bestowed elegance and grace throughout the evening.

 

When I imagined my wedding day, two words kept coming to mind: romantic and simple. I did not want anything that looked busy or over the top because that just isn’t who I am. From my dress to the decor, I wanted the ceremony and reception to look like something I would find beautiful any other day, not just on my wedding day! I have seen blush pink and cream in many weddings over the past year, but I added the rose gold touches for more elegance and the navy blue for a masculine compliment. We opted to not have any popular traditions like a candle lighting or sand ceremony during our vow exchange because, like the rest of the wedding, we wanted the focus to be on us and the love we have for each other. No extras were needed!

 

The bonus of having your wedding at a botanical garden is God and nature become the best decorators for the outside space that you can ask for! There was no need to add extra flowers for the outdoor ceremony. I never liked how isolated Sweetheart tables felt, so I opted for a King’s Table for the bridal party, and I loved it! The rest of the tables were decorated with candles, flowers, navy blue and rose gold menus and blush pink napkins. The room was lit with pink lighting around the perimeter since it was a large space and I wanted it to feel more intimate. I used CE Rentals for the linens, and I will say that the upgraded linens, cutlery and chargers made all the difference! The satin tablecloths immediately made the tables look more expensive and chic. The table covering for the King’s Table was slightly pattered, but still maintained the understated elegance of the rest of the decor. We chose silverware that had a slight gold tint that played up to look more gold in candlelight. The chargers were a simple white porcelain with gold edging. My goal was to pick elements that would complement each other instead of fighting each other. The navy blue and rose gold menus on top of the pink, silk napkins were the perfect pop of color for the tables.

 

My family is West Indian and several family members from Jamaica and Trinidad came to the wedding. From the time I was a child, music has always been a huge part of my family’s life. To incorporate that element and pay a nod to my family, the bridal party walked into Bob Marley’s “Is This Love”. When Eric and I walked in, the song transitioned to Corinne Bailey Rae’s rendition of the same song. While it’s a reggae song, the lyrics couldn’t be more perfect for us as Bob describes how he realizes he’s in love and can’t wait to spend all of his life being in love and living in love. Growing up, I would always hear my dad talk about growing up in Kingston, Jamaica and how he and Bob Marley had several mutual friends. His stories of how the reggae scene and political climate evolved during his teenage and young adult years were always so colorful! Fast forward to now, and I have 3 siblings, but only 2 are living. For my dance with my father, I chose Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” because I felt it represented my brother, sister and I. My dad and I have never danced together before and dancing with him to this song was one of the best experiences of my life! I think it was one of his too!

 

I can tend to be a no-frills girl and matter of fact. This spilled over to how I chose my wedding dress. I knew I wanted something formfitting, but still flowy. I looked online for several mermaid and trumpet style dresses before looking in person. Not having anything to do one day, I went out to do a “test run” for dresses at a local bridal boutique. Going alone made sense to me since I wanted the dress to be to my taste and not anyone else’s. I tried on my wedding dress after not being in love with the first two and immediately fell in love with the mix of gold and cream throughout the bodice and train. The sweetheart neckline allowed me to not feel hot or claustrophobic in the expected spring heat. While I wanted the decor to be simple and elegant, I wanted to look glamorous and feminine. The Allure Bridals dress did that and more.My bridesmaids are all different heights, sizes, and personalities. It didn’t make sense to make them all wear the same dress. I chose Vera Wang’s White collection for David’s Bridal for their dresses because 1) Vera Wang is bridal. Period. 2) She had the perfect shade of blush pink in her collection, and 3) The collection had over 10 styles of dresses that flattered almost any body type. I allowed my bridesmaids to pick out their own style of dress to accommodate their style and level of comfort, my only stipulation was that it be in the blush pink shade. This helped me avoid so much headache when it came to finding something to “fit” everyone. Eric and I always knew he would wear navy blue to fit in with the navy accents. He chose a patterned Kenneth Cole blazer with a black and navy houndstooth print blazer with black tuxedo pants last summer. Closer to the wedding date, I started to talk about how expensive and glamorous my dress made me feel. Eric began to feel a little jealous and went out to get a new tux one week before the wedding! His all navy Calvin Klein tux with black lapel was perfect! The groomsmen wore black Kenneth Cole tuxes were a great compliment.

 

After meeting through a mutual friend, Eric and I dated for almost a year a half before we took our first international trip together to Italy. The previous summer, we were planning to go to Jamaica together, but we both suddenly became unemployed. Nothing brings you closer together than having tons of time due to being unemployed 🙂 Our trip to Italy was a celebration of new jobs and really just enjoying our time with each other. We went to Rome for Easter Mass at the Vatican in April 2017. After arriving in Rome and checking into the hotel, I took a nap while Eric went to get our tickets for mass at the Vatican. I woke up around 5pm and found Eric laying next to me telling me how much he loved me and how excited he was to be with me. Let’s backtrack–Eric and I talked about marriage prior to this. We looked at rings, talked about venues, the whole nine. At that moment I kept thinking 1) this is really happening and 2) this is really happening with my hair wrapped up! I couldn’t get past the fact that I wrapped my hair up in a scarf to take a nap and now I was going to get engaged with my hair wrapped up. As Eric continued to confess his love, he reached into his pocket and pulled out…a rosary. My face immediately fell, and he knew he had me fooled. He probably laughed for almost 10 minutes then explained that he got me the rosary while out since I said I could not find mine. Irritated, I got dressed for our dinner reservation at the restaurant Mirabelle that overlooked the city. Somehow we decided a 7 course meal at 7:30pm was a good idea after 7 hours on a plane. Because I am a control freak, I picked this restaurant for the ambiance in case Eric proposed. The restaurant was stunning! It overlooked Rome just as the city began to light up and the sun set. The whole back side of the restaurant was glass. After the 4th course, Eric left to go to the restroom. I quickly patted down his jacket. Surely the ring would be in there if he was going to propose. No ring. I knew I didn’t see a bulge anywhere on him when he go up. I figured I jumped the gun and tonight would just be dinner and nothing else. The next 4 minutes or so happened super-fast. Eric came back to the table and within a minute or so he proposed! The ring was in his pants pocket. I think I said yes to the ring first then yes to him since it was love at first sight with my engagement ring! A large table of Chinese tourists realized what was going on and one by one started to give us the thumbs up to celebrate.

 

Seeing all of our family and friends interact. I have been told I have a knack of making people feel special and unique. So much so that they can forget I have other friends and family. Eric has this same knack. It was amazing to see everyone we know and interact with individually have a great time as a group. I did mixed seating at the tables that forced families and friends from each of our guests lists to interact and not rely on familiarity alone. It worked out perfectly!