When friendship is the foundation of a relationship, it's bound to be a relationship that can withstand every storm. Alnissa and Mario initially met at a night club in 2003 where the two instantaneously formed a friendship. Despite Mario's relocation to Charlotte in 2005, they remained in contact over the years and continued to strengthen their bond. Fast forward 7 years later, Alnissa was studying for her doctorate degree but Mario was persistent in pursuing her. They spent hours talking on the phone getting to know more about one another and in August of 2012 they took their friendship to the next level. The pair consummated their new relationship with a Caribbean cruise. Alnissa professes that everything they've shared has brought them to this point, the point where two friends decide to spend the rest of their lives together in marriage.
The couple made it official with a luxe navy and gold wedding at the Grand Marquise Ballroom in North Carolina. Coterie member Sabrina Seymore Events planned the glamorous soiree. Navy table coverings were the perfect compliment to the gold chiavari chairs. White and soft pink florals were nestled in tall glass vases serving as the elegant centerpieces. Guests ate by candlelight as soft white candles lit up each table. It was a stunning affair fit for this couple rooted in friendship and love. Take a look at their beautiful wedding captured by In His Image Photography.
Favorite item on the wedding menu: Shrimp & grits appetizer during cocktail hour and burger bar for late night snacks.
Bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts: Bridesmaids received personalized wine glasses, wine bags, and bottles of wine, with an inscription on each wine label. Personalized robes with name, initial and title. Groomsmen received fancy socks.
First dance song: "Everything" by Mary J Blige and "Matrimony" by Wale featuring Usher.
Bride: Alnissa Shaw
Groom: Mario Shaw
Wedding date: 08/15/2015
Wedding location: Grand Marquise Ballroom, Garner, North Carolina
Tell us all about the proposal!
As a symbolic gesture to our first date, Mario planned a surprise proposal on a cruise vacation for my birthday in May 2014. He involved my daughter, mother, sisters, and closest friends in executing the surprise proposal. The engagement on the cruise was totally a surprise and the set up was nothing short of amazing. He even involved the cruise staff and other guests that we met aboard the ship. He proposed at dinner, on one knee, in front of the our dinner guests and staff. It was truly the best birthday gift ever.
Describe your wedding dress. How was your dress shopping experience?
My wedding dress shopping didn't start out smoothly. It was a little challenging trying to find stores that could accommodate brides that have more curvy figures. Most of the dresses were size 10 or smaller, which made it difficult to get a full appreciation of how the dress would fit my body type. During a dress shopping day while visiting my family in New Jersey, my niece suggested we visit Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City. Well this was a Saturday afternoon attempt to walk-in for dress shopping to one of the most popular bridal gown stores in the country. Whew I was lucky when they were able to fit us in on the same day of my request and off we went to Kleinfled. My consultant was very knowledgeable and bought several gowns that I could easily try on without being frustrated about the size! This was truly a stress free experience and I found my dress on the first day. Of course, I had to schedule another day of shopping for a bridal gown, just to ensure that I wasn't missing out on anything. On my second trip to Kleinfeld, I said "Yes to the Dress!" A dazzling bejeweled headband was the best compliment to my mermaid style, drop-waist, strapless gown. Initially the gown was a halter, but I knew that my gown had to be strapless and so they accommodated this request with ease. I felt the dress was perfect for my figure, personality, and comfort.
What is your best memory of your wedding day?
My best memory of the wedding was knowing that all my family and friends from New Jersey traveled far, despite their different challenges to attend, to ensure they were there to share in this very special day of my life. We celebrated as if it were a family reunion. We started the weekend with a themed "I Do BBQ" where all the out of town guests were invited to attend, instead of doing a traditional rehearsal dinner for only the wedding party. My best memory is the family atmosphere of love and support that has been the foundation of my wedding and now marriage.
What advice do you have for our brides-to-be?
Plan for the marriage, while planning for the wedding. Don't forget to take time to continue dating and spending time with one another during the wedding planning phase.
Planner - Sabrina Seymore Events
Photographer - In His Image Photography
Florist - Fresh Affairs
Videographer - Master Mind Productions
Stationery - J'Marie Designs
Venue - Grand Marquise Ballroom
Caterer - Rocky Top Hospitality
Entertainment - DJ Blue Mixing
Cake - Cake Couture
Hair - Tamiko McAlmon
Makeup - Brittani Hines of Flawless Smooch
Bridesmaid Bespoke Dresses - Brides By Nona
Bridal Gown - Mark Zunino
Groom's Custom Tuxedo - DW Designs Custom Clothing
Bride's Shoes - Jimmy Choo Bridal Collection
Groom's Shoes - Salvatore Ferragamo