Gina and Eleazar’s Summer Garden Wedding in North Carolina

Gina and Eleazar's journey of love officially first began byway of a mutual connection in Gina's longtime friend, Janell. One Sunday in 2005, Gina accompanied Janell to pick up her daughter from her grandmother's house. Eleazar being the uncle of Janell's daughter, it was there that he first set eyes on Gina. Immediately smitten, he later asked Janell for Gina's phone number, setting them on the path of happily ever after...

Continue reading all about Gina & Eleazar's love story, surprise proposal, and experiences in their summer garden wedding in North Carolina.

Bride & Groom: Gina & Eleazar
Wedding Date: July 2, 2017
Wedding location: Durham, NC
Ceremony venue: Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Reception venue: The Umstead Hotel & Spa

How we met. Gina and Eleazar’s story of love is particularly special and dear to their hearts because of the undiscovered connections between their family and friends. These connections did not become evident until they met. Eleazar's brother, Derek, and Gina's cousin are childhood friends. Through this friendship, Derek became a close family friend who attended many of Gina’s family gatherings. At a young age, Gina met Derek at one of her family gatherings and later learned that he had a younger brother, Eleazar, although they wouldn't meet until years later. Gina's high school friend, Janell, is the true reason of how their journey of love begins and it’s through the birth of Derek and Janell’s daughter, Sanii. Gina met Eleazar on a Sunday evening in 2005 when she accompanied Janell to pick-up Sanii from her grandparent’s home. Several days after they met, Eleazar asked Janell for Gina's number and months later, their love story flourished into a match made in heaven.

The Proposal. On June 25, 2016, Gina spent the day rejoicing in love and celebration with family near and afar as she was performing Maid of Honor duties for her cousin’s nuptials the next day. After a long day, she continued her labor of love by prepping a dessert. When Gina turned around after dipping strawberries in chocolate, Eleazar was on one knee and asked her to be his wife, of course she said yes!

Describe your wedding style. Gina and Eleazar, a couple from the Washington DC metropolitan area hosted their summer fruit-themed wedding celebration of love with family and friends in the heart of Durham, NC. Eleazar being a huge Duke fan and Gina’s dream of an outdoor garden wedding primarily led them to Duke Gardens. It was the perfect wedding venue and representation of their personalities. Similarly, both have family situated near Durham, so it felt quite natural for this couple to host their wedding in the Triangle area. The couple’s warm peach and mint inspired wedding paired with a touch of rose gold as an accent added an elegant and whimsical feel to this fun and classy Southern soiree. Gina’s vision set the tone for a romantic and chic affair best highlighted in the intricate details of decor (i.e., creative invitation suite highlighting the Durham skyline, jam wedding favors, and exquisite floral table centerpieces). Eleazar’s vision opened the stage for a party best highlighted in providing top-notch service and entertainment. His focus was on serving good ole Southern comfort food paired with free-flowing drinks down to keeping the dance floor vibrant all night. In the end, Gina and Eleazar planned a grand celebration that their guests would remember for a long time.

What was the wedding shopping experience like for you? On Gina’s first day of bridal gown shopping, she visited two boutiques in the Washington DC metropolitan area. By the end of the day, Gina actually thought that she had found the dress! Since it was her first experience shopping for bridal gowns, she didn’t want to make a decision prematurely. So, she decided to continue her shopping adventure. From that day on, she knew the type of bridal gowns that didn’t suit her. After trying many gowns on, she still had not found the perfect match and it seemed as if every dress had an array of embellishments that she liked except never all in one dress. At that point, it felt like a daunting task to say, “Yes to the dress.” Nonetheless, she did find a dress that met her criteria of “must-haves,” but opted to keep shopping because she didn’t have that special moment that most brides tell you about when shopping. Indeed, she kept circling back to her dress and then realized that it was the perfect match. She also found this dress within budget! Once she knew the designer and style, she searched for local trunk shows within the area and purchased the gown at a trunk show in Baltimore, MD. It was a happy ending and she left with the perfect dress at a bargain price. The dress was a Sottero & Midgley gown. Sophisticated and effortlessly glamorous, modern lace sheath wedding dress that flaunts a sexy, plunging illusion neckline, beaded belt, and lace cap-sleeves. Complete with illusion back with ruched details. Finished with pearl buttons over zipper closure. Ivory over mocha accent.

Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? Gina and Eleazar added a “fiesta” flare to their wedding in celebration of the bride’s Mexican heritage. Guests were given maracas to shake as the bride and groom made their grand exit.

Bridesmaids Gifts: Custom Hangers, Music Concert Tickets (Cher/Jill Scott) & Makeup Application
Favorite Item on Menu: BBQ Chipotle Ribs
First Dance Song: "That’s Where It’s At" by Sam Cooke

What is your best memory from your wedding? Bride: The Umstead catering staff said they had never seen an entire wedding party dance before the Bride and Groom entrance during introductions. Oh, and one of our groomsmen led the mannequin challenge…such a classic and unplanned moment. Groom: Our cake cutting song. DJ mixed the chorus of “Cut It” by O.T. Genesis with Sugar Pie Honey Bunch by the Four Tops and the entire crowd began singing “Cut It.”

Best Advice for engaged couples: Hire a professional Wedding Event Planner.

Photography: Krystal Kast Photographers
Ceremony venue: Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Reception venue: The Umstead Hotel & Spa
Veils and Headpieces: Bella Mera Bridal Boutique
Jewelry: Mervis Import Diamonds
Dress Store: Alfred Angelo Bridal
Dress Store: Katherine's Bridal Boutique
Shoes: SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker
Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Lapel
Dress Store: Elegant Touch Bridal and Tuxedo
Transportation: Lifestyle Limousine Company
Makeup Artist: S. Davis Makeup Artistry, LLC
Linens & Coverings: CE Rental
Invitation Designer: Indigo Envelope
DJ: Dancing on the Cloud by DJ Harlem
Florals: Tre Bella Flowers
Equipment Rentals: Theme Works
Design and Decor: Greenhouse Picker Sisters
Event Planner: Kast Events
Bakery: Simply Cakes LLC
Accommodations: 21c Hotel

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