When Conner and Serena met during their residency program, it was Conner’s quick wit with that landed him a date.
Serena recalls, “We had both been accepted to the University of Illinois at Chicago Pediatric Residency to begin our 2-year Pediatric Dental training. We spoke for the first time in a waiting room in the hospital. He commented, ‘nice shoes,’ I responded, ‘Thanks!! I like nice things.’ To which he quickly replied, ‘Then you’d like me!’ “
It was a charming beginning of a three-year courtship that culminated in Conner proposing during a family brunch.
When planning their wedding, the couple wanted to ensure their guests were entertained the whole time. Serena shares, “On our ceremony programs, we added sudoku, tic-tac-toe, and trivia questions. During cocktail hour we provided a range of board games. Our late-night treat was ice cream cookie sandwiches and warm cookies and milk. Being two dentists, one of our wedding favors was a customized toothbrush pack which included a tube of toothpaste, floss, and a toothbrush with our names and wedding logo printed on them. Our guests loved all the fun little things we added to make our wedding unique.”
You are going to love all of the personalized touches Serena and Conner infused into their lovely vineyard wedding. See all of the details below.
- Couple: Serena & Conner Vinikoor
- Location of Wedding: Morais Vineyards & Winery- Bealeton, VA
- Wedding Date: 7/6/2019
- Wedding flowers: Phalaenopsis orchids, Hydrangeas, White Roses and Lisanthus, with eucalyptus
- Favorite item on menu: Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- First dance song: “That’s How Strong My Love Is”- Otis Redding
- Advice for brides: Take in every moment, especially your walk down the aisle.
Tell us how you met
I met Conner the very first day of our Residency Program. We had both been accepted to the University of Illinois at Chicago Pediatric Residency to begin our 2-year Pediatric Dental training. We spoke for the first time in a waiting room in the hospital. He commented, “nice shoes,” I responded, “Thanks!! I like nice things.” To which he quickly replied, “Then you’d like me!”
Fast forward 3 years, we were both living in Arizona, and my mom had come to visit for the first time. Conner had arranged for our families to have a brunch at a local restaurant. As Conner began giving a toast to our families becoming closer, he started talking about our relationship and just how much he loved me. I had no clue what was going on– why he was saying these very heartfelt things in front of all these family members, until he got down on one knee and it all made sense.
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding?
We honored my West African roots during our wedding by having matching custom outfits made from handwoven traditional Ghanaian kente cloth. We changed into these during our reception to surprise our guests. Being an interracial couple we wanted to put emphasis on the merging of our two different cultures with our union–Western culture with West African (Ghanaian) culture. Our reception featured a mix of music that had ALL guests up on their feet.
Describe your wedding style
I would describe my wedding style as glamorous, elegant with a touch of formal. Getting married on a vineyard, we wanted to incorporate a bit of an organic/garden feel as well.
Describe your wedding dress and your favorite wedding accessory.
I loved my wedding dress. A tulle fit to flare bridal gown, sculpted elongated bodice with tiered tulle skirt and horsehair trim. I added extra tulle to the underside for a more dramatic effect and a removable lace bolero for the reception. It is hard for me to select just one accessory which I loved, but the only 3 pieces of jewelry I wore were my favorites. My bridal earrings were borrowed from one of my best friends and bridesmaid. So far 2 of my other bridesmaids have worn those earrings on their wedding days, and we all plan to keep the tradition going between the group of us. The second would have to be a diamond bracelet gifted to me by my Mother-in-Law, a sentimental gift given to her from her husband the day the groom was born. Finally, a solid gold pendant which belonged to my late grandmother which I pinned to my dress.
What is your best memory from your wedding?
Conner and I love surprises and as a way to surprise our guests during the ceremony, we had two randomly selected guests perform the ceremony readings. A copy of each reading was taped to the bottom of two randomly selected ceremony chairs, and those wedding guests forever became a part of our wedding. It was a truly memorable part of our wedding and guests still laugh and comment about it to this day!
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Once you get to the day of your wedding, realize and accept the fact that you’ve put all the work in and you’ve planned everything to the best of your ability. Trust the vendors and event staff that you’ve chosen to come through for you on that day, so you can focus on enjoying every moment. If something doesn’t quite go the way you planned it, don’t sweat. Chances are, guests will not notice anyway. The day goes by so quickly, take in every moment.
We wanted to have things for our guests to do or explore at all times. On our ceremony programs, we added sudoku, tic-tac-toe, and trivia questions, During cocktail hour we provided a range of board games. Our late-night treat was ice cream cookie sandwiches and warm cookies and milk. Being two dentists, one of our wedding favors was a customized toothbrush pack which included a tube of toothpaste, floss, and a toothbrush with our names and wedding logo printed on them. Our guests loved all the fun little things we added to make our wedding unique. It was also incredibly hot!! We were sure to keep our ceremony short and sweet.
I absolutely loved our venue. It was a vineyard was stunning and gave guests the freedom to roam around, explore and take everything in. It was truly like a fairy tale.
- Photography: Mason Photography
- Event planner: Liz Arline, Something New Events
- Bride’s dress: Hayley Paige– River
- Bridal salon: Love Couture Bridal Dress
- Bride’s headpiece and/or veil: both from Etsy
- Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo
- Bridesmaids dresses: Rosalin’s Bridal
- Cakes/desserts: Captain Cookie and the Milkman, ice cream truck – bride made cake herself)
- Catering: Caribbean Caterers
- Ceremony & Reception venue: Morais Vineyards & Winery
- Event decor/design & Florals: Bella Fiore Events
- Entertainment: DJ KLoOongg
- Groom’s and Groomsmen’s attire: Parker Schmidt Clothiers
- Hair: Bride: Dommie Cole; Bridesmaids: Reyunna of I Do Artistry
- Lighting: Uplights rented from Rent My Wedding
- Linens & Rentals: Bella Fiore Events
- Makeup: Lashonda- Brown Bella Beauty, Shannie- Shannie on the Beat
- Stationery: Etsy
- Ice Sculpture: Ice Lab Ice sculptures Inc.
- Photo Booth: Party Favor Photo
- Videography: C Spot Media Weddings , The Vincent Creative
- String musicians: Atoka String Trio
- Shuttles: RamJay Shuttles
- Wedding submission services: Published + Pretty