After Nishaka Proctor arranged my meeting with Rashunda, I knew that this wedding would be special. They decided to have their wedding at The Loft at Plant Seven, which is now The Loft at the Factory. Rashunda said, “I love natural light, so I instantly fell in love with the windows all around the loft space.” From there Nishaka designed and planned Rashunda’s secret garden-themed wedding.
How did you two meet?
We met at Prince George’s Church of Christ in Landover, MD. Apparently, he had this rule about not dating anyone who attended the same congregation he attended. Honestly, we actually connected on social media. He posted a sad tweet about wanting to play Scrabble and not having anyone to join him. I told him to download Words with Friends and I would play with him. We played, I won ALL THE TIME, we started chatting and I told him I was done dating. Little did I know he was trying to figure out how to ask me out. Well, one day he mentioned to a mutual friend of ours that he decided not to ask me out. This mutual male friend said, if I were younger, I’d give you a run for your money. I guess that was the motivation he needed.
Tell us about your proposal?
He tricked me! He was (and still is) stationed in Germany. Well, for NYE 2017, he convinced me to come visit him in Germany. I was thinking of not going because it was such a short trip, but he told me he had already paid for something for us to do and of course, he didn’t want to lose the money. So of course, I went to Germany. When I arrived, he told me he didn’t have anything planned, he just wanted me to come. I was SO mad because he lied to me! Now imagine being in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and you’re mad at the only person you truly know! We argued and once I let out my anger, I was cool and I moved on. The rest of the trip was going well and then NYE came. After we attended chapel and had dinner on base, we were at the apartment and fireworks were going off all around us. He led me to the couch, told me he wanted to give me the other part of my Christmas present and blindfolded me. When he told me to take off the blindfold, he was down on one knee. Long story short, I ugly cried and said yes! Of course, he still brags about how he shut me up after being mad at him for lying to get me to Germany. I just let him, after all, it ended up being the perfect trip.
Tell us about your bridesmaids?
My crew is the BEST! They all represent different time periods of my life related to my educational pursuits. I met two of my bridesmaids (Christetta and Tosha) freshman year at Howard University. I also met my maid of honor (Ashley) at Howard University. I met Tierra (my party friend) in Pensacola, FL. We both attended the University of West Florida where we completed our Masters degrees in psychology. I met my last two bridal party members in Memphis, TN. I met Jessica (matron of honor)at church and my other bridesmaid (Felicia) attended the University of Memphis with me. What is so unique about my relationship with Felicia is that we are both from Birmingham, AL, AND we went to the same high school! We never met until graduate school though because when I was a senior in high school, she was a freshman.
Tell us about his groomsmen?
Well, one of his groomsmen was his brother (Eric), so that one is easy! His god-nephew (Chianti) was his best man. Although that is his god-nephew, they are very close in age and have built a strong (and crazy) friendship. Raymond has known Charles since high school and they have been friends ever since; even though Raymond was an athlete and Charles was not in high school. Gary is the friend that told Raymond he would give him a run for his money if he were younger when Raymond said he decided not to ask me out. Basically, Gary is the motivator!
Let’s talk about fashion. How did you choose your wedding day look? How did the groom? Describe both looks in detail (include dress & tux designer). What was wedding shopping like for you?
I said “yes to the dress” at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York. I knew I wanted a mermaid or trumpet look, but I tried on different styles to see what looked best. I went to some bridal salons in NC, but when I had the chance to go to NY, I jumped on the opportunity to go to Kleinfeld. My mom went with me and the first dress I tried on was the one. Of course, it was a Pnina Tornai. Now shoes, on the other hand, took a lot longer. I finally found the perfect shoes the day after Christmas at DSW.
Raymond is very picky about his fashion. Honestly, we are the same when it comes to that. We just like what we like! Anyway, he did not get his tux until the week of the wedding! I know, I know. I gave him the side-eye multiple times, but it all worked out. The problem was, he wanted to wear blue. He LOVES blue, but we agreed that the suits would be gray. Needless to say, I told him it was okay for him to wear blue because the groom should stand out and purple and navy complement each other nicely. Ultimately, he purchased a navy tuxedo from Suit Supply in Washington, DC.
Tell us about your ceremony venue and what attracted you to it?
He wanted a big wedding and I didn’t, so I had to find a venue that would comfortably fit 200 people and we would still have enough space to dance. The Loft at Plant Seven was the perfect space. I love natural light, so I instantly fell in love with the windows all around the loft space. Also, Ayesha the manager was just amazing. Honestly, I picked all the wedding vendors based on the feeling they gave me when I met them. Ayesha and The Loft checked all the boxes for me and Raymond agreed.
Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette?
One thing we agreed on was that we wanted a romantic wedding. We wanted people to feel the love that we shared when they entered the space. After hiring our wedding planner, Nishaka Proctor, we agreed on a “secret garden” type wedding theme. Also, purple is my favorite color, so it had to be included!
What’s your favorite image from your wedding day, and why?
The wedding ceremony picture of us with our heads bowed praying. You can see the audience in the background and some of our wedding party also with their heads bowed. That picture is perfect because I feel the support and love that is being shown to us in that picture. That picture also highlights our commitment to our Christian faith.
Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
We are both members of the Church of Christ, so our faith is very important to us. We wanted old and new testament scripture read and to have ministers who are near and dear to us perform the ceremony. I am all about connecting back to our ancestors, so I wanted to jump the broom. Raymond was fine with this, so we incorporated it.
Let’s talk about wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
I was NOT a DIY bride! Being on the tenure-track does not afford me the opportunity to engage in a lot of outside activities during the academic year. Also, Raymond was still in Germany during our wedding planning, so we were both limited in what we could do. This is why I knew we needed a wedding planner. Nishaka Proctor is amazing! We met often and she listened to my ideas. Together, we created a vision and she (along with Blossom Artistry) executed it flawlessly.
Tell us about your wedding planner?
Nishaka Proctor is a gift from God! Her spirit is genuine and her planning and execution skills are top notch, all characteristics that made me want to work with her. Several people commented on how amazing she was at the wedding. One of our hostesses said she wanted to intern with her! She is truly amazing. I do not consider her just a wedding planner, I consider her a sister and a friend.
What were the florals like at your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces, or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
One night, I was driving home from work and when I arrived at my apartment complex, I noticed these beautiful trees that were illuminated by white up-lighting. That is when I knew we HAD to have trees at the wedding and they HAD to be purple! There are these beautiful purple trees planted along interstate 40 in the Triad area that only bloom in the winter. They look like cherry blossoms, but I believe they are actually redbuds. Once I shared that with Nishaka, she created a vision with the amazing people at Blossom Artistry and our wedding backdrop was PERFECT! For my bridal bouquet, I wanted purple and white flowers. I did not want a traditional white bouquet, I needed a pop of color! For centerpieces, I wanted simple. Baby’s breath was perfect to compliment the purple tablecloths.
Tell us about your wedding photography?
In His Image Photography captured EVERY SINGLE MOMENT! When I look at the pictures, I feel like I did not miss anything! I love the candid photos that people did not realize were captured. All of the pictures are perfect!
What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day? What is your fondest memory from your wedding day?
Most anticipated for me was walking out and seeing Raymond. I joked with him prior to our wedding that he better cry when he sees me! Well, he definitely cried. But what made the moment even better is that ALL of my bridesmaids also cried. It was just so beautiful! This is also my fondest memory.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
People say there are no perfect weddings. I believe that your definition of perfect is what negates this. For me, our wedding was perfect. We declared our love and commitment to each other in front of our family and close friends. It was exactly what we both wanted to do. My advice: focus on you and your future spouse. Communicate with each other! Do not worry what other people want or what they say. Ultimately, this is about the two of you. If you do that, your wedding will be perfect just like ours.
Venue: The Loft at Plant Seven
Florals: Blossom Artistry
Cake: Edible Artistry
Make up Artist: Teah Chinn
Hair Stylist: Tia Marie Hastye
Videography: Chaz Reid
Entertainment: Cool Receptions
Lighting: Carey Sound