Courtney and Shaun connected in a mere five minutes. The two met on the fly while at a Harlem speed dating event in December of 2010. After the pair shared a brief convo at the event (which thankfully led to them being matched) they exchanged info and later talked over Facebook messages before going on an official date. And within weeks, the relationship skyrocketed. After four years of dating, Shaun proposed to Courtney on December 16, 2014 while their perfectly lit Christmas tree illuminated their love in the backdrop.
When searching for a wedding location, the couple selected Baltimore, Maryland, which is not only Courtney's hometown but also home to the perfect venue for book lovers, The George Peabody Library. This literary loving couple's romantic ceremony was kicked off without a hitch due to the help of several coterie members, including planner Yodit Gebreyes, of Favored by Yodit Events, Judah Avenue Photography, stationery designer Papered Wonders and grooms-wear designer, Miguel Wilson.
Read on for more excerpts from Courtney and Shaun's romance novel.
Bride: Courtney Lynne Robinson
Groom: Shaun Perry Bartley
Wedding location: George Peabody Library in Baltimore, MD
Occupations: Sales Managers
Wedding date: 05/29/2016
Wedding Hashtag: #MeetTheBartleys
Describe your wedding dress! What was wedding shopping like for you?My wedding dress was a classic, A-line with a mild blush tint. It was the 2nd dress I chose, at the very first store. I am not a huge shopper at all, so I worked with a stylist, Blue Lace Atlanta, who helped schedule my appointments. As soon as I tried on the dress, I knew it was the one. I felt completely like a princess!
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding?
Shaun's family is Jamaican, so his mother made black cake for our guests. She had it individually wrapped and boxed and my planner put it at every table setting. It was a big hit and added much more of a personal feel for our family and guests.
Bridesmaids: Rose gold Givenchy earrings and blush silk robes (embroidered with their names!) for the ladies that they wore that day.
Groomsmen: OSK Styles Pocket Squares for the groomsmen. A stylish, great gift that prevents slipping and bulging of their pocket squares - they absolutely loved it!
It rained on our parade!: It started to rain right before the ceremony so all the photos that were taken outside in-front of the venue were coordinated so that the planners held an umbrella for the photographer to capture those amazing bride and groom portraits.
Favorite item on the menu: Jamaican black cake, made with love by our family
First dance song: "You Make Me So Happy" by Alton Ellis
What is your best memory from your wedding?
Our first dance! We picked an old school reggae song, and just jammed out. We were kind of in our own zone - so much so that we almost forgot we were at the wedding! It was just an "us" moment.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Be clear with your partner on what's important to you. I remember early on, I had assumed Shaun would wear a black tux. I had my wedding colors already in my head based on that assumption. But then he told me that he wanted something different, something special and NOT black. And he wasn't being swayed! So we worked with it because it was important to him. And it worked out even better than we both initially thought. He got just as many compliments on his outfit as I got!
Take a pre-marital course, if you can. Our course definitely got us talking about things that we just hadn't discussed in detail before.
Get a wedding planner! Pick your bridal party wisely. I was so relaxed and calm that day because I had a great team, including my amazing bridesmaids, that literally did everything for me.
Most importantly, don't lose yourselves in the wedding planning process. It can be all consuming at times - but make sure you're still connected. Shaun and I would set aside specific time to "talk wedding stuff" then we'd carry on with other things completely unrelated to the wedding. It's one day, but your marriage will be FOREVER, and that's what's most important.
Wedding Planner: Favored by Yodit Events
Photography: Judah Avenue Photography (Joy, Nii and Nafa)
Officiant: Reverend Dr. Douglas E. Summers
Ceremony & Reception Venue: George Peabody Library, Baltimore MD
Florist: My Flower Box Events
Caterer: Chef Expressions
Bartender/Liquor Supplier: Chef Expressions
Rental Company: Chef Expressions
Hairstylist/Makeup Artist: Tiffany Lumpkin
Makeup Artist: Kristen King (For the Bride and Bridesmaids), Tiffany Lumpkin (For the mothers and stepmothers of bride/groom)
Groom's Tailor: Miguel Wilson Collection, Atlanta GA
Bridal Boutique/Dressmaker: Suite Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: Sorella Vita (Betsy Robinson)
Wedding Cake: Chef Expressions
Ice Cream Bar: Chef Expressions
Lighting: Event Dynamics
Audio Visual: DJ NY GIANT (Karis Chandler)
Stationery Designer: Papered Wonders Inc.
DJ: DJ NY GIANT (Karis Chandler)
Musicians: Robin Massey-Pighee
Wedding Night Hotel: Mt. Vernon Baltimore