Erica & Mark: Garner, NC

Bride: Erica Gonde, Human Resources
Groom: Mark Davis, Federal Bureau of Prisons
Current place of residence: Durham, NC
Wedding date: May 27, 2017

Photography by: In His Image Photography

How did you meet?  Mark and I met at Winston-Salem State University’s Office of International Programs in 2011. 

How did he propose: Mark lived in Berlin, New Hampshire for about 19 months due to employment. He was not able to come home to my knowledge so seeing each other was not in our immediate plans. In August of 2015 I was moving back to Winston-Salem, North Carolina.Throughout this day Mark had been calling me, which was not out of the norm but he always made it a point to find out exactly where I was in town.​ My brother and father were helping me move into an apartment I’d be staying in, we were finishing up and they were about to pull off. That’s when a car parked a ways down in the parking lot and the driver got out and started talking to my Dad and brother. I thought I recognized the car and the driver as Mark but knowing that he could not leave New Hampshire I quickly dismissed that thought. It wasn’t until the conversation with my Dad and brother was over and they drove off, that’s when the driver turned towards me. At that moment I saw that it was my Mark, I became so overwhelmed that I shrieked, ran and started crying. He ran up to me and we hugged and held each other for a while. After that we went into my apartment and talked but he was eager to go to campus ( Winston Salem State University). I didn’t really wanna go because I was hot, dirty and sweaty from all the moving. He said it wouldn’t be that long and I got in the car and we left. When we got to campus I got out the car and walked a significant distance before realizing that he was not with me. I turned around and was just getting out of the car, it was a little weird but I didn’t think much of it (Mark can be a little weird). He took me to the Office of International Programs on campus, which is where we met but it also is no longer in use. The office had been vacated for a newer building and the office where we met was being prepped for renovations. Somehow we got into the office anyway, at this point I was kinda confused. When we got into the office the two members of the staff Mrs Deana Brim and Mr Rickford Grant, that we had grown close to over our collegiate years standing in the room. I awkwardly said “Hi” to them while Mark took me by my hand and led me further in the room. It was at this time that Mark took my arm called me by my FIRST and LAST name and began to tell me how much he loved me and how much I meant to him. I missed much of this (thankfully Mrs Brim had a camera Mark had given her before he came and surprised me at the apartment), Mark likes to compare it to that scene in a movie when an explosion goes off and your disoriented and temporarily deaf. That’s a pretty accurate description. Soon after he started talking he got on a knee and asked me to be his wife, I screamed and said “OF COURSE BABY!!” That’s how our journey began.​​

 

My Parents are from the Congo and they are known for their music. My mother wore a traditional African garment at the wedding reception. My family picked a Congolese song for the family to dance to in celebration of the newly bride and groom. Most importantly we incorporated a lot of traditional and modern Congolese music that added a little spice to our ceremony.

 

Wedding Venue: Grand Marquise Ballroom in Garner, NC

My Parents are from the Congo and they are known for their music. My mother wore a traditional African garment at the wedding reception. My family picked a Congolese song for the family to dance to in celebration of the newly bride and groom. Most importantly we incorporated a lot of traditional and modern Congolese music that added a little spice to our ceremony.

Our delicious cake was created by Ashley Cakes. We had a three tier cake consisting of strawberry creme and yes, banana pudding flavor! We always wanted to have a cake topper that will showcase our personality and with much research we found a company that created personalized characters of you. Our cake topper was mini versions of us with the groom showing off his Batman shirt.

 

First dance song: We danced to Ed Sheeran “Perfect

 

Advice for a Bride/Groom on their wedding day: Balance is going to be key to the planning of your wedding. Tailor your ideas to what fits best for you and your partner. It is your day and you only get one so make sure you start the day smiling and end the day smiling even bigger! Have fun and do not forget to live in the moment!

 

Photographer:  In His Image Photography//DJ: 360 elite entertainment//Day-Of Coordinator: 360 Elite Entertainment//Floral Designer: Expressions of Love Florist//Caterer: Hilton North Raleigh//Makeup Artist: Natural Beauties by Vee//Reception Venue: The Grand Marquis Ballroom//Caterer: Unforgettable Food Affairs//

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