Tell us your love story!
In April of 2014, I met Dennis on Match.com. I had only been on the site for a few weeks before we started talking and getting to know each other. Our messages progressed into phone calls and eventually skype video chats. After our few months of communicating through technology, we met in person and instantly felt a connection.
For several months, our relationship consisted of us driving back and forth to see each other, until I decided to move to two hours away to be with Dennis and grow as a couple. We came from very different cultural experiences with me being born in Lexington, KY and Dennis growing up in Los Angeles, CA. However, once we met each others’ families and felt comfortable in a setting that was different from our personal norm, we knew we were meant to be.
How did Dennis propose?
To celebrate Dennis’ birthday, we went to his hometown of Los Angeles for the weekend. I was told that he would be taking me on a tour of LA with his uncle who drives for celebrities in the city. Our first stop was the iconic Hollywood sign at the Griffith Observatory. After taking in the view, I turned around to find Dennis on one knee ready to propose. His uncle was filming the exciting moment, while people all around were cheering and clapping. While there was so much noise and excitement going on around me, I hardly noticed because of how in the moment I was.
How did you choose your wedding venue?
After having trouble trying to find a perfect venue with personal meaning to us in North Carolina, where we lived, my mother suggested Berea College because of its deep meaning to my family. We hadn’t planned on traveling for our wedding, but it was hard to deny that we both felt so comfortable on the campus because of my involvement in the alumni association and frequent visits to Homecoming and other events. After meeting with vendors and visiting Union Church, we instantly felt at home. Our guests were so impressed with the southern charm and hospitality Kentucky offered, and they loved the rich history and beautiful architecture of Berea College. It was the best decision we could have made for our big day.
What elements were most important for your wedding day to you?
I wanted to be able to cherish the memories made on our wedding day, the photographer and videographer were very important to me. After choosing décor and thinking about how I wanted the overall experience to be, I began planning how my guests would enjoy the day. I knew everything that they would see would reflect the whole wedding, so I made sure to provide hotel guest bags with information about Lexington, Berea and Berea College, so our guests could explore the region they were visiting. For Dennis, the church was important because of our faith.
How did you bring your vision to life?
The vision/theme was elegance, grace and place. I had envisioned my day to have glamour, sparkle, and elegance. My mermaid-style dress sparked as I walked and it made me feel like a princess. The rose gold full gowns I chose for the bridesmaids looked beyond glamorous, and the navy suits paired with them flawlessly. To incorporate the Kentucky background into the theme, our mothers both wore fascinators; a nod to the elegance and tradition of the Kentucky Derby. I felt that the wedding and reception exemplified the vision we had for the wedding, and the guests were impressed by how the vision was shown throughout the day.
Is there anything you would change about your wedding day?
It was perfect! There was nothing else I would have added or would have done to change the day. I was especially relaxed because Berea College was so familiar to me as a student, and I felt at home. I had been in countless choir concerts at Union Church with the Berea College Concert Choir, so entering the sanctuary was like being greeted by an old friend. I had walked the campus and Boone Tavern as a student, which made it a natural setting for me. My wedding vendors were so accommodating and they fulfilled all my requests to make the day everything I wanted and more. The familiarity of the venue, the cooperation of everyone involved, and the beautiful setting made the day that much more memorable.
How did you decide on a sparkler exit?
We also chose the sparkler exit due to our planner’s recommendation. It looks great in pictures, is easy to set up, and is a great send-off for the bride and groom. We loved it and it made our pictures look great!
What advice would you give other brides?
My best advice would be to get a wedding planner! Even if you are detail oriented and super organized, you will begin to feel overwhelmed. A wedding planners’ expertise and past wedding experience is so helpful. For me, my planner was a life-saver because I was planning from another state and she was invaluable when it came to recommending and contacting local vendors. It definitely made the wedding day stress-free! I would also suggest writing down your ultimate goals for your wedding and be prepared to scale back if necessary. Depending on the timing of your wedding, many vendors can become booked quickly. Be flexible! Sometimes your second choice or back-up plan is better than your first choice.
Looking back, what moments were most memorable from your wedding day?
After we had our first kiss, Dennis hugged me. That made me laugh. I didn’t know if it was a hug of relief, of love or excitement. He also hugged me after our first dance. We both decided we would not practice either one before the wedding, which made that moment funny for everyone. What made me cry was when Pastor Gilbert made special time in the service to honor my deceased father. Rev. Gilbert knew my dad while I was a student, which made that part of the ceremony especially touching to me.
Photographer: Willie Wilson Photography
Videographer: Fox and Rayne Creative
Ceremony Venue: Union Church
Reception Venue: Historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant
Full Service Wedding Planner: Every Last Detail
Caterer: Historic Boone Tavern & Restaurant
Cake: Batter & Buttercream Custom Cakes
Florals: Jeanie Gorrell Floral Design
Rentals: Bryant’s Rent-All
Hair: Autum Pettus, Stylin’ on Regency
Makeup: Pose Artistry Makeup Studio
Horse & Carriage: Koger Stables and Family Farm
Hotel Room Block: Historic Boone Tavern
Groomsmen Gifts: Macy’s
Rehearsal Dinner Location: Historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant
Bridal Shower Location: Painting With A Twist
Wedding Bands: Zales