Originally having planned to get married in 2020, when the couple sat down to discuss a new date, they discovered their venue had an opening on Juneteenth, Saturday, June 19th.
As our country wept over the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement swept through our nation, the fact that Juneteenth fell on a Saturday AND it was open at the venue was truly a sign from above.Michelle Harris (Photographer)
They transitioned from a jewel-toned Autumn wedding to an Afro-Centric summer celebration that embraced Black culture, beauty, and love. The mansion was beautifully decorated with African-inspired elements such as dried grasses, lush moss, bold ivory flowers, greenery, and gold accents, which looked stunning against the wooden elements throughout.
With 300+ guests, many in traditional African garb, it was truly a celebration of love, survival and our rich culture as African-Americans.Michelle Harris (Photographer)
See the beautiful details below!
- Couple: Taylor and Terence
- Occupations: Taylor is a realtor and model, Terence is in sales
- Wedding date: 6/19/2021
- Wedding location: Dover Hall Estate- Goochland County, Virginia
- Bridesmaids and groomsmen Gifts: I gave my girls silk robes with their names on the back, a personalized tote bag, wedding day jewelry, ballet flats, an emergency kit and I gifted them their hair and makeup for that day. I wanted my girls to feel special and beautiful all day. My husband gave his boys custom, engraved wooden watches, Italian-made shoes, a pocket square, and matching tie and cuff links.
- Ceremony entrance song: My entrance song was an original song written by a gospel musician and close friend of my family whom I’ve known personally all of my life, Rev. Dr. Cora Harvey Armstrong, entitled “I Thank God For Giving Me You”
- First dance song: Our first dance was Eric Benet featuring Tamia, “Spend My Life With You”
How did you meet?
I was on a modeling gig at a music festival and waiting in line at a rehearsal. Terence was attending the festival as well, with a friend of his who was performing on stage. I was frazzled and stressed out that day and muttered to myself “I look terrible” and a voice cut through the air and said, “I disagree.” There Terence stood; tall, handsome, confident but not cocky. Small talk ensued and he walked me out to my car at the end of the event and that was that. Numbers were exchanged and we’ve been together for seven wonderful years.
I worked with a designer from the UK, Susan Sorbello, who I met years ago when I modeled for her. I wanted something dramatic and unique that both showed off my figure but also created a statement in the mansion. A removable ballgown skirt was the perfect solution! The soft ivory lace paired with the glistening gold accents throughout were a perfect touch. I felt like a Queen.
We wanted to embrace the culture but we still wanted things to look high-end and refined for the occasion. Many of our guests wore traditional African colors and textures paired with fascinators and their Sunday best. Bron, our florist, used a lot of dried grasses and lush moss as a nod to the African landscape.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding?
If I’m forced to pick a favorite memory, it has to be a threefold tie between these realizations: 1) witnessing my creative vision for my dream wedding actually come to life, even more vividly than I could have ever imagined; 2) having my mommy AND daddy walk me down the aisle to my man; and 3) the pinnacle moment and icing on the cake for me was beholding my husband’s sexiness during his garter-belt lap dance performance for me—he showed OUT and had me flustered speechless, chile!
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
The best advice I can give to a planning bride (and I know it’s cliche, but it’s so true): hire a wedding planner! Trust me, Sis…you need help with this!! There is absolutely NO way I could have done this without a wedding planner. I’d have gone insane if I tried. There is literally not enough room in your brain for everything you will need to remember! Also, I’d like to point out that I purposely chose not to throw my mom or other family into the wedding planning fiery furnace. Knowing the effort involved, I consciously decided that I did not want to dump that enormous responsibility on them, as I wanted my family to be able to sit back on this day and simply enjoy themselves without worry on our day.
Maybe God blessed you and you also have an angel of a mom like I do, who will do anything and everything for her baby girl…she gives so freely of her heart, and she deserves a break from duty sometimes. I wouldn’t be happy with myself if I had allowed my mommy to absorb the stress of the two years of planning that our wedding entailed. By hiring a planner, I freed her from that burden. I intended the wedding to be a “destination experience” of its own kind; to create an opportunity for ALL of our guests to feel like royalty for a day, along with us. It was important to me that we share the magic of the experience with everyone.
Hiring the right wedding planner
The next piece of advice I would give you after you finally give into the idea of a planner, (you’ll try to talk yourself out of it, but eventually you will give in): Hire Christine Greenberg of The Hive Collective in RVA. No, seriously…she is all things black bride, boss, creative extraordinaire, flawless executor, wedding industry beast, mega-professional-yet-homegirl-next-door, and I am confident our wedding would not have been as glorious without her hands on the wheel! I had a specific vision: I wanted Afro-centric, Juneteenth Humble Glam, and she went above and beyond to make sure my vision was executed to perfection, holding high regard to the cultural aspects that were important to us in making our wedding unique, delivering on every touch. The investment into Christine was one of the most, if not THE most, valuable expenses of our wedding.
- Venue: Dover Hall Estate
- Planning + Design: Christine Greenberg of the Hive Wedding Collective
Photographer: Michelle Harris Studios
- Videography: Olea Films
- Bride Beauty: Sabrina Huffman of Jefferson Hair and Makeup Artistry
- Bridal Party Makeup: Joye of Beauty by Melodee Joye
- Bridal Party Hair: Lamace Visions
- Florist: The Flower Guy Bron
- Tabletop Rentals: Rent E Quip
- Specialty Rentals: Paisley and Jade
- DJ: Anthony Bryant
- Cocktail Hour Music: QuintEssential Jazz
- Dinner Music: Jerel Crockett
- Suits: Harrells Menswear
- Custom Gown: Sorbello Couture
- Paper Products: Minted