Read all about Blayne and James' love story, romantic surprise engagement, and gorgeous wedding and reception in Atlanta - featuring event planning by MunaLuchi Coterie member Brian Green.
Bride & Groom: Blayne & James
Occupations: Blayne - NBC News Channel Correspondent and Co-Founder of the Phoenix Leadership Foundation. James - Co-Founder and Chairman of the Phoenix Leadership Foundation and Greenwood Archer Atlanta, Georgia.
Wedding Location: Atlanta, GA; Ceremony - Ebenezer Baptist Church; Reception - Hangar at Peachtree
Wedding Date: October 8th 2016
It was late 2011 in Atlanta at the annual Mayor’s Ball. Four-time Emmy Award nominee, and Washington-based NBC News Channel correspondent, Blayne Alexander was new to the city, having just recently relocated, looking to meet new people and find a community of friends. A mutual friend of hers and future husband, James Bailey – private equity firm founder and emerging philanthropist, introduced the two. A connection was immediate and they spent the next two years developing a beautiful friendship with the increasing potential to become much more.
Just how much more, would be revealed one night towards the end of 2013 while attending another gala together, because during this particular event the sparks flew! Blayne and James recall how they “loved how much we could laugh together.” A friendship built on years of caring and support would be the foundation for what became a loving relationship, with a shared passion for life and vision to make the world a better place.
In December of 2015, James orchestrated an elaborate surprise proposal – having to go to great lengths to surprise Blayne as she is inquisitive by trade. Being a frequent public speaker, James told Blayne that he was engaged to speak at a workshop in Charleston, South Carolina. With the help of friends, he created a fake event complete with flyer and email. Blayne was flown up to Charleston to “support the event.” James stated that he’d “made a friend who wanted to take the couple out on his boat before the workshop dinner.” The reality was that the boat was actually a charter company with all of the crew pretending to be a part of the workshop.
After two and half hours of sailing off the coast of Charleston, the crew captain asked to take a picture of Blayne and James near the sunset. It was at this moment that James admitted the truth of the situation, “I’m sorry, I lied,” he said, “there is no speaking engagement - this is our engagement.” Silhouetted by the setting sun, on the waters off the South Carolina coast, James dropped to one knee, ring in hand, and asked Blayne to spend the rest of her life with him as husband and wife. Completely shocked, Blayne dissolved into tears as she crumpled to the deck of the boat - responding with a heartfelt “yes!”
For Blayne, wedding dress shopping was a true joy, with her mother and most of her bridesmaids at hand when she found “the one.” Initially wanting a “very bedazzled” dress with an “incredibly long train,” she ended up selecting a dress with the exact opposite style. She was informed that the bridal boutique just received a new dress that would be absolutely perfect for her. With the dress on and eyes closed, she was positioned in front of the full length mirror...her mother and bridesmaids by her side, she opened her eyes to see a stunningly beautiful bride starring back at her - adorned in a classically elegant, form-fitting gown with a statement-making skirt. Blayne “couldn’t have imagined a more perfect dress!”
The ceremony of Blayne and James incorporated such cultural elements as jumping the broom, and a serenade of the traditional songs from their Alpha and Delta Greek organizations. They also displayed their love for the city of Atlanta in their photos and ceremony venue. Overall Blayne and James “just wanted a live music experience and truly happy time” with the people they love.
What is your best memory from your wedding?
We both agree the atmosphere was incredible. We didn't allow any cell phones during the ceremony because we wanted everyone to be truly present and committed to supporting and praying for us throughout our marriage. We had more than 300 members of our “village” and we could truly feel the love. Other memorable parts were the speeches - incredibly emotional and captivated everyone in the room. Finally - for both - walking down the aisle (and seeing Blayne walk down the aisle) to Beyonce's Halo was something we'll never forget.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Enjoy the engagement season! Don't make it all about planning. Take the time to absorb and truly remember all the love you receive from family and friends during your engagement and wedding period. It truly is a special time!
Planner: By Brian Green
Design and Floral: Edge Design
Catering: Epting Events
Photography: Milanes Photography
Videography: Up and Up Weddings
Additional Design: Coco Studios
Cake: Sweet Cheats Bakery
Invitations and Paper: Papered Wonders
Bride Dress: Sweet Elegance Bridal
Venue: Hangar at Peachtree (reception)
Lighting and Drapes: Unique Event Elements
Makeup: Makeup By Tierra
Band: John Beal and the Funkestra
Bartending: The Perfect Bartender
String Quartet: Etude Entertainment