Sachel and Ethan, who have known each other since childhood, had a beautiful, intimate wedding at the breathtaking Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia this past summer. A dream come true for any bride-to-be yearning for the ultimate winery ceremony. This is it.
Wedding Date: August 6, 2015
Wedding Location: Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia
First Dance Song: “Nothing Can Change This Love” by Sam Cooke
Favorite Item on the Menu: As much as I loved the Brunch Menu, my favorite was the Key Lime Bars and the Wine!
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen Gifts: Bridesmaids received monogrammed tote bags and pearl jewelry while the groomsmen received mahogany watch cases.
I met Ethan when I was seven years old and he was nine years old! I can’t believe I’ve known this man for over 20 years! We met at a summer camp at our church outside of Atlanta, Georgia and he’s been pursuing me since the day he met me. I was completely stubborn and didn’t want to give him the time time of day (even though I secretly liked him too). To witness him growing from the little boy in summer camp to the man I said “I Do” to is…mind blowing!!
Ethan: When I was nine years old, I knew I was going to marry Sachel. I didn’t know when or how, but I knew one day I was going to ask her to marry me. And then July 12, 2014 came. At about1:45pm my nerves, sweats, and heart began racing so fast. I opened my eyes on that Saturday in my Charlotte hotel, preparing myself to ask the one question that will change our lives forever.
I called her best friend Tammy and told her that I wanted to ask Sachel to marry me in Charlotte during their sorority’s national conference. I had Tammy find out things from Sachel such as her ring size, the kind of styles she liked, and her dream engagement scenario, knowing she wouldn’t be the wiser because as far as she’d be concerned, they’d just be having girl talk. We began looking for venues in Charlotte, and planning out the logistics. When we stumbled across wing haven gardens, I knew it was perfect.
We arrived around 4:30, giving us a half hour to view the entire garden before closing. We finally got to the main garden and from the corner of my eye I began to see people in various bushes. I immediately panicked, realizing I came in the wrong way. So I cut her vision off from them and then she found a bench in the midst of the garden. She asked me to stand in front of her so that she could take some photos of me. “Stand right here, we’re making memories,” she said. In the background, I hear her 3- year-old twin nieces starting to get irritable while in the bushes. I looked at her and took a deep breath and began to say my piece: “In the spirit of making memories, I brought you to this garden to make a new one…”
Overall, because I am a wedding photographer, wedding shopping for me was very easy. So many of my amazing vendor friends came through for Ethan and me and man, did they deliver!! They really are the MVPs!! But when it came to my dress, I truly believe, I didn’t choose my wedding dress. It chose me. When I first started out, I had a very specific idea of what I wanted my dress to look like and let me tell you, the dress I fell in love with was nothing like it!
But when I put it on, it was magical. In that way, wedding shopping for me was an unexpected adventure. It reminded me that no matter how much you plan or no matter what kind of idea you may have, everything can change in an instant. I found my wedding dress through Operation Brides Across America. Between the shoes, the veil, the jewelry and the dress, being a bride can be pricey. When you find a dress that you absolutely love, but totally hate the price, sometimes it can add a little stress. But for military brides, there is Operation Wedding Gown which I first heard about when a colleague was getting married and mentioned she received her dream wedding dress for free!
Twice a year, bridal boutiques across the country come together to donate wedding gowns to brides who are engaged to service members or who are active duty themselves. When a military bride walks out the door, she walks out with a beautiful bridal gown from one of the best in the business.
I visited with the team of Anderson’s Brides in Anchorage, Alaska, which is where we live right now. This group of women were amazing! Seriously, some of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever met. They created such a fun atmosphere, catering to each bride with such love and excitement. I love the fact that I found my dream gown on my birthday and seeing the other ladies’ excitement totally made me smile.
Although my husband Ethan is Guyanese, we didn’t incorporate any of his culture into the wedding. However, we are both Greek! He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and I am a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. so there was a lot of singing, strolling and stepping throughout the day!
My best memory was washing his feet during our washing of the feet portion of the ceremony. Ethan and I are very deeply rooted in our faith and to me, that represented so much more than me just washing his feet. Because I believe God Himself put us together and orchestrated this union long before we even walked this earth, I truly believe in serving God through serving and submitting to Ethan as the head of the household. I can be strong minded. As a business owner, I have to be. I am filled with opinions and am ready to vocalize them in any given moment. But washing his feet meant to me, that I wasn’t afraid to release that “independent woman” mentality. It represented me submitting myself to him once again as my husband and releasing any pride that was in me in order to completely give 100% of myself to him as his wife. In that moment, I once again was committing myself to God and choosing to love Him through my submission to my Husband. Just as He ordained. Just as He orchestrated. Just as He called me to do.
The very best wedding advice I can give to engaged couples is to never forget the covenant. All the wedding planning, the wedding itself is simply a party. You have a cast that comes on stage during their cue, says their lines and when the curtain closes, they go back to their regularly scheduled life. But all of the flowers, all the guests, the dress…it’s all a part of the show. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the commitment you’re making to each other; the covenant you’re making with your bride/groom to be and God. What matters is the marriage itself. When you’re going through the wedding process…when you can’t seem to see eye to eye on the kind of flowers should be at the altar, who the DJ should be or what song should be your first dance song because you both love so many, remember at the end of the day, those memories are great, but the one that counts the most is the covenant. Keep your focus on each other and everything else will fall into place.
Photography: Amanda Hedgepeth Photography
Venue: Trump Winery
Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero, Anderson’s Bride
Bridesmaid Dresses: Bill Lekov
Bouquets and Boutonnieres: Mother, Ms. Terry Reid
Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse, Tie Obsessed, Manzini Collection
Door Rental: Paisley & Jade
Door Decoration: Tourterelle Floral Design
Cake Topper: Chicago Topper
Entertainment: DJ TAB