Bridal Bliss: Shayla and Sterling's Garden Wedding Photos

If you’re skeptical about online dating, newlyweds Shayla and Sterling will make you a believer. They connected instantly on a dating site and fell madly in love on their very first date. She says it was like they’d known each other forever and he says she had him for life the moment she smiled. See their romantic garden wedding and share their love!

Charli Penn Oct, 08, 2014

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“It only took a few months for me to realize that Sterling was special,” says Shayla. “We began dating in May 2011 and by late August/early September I had a feeling about this one. I just felt secure in us, in who he was at his core and how he felt about me as a whole person. He was consistent, and didn’t let me down. I was never making excuses or trying to justify what he did or didn’t do.”

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“I honestly didn’t go in with any expectations; I just wanted to marry my dream man,” says the lovely bride. “In my heart, that day was all about him.  But I did enjoyed getting dressed up and celebrating with all of my friends and family.”

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“Sterling is one the greatest people I have ever known,” says the bride. “He is just good at his core. He loves God and has so much energy and passion for life. He loves me for who I am at this very moment and for who I work at becoming everyday. God put us together. It was divine timing.”

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Shayla went for simplistic elegance on she and Sterling’s wedding day. “I didn’t want to use too much to take away from the natural environment,” she says. “The flowers used were mostly white hydrangeas because of their fullness and sculptural shape and ferns to enhance the enchanted garden feel. I’m not really into traditional anything, and a lot of times it seems weddings can so far over the top. I really just wanted everything to be simple and beautiful.”

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“His energy excites and motivates for work and play,” says Shayla of her new husband. “This is the guy you want directing your movie/show and at your wrap party!”

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“We had a day/month of planner named Violaine Diogene from Andre Winfrey,” says Shayla. “She did the day of planning and also handled décor and floral arrangements. I would recommend a planner for most. How often does one get married?  A planner does this for a living. On your day you don’t want to have to worry about anything. You just want to enjoy all the love being thrown your way.”

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Sterling and his buddies had a great time making their photo shoot one to remember.

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“I went on a few appointments to try on dresses but had a hard time finding what I was looking for,” says Shayla of her dress hunt. “I wanted a dress that was more like a gown, rather than a wedding dress. I had a vision, so I ended up designing my dress and having it made. I also designed and made my bracelets/cuffs and headpiece. My earrings were from Givenchy and the shoes were my something borrowed, they were YSL.”

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“We did have a budget, and we went went over a bit,” Shayla confesses.

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“My inspiration was the international man of mystery; James Bond meets Diddy in an enchanted garden,” says Sterlng. “I went and got my first bespoke tuxedo from Clifton Charles. My tuxedo fit was tremendous. The groomsmen got their tuxes from Men’s Warehouse.”

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“One of my bridesmaids, Pamela Shepard is a stylist, so I trusted her with the task of making sure all the ladies got their dresses together,” Shayla shares. “I wanted the bridesmaid’s dresses to work together without actually being bridesmaid’s dresses.  I also wanted my friends to actually like what they were wearing. Their dresses were from, Ports 1961, Bebe, BCBG and Behnaz Sarafpour.”

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The bridesmaids carried mini bouquets that mirrored the bride's lovely all-white floral bundle.

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The couple’s portrait session at Dunaway Gardens were absolutely beautiful.

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“He can walk into a sea of strangers and come out with a crew,” boasts Shayla. “You want to know why? Because he cares, and is genuinely interested in you and what you have to say.” 

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“It might've been date number four when I knew she was the one,” says Sterling. “We met at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see an exhibit on Alexander McQueen. We strolled through the exhibit and Shayla told me her dreams of becoming a jewelry designer. While she was talking, I was hearing myself shout in my head, I am going to marry this woman. Something about seeing her in her element, made me want to take care of her needs for the rest of my life. I knew it was my purpose, my calling and I knew in that very moment that I was seriously in love with Shayla.”

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“We thought about how we felt at events and weddings when selecting a venue,” says Shayla. “We realized there was a certain feeling that came with an outdoor wedding. Something about nature and a water element, a sanctuary in the forest, surrounded by God’s work. We wanted to take our guests on a journey, create an enchanted dream like environment. Dunaway Gardens was exactly what we wanted!”

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One hundred and twenty people attended the couple’s evening garden ceremony.

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We're nuts about Shayla and Sterling's custom caricature wedding fans. What's cuter than this?!

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The property was so stunning that the natural décor provided the only decoration the couple needed for their garden ceremony.

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“A gorgeous brown girl harpist, Maya GG Selah, played Pure Imagination (from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory) for my walk down the aisle,” says romantic bride Shayla.

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“My father and mother walked me down the aisle,” Shayla shares. “They are amazing parents, and I am the woman I am today because of them.”

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Sterling couldn't keep his eyes off the bride as she made her way down the aisle on that gorgeous sunny day.

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And, it looks like the ladies couldn't stop staring either. Shayla was a vision of beauty on her big day.

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“My father said I was shaking coming down all of those crazy steps even though I have no recollection but I believe him,” admits Shayla. “I was in a crazy daze. It was all a blur until Sterling and I caught eyes and eventually  he took my hand. Then everything came into focus and I was present and solid and relieved.”

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“Looking into her eyes, I felt so thankful, almost as if I didn’t deserve it,” says Sterling. “I couldn’t believe I was this lucky. She looked so beautiful, I felt charged up like I could do and be anything because on that day I had achieved the greatest thing, finding true forever love.”

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“Our wedding officiate was one of Sterling’s best friend and groomsan’s father, Min. William Gathers,” says Shayla. “He was like a second father to Sterling when he was growing up. He has also been married for 50-plus years and we trusted his council before making the commitment to one another.”

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There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Shayla and Sterling exchanged vows and pledged their eternal love at the altar.

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Sterling gave Shayla a romantic and passionate dip for their big kiss as they sealed the deal at the altar.

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Jumping for joy was the only way to complete a ceremony that beautiful.

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Say hello to the new Mr. and Mrs. Milan. A sweet and chic couple we just can not take our eyes off.

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Hooray for the happy couple and the lovely guests who were welcomed to share the special moment with them. Don't you just love these fun-loving photos?

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The lovely bride let her hair down to party with their guests at the reception. We love to see 'fros and their beaus.

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A deejay kept the party going beneath the decorated tent as guests danced the night away.

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When it came time to toss the garter belt, Sterling gave it a great throw. What a shot!

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“She keeps me in a peaceful place,” says the groom. “I’ll do anything in this world to support this woman. She is a dreamer and when she tells me her dreams, I feel empowered to be her partner. I want to do all I can to see that her every dream comes true.” Cheers to the newlyweds! Leave them a little comment love below.


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