Bryson surprised me by singing his own rendition of John Legends “Cloud 9”. We then danced to Johnny Gills “The Wedding Song” and added Bruno Mars “Versace on the Floor” to the ending of our dance. It was magical!
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Bryson’s family informed me they wanted to have a surprise birthday party on October 2, 2016. I was so excited, as birthdays are extremely important to me!
On that weekend, Bryson and I went to his hometown of Henderson, NC. We went to church and came home to take a nap. My job was to have Bryson at his “surprise party” by 3:30pm.
After getting lost (and Bryson having to give me directions), we arrived at the venue around 4pm. I let Bryson enter the room first, and could hear “SURPRISE, SURPRISE,” clapping and laughter! I was so excited that the surprise party was pulled off!
HOWEVER, when I entered the building..
Bryson turns to me, claps, and yells “SURPRISE!” I turned and looked around the room and it is filled with MY family, his family, and our friends! I was COMPLETELY SHOCKED! Tears were FLOWING!
Bryson then made a speech, saying this was a surprise birthday party FOR ME! (Our birthdays are 2 weeks apart.) The party was catered and decorated beautifully! As I made my way around the room, I noticed my friends since middle school and college were all present! I thought to myself: “Wow, Bryson went ALL-OUT for this birthday!”
After eating, Bryson’s mom informed us that we would go on a “trust walk” to another surprise Bryson had for me. I was blindfolded, and under the impression that Bryson was too! After a short walk, the blindfold was removed, and we were at the pier, the place where Bryson 1st told me he loved me and asked me to be his girlfriend. Both sides of the pier were lined with each guest from the party.
Bryson began to sing “Ribbon in the Sky” (the first song he ever sung to me). As I walked towards him, I was given flowers by our loved ones. When I finally reached him, I knew what was happening. It hit me like a TON of bricks…literally breathless!
Bryson professed his love for me, telling me that he’s always loved me, but now he’s IN LOVE with me, and asked me to “let him love me, as Christ loved the church.” With his hands shaking, he got down on one knee, and asked me to MARRY HIM! After trying to find the breath and thru the tears, I screamed YES!
It will ALWAYS be one of the best days of my life! After we hugged and kissed, we joined hands with everyone on the pier and were prayed over by Bryson’s cousin, who prayed a POWERFUL and PROPHETIC word over our union and our future as one, that we WHOLE HEARTEDLY received! We then had a mini photo-shoot, and the party ended at his parents house. It was an Amazing Day! The best day of my life!
Our first date was at Outback Steakhouse in Charlotte, NC. We had such an amazing time, we didn’t want the date to end, so we went to Dave & Busters for some fun with arcade games and laughter.
The bride wore Bestey Johnson, flower cut out, crystal embellished, ivory, pointed toe pumps. They were perfect for the wedding day! The groom wore Collamato styled Aldo shoes. They were black suede with diamond embellishment around the perimeter.
My wedding dress style was non-traditional, but still gave a romantic, timeless feel. It was a custom Justin Alexander mermaid style gown. It had beautiful beading from the top- down, all through the bodice of the gown and flared out with a beautiful, layered tulle skirt and train. I added the custom made embellished sash for a extra wow factor, that truly made the dress. I purchased a simple cathedral length veil to add some drama to the gown, but wanted to make sure it didn’t take away from the beauty of the gown. I wanted to feel sexy, beautiful and confident in my gown and I felt just that and more!
Each of my bridesmaids are near and dear to my heart. Collectively between all 7 lies 27+ years of friendship. Some of the girls, I’ve been friends with since we were in middle school. The rest of them, I met in college. We have remained good friends for all these years. I was so honored to have them with me on my special day.
All of the groomsmen were either Bryson’s cousins or best friends from childhood to now. His older brother, Christopher, was his best man. Bryson has a signature hand shake with each them and displayed it during the wedding ceremony.
Remember your wife-to-be has been planning this wedding (“their wedding”) possibly since high school. Every idea and every detail has to be perfect or at least as close to it as possible. Enjoy the process! There are going to be things that truly stress her out and your one job during this entire wedding planning process will be to ensure she is as stress-free as possible. Especially the day of. Everything has the possibility of going wrong. I suggest making sure all vendors, guest, and wedding parties send ALL issues to you to fix so that your bride’s day is stress-free and as perfect as she imagined. ENJOY THE PROCESS, FELLAS!
Our flowers were a custom mix from Fresh Affairs in Raleigh NC. We relied heavily on the expertise of our planner (Elana Walker) and Lyn (the owner of Fresh Affairs) who took our vision and made it come to life. We had beautiful roses, hydrangeas, peonies, ranunculus and sweet peas, all in blush, white and ivory color. We had our complete WOW factor in the middle of the room which was our estate table that had a beautiful tree, adorned with gold branches, crystals, and dendrobium orchards. They did a phenomenal job.
The theme for our wedding was “Romantic Glam.” We had sequin linen on some tables and lots of candle light that gave off a sultry, romantic vibe. We wanted our guests to feel elegant and to feel the true love in the room. We definitely accomplished that.
Bryson actually found our wedding venue. We had been looking for months and couldn’t find one that truly fit. We looked at over 10 different venues before we decided to choose the Renaissance. We went to visit Renaissance in Raleigh and immediately fell in love with the outside view, being the focal point of the North Hills area. Once we got in the hotel, we were swooned over the lobby with the high ceilings, cathedral staircase, and modern/classy style. We met Jakoma Martin who was the Catering and Event Manager and immediately loved her genuine, caring spirit. She was super knowledgable and very approachable. We loved the venue so much that we booked it even while it was being renovated, just trusting that it would turn out even more beautiful than before. We were so right.
Our absolutely gorgeous wedding cake was done by Brie Marrow- owner of Cake Couture in Raleigh NC. Brie was amazing to work with! We picked our favorite flavors from her delicious choices, we chose Red Velvet, Caramel Butter Toffee Crunch and Butter Vanilla. We told her to “do her thing” and surprise us. We didnt see the cake until we had our Reception Room Reveal and BRIE DID HER THING!! It was GORGEOUS! It was 7 tiers of unique designs, every tier had a different shape, with different embellishments. The entire cake featured our wedding colors Navy and Champagne and had Gold as its accent color. Oh My Gosh, it was beautiful! It tasted even better!! EVERYBODY is STILL talking about how delicious the cake was!
Groom- My favorite part of the wedding day was watching the doors, turning my back, and then turning back around to see my beautiful wife-to-be Ebony standing in the doorway entrance. At that moment a rush of emotions came over me and I could not contain the tears! Also during the reception being able to surprise my wife with my vocals of one of her favorite songs “So High” by John Legend was also one of my favorite moments.
Bride – My favorite part of the wedding day was giving my vows. I began writing my vows, little by little starting in January 2017. I brought my thoughts together a month before the wedding, because I couldn’t possibly read everything I had been writing for over a year. Professing my love for Bryson, my promises, my desires, etc in front of our family and friends was extremely liberating and was such a sacred moment for me.
Our wedding photography experience with our planner Elana Walker was amazing! Elana helped us to find Donnell and recommended him highly. We were very happy that we chose him. Our wedding planner Elana was simply amazing. She literally pulled our ideas out of us, made it visible for us to see, and then executed them in the highest standard acceptable. We have laughed, cried, been concerned, problem solved and rejoiced with Elana for almost 2 years while making our wedding day come to life. Elana was the first investment that we made and she was worth it all, plus some more! We are so grateful to have worked with such a talented, passionate, innovative and remarkable woman! We look forward to working again with her soon!
I am a firm believer that God will give you the desires of your heart and Ebony is everything I prayed and asked God to send me in a wife. She is beautiful, intellengent, tough outside with a soft inside. She is my heart in human form. She has a genuine heart for the upbuilding of young women and I love her drive for her passion.
Working with Donnell Perry was absolutely amazing from the consultation call to even now after the wedding is over. Donnell is truly blessed and gifted with the art of photography. He has a beautiful, genuine, sincere, and intentional spirit. He is amazing at capturing such sensitive moments, allowing them to be kept for a lifetime. Donnell was super attentive. He and his team was sure to be at the right place, at the right time, for the entire day. He was calm, kept a smile on his face, and made sure to capture all of our wishes. We look forward to working with him again in the near future.
It’s your day! However you want it to be, however you want it to go, whatever you choose to happen, whatever you say can’t happen, etc. IS YOUR CHOICE! Being a bride is a beautiful thing. Take in that moment. Appreciate the applause, the tears of joy, the happiness. Feel the love from those that truly care and love you. Enjoy the wedding planning experience with your spouse. Bryson and I learned so much from and about one another while planning our wedding. We truly practiced a lot of what everyone tells you to prepare for once you get married- we learned how to compromise, how to budget, how to separate needs and wants, how to appreciate one another, how to sacrifice, etc. It was such a beautiful experience and it truly brought us closer.
The funniest story we have would be the first trip we took to New Jersey with Ebony’s mom riding along so Bryson could meet Ebony’s family for the first time. On the way there, we passed a sign for a city that said “DeWitt.” Unknown to Ebony’s mom, this is Bryson Middle name. She had NO idea and proceeded to make fun of this City called DeWitt. “What kind of name is that?” “Why would somebody pick a name like that?” “Da-Witt!” The insults went on and on. Ebony was crying laughing while I sat there driving with a straight face holding in my laugh. Ebony finally told her mom that was my middle name and Ebony’s mom was SPEECHLESS. LOL Every time we reflect back on this day it is always as funny now as it was then.
Groom – I loved our ode to the Obamas’ picture. After the reception, on the couch, giving respects to OUR First Family- Barack & Michelle Obama. The pose was suggested by Donnell and I was ALL for it! I also loved the picture of Ebony and I during the Reception Room Reveal, where Ebony’s veil is floating behind us and we’re gazing into each others eyes.
Bride- I loved a picture that Donnell captured of my mom lacing up my dress. It was such an intimate moment with my mom and I. While lacing me up, my mom began to cry from the overwhelming emotion that her first baby was now moving on to being a wife. Even though she was silent and she didn’t say a word during that time, I can only imagine how proud and happy she was in that moment. All of her hard work and sacrifice to raise me, the best way she could, was worth it for that moment. It was such a sacred and special moment that I will never forget.
We are opposites. Bryson is a introvert. He is very calm, mellow and laid back. I am a extrovert. I’m extremely sociable, high energy and constantly going. We balance out each other well and in our time together we have truly learned from each other and taken on some of one another’s traits.
I love that Bryson is passionate and intentional. By nature, he is a processor. So he never does anything without first processing it. If he is doing something, he’s thought it through well and he knows WHY he’s doing it. He has such sincere passion for the things that he enjoys doing. He has a pure heart and he is extremely genuine. He will do anything for anybody and wont ever mention it. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I’m so grateful that he is my husband.
Donnell Perry Photography is a Raleigh Wedding Photography company based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. Please view our portfolio to see more of our work. We are available to travel for wedding and portrait photography. Please contact us through the contact form on our website for more information.
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