Real {Georgia} Wedding: Melissa + Leonard

Melissa almost didn't meet Leonard. Invited by a friend to attend an event she wasn't particularly excited about, Melissa didn't know that she was about to walk right into her destiny. Thanks to her friend's persuasive skills, Melissa met the man who would sweep her off her feet and be an anchor for her heart. Now, the couple is married! Their wedding day was photographed by Janet Howard Studio.

Bride: Melissa Howard
Groom: Leonard Smoot
Occupations: Bride - Sales Representative; Groom- Retired Marine Corp and Sales Associate 
Wedding Date: 06.24.2012
Location: The Biltmore Ballrooms, Atlanta, Georgia


The Meeting ..... "We met around seven years ago through a mutual friend. I was invited to attend the last day of a PGA golf tournament held at a local country club. I expressed to my friend that golf was really not my thing and that I was not interested. She continued to convinced me and coerced me to attend with promises of food and drinks at the 18th hole in the clubhouse. As we were sitting watching the last few golfers come to the end of the tournament, she called over one of the golfers and made some introductions. He sat down behind us in some chairs and stared and smiled at me the whole time. After the tournament was over and we said our farewells, he volunteered to drop me off  to meet another friend. I asked him to join us; we've been together ever since!"

How He Proposed ..... "The proposal took place the day before Easter at one of our favorite restaurants where we have held many memorable events in the past. I met one of my best friends for drinks and my then-boyfriend was due to "meet" us later in the evening. He showed up and ordered some drinks with one of our other mutual friends who was at the golf tournament the day we met. We all ordered drinks and food at the bar; everything seemed very typical. All of a sudden, my food came out with a black napkin. When it was lifted, I saw a beautiful ring encased in a lit box and looked down to him on one knee. I said, "YESSSSS!!!!" It was priceless, the entire restaurant cheered and the owner brought out a personalized menu for our engagement along with a bottle of champagne."


Wedding Details ..... "Our theme for the wedding was deemed "modern luxury". We worked with event planner Michelle Gainey of Lemiga Events to help to cultivate our vision. We combined my love of bling, his love of golf and our honeymoon to Italy to intertwine a story throughout the day. We had bling in every area of the venue, we used golf balls on the escort card table to tie in golf, and used cities in the country of Italy instead of table numbers. We treated our guests to a gelato cart at the end of the night to commemorate our travels on the honeymoon to the Amalfi Coast of Italy. We also provided our guests with a lounge feel during the cocktail hour to relax until the reception, and served them color-coordinated signature cocktails, as well as a special take-home gift of an on-the-spot personalized caricature drawing. Our planner did an excellent job in helping us to identify the best vendors in order to pull all the pieces of the puzzle together and make our vision come to life."

Incorporating Culture ..... "We had a special element in our ceremony called "The Tasting of Four Elements". It is an African ritual in which the couple tastes the four elements of: Vinegar (bitter), Lemon (sour), Honey (sweet) and Cayenne (spicy). The purpose is to taste all of the elements that a couple will go through in a relationship and to understand that in every good relationship, a couple will go through all of the elements. Our guests loved it and enjoyed watching us taste the elements and thought it was very unique and personal."

Unforgettable Memories ..... "The most memorable part of the day was when my husband serenaded me, as well as our guests, in the middle of the dance floor.It was like a mini- live concert. Under the spotlight, he sang "Share My Life" and "What You Won't Do For Love". It was priceless!! The guests were on their feet singing and dancing and waving napkins along with the tunes. It truly added a special touch and helped make the day absolutely magical."

{You Make Loving You So Easy}

He loves ..... "He loves my smile and zest for life!"

She loves ..... "I love his big heart and caring spirit!"

View the Full Gallery here.


  1. @Staci_UED

    Love her bouquet handle, and the WIDE ceremony aisle! RT @munaluchiBride: Real {Georgia} Wedding: Melissa + Leonard

  2. @munaluchiBride

    RT @Staci_UED: Love her bouquet handle, and the WIDE ceremony aisle! RT @munaluchiBride: Real {Georgia} Wedding: Melissa + Leonard

  3. @lemiga

    So excited to see our clients wedding featured today on @EBONYMag & @munaluchiBride! &

  4. @MyEpiphanyEvent

    Sweet story! Real {Georgia} Wedding: Melissa + Leonard via @munaluchibride

  5. Michelle

    Thanks so much for featuring our client’s wedding!

  6. oluchy

    Love her bouquet n the proposal, lovely pics.

  7. Melissa + Leonard = You Make Loving You So Easy | idolinens

    […] This wedding was also highlighted on – read about Melissa and Leonard’s love story at Melissa + Leonard. […]


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