Nicole and Derek fist met at a speed dating event in 2014. They engaged in small talk but after the event parted ways. Eventually, the stars aligned and the two were brought together again this time on Facebook. They chatted and discovered they grew up in the same small town of Akron, Ohio and both had moved to Columbus for college. All this time the one they were waiting for had been closer than they ever expected.
Read all about Nicole and Derek’s romance, surprise proposal, and simple and sophisticated wedding in Ohio – featuring the work of MunaLuchi Coterie member JazzyMae Photography.
Bride & Groom: Nicole & Derek
Wedding date: September 15, 2017
Wedding location: The Club at Corazon, Dublin, Ohio
Tell us how you met and all about the proposal. We met during the most romantic week of the year, Valentine’s Day 2014. We were both invited to a “speed dating” network event by a friend of the name James Burke. I, a Graduate student and Mortgage Banker at the time, assured James that I was just fine attending to my books and work projects without having a valentine. But we had made a pact to go to support the Columbus Urban League of Young Professionals as it was a community fundraiser. At the same time Derek, also eager to support the community, was also solicited by James who happened to be his fraternity brother. Though, James claims it wasn’t his matchmaking efforts that brought us together. The goal of the event was that the “match” of the evening would win two tickets to the Love & Laughter tour that featured live standup and a R&B concert on Valentine’s Day.
James unexpectedly could not attend the event that evening last minute left Derek and I to navigate the event on our own. Once I arrived, I noticed a young man holding the door open for me. I proceeded to give the registrant my name but it could not be located on the list. Feeling flustered, I heard laughter behind me. It was the same young man that held the door for me. Luckily the registrant let me in before any other exchanges detoured her away. Around mini date 6 out of 10 I was re-introduced to the young man from the door earlier, Derek. We greeted, laughed at the previous incident, and proceeded to go off task about other things during this 3 mins of awkward scripted conversation. We spoke about more general things. I was finishing Graduate school and he was contemplating a Doctorate in Education. Eventually we parted ways and waited to hear who the winners were. Derek ended up winning the night’s grand prize of the Love & Laughter tour tickets for Valentine’s Day that same week! Yay! Right?!? He won, but he won with another lady.
Fast forward to the end of March 2014, somehow the involvement of Facebook, mutual friends, a conversation about Church, and sharing the same hometown brought Derek & I together again. Once we became Facebook friends it was easy to see how many of our circles crossed. We are both from the same small hometown of Akron, Ohio and yet both lived in Columbus for college for a total of 14 years before finding each other. A week later on April 5, 2014 I invited Derek out that evening. We started the conversation right where we left off and have been inseparable ever since.
The proposal: On August 20, 2016, Derek planned a surprise proposal during my 31st birthday dinner party which I thought I had planned myself. All of our close friends were present when he presented me with my birthday gift, a book he wrote about our dating history. I was prompted to read it aloud to our guests and close friends starting filming and taking pictures. On the last page there was a picture of a ring box. I turned around and Derek was on one knee professing his love and asking for my hand in marriage.
What was wedding shopping like for you? I went to a local bridal boutique about 3 weeks after our engagement with my Matron of Honor and grandmother. I just wanted to get a feeling for what style would flatter me best. We pulled three different styles: a ball gown, a sheath and a mermaid style that I selected myself off the rack. The mermaid dress was the last dress of the 3 I tried on and behold it zipped right up! I had a feeling this was it! I was admittedly shocked to have found a gown so soon and got nervous. I wasn’t even thinking I would find a dress let alone take one home. My matron of honor whispered to me, “Do whatever you need to process this but this dress is perfect, it is a dream, you have a year to pay me back but this dress is coming home today!” and thus “I found the gown” on my first try! My dress was a lace strapless sweetheart neckline mermaid style with a ruffled ombre champagne colored train by Allure Bridals. Because of its vintage gold/champagne I nicknamed the dress “Peaches.
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? We did incorporate the African American tradition of “jumping the broom.” We also added our ‘own’ culture so to speak by incorporating a Love Lock Tree Ceremony as a means of unity for our newly blended family. Each family member received a lock to place on the tree, our parents representing our roots, us representing the new branches, and my son’s representing a new generation of family.
What is your best memory from your wedding? The first is when the groomsmen performed a dance as my groom serenaded me in front of our guests. They had worked so hard on that 4 song dance routine. It had everything from R&B classics to modern Rap music, which my son came out and surprised me with during the finale. The second would be when I made an entrance with my reception outfit on during our sparkler sendoff. I wore a custom white satin & lace cat suit with a tulle train- I felt like Beyoncé during a concert when we walked out!
Photography – JazzyMae Photography
Wedding Planner & Designer – Distinct Event Planning
Ceremony & Reception Venue – The Club at Corazon
Videography – CandiRain Productions
Florist – SHE Floral Design Co
Stationery – Alternative Hitches
Cake – The Cake Studio
Band – Soul Derivative
DJ – Odis Parker
String Musicians – OSU String Musicians
Makeup – Makeup By Apryl
Bride’s Hair – Joyce Lollar, The Hair & Lash Boutique
Bridesmaids’ Hair – Crystal Clemmons & Ayress Verdine, Royal Tresses
Wedding dress – Allure Bridals, The Elegant Bride of Dublin
Groom’s attire – Custom tuxedo from Royal Clothing Collection
Bride’s shoes – Badgley Mischka
Bride’s jewelry – Kay Jeweler’s and Saks 5thAvenue
Bridesmaids’ dresses – David’s Bridal
Veil and Headpiece – David’s Bridal
Flower girl’s dress – David’s Bridal
Bride’s jumpsuit – Custom design by Devin Baker, Devin Baker House of Fashion