Rishee and Bryan didn't know they had met the love of their lives when they were introduced to each other at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. Even though they attended different colleges, they wrote each other letters and talked every day on the phone. They soon realized that their feelings were more than just friendly, and they formed a passionate romance centered on their shared religious beliefs and their love for family. January of last year, Bryan proposed to Rishee two days after her birthday in front of her friends and family, like she always dreamed. While planning for their special day the couple kept God and family high on their list of priorities and wanted them both represented at their wedding. The bride’s brother and father escorted her down the aisle, her uncle performed the wedding vows, and the lovelock tree ceremony, which puts God as the main foundation and the parents of each couple put a special lock on the tree. After the ceremony, they followed with a magical reception at the Holiday Inn at the Disney Resorts, which was put together spectacularly by their planner, Arlene Blake. Their photographer Castaldo Studios captured all the emotional moments of their ceremony and the bright and festive atmosphere of their gorgeous pink and purple reception.
- Wedding Date: 11/10/2013
- Wedding location: Forest Lake SDA Church, Apopka, FL
- Wedding flowers: "To tell you the truth the only thing I know about my flowers is that they were AMAZING! I always worried about my wedding looking like a circus but I can honestly say that the flowers pulled it all together. Aaron Vieri from Fiora Designs did an AMAZING job! To this day, I tell him that he is stuck with me!"
- Wedding cake flavor: "We had five tiers with a different flavor for each one. My favorite was Raspberry amaretto swirl with raspberry and cream cheese filling! It was DELICIOUS! I still crave it to this day."
- Bridesmaids/Groomsmen Gifts: "Majority of our gifts for the girls, bridesmaids, MOH came from ETSY the groomsmen gifts were Pinterest inspired and came with a cigar."
How the couple met
The couple met at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama where they became very close friends. They would often refer to each other as "2nd Favs.” Their relationship started to grow when they realized they were spending hours on the phone together. Attending separate schools, they would often write each other letters. One of which was a puzzle that Rishee had to put together to read. The more serious the couple got they were able to identify that they both held family and Christ as a top priority.
On January 12, 2013 the couple was engaged. The proposal was in plan since the month of October. Bryan had informed his parents that he was ready to settle down and had found the one that he couldn’t live without. In between October and the actual proposal Bryan would often inform Rishèe that he was getting her ring from Wal-Mart (knowing that this would bother her). On the night of the 12th, Bryan had gone ahead to the restaurant while allowing Rishèe to get ready with friends and family. Rishèe was only aware that she was going to eat with family and friends but she did not know where. Rishèe arrived a Citrus, which was a nice restaurant in downtown Orlando. The dinner started as a normal dinner. Friends and family sang and Bryan provided sparklers for the champagne bottles (Rishèe thought that was a great touch). Bryan then proceeded to give a speech, which shockingly turned out to be a proposal. When Bryan asked, Rishèe grabbed the ring out the box before saying “YES” and was reminded by family to actually respond. Rishèe got all she wanted and more out of the engagement, nevertheless the ring was not from Wal-Mart.
Bryan and I decided to go with the family theme because we are both family oriented individuals.
The style of my wedding dress was one that I really was passionate about. My dress was white, sweetheart neckline, and a very long train. I was definitely in LOVE with the train. As long as my dress had those two entities (sweetheart and long train), I was a happy Bride. Another wedding accessory that I really loved was my something blue and something old. My something blue was a blue cut off cloth in the form of a heart from a dress that belonged to my grandmother that I had sewn into my dress. My something old was my mother's original wedding dressed that I had re-done and wore for the reception.
Culture was only added in the fact that we are Seventh Day Adventists and we were sure to have our wedding in an SDA church and was sure to include God in everything. The main thing we wanted to incorporate was family; the bride was given away by her brother and her father. Her brother walked her half way down while her father walked with her the rest of the way. During the ceremony, we did a lovelock tree ceremony, which was conducted by the bride’s cousin. The lovelock tree ceremony acknowledges God as the main foundation and the parents of each couple. The parents were able to choose a lock with special engraving on it and lock it to the root of the tree. There was then a lock for the couple that identifies them as a unit, making a commitment before God. There are other locks on the tree that will be added as we grow our family. Further in the ceremony there was a sibling speech where the brother of the bride spoke memorable words of their history. Also, the pastor that married them was an Uncle to the bride. The ceremony was very intimate and love was felt all the way through in this unique one of a kind wedding.
My favorite memory from my wedding was my husband and my entry into the reception. Everyone in our bridal party had a choreograph dance for their entrance. However, my husband and I never had the time to choreograph something. So on our entrance we had to freestyle it and was not only fun but also it turned out pretty great!
My advice to a bride to be would be to really consider hiring a wedding planner. They really make the process easier and more pleasant. Another tip would be to do what you can on your own and make your wedding personable to you. Some personable touches we had were: Instead of table numbers we had pictures of my husband and I at that age (i.e.: table 3 had pictures of us at 3); instead of dinging the glass we provided favors in the form of bells with our picture on it. And it’s a lot cheaper and easier to make your own guestbook pens. Buying them can be a waste. Lastly, organization is key… the more organized you are, the easier it’ll be.
- Wedding Dress: Minerva’s Dresses
- Bridesmaid dress: WeddingShoppeInc.com
- Hair: Dale Dees Salon
- Makeup: Makeup By Yanice
- Ceremony Location: Forest Lake SDA Church
- Reception Location: Holiday Inn Disney Resort
- Photographer: Castaldo Studios
- Wedding Planner: Arlene Blake
- Florist: Fiora Design Studio
- Cake: Cakes by Design Caterer Holiday Inn Disney Resort