Dana and Kevin’s Emotional Church Wedding in Mount Vernon, New York

In today's modes of modern communication, something as simple as sending or accepting a friend request can unknowingly be a life-altering decision. What begins as casual interest becomes a first date. First dates lead to a second followed by a third, and before long the relationship has become "official." For Dana and Kevin, that friend request followed by its responding "Hello, new friend" message would begin paving the way for the rest of their lives together.

Read all about Dana & Kevin's love story and romantic surprise engagement in this emotional and sentimental wedding with purple color-themes, in a church that has hosted numerous generations of wedding ceremonies within the bride's family. Featuring the work of MunaLuchi Coterie members Ten23 Designs, and Regina Fleming Photography.

Bride & Groom: Dana & Kevin
Occupations: Kevin - Elementary School Teacher and Interventionist (2nd Grade). Dana - Freelance Production Coordinator.
Wedding date: October 1, 2016
Wedding location: Ceremony - Greater Centennial A.M.E. Zion Church in Mount Vernon, New York. Reception - Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle, New York.

Tell us how you met and all about the proposal. Kevin and Dana met in 2010. Dana was working on a talk show and Kevin came to a taping. His sister worked there as well, so after the show, she escorted him around backstage. Dana actually noticed Kevin sitting in the audience but they officially met backstage while Dana had a large plate of food in her hand for lunch. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that Dana and her young single coworkers decided to set each other up on dates. During that discussion of who would be great matches, Kevin’s sister casually mentioned that Dana was his “type.” Dana heard this and immediately went on Facebook to send him a friend request. Kevin accepted and sent the first message “Hello, new friend.” And that’s where it all began. The couple started dating that year.
5 short years later, Dana and her father planned to go on a “daddy-daughter” trip to Rome, Italy for her birthday in August 2015. Dana and her father headed to dinner at a restaurant called Mirabelle one evening. The host escorted them to the table where Dana’s mother was seated. While Dana was excited about the surprise of her mother being there, Kevin walked up behind her and tapped her shoulder. Dana was overwhelmed as everyone said “Happy Birthday” and she learned that Kevin and her mom were joining them for the entire trip as a birthday gift. Everyone was enjoying dinner at this elegant rooftop restaurant overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica. And at just the right moment, Kevin got on one knee and asked for Dana’s hand in marriage. Of course she said "yes!" They spent the rest of the week in Italy as an engaged couple.

Describe your wedding dress. Dana said yes to the dress at Bridal by Lori's salon to a Vatana Watters gown. It was a trumpet style gown with a sweetheart neckline, pearl embroidered bodice and tulle shirt/train.

What was wedding shopping like for you? Wedding shopping was very intimate for me yet overwhelming in the sense of "there are so many dresses to choose from." I didn't have a large entourage. It was my mother and 2 best friends. I thought I knew what I wanted but once I started trying dresses on, I soon realized that wasn't the case. I tried on several dresses in a few different salons. This specific day there was one dress that I particularly liked better than all the others. I wasn't in love but I thought it was as good as it got. I was standing in the dressing room alone and was about to settle for what I had, until the attendant brought in one last dress she thought I might like. And she was right! It looked exactly like one of the dresses I pulled off Pinterest but instead of lace, which I wasn't a fan of, it was embroidered in pearls. I put it on and that was it. When you know, you know and there's no turning back. We cancelled the other appointments for that day.

Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? We had a traditional Christian ceremony which includes, lighting of a unity candle and communion. To incorporate our African heritage, we added the tradition of "jumping the broom" in our ceremony. We also included a piece where are hands were bound together by an African fabric called Kente cloth, indicating the strength and unbreakable bound we now share as husband and wife.

Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: Bridesmaids - Jewelry (earrings and necklace), Custom initial embroidered silk robes, wedding day makeup and a variety of lotions and soaps.
Groomsmen - Neckties, handmade lapels, Custom flasks and cigars. The entire wedding party received custom tumbler cups.
Favorite item on the menu: The menu was so extensive but my favorite was my dinner entree, salmon and mashed potatoes. I also loved the Italian ices served to the guests as we departed the reception.
First dance song: "Why I Love You" by Major

What is your best memory from your wedding? One of my favorite moments during that day was our first dance. It was the only time that we felt like we were the only ones in the room and no one was watching. It was just us. Perfect.

What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? Don't sweat the small stuff. Half of the details you spend so much time planning for, you won't even notice that day because it flies by. I'd say focus on the fact that no matter what happens or what may "go wrong", you and your fiance' become husband and wife. That's the bigger picture, nothing and no one else matters.

Additional details... The ceremony venue has significance in that the bride's father pastored there for 19 years. Her father became a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 2012, yet the couple knew they wanted to return here for their wedding. The bride's parents got married there 31 years ago. Her grandparents and several other family members tied the knot there, so there are very strong marriage ties and history within this church. The couple hopes that the longevity and great marriages that started at that same alter have a lasting effect and covering over them.

Bridesmaids Dresses : David's Bridal Vera Wang 'White' Collection
Bouquets: Created by Bride's sister-in-law, Elaina Moore
Groomsmen: Men's Warehouse
Groomsmen Lapels: Debonair by Design
Wedding Dress Designer: Vatana Watters
Bridal Dress Salon: Bridal by Lori
Wedding Planner: Always Different Events
Ceremony Coordinator: Cheryl Williams
DJ: DJ Jericko
Photography: Regina Fleming Photography
Videographer: Darin Kent
Rings: Fink's Jewelry
Bride Shoes: INC International Concepts, Reesie Rhinstone Bow Sandals
Makeup Coordinator: Robin Doggett
Hair: Bianca Bowman
Ceremony Florists/Corsages: Badolato's Gramatan
Reception Florists: Arcadia Floral Company
Stationery: UR Invited
Reception catering/Wedding Cake: Glen Island Harbour Club
Ceremony Saxophonist: Michael Phillips
Limo/Rolls Royce: Reliance Group
Tumbler Cups: Embellish Your Lifestyle
Sweetheart Table and Chair: Evolution Rentals
Table Numbers: Ten23Design
Escort Cards/Credentials: Grand Stand Ink
Photo Booth: Photo Snap Booth

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  1. RR

    Everything stated was real…seemed like a fairytale. But like Disney, Mount Vernon NY became the place where dreams came true! The entire weekend was flawless, the wedding party…rehearsal dinner…ceremony…the reception!!! 100% Kelly Gardner knew who to call and she and her team pulled it off, and put the pieces together…

    • Kelly Denise Gardner

      Thank you so much for this amazing review!

  2. Carolyn

    This was truly a beautiful wedding. Everything fell into place as though it was rehearsed. The event planner Kelly Gardner from Always Different Events did an outstanding job from the beginning to the end. She knew who to call to get the job done.

  3. Dorshalee

    Wow beautiful story!

    Ephesians 5:28,29 – 28. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself, 29. for no man ever hated his own body,* but he feeds and cherishes it, just as the Christ does the congregation,



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