There’s nothing like sharing a spiritual connection with your life partner. Leonard Black III was raised in the Baptist church while his wife, Francesca, who is of Haitian decent, was raised in the Roman Catholic church, and it was important to infuse their religious and cultural backgrounds into their lovely wedding in Atlanta’s St. Patrick's Episcopal Church.
The goal was to keep things sophisticated without being pompous and stiff. Francesca was sure to add a Haitian twist to the ceremony with a traditional dance where her cousins circled her on the dance floor with white linens which symbolized her passage from single to married life. The bridesmaids brought color and class to the celebration dawned in chic cranberry dresses, as the groomsmen stood in dapper grey suits accented with white bowties and cranberry brooches. From the gorgeous stained-glass surroundings of the church to the cultural spice, the wedding was a moving ceremony for all. Get a glimpse at their stylish wedding and reception captured by Michelle Scott Photography.
Bride’s Name: Francesca Black - Attorney
Groom’s Name: Leonard Black III - Managing Consultant
Wedding Date: 08/16/2014
Wedding location: Ceremony - St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA; Reception - Flint Hill, Norcross, GA
Wedding Colors: Shades of burgundy and grey
Wedding Flowers: Hydrangea, deep purple mini calla lilies, burgundy cymbidium orchids, red roses, deep burgundy ranunculus, and purple phlox
First Dance Song: Stevie Wonder “As”
Bridesmaid gifts: Gift bag with etsy pearl earring and necklace set, monogrammed purse hanger and revlon gel envy nail polishes
Groomsmen gifts : Gift box with a custom monogrammed flask, mini cordials, and a personal note on a President Obama card
Leonard and Francesca met in 2009 while waiting to be seated for brunch at a popular restaurant in northwest Atlanta. Oddly enough, they were both there with their best friends who happened to be in town for the weekend. Francesca asked Leonard if he had ever been to the restaurant before and if the food was good. Leonard said yes and recommended the shrimp and grits. Leonard continued the conversation by asking Francesca several questions about where she was from and what she does for a living. They discovered that they were both going to Emory in the fall and ended the conversation by exchanging business cards. A few days later Leonard reached out to Francesca to ask her out and their love story quickly blossomed.
Leonard knows that Francesca can be a bit shy and reserved, so he came up with a proposal that would demonstrate his love and appreciation of her in a comfortable, thoughtful way.
On the night of the proposal, the couple had tickets to see one of Francesca’s favorite comedian's, David Chappelle, perform stand up. Eager to make the show on time, Francesca came home from work early. She met Leonard at the door a bit flustered. He told her that he had a surprise for her and to close her eyes. He led her to the kitchen and she opened her eyes to a beautiful display of several dozen roses and photos chronicling their relationship. He walked through each photo, representing each of the 4 years they'd been together, with a story of why he loves and adores her. After the fourth photo, he told her to wait - he had one more. From behind his back he brought out a fifth photo which was a photo of an engagement ring box and an engagement ring, then asked Francesca to spend the next 100 years with him as husband and wife. Francesca was speechless at first. Once she gained her bearings she said “Yes!” and told him to do it again down on one knee.
A Cultural Wedding
The Couple both embrace their religious backgrounds and wanted to invoke a very sacred ceremony to blend the two. Leonard is Baptist and Francesca is Roman Catholic so the two settled on a Episcopal ceremony which would have some resemblance for both of their families. The entire congregation was invited to partake in the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion) as they made reverence to their union with each other as well as their union under God.
Francesca, of Haitian descent, wanted to infuse her culture in the celebration through dance which was one of the musical highlights of the evening. Another memorable moment was the 10 minute toast and speech her father gave at dinner which was very sweet yet a wee bit too long.
There were so many amazing memories from our wedding but to call out a few:
1. Francesca's Father came into the bridal suite to just sit. He never spoke, and he was just staring at her. He was imagining her as she was a baby girl. His English not that great. He said it without saying it: He just wanted to be part of them getting ready.
2. One of Leonard's favorite moments was seeing Francesca walk down the aisle. He started to cry a little and Francesca wiped his tears and coached him a bit.
3. Right before the doors opened for Francesca and Her Father to walk down the aisle, Francesca's Father went to the restroom. The cues were set for the music but the doors never opened so everyone inside the sanctuary wondered what was going on. Fran smiled throughout it all.
4. After the wedding party photos during cocktail hour, the Bride and Groom normally spends a few quiet moments together before being announced in. Not this Couple. Francesca & Leonard spent time laughing and hanging out with the wedding party while they enjoyed their first meal together. It was a great time!
1. Be truthful - if you don't like something, don't be afraid to say it. You will receive tons of advice but those same advisors are not the ones paying for your wedding.
2.Communicating - Continue to talk to each other in order to be more prepared for the other side of marriage. Learn to value each other's opinions.
3. Find time to give back to the relationship. Step away from the planning, for example, implementing a no-wedding planning weekend.
4. Do not over share your plans with everyone. Keep as much to yourselves as possible and let it be a surprise to the guests as well as the wedding party (and parents unless they are paying).
5. Don't be afraid to say “No”. Try to limit your guest list with those that you really care about. You may hurt some feelings, but if they love you they will get over it. The most noise makers won't even show up.
VendorsPhotographer: Michelle Scott Photography Wedding Planner: OneTouch Events Florist: Floral Matters DJ: Exquisite Sounds Entertainment Reception Venue: Flint Hill Catering: A Divine Event MUA: Bee Wade Makeup Artistry Hair Stylist: Tar’Ra Troutman Bakery : Buckhead Bakehouse Couple's Transportation: Casey Corporate Travel