Real {DC} Wedding: Janelle + Bryan

“I choose you.”  It’s a heartfelt and complex sentiment.   Complex because some may argue that you can’t choose the person you fall in love with. Well, one thing we know for sure is that Janelle and Bryan chose God, and because of that choice, he brought them together…

The phrase is what Janelle and Bryan often times say to one another….And what Janelle meant to remark to Bryan when he proposed to her at Hampton University at the Chapel right upon the steps.  It was right before the game and on Janelle’s 10 year HU reunion.  Bryan reminisces, “I really was not nervous, although there was a twinge just before I got down on one knee. We had been discussing things along these lines a good bit , and I had gotten the blessing from both her father and mother.”  The proposal was flawless as was their wedding.  The lovebirds tied the knot at the swanky W Hotel in Washington, D.C back in September.  All the gorgeous images were captured by His and Her Photography in D.C.  Meet the couple.

Bride:  Janelle Burt
Groom:  Bryan Burt
Occupations:  Integrated Marketing Mgr / Math Teacher, KIPP Will Academy
Wedding date: September 3, 2011
Location: Washington, D.C

 

THE FIRST ENCOUNTER:

“We met at Hampton University in 1996 – my freshman year and Bryan’s junior year.  Let’s see if I can describe this tactfully.  Bryan was the roommate of my roommate’s older brother.  When he graduated, I ended up moving into his old room.  Go figure! The first time we met was at #1 Hackberry – the house we both lived in.  We reconnected years later at a CNN “Black in America” event, and the rest is history.” – Janelle

FROM THE BRIDE:

“Our wedding was at the W Hotel in Washington, DC – formerly the Hotel Washington. I’ve always been a “W Girl” but what really attracted us to the hotel for our wedding was the unique blend of modern meets traditional architecture (i.e. swanky decorum in the lobby with distinct columns from the original hotel design). Additionally, we were blown away by the rooftop view. Our goal was to select a venue where we could have the ceremony, reception and an after party – a one stop shop if you will. Though we were going a somewhat non-traditional route it was very important to transform the ceremony space into our own chapel. The wedding was relatively intimate (80 guests). We held the ceremony in a small room on the ground level, and the reception/afterparty were on the rooftop. It was a dream and the weather was amazing. 

As a bride, the biggest challenge was planning the wedding from another city with the demands of working, international travel etc. Our theme was…the trinity. Bryan and I are Christians who are very much rooted in our faith. The reason why this was important for us to highlight the trinity – us and God – was because He is the platform for our love and the third strand in our triple braided cord that holds us together. 

From the standpoint of the style of the wedding, our goal was modern, classy…sleek. Simplistic charm. Since the backdrop of the W was so stunning, we used elements like dramatic floating candles, all white flowers (my favorite was the isle of white rose petals) and accent lighting. We also wanted our guests to be able to have fun, and enjoy the environment. So, we created our chapel for the ceremony on the ground level…guests were moved to the roof for passed appetizers and jazz outside of the reception room…then the reception commenced with a berry lighting as the backdrop…and the afterparty was held on a section of the rooftop. The night air was fantastic. Working with fantastic vendors truly made things much simpler.”

ON INCORPORATING CULTURE:

“I’d like to point out one very special tradition that we incorporated into our ceremony. As mentioned previously, we themed our wedding around the “trinity” signifying our relationship and connection to our faith in God. During the ceremony, our preacher wrapped a triple braided cord around our hands after the exchange of our vows to symbolize the trinity. This is called “handfasting.” Bryan and I researched the origins of the tradition, and even had our own cord designed (it had a berry strand (bride), grey strand (groom) and a white strand (God) with 3 charms – two infinity symbols and a cross. This was a very subtle addition to our ceremony, and we made reference to its significance in the program. It was one thing that we were adamant about – ensuring that we never lost sight of the purpose of the day. The cord and what it symbolized is what September 3rd was all about in our mind. 

I am a big fan of Maya Angelou, an African American woman who has a way of sculpting words with such distinction and grace. One of my childhood friends read the poem below during our ceremony entitled “touched by an angel.” Culturally I feel like this was an ode to history and to love. Ultimately the theme was a reminder that only love, true love, can liberate our souls:”

Touched by an Angel
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
 
Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
 
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.  
-Maya Angelou

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS:

GETTING READY: I have to be honest. Wedding planning can definitely be stressful…but the whole day went so fast! I must say (from the bride’s perspective) I was completely calm and had such a wonderful time getting ready throughout the day. I loved that I started the day with a walk to the MLK Memorial with one of my bridesmaids (Nicole), and that the remainder of the day was spent laughing and having a good time with the girls. This might sound odd but I enjoyed watching everyone get ready! Especially my Grandmother who at 92 is still a show stopper. Everyone was radiant and I could feel the love. I remember getting my hair done, looking out of the window…and jamming to some gospel. It was just an awesome day. 

CEREMONY: I loved the white rose petal aisle coupled with the classical music. It felt like I was walking into heaven as I approached Bryan. My favorite moment was actually right after the wedding when we had a few minutes alone and we realized WE WERE MARRIED! It was a tender, quiet moment between us.

RECEPTION: Loved that the groomsmen had personalized chuck taylor’s! Bryan and I both had personalized chucks as well (that read “bride” and “groom”). He couldn’t WAIT to put them on. It was so great! Also, he had the coolest grooms cake – turn tables. Truthfully, the toasts by the best man and my sister were most memorable. So honest and so heart felt….just awesome. It was just completely overwhelming to have all of the people we love in one room. We danced and danced and moved to the rooftop later in the evening. 

When I look back to our special day, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was marrying my BFF and that my heart was so at peace. No anxiety or worry – just joy. Plain and simple.  The most memorable part of the day is that we ended it….Mr & Mrs. ;-)” – Janelle

{Loving You Is So Easy}

“I’m a man of few words so I’ll make this brief. I love Janelle like crazy. She is kind, beautiful, smart, and seeks after God (and so much more). I am so blessed.” – Bryan

“Not only is he handsome **wink** but you won’t meet anyone more compassionate, fun, witty, humble etc. etc. He’s all of those things, and a man of God.” – Janelle

VENDORS:

Photography: Images by His & Her Photography – DC
Venue:  W Hotel – Washington, DC –
Wedding & Groom Cakes – fancycakesbyleslie.com
Makeup Artist – Renny Vasquez
Flowers – Millicent Bluford – sue.blue@gmail.com
Reception Music – DJ John Dowe – djjohndowe@gmail.com
Hair – Earlissa Larry
Ceremony Music Director – Kerry Burgess – kscottburgess@yahoo.com
Videography – TriVision Studios USA
Gowns – Nicole Miller
Bridal Attendants – Nicole Miller
Wedding Stationary – William Arthur/vera wang
Wedding Website – Wedding Window
Honeymoon – Anguilla  

Thanks so much to Janelle and Bryan for sharing your sweet story with us.  And much thanks to Drew of His and Her Photography for sharing these stunning images. Be sure to head over to their site to see more of their work.  Click any thumbnail below to view the entire gallery.

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  6. Drew

    What a wonderful story!! I love the details, the photos, and the narrative. Thanks for putting together this beautiful post and thanks to Janelle and Bryan for inviting me to be such an intimate part of your wedding celebration!

    Cheers,
    Drew
    hisandherphotography.com

    Reply
  7. oluchy

    BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE.

    Reply

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