After taking a little bit of time to reflect on her Raleigh Marriott City Center Wedding, Courtney left this bit of advice to future brides:
Take time to enjoy the day…dance with your friends, take selfies in the limo and while you’re getting your makeup done. Brides take pictures with your mom, grooms take pictures with your dad. Don’t lose sight of your vision for your day. If you don’t have one then write down some ideas before you start meeting with planners or other vendors. Make sure you work with your photographer and videographer to let them know any special people or moments you need them to capture. Don’t get lost in the details on the day of the wedding….it won’t happen as you thought it would and that’s ok. Most grooms don’t care about the details but don’t assume, you never know when he’ll want to comment about pocket squares or linens to be sure to ask your groom for his opinion throughout the process. Get a budget and stick to it. You’ll start to see ideas on websites and Pinterest and you’ll want to do them all…pick those things that are most important to you and use those ideas. Enjoy the process! It goes by fast and even though it’s stressful you’ll miss the process once it’s over.
So without further ado, please enjoy Mario + Courtney’s Raleigh Marriott City Center Wedding.
Raleigh Marriott City Center Wedding
Complete with insights from the bride!
Mario + Courtney
October 29, 2016
Raleigh Marriott City Center
Share with us how you two met:
We met on the dating website Plenty of Fish.
Tell us about your proposal:
Mario proposed on my birthday at dinner with my sister, cousin, and friends. It was a very “Mario” proposal..short and sweet. He got down on one knee and said five words, “Will you marry me, baby?”
How about your wedding shoes and jewelry:
I wanted to have shoes that were both comfortable and fashionable so I chose two pairs of shoes. I had a pair of white fabric sandals with a bling ankle strap made by Nina for the ceremony. For walking around for pictures and dancing during the ceremony I chose a pair of sparkly peep toe flat sandals made by INC (International Concepts). Both pairs of shoes were purchased at Macy’s. I wanted to keep my jewelry simple so I wore a cross necklace. I purchased my bracelet and earrings from a local jewelry store. However, at the last minute on our wedding day, I decided I wanted to wear simple stud earrings, which I borrowed from my mom. :-)
Any bridesmaids / groomsmen gifts?
Mario loves collecting watches so he wanted his groomsmen to have watches. He gave each of them a black and white G-shock watch to go with our black and white theme. I gave each of my bridesmaids a tote bag with their bride hive t-shirts, a jewelry box and initial jewelry tray and their jewelry for the day.
Was there any particular theme or style for your wedding:
Courtney’s favorite colors are black and white, so we knew we wanted to incorporate black and white with gold as an accent color. With that color scheme in mind, we went with the theme of sophisticated elegance.
Tell us about your hair & makeup:
My hair stylist Ranata Cooper and I decided that the best style for me on the day would be a romantic, elegant bun. Ranata did a wonderful job on my hair and we added a jeweled headband around the perimeter of the bun to coordinate with my dress and jewelry. My makeup was done flawlessly by Sharon Davis. Sharon actually provided the makeup for our entire wedding party. During my consultation I told Sharon I wanted to have great makeup but not look overdone and that is exactly what she accomplished.
Describe your wedding dress. What was wedding shopping like for you?
I had very specific ideas in mind about what I want my dress to be. I knew I wanted some sort of sleeve or strap with lace elements and a flowy romantic feel with some sort of “bling” element. Being a curvy girl who is fashionable, wedding dress shopping in the Raleigh area was difficult. After a few frustrating, lackluster visits to Raleigh area stores, I decided to look for a dress in Atlanta. My mom and sister went shopping with me and though we visited a few stores that weekend, I went with a dress from the first store, Alfred Angelo. I love my dress and it would up being exactly what I was looking for.
Watts Chapel Baptist Church
How / why did you choose your ceremony venue:
Our faith is important to us, so we knew we wanted to have our ceremony in our church. Courtney has been a member of Watts Chapel for most of her life, and when we met we started attending together.
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? If yes, tell us more.
No particular cultural elements, faith-based elements of scripture and holy communion.
How about the wedding invitations & stationery:
Our wedding invitations were provided by Cute Buttons Gift and Paper Boutique in Cary, NC. In line with the black white and gold theme, the invitations were white with black text and a gold pocket backer. Our day of stationery was provided by Suite Paper.
What is your best memory from your wedding?
Choosing one is really hard. I would say walking out of the sanctuary after saying “I do.” While I was involved in all the details and moments of the day Mario had to tell me which way we were supposed to walk to exit. :-) Other than that, we loved watching all of our loved ones dance and enjoy themselves at the reception.
Raleigh Marriott City Center
Tell us about your reception venue
The majority of our wedding guests were from out of town so we wanted a reception venue that would be convenient for our guests. We chose the Raleigh Marriott City Center in Downtown Raleigh because our guests would be able to stay at the venue and it wasn’t too far from our church.
Favorite item on the reception menu:
We had a buffet menu with several different options. I don’t think I ate more than a few bites but Mario said everything was great. All of our guests said they really enjoyed the food and the variety.
Tell us about your flowers:
Our flowers were provided and designed by Lyn Graves of Fresh Affairs. In conversations with Lyn, I told him I wanted to keep the flowers very clean with all tones of white and he definitely delivered on that request.
Any wedding favors:
Our wedding favors were customized candy tins with our picture. The tins had a variety of candy, jelly beans, skittles and M&Ms.
Tell us about his groomsmen:
Mario’s groomsmen were his cousin and best friend, Alex Johnson, Jr. His older brother, Otis Mapson, Jr. His nephew Judah Mapson. One of his first cousins, Charles Perry, Jr. and my first cousin, Anthony French.
Tell us about your bridesmaids:
My bridesmaids were my older, only and favorite sister, Yasmin Bradley. My best friend since college, Avia Mainor. My cousins Ceedra Allen and Kelli French and my new sister in-love, Mario’s sister, Tekisha Mapson. Because I love all things Beyoncé (whose fans are called the bee hive), I decided to have “Bride Hive” t-shirts made for my bridesmaids to wear as we were getting ready on the big day. All of the ladies were great and my bride hive was definitely “buzzing!”
Tell us about your honeymoon:
We decided to go to Las Vegas for our honeymoon because Mario loves to play poker and I like to shop. We delayed our honeymoon until the weekend after our wedding, which was a great choice. It gave us some days in between the wedding to rest, run errands and see our family off before we left for Vegas.
And your cake:
Our cake was made by Ashley Cakes. Again I wanted to keep things simple and romantic so I went with an all white cake with flowers on the top and in between the layers. The cake also featured our custom monogram. The cake design was important to me and flavors were important to Mario. He chose alternating layers of red velvet, carrot w/snickernoodle, and cookies and cream w/almond cake.
Tell us about your wedding planner:
Elana Walker of Elana Walker Events was our wedding planner. Elana was great in helping us make decisions along the way and advising us on vendors that she thought would help us achieve our overall vision for the day.
And your decorations:
In keeping with the theme of sophisticated elegance I wanted the room to be mostly white. The reception space was draped with sheer white linens to add romance to the space. I decided to go with mostly white linens with touches of gold. However, I chose a black sequin linen for the cake table to bring in the black and white in the reception space. We also brought in gold in the flatware and black in the vases for the tall floral centerpieces. We used a monogram logo with a C and M in our reception on the wall of the space and the “thank you” cards that we had at each place setting.
What’s your favorite image from your wedding day, and why:
That’s a hard choice but probably the images of us walking together and holding hands after the ceremony. We’re always laughing and there’s a great image of us looking into each other’s eyes and laughing.
What songs did you choose for your wedding ceremony and reception, and why:
We wanted to have traditional music for my entrance and our exit during the ceremony so we chose the “Bridal Chorus” for my entrance with my father and Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream for our recessional. During the ceremony our ceremony musician, Dr. Idella Johnson sang “The One He Kept for Me” by gospel artist Maurette Brown Clark. We felt the song was appropriate because the lyrics conveyed our feeling that God brought us together for each other. We had a harpist, Winifred Garrett, provide the music during our cocktail hour and DJ 360 Elite for our reception music. For our first dance we chose “You & I (Nobody in the World)” by John Legend. We both love John Legend and felt the song lyrics describe our relationship. For the overall reception music we wanted to make sure everyone had a good time and stayed on the dance floor so we wanted a lot of hip hop and R&B hits, which is exactly what we got.
Tell us about your wedding photography:
Dajuan Jones of In His Image Photography was our photographer for our wedding day as well as our engagement photos. Dajuan is awesome to work with and a perfectionist. He has an eye for capturing great moments and images. All of our guests and friends who have seen our pictures continue to comment on how awesome they look!
And your videographer (if you had one):
Our videographer was K2 Production and Melissa was our lead videographer. She was great to work with and so easy going that sometimes I forgot she was even there.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
The wedding is just a day…don’t get upset with each while you’re planning for the day… you’ve got a lifetime to live together!
Any final thoughts?
Can we do it over again? Have I said it went by fast?? It was fun but it went by FAST!