Richmond, VA native, Adrienne Cole Johnson and Columbus, Ohio native, Joshua Johnson wanted their wedding to be just as dreamy and romantic as their courtship was. Mission accomplished! The beautiful couple held an intimate Friday evening ceremony on the regal English Tudor private estate, Dover Hall Mansion. Just under under years old at the time of the wedding, it was a joy to have their adorable daughter, Naomi Estelle serve as the ring bearer.
Wedding Date: September 12, 2014
Wedding Location: Dover Hall Mansion – Manikin-Sabot, Virginia
First Dance Song: We did a medley of the classic, “Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder, “It Takes Two” by Rob Base, and “The Light” by Common.
We met on a rooftop in Richmond, Virginia in May of 2009. Havana 59 to be exact. I was hosting my first soiree since moving back to my hometown and he had just met one of my best friends, Ricky, a few weeks prior. Ricky invited Josh and Quante to the party so that they could check out the social scene. I welcomed them, we shook hands, and we both went on our way.
A month after the rooftop party, we met again. This, That, and the Third was a monthly networking event for creatives and business owners that I hosted and Joshua came to for the first time in June of 2009. Our friendship began immediately. Joshua was doing a major sales pitch about everything and all things he had done in his life. What brought us both to Richmond, our shared love for Brazil, and current and future business ventures were just a few things discussed during our first ‘real’ conversation.
Joshua continued to come to the networking events and Adrienne actually tried introducing him to a few friends and associates because she thought he was a great catch and referred to him as ‘like a brother’ on many occasions. He was more interested in her than he publicly let on to believe and as their friendship grew he decided to take the leap and pursue her.
Adrienne and I often expressed the desire to be married one day and once we were settled in the new house and our bundle of a blessing, Naomi Estelle was flourishing, I knew the time had come. It was Spring 2013. The idea of proposing was heavy on my spirit and in my mind.
Coming up for air, I realized we were less than a month out from a pre-planned Caribbean getaway. It would serve as the perfect backdrop! My first priority was to get her Mother’s blessing. Lucky me, I had great access as she was helping with Naomi a few days a week. I asked Mrs. Cole to sit and I began speaking from the heart. After a few bright smiles and a big hug, I received the official green light.
So I found myself in Ohio with my mother…ring shopping! A crash course in diamonds, styles and pricing was a bit overwhelming to say the least. And while it was a good experience, I left Ohio empty handed. With a newly acquired engagement ring buyer’s guide, coupled with a memory of Adrienne’s dream ring, I was led to Capri Jewelers in Richmond’s west end with big sister, Angela riding wingman. This locally owned jewelry store was the only carrier of the Tacori brand in a 100 miles radius.
We arrived in Aruba on June 12th, ring in tow. With the help of the concierge, I booked a wonderful restaurant on Nikki Beach and spa day for my future bride. The ocean views from Barefoot Aruba were breathtaking. Then, with a dessert display, champagne, and me on one knee, I delivered my love in a few lines. We were engaged on June 13, 2013!
Adrienne’s wedding dress was designed by Winnie Couture. Winnie’s impeccably crafted gowns have earned her a devoted international following. Her designs are celebrity favorites for red carpet events and weddings, as seen on Kelly Clarkson, Helen Hunt, Lea Michele and many more.
We had a traditional and southern wedding with a modern flair by hosting on a Friday night. We also hosted more of our friends and family the following day for a day party and invited many folks that we could not host at our wedding. Jumping the broom was an important part of our ceremony as well.
Adrienne, a co-owner of The ARTisan Cafe, an artisan cooperative, really wanted to find a fresh and new muse for their special day. The wedding was inspired by classic charm, rustic elegance, and Black Renaissance. The wedding took place in an intimate outdoor courtyard and the reception was inside of the Estates dreamy ballroom.
The most sentimental memory was the tribute to Adrienne’s father. A self-professed “Daddy’s girl,” Adrienne’s Dad passed away six years before she was married. She never imagined her special day without him being there. Long before he passed, she had chosen what song they would dance to – Chrisette Michelle’s “My Joy.” With the help of DJ Lonnie B, Adrienne recorded a special note to her father that played over the song during the tribute. She also danced with her uncles and brother in law. There was no a dry eye in the room.
“To thine own selves be true.” Wedding planning is the beginning of many things together, so my advice would be to make the day exactly what you all would like it to be. While it’s great to consider the thoughts and opinions of your loved ones, it’s just as important to ensure that you are creating the atmosphere and vibe that you both desire! Enjoy the planning process with one another and be supportive during the potentially stressful times. Know that your wedding is just the prelude do your marriage, so remember to stay focused on the reason for the joyous occasion.
Photographer: Kimie James, IYQ Photography
Wedding Dress Designer: Winnie Couture
Makeup: Charlene Easter, Epiphany Beauty
Hair: Shirley Bailey, Transforming Tresses
Florist: Coleman Flowers
Venue: Dover Hall Estate
Catering: Dover Hall Estate
Cake: Katherine’s Confections
Soloist (Ceremony): Nakia Madry Smith
Pianist: Marcus Stanley
Trumpeter: Duane Smith
Entertainment: DJ Lonnie B
Stationery: Toni Jordan, Praxium Press