A Harlem Renaissance Wedding in Baltimore, MD: Brandi + Brandon

Brandi met Brandon at a birthday party for her cousin in March 2009, when his company was promoting a concert a popular club in Washington D.C. They began dating and by May 2009 the two made it official. However, 5 months later, Brandi accepted a position in Arizona and the two decided to continue their relationship long distance until Brandon relocated there in June 2011. The pair would continue dating for almost 4 years until one fateful night, November 14, 2014 to be exact, when Brandon planned to give Brandi the surprise of a lifetime. But not without a little help from both of their moms!

Brandon, who still lived in Arizona and Brandi, now back in Washington, D.C. after relocating in November, 2013, decided to work with his mother and Brandi's to plan her surprise proposal. A few weeks before, Brandon contacted Brandi's father asking for her hand in marriage. And under the guise of her mother’s birthday, Brandon worked behind the scenes to organize a dinner at The Chop House in Annapolis, Maryland, for herself and their parents. "I didn’t expect to see Brandon until the following week for the Thanksgiving holiday, so this totally eased any suspicions" shares Brandi.

That evening, as Brandi sat down to eat dinner with their parents, Brandon phoned her, around the time he normally did every night. When she picked up, she found a troubling voice on the other end, as Brandon explained to her that he was having a bad day. Yet he still encouraged Brandi to enjoy her meal and told her that he would talk with her later.

"Although I reluctantly hung up the phone, I became concerned about him, I began to excuse myself to call him back. His mother discouraged me and encouraged me to enjoy my meal." says Brandi. And of course she would, as she was in on the action too! "I reluctantly agreed. Moments later, I received a tap on my shoulder, when I turned around, there was Brandon! He kissed me and before I could ask what he was doing in town and at the restaurant, he dropped to his knee in front of the restaurant and our parents and asked me to marry him - I said yes!" says Brandi.

The man, who Brandi has always known as being "predictable" had gotten one over on her with this surprise, while also making the start of her holiday season all the more special!

Read on for more on this fun-loving couple who had a little assistance with flawlessly pulling off their Harlem Renaissance inspired wedding from a few of our coterie members! Members involved include photographer Henry Spencer of Memories of Bliss Photography, wedding planner Kay Fraser of Prestigious Occasions and designer Andrea Pitter of Pantora Bridal, who designed the brides wedding and reception look and the dress sported by the flower girl!

Bride: Brandi Miller
Groom: Brandon Carr
Occupations: Brandon: Special Events Coordinator, University of Maryland (Baltimore Campus), Brandi: Deputy Director, Leasing Center, Veterans Health Administration, Washington, DC
Wedding date: 3/11/2016
Wedding location: The Belvedere - Baltimore, Maryland

Describe your wedding dress. What was wedding shopping like for you?
My wedding dress was trumpet style with an ivory and gold embroidered overlay with Swarovski crystal beading on the bodice. The bottom and train were created with mesh and organza ruffles and hand-sewn ostrich feathers. Wedding shopping was a very exciting process! However, midway through , I learned I was a non-traditional bride. I didn’t want to wear white, and maybe not even a dress (my mother initially was not pleased). Additionally, I did not see anything on the rack available to me that I did not want to completely alter. Therefore, I decided to get my dress custom-made. The only issue was, I was running out of time.

The normal time for ordering and receiving a dress was 8 to 10 months. Needless to say that having a custom gown made may require more time. It was 9 months until my wedding! I was blessed to have a conversation with Brandon’s cousin at dinner one evening, who recommended Andrea Pitter, owner of Brooklyn’s Pantora Bridal. A soon to be bride like me, she heard about her via Instagram and told me to visit her. Since I made regular visits to NYC to visit my family, I made an appointment immediately.

Andrea was a breath of fresh air! I was so pleased when she told me that it was possible to make my dress in the time allotted, and offered me the non-traditional custom design I dreamed of! Not only that, she took my vision from one major dress to a second look of a Neoprene and Sequin ivory and gold peplum top with a train and matching sequin pants! I looked forward to my frequent visits to Brooklyn from Washington, DC for the design process and fittings with Andrea and her team. They became more like friends than people I hired. I’m very grateful to them!

Quick Facts:
Loves: Bride: Shopping, Travel, Cocktails….(did I say cocktails?!)
Groom: Sports, Comic Books, Movies

Favorite TV shows
Bride: Walking Dead, House of Cards
Groom: The Flash, Walking Dead

Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: 
Bridesmaids: Custom satin kimonos, feather hand fans, champagne and custom Pandora Bangles and Charms.
Groomsmen: Custom leather cigar cases, lighters and cutters and a cigar.

Favorite item on the menu: Thyme and Panko Oven Fried Chicken Breast with Chicken Veloute Sauce
First dance song: “Adore” by Prince and “A Couple of Forevers” by Chrisette Michele

Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding?
We incorporated the theme and spirit of the Harlem Renaissance into our African American ceremony. Very early on in the wedding process we encouraged guests to don 1930’s attire to events like the engagement party and later at the wedding. Being that the interior of our apartment building and The Belvedere was designed in similar fashion, it was very easy to make our vision come to life. Everyone was excited and enthusiastically obliged us!

What is your best memory from your wedding?
My fondest memory is seeing all of our family in one place sharing our love for each other! Our family came from far and wide to share in our happiness. It made us feel very special. With the help of Belvedere & Company Events (the event management company of the Belvedere Hotel and Kay (Kerrine) Fraser and her team at Prestigious Occasions, our love remained the focus as we partied the night away. The great weather was another plus as the forecast in Baltimore in March has been known to be in the 30’s with snow. To have an 80 degree day was unheard of! God smiled on us that day!

What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
You will have the day that you expect to have. Do your part and trust the people you have hired to create your vision! Go to premarital counseling early, pray and keep those date nights. They will come in handy when the stress of the process takes its toll on you.

Vendors
Wedding Planner: Kay Fraiser, Prestigious Occasions
Photographer: Henry Spencer, Memories of Bliss Photography
Wedding Dress Designer: Andrea Pitter, Pantora Bridal
Flower Girl Dress Designer: Andrea Pitter, Pantora Mini
Bridesmaids & MOB/MOG Dresses: Whitney Adams, Stylist, Bella Bridesmaids Baltimore
Groom/Groomsmen Tuxedos: The Black Tux
Venue: The Belvedere Hotel
Flowers: The Flower Cart, Inc.
Cake: Jason Hisley, Owner, La Cakerie
Hair: Nakita Mackey, Ms. Nikki Styles
Make-up Artist: Blair Holland & Deborah “Deb” Smith (Assistant), Blair Alexa Beauty
Nails: Celeste Hampton (owner), Celestial Nails
Stationary/Invitations: The Office Gal via Carlson Craft
Shoes: Jimmy Choo, Net-A-Porter
Wedding Officiant: Reverend Alfred Bailey, New Psalmist Baptist Church
Music: DJ Schemes, No Gimmicks Just Schemes, LLC
Limo: Limos 4 Less 

Coterie Members

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  1. Danielle

    Such a unique wedding, love her dress!

    Reply
  2. Lenora

    Gorgeous gorgeous bride and groom the whole wedding party was priceless love it congratulations

    Reply
  3. Bee

    Beautiful

    Reply
  4. Jennifer Scott

    Beautiful love story! I love your wedding style, you were a gorgeous bride!

    Reply

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