The Umstead Hotel Wedding | Donna & Antonio

Venue: The Umstead Hotel and Spa

Wedding Planner: Elana Walker Events

Photography: Donnell Perry Photography

Florals: Fresh Affairs

Entertainment: DJ Harlem Entertainment

Wedding Cake: Ashley Cakes

Videographer: Teshorn Jackson

MUA: Brittany B MUA

Officiant: Rev. Keith Cornish

Favorite item on the wedding menu:  the wedding cake!!!

Bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts: Bridesmaids received personalized oversized button up shirts, a personalized tote bag and matching personalized make up/toiletry bag. They also got hand crafted, personalized hangers. Groomsmen received sunglasses with ‘groomsmen’ written on them, and personalized/engraved shot glasses

First dance song: You are by Charlie Wilson

Please share your engagement story and how you met? Donna and I were on a dating website called Okcupid.com. I(Antonio) wasn’t looking for a certain person at the time. I was just seeing what was out there, until one warm spring day I received a message from a beautiful black woman by the screen name of “primmadonna”. I looked at her profile and said why not, so I replied and from there things took off like a rocket. I couldn’t stop talking to her for some reason. She had me hooked on her, I was mad if I fell asleep at night while she was texting me and I didn’t respond. I always made an effort to try and make her smile until we finally met. That night we had a date and I looked at myself and knew I had no money for the date, but when she texted me and asked if we were still on for our date, I said yes; I had no money, but I had a plan. I took my old laptop to the pawnshop and pawned it, some say I was crazy, but Ill be crazy because that one crazy move lead this woman to be my wife. Towards the end of the date, I got a little too excited over the game that was playing, and spilled my drink all over myself; I was fairly sure that she would never want to meet up with me again. I called her up the next day, apologized for my mishap, and asked if she wanted to meet again– she said “sure, you’ve got potential.” Time went on from there and we became more serious day after day. I knew someday I wanted to make her my wife. When the time came for her to leave for two years to go to school overseas, I was hurt but I was determined to stand strong because I had a job to do while she was gone. I had to better myself and work towards the ring I wanted to buy for her. While she was overseas planning her dad’s retirement party, I was working on my own plan- to get her a ring and propose to her at her dad’s surprise party. I had talked to her dad about proposing to her several times before, but never presented a ring to him. The day of his party I showed the ring to him! He was shocked and asked me when did i plan to propose? I told him that I would like to do it that evening after the ‘concert’ that he thought the family was planning to go to. That night at the retirement party I was so nervous because I wanted it to be perfect. She’d always told me three things that were a required to happen before I proposed: 1. her nails had to be done(check),  2. she wanted close family and friends present(check), and 3. make it a surprise (check). That night, after we celebrated her father and things began to wind down, I proposed. She didn’t know exactly what I had planned, but she could sense that I was up to something. I planned it perfectly, and made sure I had tissue in my pocket because when I asked her to come up to the podium, she saw what was in my hand. I got down on one knee, asked the question. She said yes and has made me the happiest man on earth.

Where was your first date? What did you do? Our first date was at Applebee’s in Brier Creek. I could tell how nervous Antonio was. We talked, watched a basketball game, and had dinner. Then, Antonio got a bit rowdy over whatever team was playing, and spilled his drink all over his lap…we left. lol

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How / why did you choose your ceremony venue? The Umstead was very elegant, yet modern, which were key features that I wanted for my wedding. I also loved the outdoor scenery there; the natural beauty was breath-taking.

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How about your wedding shoes and jewelry? Both pairs of my wedding shoes were from David’s Bridal. My ivory shoes were my ceremony shoes, the green ones were my reception shoes. My jewelry was actually the very last thing that I purchased because I had a hard time finding exactly what I wanted. I went into Kay’s the day before the wedding and picked out the circular diamond set; it was elegant enough for the wedding, but simple enough that I knew I could wear it again with a variety of different things.

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Describe your wedding dress style? My wedding dress style was very similar to the style that I wanted for my wedding: I wanted something that was modern and elegant; something that would stand out, but still have the basic, traditional elements of a classical wedding dress. My bodice that was covered in beading and swarvoski crystals, and the horse hair at the bottom of my dress/train made it modern and unique. The classical chapel length train and horse hair at the bottom of my veil brought the whole ensemble together.

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What’s your favorite image from your wedding day, and why? Antonio: the image of my best man giving Donna my wedding gift to her. I know how much her aunts meant to her, and although they weren’t able to physically be there, it was a good reminder to her that they were there in spirit. Donna: Again, it’s hard to pick just one! I’d say one of my favorite pictures was the image of my Dad standing with me at the alter and Antonio gathering himself together. This image is so special to me because I am, and always will be, a Daddy’s girl. But having the 2 most important men in my life standing there together as I prepared to step into true womanhood was just a surreal feeling and symbolized just how complete I am having both of them fulfilling their respective roles in my life.

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What was your favorite part of your wedding day? I can’t pick just one! Getting ready with my girls, my Dad tearing up when he saw me, seeing my husband cry when I walked down the aisle, and… oh my goodness, the reception space reveal!!!

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Was there any particular theme or style for your wedding? I did not have a particular theme for my wedding. As far as style, I knew that I wanted something modern and elegant, while keeping some very traditional elements. Elana was able to execute this perfectly. Using such a royal color (emerald green) in our color scheme really added to the elegance, yet uniqueness of our day.

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And your beautiful cake? Our cake was both GORGEOUS and tasty!!! Literally was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Even looking back at pictures, I am still in awe of our cake. (Ashley Cakes) 

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Tell us about your flowers? I have no clue– they were white and light pink with some greenery. Really pretty but I am clueless when it comes to flowers 🙂 

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Tell us about his groomsmen? My groomsmen consisted of close friends and family. My friends come from a long history of being together, we’ve been through a lot and have seen each other grow and become the men that we are today. My best man is the one who has been there from the beginning and he knows me like the back of his hand. Most of them were Donna’s nephews who are now my nephews, because I don’t have many friends. Haha

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Tell us about your wedding photography experience with Donnell Perry Photography? Our experience with Donnell Perry Photography was amazing. We initially met Donnell via a Google Chat hangout because I was attending school out of the country. From our initial meeting, Donnell was very professional, yet down to earth and easy to talk to. He was very patient with us as we worked to plan, and during, our engagement shoot. Donnell and his team were just as awesome on our wedding day! Donnell Perry Photography got so great preparation and detail shots, and I realized that during most of that time, I didn’t even realize that they were there shooting! Additionally, we had HUGE wedding party with lots of different personalities. Donnell and his team were so professional when it came to taking photos, especially the group photos after the wedding ceremony ended; they perfectly executed what I considered to be a large, challenging task, and did so effortlessly with a very positive, fun, and professional attitude.

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Tell us about your bridesmaids? My bridesmaids were all very close family and friends- my older sisters, my nieces, one cousin (who is more like a sister), and my best friends from high school and college. They all are very different and all play an integral part in who I am. Having so many personalities and perspectives is what keeps me balanced. MY entire energy would have been off if just one of them was not present. My junior bridesmaids were my great niece and my sister in laws.

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Any funny stories about yourselves? Antonio loves to dance although he knows he can’t dance worth a lick…  he still tries. Donna tries to sing like Beyonce, but she knows she can’t hit any note that Beyonce ever sang, but she claims she was in the church choir. HAHA (I can’t tell). What’s really funny, is that when we first met, I thought that Donna could REALLY sing, like realllyyy sang (my ears were fooling me). So I put her on the spot and asked her to sing during a family gathering at my Mom’s house. She refused, thankfully.

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Any advice for future brides? My advice to future brides would be to get a wedding planner!! My wedding would have been impossible without our planner. And make sure that your planner is experienced and willing to really listen and tap into what it is that you want. Also, when dress shopping, don’t take your entire entourage with you. I recommend taking 1-2 of your friends (and/or your wedding planner if he/she is as awesome as mine) who really know your style and will be honest about what looks good on you. Having your wedding planner see your dress will also help him/her to know your style and make sure that his/her vision is in line with your  vision for your special day.

Any advice for future grooms? My advice to future grooms would be to be prepared to see your wife walk down the aisle and try not to hold your tears back because its a once in a lifetime moment. Express yourself and don’t be afraid to show out during the reception.

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Question for the GROOM: What things do you love the most about her? Her smile, her love for her family, her outgoing personality

Question for the BRIDE: What things do you love the most about him? Antonio is the most patient, humble, and loving man I have ever met. He keeps me grounded and loves unconditionally. Watching him interact with others teaches me so much about myself and about how to be kind and patient. As big and boisterous as he may be, his spirit is so kind and gentle and he truly is my better half.

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