Tamara Valentin, 30, and Jason Jeter, 29, were introduced by a mutual friend and fell in love almost instantly. On their 10th anniversary he proposed and exactly one year later they walked down the aisle in Baltimore.
When it came to planning their wedding festivities, the happy couple didn’t skip a party. To set the tone for their special day, Tamara and Jason threw an engagement party, which they suggest all couples do. They also hosted a steak dinner for the guys two days before the wedding and a wedding after-party in their hotel suite, complete with a late night snack menu with pizza and wings. All their invitations were handmade DIY projects.
As a curvy girl, Tamara wasn’t looking forward to dress-hunting in stores where the biggest sample size is an 8. Luckily she found CurvyGirls Bridal in Fairfax, Virginia, and was able to try on every dress that caught her eye, in her size, until she put on this lovely Denver by La Spousa gown. She couldn’t bare to take it off, and that’s the exact moment she knew she’d said yes to the dress.
“I wanted each girl to be in one color, material, and dress length,” Tamara tells us. “I left the designer and style up to the girls. They each wore a different chiffon eggplant Bari Jay gown.” Bari Jay dresses are popping up all over Bridal Bliss these days. To see if one of their looks could work for your beautiful bridesmaids, click here now.
“I pushed for a first look, and I am so happy that I did,” says Tamara when asked about breaking tradition to meet her husband before the ceremony. “We got to spend a few minutes alone together and got most of our pictures out of the way before the wedding.”
“I am Roman Catholic and always wanted to get married in a Catholic church,” says Tamara, shown here sitting by her new husband’s side during their heartfelt ceremony. “Both our mothers lit a unity candle to start off the wedding.”
It was important to the happy couple not to have a traditional wedding day. They took hotels and country clubs out of the running for their venue selection and went with the Walters Art Museum instead.
It was very important to Tamara to have some Haitian music play at their wedding reception, but she knew it wouldn’t be easy to get her guests on their feet. “After our first dance we chose to dance to a Haitian song,” she tells us. “I thought only my family members would get up, but after Jason spun me around, I saw everyone get up and start dancing. It was awesome.”
“We opted for a plated meal for the reception and passed hors d’oeuvres for the cocktail hour,” says Tamara. “I loved our appetizers. We had a mini pulled pork sandwich for a nod to Jason’s time at UNC Chapel Hill, and beef patties for a nod to my Haitian roots.”
To achieve the subtle elegance she hoped for, Tamara tasked her planner Kelly Cannon with finding a unique way to display her white and purple flowers. She suggested florist Wicked Willow, who chose to display the flowers in gold urns.
Tamara and Jason didn’t want to compromise on the type of wedding they’d always dreamed of having, but they knew they had to be conscious of their budget too. “We decided on a not to exceed price,” says Tamara. “We took each cost separately and tried to find the best price for each category.”