A: One word: “kismet”. I first eyed CJ at a mutual friend’s wedding 5 years ago. We say that the bride “randomly” invited me to her wedding, because she and I really didn’t know each other that well, and had never hung out or spoken outside of work. I went to the wedding with my mom, and casually mentioned to her how attractive the groomsman “with the beard” was. I didn’t think any more about it during the entire wedding, and didn’t even mention it to my friend (the bride).About 7 months later, a friend of mine and I were out for Happy Hour, and I saw “the handsome guy with the beard” across the bar. I told her that he was the attractive groomsman from my friend’s wedding last year, and mentioned how crazy it was for me to be seeing him again – especially since I had never seen him around town before the wedding. I admired him from afar, but again didn’t approach…still thinking about what a coincidence it was.Some time during the next month, I told my friend (the bride) that I had seen “the handsome guy with the beard” at Happy Hour, and inquired a little more about him. She had nothing but good things to say about him, and said that she would ask her husband (one of his good friends) a little more about him. From what CJ says, his friend (the groom) told him that his wife had a great girl that she wanted him to meet, but that he had to be serious because “she ain’t about no games”. Despite being on a “self-reflective” dating hiatus at the time, he inquired more about me and decided that he wanted to reach out. Within the next week, he sent me a message on Facebook complimenting me on my “beautiful brown skin” (which I thought was corny, yet sweet), we set up a dinner date for the following week, and the rest is history.The Proposal was like something you would see on TV. It was definitely a surprise (which I swore he could not pull off, because I am super nosey). It was amazing!My cousin was in town for the weekend (he was in on it), so the three of us were just hanging out around town. I was really hungry and ready to eat, but they both kept saying that they weren’t really hungry. I finally got frustrated and told them that THEY didn’t have to eat, but I was, so we went to one of our favorite sushi restaurants and ate lunch. Afterward, CJ recommended that we take my cousin to the bakery where we get our favorite cakes for dessert. I agreed, so we headed downtown to Boll Weevil Cafe and Sweetery and went inside to order. My cousin went to the restroom, and while we were waiting on him so that we could leave, CJ pulled me close, looked into my eyes, told me how much he loved me, and gave me a kiss. He does this often, so I told him “I know”, and that I loved him too. My cousin came back to join us, and we exited the building. As we walked out, I noticed a crowd of people to my right, standing in front of the fountain in my peripheral vision. This wasn’t significant to me because the fountain is a popular landmark for photos and things of that nature. I said “Babe, they must have something going on over there”, and then I heard my name called. I looked back over toward the crowd and saw familiar faces holding balloons, flowers, and a banner that read “Will you Marry Me?” I was shocked, and when I turned back to look for CJ, he was down on one knee with the ring, proposing. The crowd of family and friends was running toward us. It was like an out of body experience, but it was PERFECT. There were over 40 friends and family members that came out to witness our exciting event, and the entire thing was caught on video!I never understood how people cried when they were happy, but this day, I understood, and I ugly cried like a baby. He did an amazing job planning AND keeping it a secret.
Q: Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
A: I picked my wedding dress out back in February. After a couple of unsuccessful visits to bridal boutiques in the city where I currently live, I decided to travel home to Charleston for a few appointments and ended up at the Gown Boutique of Charleston in Mount Pleasant. I knew that I did not want a fluffy gown (because I wanted to look my age), and I did not want a strapless gown (because of what I call my “linebacker shoulders”). I only tried on three or four dresses before I decided on “THE ONE”, and it was gorgeous! What I absolutely loved about this boutique was that it allowed you to customize your own dress by trying on different body suit tops with different skirt bottoms. So you can potentially end up with a one-of-a-kind gown!Maya’s Look: See-through beaded and lace bodice with capped sleeves; deep neckline; large circular opening in the back; champagne-colored satin ribbon at waist; fitted ivory bodice with fish-tail train; cobalt satin Jewel Badgley Mischka Genevieve sandalBridal Gown: Gown Boutique of Charleston (firstname.lastname@example.org)Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids of Charleston (email@example.com)Makeup Artist: Manifestation of Beauty by Tiffany Holmes (firstname.lastname@example.org)We needed something custom fit for CJ because he is very broad and muscular in the shoulders, and off-the-rack blazers never fit him. We also wanted him to stand out from the groomsmen, while keeping the same color. CJ’s Look: 2-button, double-breasted statement jacket in blue-on-blue jacquard; black satin shawl lapels; black satin details; black formal trousers; white formal shirt with covered placket; French cuffs; black jacquard slipper by AldoTuxedo: Made to Measure by Keith Jones (Kjonesmtm@gmail.com)Groomsmen’s Suits: International Formalwear of Augusta, GA (internationalformalwear.com)
Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
A: The most anticipated moment of our wedding day was definitely me walking down the aisle. We did not do a first look, so we were both excited about seeing each other all dressed up. The groomsmen had a bet that CJ would cry, and he did! It was so touching to see that genuine, raw emotion on his face as I walked toward him. All I could do was grin from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat.
Q: Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
A: Fortunately, we did not have to lift a finger when it came to the decor, because our wedding planner handled it ALL. I told her two words: “simple, elegance”, and she knew what to do. With our colors in mind, she set up a first-look in her warehouse, and that was it! Our draping designer was amazing as well, and the two of them (along with their teams) worked together to create our beautiful space. We trusted their vision, and it came to fruition!Event Designer and Planner: Your Signature Designs by Michelle Summers (email@example.com)Draping: Tanis J Events, LLC (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
A: Wedding planning advice:- Start early. Even if it’s with little things.- Delegate as much as possible! It is very stressful trying to do things on your own.- Come up with your guest list early because it’s a pain trying to gather addresses, and it could potentially push back the date for when your invitations are supposed to go out.- Enjoy the moment and enjoy the day. SOMETHING will not go as planned, but don’t let that interrupt your joy.Marriage Advice:Well, we’re still newlyweds, but…..- Pray together.- Keep your business between the 2 of you – ONLY.- Communication is key.- Say I’m sorry.- Kiss daily and say “I love you”.