Your votes earned Aaron and Kyla the chance to have the wedding of their dreams. Now the ESSENCE Storybook Wedding winners share their special day with you. See their luxe, celeb-inspired “I dos.”
Aaron and Kyla met in literature class their sophomore year in college. The duo didn’t date until after graduation – when Kyla moved 400 miles away for an internship. Through the distance their love blossomed. Last spring, Aaron wrote a letter to enter the ESSENCE Storybook Wedding that changed their lives. On September 29, 2012 their magical nuptials took place at the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta.
Designer Kevan Hall created a custom wedding gown for Kyla to wear on her special day, incorporating her desire for a sweetheart bustier and full skirt. Atlanta boutique Kelly's Closet hosted Kyla’s fitting, where she squealed, “it’s perfect” when the dress arrived.
Kyla’s gown, along with her Jean-Michel Cazabat wedding shoes, were her ‘something new.’ She paid homage to her and Aaron’s alma mater with a Georgia Southern University garter for her ‘something blue.’
Kyla’s stepmom offered her diamond bracelet for ‘something borrowed’ and her mom provided her with ‘something old.’ “My mother gave Aaron and I one of her diamonds to use as the center stone in my engagement ring,” she says. “Now a piece of her will always be with me.”
One of Aaron’s favorite memories of their time together is driving Kyla back from Indianapolis to Atlanta in a U-Haul truck. “I flew up and packed her up and drove back,” he says. “She’ll say we drove 50/50. It was more like 90/10 of me driving for about 10 hours. I didn’t care and was just happy to have her moving back.”
Kyla chose blush Alfred Angelo dresses in the modern vintage style for her bridesmaids. “As soon as I came across the style, I just knew it was the one,” Kyla says. “It's perfect for outfitting six women with different shapes and sizes. My bridesmaids loved the dresses and how they fit!"
Kyla’s dad Byron escorted her down the aisle and also serenaded the couple during the ceremony. “As I was walking down the aisle, I was thinking, don’t trip, my dad should slow down and there’s the love of my life waiting for me!” Kyla remembers.
“We decided to do a sand ceremony, which signified blending our two lives into one,” Kyla says. “As hard as it would be to separate those grains of sand, it would be just as difficult to separate Aaron and I.”
Kyla was shocked when celebrity wedding planner Diann Valentine unveiled the reception space after the ceremony and wowed the couple by placing floral arrangements inside the tables, instead of on top. “I was completely blown away by how she turned my vision into reality,” Kyla says.
R&B singer Q Parker surprised the couple and sang “Love of My Life” for their first dance. “We love music and some of my favorite memories together are at concerts," Kyla says. "Now our wedding is one of those times."
Guests were served dual entrées, an encrusted chicken stuffed with spinach and Boursin cheese plus beef tenderloin in wine, created by the team at Distinctive Capital Caterers. “At a wedding people are looking to try something new,” Valentine adds.
“We thank ESSENCE readers so much for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.” —The Maupins. For more of Aaron and Kyla’s Storybook Wedding pick up the February 2013 issue of ESSENCE, now on stands. Watch their proposal video and see which finalists they beat out here.