Attorneys Jonathan and Denise fell in love in law school when a mutual pal unknowingly played cupid. Their first date was magical and four years later he proposed over a romantic dinner with a surprise visit from her closest friends. See their beautiful garden wedding!
Laws of Attraction
The night Jonathan, 32, was introduced to Denise, 28, at a friend’s party during their law school days, he had a good feeling he’d just met someone special. This was confirmed when the woman he was sitting next to on the couch got up and he noticed Denise was also sitting right there. They shared flirty conversation and eventually exchanged numbers. Their first date was so unforgettable it led to many, many more. After Jonathan proposed over a romantic dinner, he and Denise became husband and wife on August 25, 2012 at Meadowbrook Hall in Rochester, Michigan.
“I knew I wanted very glamorous hair on my wedding day,” says Denise. “I looked at pictures of celebrities at red carpet events and gave them to my stylist, Serena Hampton. I didn’t have a hair trail. I knew that she understood my vision and would execute it perfectly. And she did!”
Denise’s beautiful bridesmaids and two maids of honor wore navy Monique Lhuillier gowns. “I knew I wanted classic yet stunning dresses,” she tells us. “I also knew I wanted them to have a lot of movement. We came to a happy medium with these gowns.”
“I always said that a man starts to show you who he really is after three months of dating,” says Denise. “It’s then that you can no longer hide who you really are. With Jonathan, after three months he just got better. He was kinder, sweeter and just more wonderful than he was before.”
“I love that I can be myself around Jon,” she says. “I can be silly Denise or serious Denise. Oftentimes you feel like people don’t know the whole you. Jonathan probably knows me better than I know myself.”
“I always wanted to get married outside in a garden, and we both love history, so Meadowbrook Hall was the perfect place for both of us,” says the beaming bride. “I wanted a garden wedding with a tented reception and it allowed us to stick to the plan.”
“Jonathan was completely in charge of everything related to the groomsmen and his own attire,” says Denise. “He wore an Armani peak lapel tuxedo, a Thomas pink tuxedo shirt, Salvatore Ferragamo tuxedo shoes, Tiffany cuff links (a gift from me when he passed the bar), a Turnbull & Asser velvet bow tie and a mother of pearl stud set.”
“Jonathan wanted to achieve a tailored look for the groomsmen without spending a ton of money,” says Denise. “He accomplished this by asking the groomsmen to purchase their own Alfani slim fit tuxedos through Macy’s on sale. We ordered paisley, navy bowties for them too.”
“I wanted the ceremony to look very romantic and classic,” Denise tells us. “Even though the ceremony was in a garden, I wanted it to feel very sacred and formal.” To do so, the couple chose to place small urns with floral arrangements atop white wood-carved stands and setup mahogany Chiavari chairs with white seat cushions.
Denise’s father, Dollie Linton Jr., had the pleasure of proudly walking her down the aisle. As they made their way toward Jon at the altar, the song “When I First Saw You” by Jamie Foxx and Beyonce from the Dreamgirls soundtrack played.
Denise and Jon, who are both of Apostolic faith, very much wanted their strong faith in God to be reflected in their ceremony. In addition to reciting traditional vows, they said their own personalized vows to one another.
“Jonathan and Denise was our wedding theme,” says Denise. “We wanted something that reflected us. We are spiritual, yet fun. We are fashionable, yet classic. We are family-oriented, but we love our friends. The evening was about celebrating our love and giving thanks to God for putting us together.”
When it came time to plan their ceremony, Denise and Jon didn’t want to rush through anything. “After all, this was the most important part of the day for us, so we wanted to make sure it wasn’t the shortest part of the night,” she says.
“Jon did cry at our wedding,” admits the bride. “He jokingly told me beforehand not to ‘ugly cry’ for the pictures, so I was so focused on that that I actually didn’t cry at all. Our vows really came from the heart.”
“My husband and I agreed not give each other wedding gifts,” Denise tells us. “To my surprise, he gifted me with a framed photo of my mother, my grandmother and I. My grandmother and I were very close, and she passed away when I was in college. It was very special to me.”
When Denise first tried on her gown she knew it was the ‘The One,’ but she succumbed to pressure from friends and family and purchased a Rivini gown instead. “Though the gown was beautiful, it wasn’t for me,” she says. “Even after purchasing the gown, every day for a month I looked at the Gemma online.” Ultimately, Denise sold her first gown and went back to get the one she really, really loved.
"We didn't want to see each other before the ceremony, so we took photos separately before the wedding," Denise recalls. "After the wedding we took beautiful pictures on the grounds and throughout the reception."
Because Jon and Denise both lived in Maryland at the time they were planning their Michigan wedding day, they enlisted the help of local planner Ann McQueen from Emerald City Designs to help them make contacts and get things done.
“Like any girl does, I had doubts that I’d find true love how and when I did,” says Denise. “But I had faith that God would send me the right person if I didn’t settle and stayed true to my convictions.”
After an amazing wedding weekend, Denise and Jonathan honeymooned in Jamaica. "We needed the rest!" she says. Did you enjoy their stunning garden wedding as much as we did? Tell us your favorite detail below and leave the newlyweds a little comment love below. Want to see your wedding featured in Bridal Bliss? Email us now!