Harlem Renaissance Inspired Wedding in Seattle: Candace + Sean

Sean, a Business Consultant brought Italy to Candace, a Clinical Researcher when he proposed on a romantic gondola ride. And with a love for history, jazz, and classic black literature, the couple decided to have a Harlem Renaissance themed wedding on September 13, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Not known for its perfect weather, the sun shone bright in Seattle on their special day...which flowed as smoothly as the waters beneath them during their proposal. A beautiful day indeed.

Wedding Date: September 13, 2014
Wedding Location: Seattle, Washington
First Dance Song: "In a Sentimental Mood" by Duke Ellington & John Coltrane
Favorite Item on the Menu: Cajun Macaroni & Cheese

Tell us about how you met and all about the proposal!

My driver pulled up in front of Candace’s place of employment and I surprised her with flowers and a rented luxury vehicle escort. We then went to La Spiga for an elegant Italian dinner, after which we were taken to the Great Wheel. I proposed in the gondola and she was totally surprised. We were dropped off at Toulouse Petite for one last surprise. I had all of Candace's girlfriends and a few of my friends waiting to celebrate with us. We had drinks, tears, laughs and so much fun...Later we went to Edgewater Hotel where my friend was performing with her band. She did a special announcement for us and later, I sat in with the band on the drums. Candace and I had our own celebratory dance. Then we all went to Oscar's and finished off the night with more dancing and celebrating. It was an amazing night!

Wedding Style

Shopping was the best part! I already love what I call "treasure hunting,” so going wedding dress shopping was as much strategic as it was exhilarating. I dragged my MOH and bridesmaids to wedding shows and uploaded numerous gown photos to our shared cloud image library and to Pinterest. When it was time to actually shop, I set up a “tour,” taking them all over the state to various boutiques!

Sean and I both love music. He's very talented and can actually play instruments. I'm more of an admirer and historian. Because of this, it was important to us to incorporate the Jazz era into my gown and overall bridal theme! We had the Harlem Renaissance in mind when planning our wedding day looks and décor. 

My Must-Haves:

  • Sleeves that allowed the gown to remain sexy and elegant,
  • Crème color,
  • A mermaid-like bodice,
  • Corset buttons down the back of dress leading to my bottom to accentuate my curves,
  • A modern, but dramatic train

I didn’t actually start out looking for satin. However, after almost deciding on a more common style of gown, I reconsidered a satin gown when I realized how beautifully it reminded me of the Harlem Renaissance. Overall, I absolutely loved every detail of my gown. Every bead, and every layer of tulle.


We both appreciated the Jazz era and I’m personally a huge fan of the literature and music of the Harlem renaissance. So we worked to incorporate this into our overall style.


Sean and I did not hire a wedding planner or coordinator. We tried to combine our creativity and professional skills to plan the perfect wedding day. On the morning of the wedding, everything wasn’t going as planned and there were delays. I was very anxious, and fatigued from no sleep or food! When I arrived at the church, I was shaking and trying my best to hold back tears. My nerves were all over the place!

Our wonderful photographer got us ready for our “first-touch” shot. We wanted our first time to see each other to be when I came down the aisle. So, a unique spin on the “first-look” photos was to have us both at an angle where we couldn’t see each other, but could touch each other’s hands. I cannot even begin to describe the insurmountable emotion that came over me when I touched Sean’s hand. A strong sense of calm came over me, and tears just came running. It was beautiful and peace to an internal storm.

Help a bride-to-be out!

Don't try to do everything yourselves! My husband and I are both very organized and skilled in our professional lives and both have dabbled in project management. So, we saw no reason that we couldn't plan and coordinate our entire wedding ourselves. I must say, we did a pretty good job! However, it would have been much less stressful to hire help in our wedding coordination.

If you have great ideas for your wedding, find someone that you really trust to execute them! The last thing you'll want to do on one of the most important days of your life is micromanage one of the biggest moments of your life!


Photography: Kelly Lemon Photography
Videography: Victoria Kovios
Salon for Wedding Dress & Bridesmaids Gowns: La Belle Elaine’s Bridal
Wedding Gown Designer: Blue by Enzoani
Hair + Makeup: Hilra Preston
Groom’s Tux & Groomsmen Attire: Black by Vera Wang
Church: Greater Mt. Baker Baptist Church
Venue: The Landing
Florist: Sandy Edwards, Seattle Floral Studio
Catering: Julie & Diane Conley, Jemil's Big Easy
Cake: Cakes By Crème de la Crème
Rentals: Grandy Party Rentals

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