Apprehensive at first that their long-distance relationship would work, according to Shayla, "it did not take long to know that Joey had my mind and my heart, and the distance didn’t matter." Though living in two different states, their hearts existed as one. Joey knew Shayla was "the one" when he would find himself "sitting at work planning out our future..." Their fondest wedding memories include the "overwhelming feeling to see so many people who love us and want to celebrate our love for each other with us."
Read all about Shayla & Joey's love story, proposal, and experiences in their classic elegance wedding in Atlanta - featuring Event Planning by MunaLuchi Coterie member Z Curlett Events and Stationery by MunaLuchi Coterie member Sandi Spells Design.
Bride & Groom: Shayla & Joey
Occupations: Clinical Psychologist & Senior Systems Engineer
Wedding date: October 14, 2017
Wedding location: Twelve Hotel Atlantic Station, Atlanta, GA
Tell us all about the proposal. On May 7, 2016, our lives changed in so many ways. This was the day Shayla participated in her beloved Alma Mater’s (Howard University) Commencement Ceremony. This was a huge feat for her, as she received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. While this was a great accomplishment, she couldn’t have done it without her family and friends. As a thank you to them, she decided to have a celebration after the ceremony dedicated to her loved ones and their contributions in her life. Shayla’s family and close friends, Joey, and Joey’s mom, came to the party. Shayla gave a toast thanking everyone for the roles they’ve played in her life. After her toast, Joey wanted to make a toast. This wasn’t out of the ordinary for him because he’d made toasts in her honor on other occasions, so it did not raise any red flags. But this time was different…Joey concluded his toast professing his love to Shayla and asking her to be his wife! Little did Shayla know, Joey asked her mom and dad for her hand in marriage at the graduation ceremony earlier that day. Shayla received the Ph.D. and became a future MRS all in one day!
How did you know they were “the one”? Joey: "When Shayla and I started seriously dating, we were still living in different states. This in itself let me know there was something different about her. I found myself sitting at work planning out our future in my head. I said to myself, 'Wow, I want to be with her forever.'"
Shayla: "After Joey and I met, we kept in contact by calling and texting. I must admit, initially, I was not sure if our then-friendship would withstand the distance between us. It did not take long to know that Joey had my mind and my heart, and the distance didn’t matter."
Describe your wedding attire. Shayla: "Shopping was a little difficult! My entourage loved EVERYTHING! Even the ugly dresses! I think they were so excited for Joey and me, they didn’t really care what I wore when I walked down the aisle. I had to go with my heart, and I couldn’t be happier with my final choice. I wanted something elegant that also complimented my curves. Even though the top of my dress was on trend, as it had a sweetheart neckline, I knew I wanted to make it different somehow. I reached out to a designer from Ireland via Etsy, and she created custom arm bands that matched my dress perfectly!"
Joey: "I went for a more modern/contemporary style. Instead of going with a traditional tuxedo, I went with a dinner jacket, a tuxedo pant, and a slip-on loafer.
Shopping for my wedding attire was quite the experience and enjoyable. I had a vision in my head for the look I was going for…something similar to an outfit Odell Beckham, Jr. would wear to a red carpet event. I did what most grooms would do in this situation…I went down to the nearest Men’s Wearhouse. While getting measured, I told the attendant what my vision was for my ensemble. I told him how I wanted my jacket fitted and my tuxedo pants tapered to go with a pair of velvet loafers. He looked up at me and told me that I would be better off putting pieces together myself in order to achieve the look I wanted. Since I didn’t go the way of a traditional tux, I had to put my outfit together piece by piece to make sure everything went together perfectly matching my vision."
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? Joey’s from Mississippi and Shayla’s from Washington, DC. They thought that it was very important to incorporate their regional cultures into their special day. One way they did this was to have traditional foods. In their welcome bags that are hotel guests received, they had praline candy (a Southern treat) and crab flavored Utz Potato Chips (both the flavor and brand are popular in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area). They also incorporated their native cuisines into their wedding menu. During the cocktail hour, they served crab cakes and chicken with Mambo Sauce (DC area) and during dinner, they served Cajun Chicken Pasta (Cajun food is popular in the South). They also made it a point to have the DJ play music popular from both regions for their beloved guests to enjoy.
Wedding Party gifts: Bridesmaids - Robes with names engraved in them. Groomsmen - Yeti style cups with engraved nicknames and wedding date.
Favorite item on the menu: Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
First dance song: "So High" by John Legend
What is your best memory from your wedding? For both of us, it was such an overwhelming feeling to see so many people who love us and want to celebrate our love for each other with us. For Joey, the feeling was most prominent when he stood at the wedding altar and looked out into the crowd. For Shayla, it occurred when they were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Johnson for the first time and stepped into the wedding reception seeing everyone cheer them on.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? Joey: "In the planning process, try to assign the tasks based on the person’s strengths and interest first. Planning can get stressful at times, so it takes a little bit of the pressure off if you enjoy what you are doing."
Shayla: "You will get a lot of advice about your wedding (sometimes unsolicited). Remember to stay true to yourself because this is YOUR day."
Florist/Decor: Perfect Creation and Design
Lightning: Uplight Your Event
Cake: Cakes by La’Meeka
DJ: DJ Tay Productions
Photography: Sophia Barrett Studios
Stationery: Sandi Spells Design
Hair: Nyema Bennett
Makeup: Sharon Renee Beauty, LLC
Wedding Dress Designer: Allure Bridals
Wedding Dress Salon: Curvaceous Couture
Grooms Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Groom’s Shoes: Brooks Brothers
Bridesmaids Dresses: Wonder by Jenny Packham at David’s Bridal
Wedding Venue: Twelve Atlantic Station
Wedding Planner: Z Curlett Events