When Cheryl met Maurice, he wasn’t quite himself.
But that’s only because they met at a party during a Halloween cruise. Maurice was dressed as Ike Turner when he made his way to Cheryl to introduce himself. He immediately made her smile when he told her “Heyyyyyy we going to have some cute kids,” and after some persistence, Cheryl agreed to exchange numbers.
It was a charming beginning to a beautiful relationship that has been strengthened by their shared spiritual beliefs. Cheryl shares, “Maurice and I knew that there was purpose in us crossing paths and pursuing a relationship. Our knowledge in the purpose came gradually through our understanding and knowledge in Christ. The Lord brought us together and refined and renewed us from our deficiencies during our relationship. Through prayer and reflection, God gave us both confirmation that we were to court with purpose and date with intention.”
They made sure to honor their belief in God with a beautiful church ceremony for their wedding. Maurice is African American, and Cheryl is South Indian, so they also found many ways to incorporate their cultures into their big day. Cheryl shares, “We jumped the broom, had house music, had Chicago footwork and a drumline to name a few to celebrate Maurice’s culture, and we had a blessing of the madragodi (Indian saree) to signify a wife submitting to her husband and tying of the thali (thread) to signify a husband loving and honoring his wife, along with Indian music to name of few to celebrate South Indian culture.”
Read more about their love story, Maurice’s epic airplane proposal, and see all of the photos from their beautiful multicultural wedding below.
- Couple: Maurice Brown & Cheryl Charly
- Location of Wedding: Ceremony (Wheaton, IL) and Reception (Rosemont, IL)
- Wedding Date: June 9th, 2019
- Wedding Flowers: All white rose bouquet crafted by Dream Occasions
- Favorite item on menu: It was all delicious! The Estate by Gene & Georgetti In House Catering was excellently flavored and prepared. It is hard to choose a favorite, but my husband and I enjoyed the bacon-wrapped scallops, the salmon with lemon butter sauce, the chimichurri sauce, and the white chocolate ice cream to name a few.
- Bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts:
- Groomsmen – ties, tie clips, cufflinks, gum, a flask, and a mini bottle of their favorite liquor
- Bridesmaids – a black women’s travel bag, embroidered robes, white flip flops, Victoria Secret lotion, rose gold earrings, rose gold bracelets, hair accessories, gum, thank you notes with pictures, coffee mug
- First dance song: “Best Part” – Daniel Caesar & H.E.R
- Advice for brides: Your wedding day and days leading up to your wedding day can fill you up with a lot of nerves and with a lot of excitement. Everyone is surrounding you asking you if you need any help or asking you questions about the wedding, etc. It is a whole lot of emotions and questions wrapped up in a short period of time. Carve out some time for yourself to silence the noise. Relax, rest, and pray. Take a bubble bath and light a candle if you have to! I know for myself I used the time I had to read Proverbs 31 and I encourage it for other women as well.
How We Met
We met on the Spirit of Chicago cruise on the Eve of Halloween in 2015. Maurice was out to celebrate his 25th Birthday with his closest family and friends, and I was out to have a girl’s night that a friend had planned. It happened to be a four-hour cruise, but we only happened to meet ten minutes before the boat docked. In those ten minutes, a friend and I heard a group of people having a great time across the dance floor and we decided to travel our way over to where the celebration was to enjoy the last few minutes of that night. Make our money’s worth I should say! As we made it over, I felt someone (now my sister-in-law) run their hands through my hair and heard them say “talk to my brother.” It was also then that my friend nudged me and said, “Girl talk to him.” I stood there thinking “Huh?” “who?” “I’m sorry who are you touching my hair?!” Next thing you know, Maurice aka Ike Turner that night turned around, pointed at me, and hit me with the…”Heyyyyyy we going to have some cute kids.” Followed up with “What’s your name?” “How old are you? “Do you have a boyfriend?” while I stood there with some side-eye like “umm who are you?!” That’s when Maurice hit her with the…”I’m Mahogany Chestnut Baby!” A corny line like that led to a couple of laughs and after some persistence, we exchanged numbers that night and have been connected ever since.
The Surprise Proposal
We got engaged on May 28, 2018 (Memorial Day). The proposal was a SURPRISE. While I was preparing for a new job and helping Maurice move into his new apartment, he was staging the most thoughtful, beautiful, and elaborate wedding proposal! To start off Maurice asked if I was down to fly with him and his buddy and girlfriend on that Monday. Both Maurice and his buddy are pilots. We were planning to have a double date and fly to a fun little restaurant in Michigan. I found out later that was just what they told me, and his buddy’s girlfriend was never supposed to come! They threw that in there as a decoy so I wouldn’t grow suspicious wondering if his buddy would be ok being a third wheel and eventually ruin his plans.
The day of, his buddy told me she got called into work unexpectedly and couldn’t make it. Nothing unusual since that happens often in her line of work. Behind the scenes, Maurice asked my parents for their blessing that Friday before, he asked his whole family to be involved in throwing a barbecue the day of, he asked my family to attend the barbecue making it the first time both families met, he spelled out in big white letters “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” on the grass of his parents’ backyard, he asked his best friend to stage cameras in the airplane to get all the footage of the reaction, and got his pilot buddy to assist him in operating the airplane so he can ask me the big question!
The day of the proposal was craziness! The actual day was extremely windy, the runway at the airport we were supposed to take off at buckled, Maurice’s best friend was running late, my parents arrived extremely early to the barbecue, the letters that spelled out “Will you Marry Me?” blew away due to the wind, and I was hungry! Let’s just say internally Maurice was stressed out but externally he looked calm, cool, and collected. Everything worked out in of itself. Maurice’s best friend showed up and installed the cameras (another decoy he told me that he was there to gather footage for a video he was shooting and needed aerial footage of Maurice flying). I know you may think that was a giveaway and a lightbulb would go off, but this was not new for his best friend and his industry job. He would ask to do things like that with Maurice often. Maurice’s family and my family got the sign together that blew away and the wind finally was able to subside before final takeoff. After an hour or so wait Maurice, his buddy and I took off! Maurice was the captain, I was the first officer, and his buddy was sitting in the back claiming he was “not feeling well.” Another decoy to get me in the front seat before it all went down.
As we were en route, Maurice made a comment and said, “we are near my parent’s neighborhood.” I unknowingly assisted in this proposal by responding saying “yeah! let’s fly past the house.” Maurice smiled and said, “as you wish.” Lo and behold we fly past the house and all I see is everyone huddled in a circle waving at us from below, letting go of their balloons, and the white lettered sign that read “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” I was SHOCKED! All I kept thinking was how?! How did you do all of this?! We were laughing and smiling, and I said yes! Maurice let our families below know I said “yes” by rocking his wings in the air. We landed shortly after and we went to his parent’s house to celebrate, talk, and eat. It was truly a memorable day!
How did you know they were “the one”?
Despite being from different worlds, we shared a strong connection so immediately. We would talk for several hours that it would feel like a few minutes. A mutual friendship was established from the moment we met. Maurice and I knew that there was purpose in us crossing paths and pursuing a relationship. Our knowledge in the purpose came gradually through our understanding and knowledge in Christ. The Lord brought us together and refined and renewed us from our deficiencies during our relationship. Through prayer and reflection, God gave us both confirmation that we were to court with purpose and date with intention. God has stretched us and molded us to eventually lead us into the ministry of marriage. We put our trust in the Lord to order our steps. A verse that weighs heavy on us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).”
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding?
Yes! We incorporated a lot of culture into our wedding. Maurice is African American, and Cheryl is South Indian. We jumped the broom, had house music, had Chicago footwork and drumline to name a few to celebrate Maurice’s culture and we had a blessing of the madragodi (Indian saree) to signify a wife submitting to her husband and tying of the thali (thread) to signify a husband loving and honoring his wife, along with Indian music to name of few to celebrate South Indian culture.
Describe your wedding style.
We would classify our wedding style as unique and romantic. Think a lot of personality and a lot of candles and flowers in every space of our wedding day!
Describe your wedding dress and your favorite wedding accessory.
My wedding dress was a white mermaid-style gown from Martina Liana! The bodice of the dress featured lace detailing and a soft sweetheart neckline. At the waist, the dress featured a silk skirt with more lace detailing on the sides and extended below the hips. From the hips, the tulle skirt flared out to the ground with an A-line silhouette, embellished with three-dimensional florals and soft sparkle. The back of the dress featured a lined bodice and a lace-detailed train. The back of the wedding dress zipped up beneath fabric-covered buttons.
My favorite accessory was my veil. It was also Martina Liana and was called the 3D flower veil. It was very feminine and complemented my wedding dress well. The 3D flowers looked beautiful in pictures!
What is your best memory from your wedding?
Our favorite memory from the wedding was having Maurice’s father (Pastor Maurice I) officiate our wedding, Maurice’s sister (Karees Brown) sing Psalm 42 by Tori Kelly while Cheryl walked down the aisle and sharing our vows with one another privately during the ceremony. It was very special having family so closely involved in commemorating a God-given day. Our funniest memories from the wedding were Maurice’s garter retrieval (he threw a fake mouse and lint from under my dress as a part of his “performance!”, the Pack drumline (they got EVERYONE on their feet), and Cheryl’s father dancing nonstop throughout the night!
Our wedding day was truly a special and blessed day. There were so many moving pieces from the distance between venue locations to the communication with of all our vendors and entertainers to celebrating both cultures and traditions to making sure those we loved were involved in our wedding, etc it was a challenging task. Maurice and I couldn’t believe how everything came together and with so much grace, joy and love. We give all the glory to God.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Our best wedding advice we would give to engaged couples is to seek Christ-centered premarital counseling. Don’t get lost in the details of setting dates, colors, invitations, venues, and everything a newly engaged couple experiences. Enjoy being engaged with your family and friends but seek counsel during this time to get an understanding of the purpose of marriage and what God has called and lead you into. God’s word says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). We can’t shoot for perfection in marriage. Instead, shoot for truth and intimacy. Be vulnerable about what you think and what you feel and how it aligns with God’s word. Premarital counseling encourages this understanding. Let it always be the real you that you and your partner are in love with and not some variation or imitation.
- Bride’s dress: Martina Liana 1040 Dress
- Bridal salon: Simply Luxe Bridal Boutique
- Bride’s headpiece and/or veil: Martina Liana 3D Flower Veil
- Bride’s shoes: BCBGeneration White Pumps with Gold Studs
- Bridesmaids’ dresses: Brideside Miranda Dress / Color Burgundy
- Cakes/desserts: Peeka’s Sweet Treats – County Club Hills, IL
- Catering: The Estate by Gene & Georgetti-House Catering – Rosemont, IL
- Ceremony venue: The Compass Church – Wheaton, IL
- Event decor/design: Dream Occasions – Hanover Park, IL
- Entertainment: Please See Below
- DJ Aladdin/Raunak Entertainment – DJ & Lighting Services
- Karees Brown – Chicago Born All Genre Singer (#TheGlutenFreeSinger)
- The Pack Drumline – Chicago Drumline
- The MOD Project – South Asian Fusion Dance Crew
- Shawn Kay – DoItAll Entertainment Chicago MC
- Mac Red – Chicago Comedian/Clean Comedy
- Kochuveettil Beats – Indian/American Band
- Marquette Mazaa – Indian Dance Team
- Event planner: Dejanae Events LLC – Hyde Park, IL
- Florals: Dream Occasions
- Groom’s attire: Fashion Men’s Wear / Color Burgundy
- Groomsmen attire: Kenneth Cole Reaction / Color Navy
- Hair: Diem Angie Chicago Hair and Makeup Artist
- Lighting: The Estate by Gene & Georgetti / Dream Occasions / Raunak Entertainment
- Linens: The Estate by Gene & Georgetti
- Makeup: Diem Angie Chicago Hair and Makeup Artist
- Photography: Alexandra Lee Chicago Wedding Photographer
- Reception Venue: The Estate by Gene & Georgetti
- Rentals: Dream Occasions
- Stationery: Ann’s Bridal Bargains
- Videography: Shan Photography
- Other Décor and Wedding Favors – AliExpress (décor and gifts) & Etsy (jewelry and gifts)