Words by Portia
My wife and I met five years ago. We were friends on Facebook for quite some time but never did communicate. Then one day she sent me a message introducing herself, I replied and here we are.
Our wedding story is unique so I’ll tell it to you chronologically.
Kyra proposed to me on a beautiful fall day in September 2016. It was a perfect proposal. She took me to a park and surprised me with a picnic. That week at work for me was rough, so a relaxing picnic with wine and warm weather was exactly what I needed. While there, she asked that we stand up and take a selfie. As we stood up I decided to take a second and fix my hair. When I turned around, she was on one knee. I didn’t believe it was real, even after seeing the ring. It wasn’t until a photographer jumped out of the bushes that I realised that it was all actually happening.
It was undeniably one of the best moments of my life. After a brief photoshoot and a thousand happy tears were shed, it was time to have some dinner and drinks to celebrate. As we approached our table at the restaurant, I immediately realized that it was full of some of our closest friends. Huge surprise to me and incredibly heart-warming. I couldn’t have asked for a better surprise.
The idea of planning a wedding was fun to me. However, it definitely seemed like a tonne of work. Work I wasn’t sure I wanted to do. Then my wife suggested that we elope and have a courthouse wedding. Our four year anniversary was on May 5th, 2017 and on that day, we did just that. We hired a photographer, got all dressed up and were married at the Dekalb County Courthouse in Decatur, Georgia. It was fun, easy and incredibly romantic.
We found ourselves asking, what happens next, when and how do we tell people? We got married and didn’t have a plan, all we knew was that we wanted to tell our closest family and friends in a special way. Not just over the phone or via text.
After some thought, we came up with a nifty idea! We decided to host an “engagement party” and surprise everyone with the news. Risky, right? There’s more. We then decided to have a reception one year later to celebrate our first year of marriage and five-year anniversary. The “engagement party” became the perfect opportunity to make our announcement and invite everyone to the reception. Whew.
The ’Engagement Party’
The engagement party was small.
It was in September 2017, one year after we were engaged, and had only 20 guests. We found a restaurant with a small open garden patio which was exactly what we were looking for. It was another beautiful fall day in Atlanta. Family and friends gathered, mixed and mingled. About an hour into the event, it was time to reveal the news. I was nervous. How would they feel knowing we had a courthouse wedding FOUR MONTHS AGO and told no one?
But, the time had come and here we were.
We printed ‘save the date” cards which included a letter announcing our marriage and anniversary reception. The cards were hidden under the charger plates of each guest. My wife thanked everyone for coming; then it was up to me to read the letter and then have everyone lift their plates and take their cards. I barely got through it. I read the first two words and tears, tons of tears, appeared out of nowhere. I was emotionally overwhelmed by making this announcement. After four months of keeping this secret, we were finally able to share our news with the world, and to my relief, our friends and family could not have been happier. We were greeted with love, hugs and well wishes. It was truly an unforgettable moment.
It’s the finale. After the engagement party, we mailed the remaining ‘save the date’ cards to more friends and family. It was officially time to plan our anniversary reception. The venue we found was perfect. It was located just outside of Atlanta, which drastically dropped the price. The Atrium is the name. It was a great size; not too big, not too small. The outdoor area was beautiful. There was a water fountain, gazebo, and high boy tables. We decided to have a brunch reception for two reasons; on because our first date was brunch and two because brunch is much more affordable.
We ended up with approximately 50 guests. We arrived early for photos and then hid in the bridal suite until it was time for our introduction. We snuck and watched as people entered the venue, a true moment of gratitude. It meant so much to us to see our friends and family from near and far, be here to celebrate our love.
1:15 PM, it was time for our introduction. The DJ announced us and we entered a room full of love and happiness. We danced our first dance and then there were toasts. My cousin, my sister-in-love and then my dad. Their words were deeply touching. After their toasts, Kyra and I each gave a short speech expressing our love for each other, and yes, the tears flowed again. Once we were done, the celebration began. It was absolutely wonderful. A day later, it was honeymoon time in Mexico.
Though our choice of celebration was unique, I wouldn’t change a thing. A proposal led to a courthouse wedding which led to an engagement dinner to reveal to everyone we loved that we were married and ended with a beautiful reception with our closest family and friends.
For us, this was the perfect string of events.
Photographer River West