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"I knew that Mike was 'The One' during the early stages of us dating when he told me that he prayed to God that I would be his girlfriend," says beaming bride Dana. Mike's prayers were answered, and some. Today he can call Dana his wife and the couple shared a fall wedding to remember. Let's reminisce!
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Dana found a Maggie Sottero gown she loved and managed to call in a favor and have it ordered at a wholesale price. Now that's what we call a budget-savvy bride.
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"I am not big on headpieces, so I decided to forgo the veil," says Dana. "Instead I had my hair stylist tuck a rhinestone comb into by hair. Also, my dress was detailed with lots of beading and crystals, so I decided not to wear a necklace either. Instead, I wore a pair of oversized rhinestone drop earrings that I purchased from Etsy.com."
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Dapper groom Mike is Dana's lifelong-friend-turned husband and she couldn't be happier with the quality of man she chose.
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"The bridesmaid dresses were designed by Bari Lee," says Dana. "Having been in several weddings before myself, I wanted to make sure that the bridesmaids were included in selecting their own dresses. I wanted them to look and feel fabulous and sexy!"
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"I had something old, which was my mother’s satin wedding bag, something new, which was the monogrammed mirror given to my by my maid of honor, something blue, which was the give-away garter, but I did not have something borrowed," Dana admits. Who cares? You looked fabulous!
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"I invited my mother and my friends to be there when I tried on my dress," Dana shares. "As soon as I came out of the fitting room, they all told me that this dress was 'the one.' I made my decision that day." And, what a lovely one it was.
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Mike and his five loyal groomsman walk the walk on the couple's wedding day. "Mike wanted a classic look (his exact word was 'presidential') but with a little added style," Dana adds. "So, he decided to go with a black velvet tuxedo jacket with satin trimmed lapels and black pants with satin trim. In keeping with classic elegance, the groomsman and our fathers wore classic black tuxedos with black bowties."
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"He is the most driven person I know and I truly admire that about him," dana gushes. "And, he’s a risk taker which keeps life very interesting!"
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"I love that he’s always on my team," Dana shares. "I love that he puts God first in everything he does. I love his intelligence and how quickly he learns and/or teaches himself something and likes to share it with others. Plus, he has traditional values and I love that he likes to make his parents proud."
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"I’d describe her as a selfless, loving person because she always puts others first," says Mike. "She is genuine, compassionate and cares about the well-being of others. She has a very big heart."
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"I said yes because Mike is the kind of man I’ve always envisioned myself marrying," says dana. "He makes me a better me. Also, he was raised by a great family and has old fashioned family values which I think is very important."
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"Our wedding theme was an evening of elegance," says Dana. "It was a black tie affair and took place on a beautiful fall evening at a historic mansion. All of the planning was done by Mike and I so it was a do it yourself."
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"We looked at several wedding venues here in Maryland," says Dana. "None of them offered the sophisticated look that we found at the mansion."
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"I cried coming down the aisle, but not for obvious reasons," says Dana. "I cried because I was walking down the aisle with my father, who had just passed the one year anniversary of having his right leg amputated. Mike and I got engaged about a month after his leg amputation and about four months after that my father suffered from a stroke. For about eight months leading up to the wedding he used the thought of walking me down the aisle as motivation to be fully rehabbed on that day. There were many things to celebrate that evening."
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"We did not write our own vows," says Dana. "We chose to go with the traditional vows of the church."
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"At the altar looking into his eyes, I was happy," says Dana. "It felt right. like we were turning a new corner in life."
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Dana and Mike seal the deal with a romantic kiss at the altar.
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"I knew she was the one when we were in high school," Mike admits. "Even at that age, I knew she was the kind of girl I wanted to be with. Although, I had a crush on her, I knew that I wasn’t mature enough to try my hand. After high school, I told myself that if I ever ran into her again, I would try to make her my woman. So when I saw her that night in the club, I knew that I had to go get her."
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"It felt great to be a bride," says Dana. "I felt like I was walking into the next chapter of life and was excited to start life with my best friend."
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"I always thought I’d fall in love and get married, but definitely not at the time it happened," Dana shares. "I was not looking for a relationship but everything with him fit so perfectly, it was like our relationship was destined."
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"What I love most about her is our companionship and our spiritual connection," Mike admits.
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"Mike is a stand up guy and a leader not a follower," says Dana. "He is a God-fearing man and is very passionate about life. He spends hours reading about religion, politics, and culture and loves a good discussion on these topics. Because of this, he pushes me to be a better person."
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Check out Mike and Dana's his and her wedding bling. Very chic!
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"For the wedding centerpieces, we chose a combination of white dendrobium orchids accented with gold bear grass and oversized ivory hydrangea," says Dana. "I selected the orchids as apart of the submerged pieces because there are very few flowers that work for that look. Also, orchids are my favorite flower and using them in the submerged pieces was the most cost effective way to have them be apart of the wedding."
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The couple's first dance was to Anita Baker’s romantic “Sweet Love." "Mike was in charge of the selection," Dana shares. "He was adamant that our first dance be to a song that was classic and timeless."
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"I found a few ways to save money," Dana admits. "For one, instead of buying a huge wedding cake, we got a smaller size for the floor display and purchased sheet cakes for the caterer to slice inside the kitchen. This saved a few hundred dollars and made it easier for the caterer to have cake ready in a timely fashion.”
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The bride and groom take in the moment at their custom sweetheart table.
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The newlyweds and their guests partied the night away with a little help from DJ HiDef. Party over here!
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Mike and Dana had joy plastered all over their faces on their big day and their glow was contagious.
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