The moment Donovan laid eyes on Amber from across the room at a Congressional Black Caucus event he just knew he had to have her. When her friend approached him to try and set them up, he knew his prayers had been answered.
Meant To Be With Me
Donovan, 42, had a hunch that Amber, 38, was the woman for him the very moment they first met. It took her a little while to come around, but after a few months of intimate phone conversations, Amber realized he was right all along.
"I wanted a no-fuss, romantic hairstyle so after a few searches on Pinterest, I decided on a classic, loose chignon with side swept bangs," says Amber, who trusted stylist Nneka Tatum to create the look for her. "It was perfect!"
"My something old and something borrowed were rhinestone hairpins from my maternal grandmother," says the lovely bride. "My something blue was my garter and my something new was my wedding dress and shoes."
Amber and Donovan tied the knot at the Rose Garden Ballroom inside the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia, then kicked off an elegant reception party at trendy restaurant, XIX Restaurant, which was also located inside the hotel.
Amber's bridesmaids wore charcoal grey gowns with hints of black and the matron-of-honor wore a Vera Wang White selection. "Each dress was different and matched their personalities perfectly," says the beaming bride.
Amber and Donovan chose their wedding flowers based on the season and the recommendations of their florist, Hiram Smith of Hiram Style Designs. "They were a mixture of blush and ivory roses, white calla lilies, white hydrangeas and white francoas," she adds.
"I really wanted a romantic feel to the ceremony, so we used lots of floating candles and flowing sheer fabric hung from the ceiling," says Amber. "We used soft pink up-lighting to add to the romance. We chose to have the ring bearer carry a decorated wedding bible down the aisle instead of a ring pillow."
"Our guests were very surprised when they saw our ceremony program," Amber tells us. "With Donovan being from Louisiana and living in Houston and me hailing from Philadelphia and living in Brooklyn, New York, we wanted a way for all of our family and friends to get to know us better. We designed a magazine to serve as the ceremony program. The magazine featured ceremony details along with photos, interviews and tidbits about us and our relationship. Our guests are still talking about it today."
"My cousin, Rev. Isaac Patterson V, officiated our wedding," says Amber. "We selected him because it’s a family tradition. He’s the oldest of 18 children and has married so many couples in our family."
"When I looked into his eyes, I felt peaceful," Amber admits. "I am an introvert and with all eyes on the bride, I was a little nervous. When our eyes met and we held hands, I felt peace and my focus wasn’t on anything except me and him."
Amber and Donovan's goal was to throw a simple and elegant wedding with flair. To pull it off, the bride enlisted the help of her best friend, event planner Simone Jones Tyner, who owns an event planning company named TRUE Marketing, Media & Events.
"Music played a big part in our wedding," says Amber. "We exited our ceremony dancing to Stevie Wonder’s 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered' and entered our dinner reception to Beyoncé’s 'Love on Top.' Our first dance song was John Legend’s 'So High."'
The couple had a formal dinner reception. Rather than use typical escort cards, they chose an eclectic mix of mirror and glass picture frames as seating charts to direct guests to their seats. The reception décor featured rhinestones, mirrors and mercury glass to accent the focal point of the room—a stunning 19-foot handcrafted chandelier of dangling pearls. Each table was set with a custom charcoal gray runner to highlight the rich dark wood tables and flowers in mercury glass vases, mercury glass candle holders and floating candles.
"Our favorite memories were at the reception where we danced," says the happy bride. "The Soul Train line was the best. Also, my father and I surprised guests with a salsa routine (we practiced for weeks) for our daddy-daughter dance."
"I never dreamed of being a bride, so to speak, but the feeling was wonderful," says Amber. "I was filled with joy, love and laughter." If you enjoyed their wedding day as much as we did, don't forget to leave the happy couple a little comment love below. Want to see your wedding featured in Bridal Bliss? Email us now!