Bridal Bliss: Tara and Greg

When Tara walked into Qdoba on a rainy work night, she planned to grab a quick snack before Bible study. Instead, she sat down next to her future husband, single dad Greg, and his son Nigel and had the best impromptu first date ever. Share their love and see their sweet destination wedding.

Charli Penn Oct, 23, 2013

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“I never would have planned to meet someone like Greg or even known to look for someone like him,” says Tara. “I was truly blessed the day I walked into that Qdoba, and all of the days since then have been happy ones.”

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"Ashley Saunders of Suede the Salon did my hair and makeup," says Tara. "She came to the hotel where I was getting dressed and spent the whole day with me. She got me ready for bridal portraits and touched me up before the ceremony. She didn’t leave until I was in the car on my way to the wedding.  She was amazing!"   

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"I wore sparkly Jimmy Choo 'Bello' wedges," says the bride. "I’m a total shoe fiend, so I had to have hot shoes for my wedding. I went with a wedge, since we were getting married outside and I didn’t want to have my heels sinking in the grass. The Jimmy Choo’s were not only fabulous, but they were comfortable too. I danced all night long."

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"I borrowed most of my jewelry from my grandmother," Tara admits. "She loaned me a necklace and a bracelet that were full of crystals and a broach that I pinned to my bouquet.  I also wore my own diamond stud earrings."

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Seventy five guests were invited to attend Tara and Greg's destination wedding. "Once we decided on North Carolina, there was only one place in my mind for us to get married – on the campus of Duke University," says the bride. "I’m a proud Duke alum, and Greg was an absolute angel to agree to have our wedding on Duke’s campus. "

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"Greg is the best man I know," boasts Tara. "I respect who he is and what he has accomplished.  He makes me a better woman."

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"I chose Tara to be my wife because I believe she is sincere and genuine and I know we add value to each other’s lives," says Greg. "It seemed so natural, like there was no choice at all."

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"We primarily used calla lilies for our bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces and other décor," says Tara. "I just adore calla lilies - the way they hold their heads up so high and dignified, they remind me of classy ladies."

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"My only bridesmaid was my sister Candice, who wore Kate Spade," says Tara. "I was pretty flexible as far as her dress went. I told her the colors we were using and told her to go pick something out.  She has a great sense of style and impeccable taste, so I trusted her judgment completely.  I thought the navy Kate Spade dress she chose was absolutely beautiful, flattering to her figure and just a fun dress for the wedding.  She looked gorgeous!"

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"Jason Mc Aleer, Greg’s best friend from childhood, was one of our two best men," says Tara. "Our son, Nigel Pierman, was our other best man. We didn’t have any other people in our wedding party. We wanted to keep it small and simple." 

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"My engagement ring is gorgeous and has special significance," says Tara. "The diamond belonged to Greg’s grandmother. He had it reset in a classic solitaire setting for me. It means so much to me that Greg wanted me to have something that has been in his family for generations."

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"I was less focused on being a bride and more focused on what it meant to be a wife and a mother," says Tara. "The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years is that a wedding is a day, but a marriage is a lifetime. I tried to focus more on the big picture, so when our wedding day arrived, I felt great."

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Beautiful bride Tara shares an intimate moment with her stepson Nigel.

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"I decided on a birdcage veil with sparkly clips," says Tara. "The birdcage seemed very classic and sophisticated and looked great with my hair and dress. My dress was designed by White One for Pronovios.  When we got engaged in November and decided to get married in July, I knew I didn’t have a lot of time to spend dress shopping if I wanted my dress to be delivered in time. I knew what I was looking for – something fitted and sophisticated that would accentuate my figure and be comfortable in the heat and during the party." 

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"When we were dating, we went to Jamaica in the summer of 2011," says Tara. "We had only been dating for about seven months, so some may say it was a little early for a vacation together, but being away alone together for that week made it so clear to me that I didn’t ever want to be apart from Greg."

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"When we first started planning, we had a Caribbean destination in mind and we thought of getting married barefoot in the sand," says Tara. "But after doing some research into the logistics that would be involved with obtaining a marriage license in a foreign country, and the cost and burden for our family and friends, we decided to look at other options."

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"My father walked me down the aisle," says Tara. "I am so blessed to have my father with me. Back in 1993, he was hit by a car and almost died. Every day since then I thank God for my father. I am a daddy’s girl through and through and there was no one else on earth who could have escorted me to the altar."

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"I felt a deep love and a sense of gratitude in that moment," says Greg. "I felt blessed."

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"Looking into Greg's eyes, I felt at peace, like I was exactly where God wanted me to be, and with the man He wanted me to be with," says Tara.

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"We wrote our own vows," says Tara. "It made the ceremony more personal and it reflected our values. I included a promise to Nigel in my vows to always be there for him and to be the best mother I can."

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"We did a unity sand ceremony with our son Nigel," says Tara. "When we were planning our wedding, it was very important that it not just reflect my union with Greg, but the formation of a new family with our son." 

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Tara and Greg pucker up after making it official with a little help from Tara's cousin, Reverend J. Jeannetté Cooper.  "When we decided to get married in North Carolina, my mother suggested I contact my Cousin Jeannetté about performing our ceremony, and she graciously agreed," she tells us.

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Tara and Greg just couldn't stop kissing on their specidal day, and who can blame them?

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"When she began to spend time with my son without me, he would ask, 'Can we go to Ms. Tara’s house?,' says Greg. "That's when I knew she was the one for me."

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"I was calm and relaxed and in a really good place," she explains. "I wasn’t nervous about marrying Greg, or concerned with any of the details of the wedding.  Everything just felt right in my spirit." 

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"Greg is the best man I know," says Tara. "I respect who he is and what he has accomplished.  He makes me a better woman."

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During their reception dinner, Tara and Greg played the Chick Corea and Gary Burton CD Hot House, since they got engaged at their concert. (Sweet touch, you two!)

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Tara and Greg hosted a cocktail hour followed by a beautiful sit-down family-style dinner and dancing. 

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Guests took their seats inside Kirby Horton Hall. A salad of heirloom tomatoes and mixed greens with a basil vinaigrette were pre-set at everyone’s place and baskets of assorted breads were on each table.  They served crab cakes with tarragon sauce, strip steak with herbed butter, mushroom risotto, roasted summer corn salad and grilled vegetables for dinner. "We served the dinner family style, so that our guests would have more interaction with the people at their tables," says Tara.

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"We decorated the space at the Doris Duke Center using our colors of robin’s egg blue and silver," says Tara. "We had silver chivari chairs with platinum caprice cushions too.  Each chair had a robin’s egg blue chair tie woven between the rungs on the chair back.  Our tablecloths were silver caprice with a starlight silver overlay, and we had robin’s egg blue napkins. "

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The bride and groom sat in custom chairs fit for a king and queen. We love all of the personal touches Tara and Greg made sure to create for their special day even though they were miles and miles from home.

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Tara and Greg chose “Naima” by John Coltrane for their first dance song. "We didn’t really have a song that was 'our song' before the wedding, but this song was special to Greg," says the bride. "He told me that he had always loved the lush melody and the way it made him feel and the way he wanted to find someone with whom he could share the song. I’m a Coltrane fan as well, and after hearing how special it was to him, it seemed like the perfect song for our first dance as husband and wife. "

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"We served wedding cake for dessert and also had an ice cream sundae bar with rocky road, butter pecan and peach ice creams, mango sorbet and all sorts of toppings," says Tara. "We offered cones for the young (and young at heart) and waffle bowls."

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The photographer spotted Tara and her guests getting down to the party classic, "Electric Slide." Too cute!

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Mark Toney of Joe Bunn DJ Company kept the party going all night long.   

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Tara and Greg left the morning after their wedding to head off to Bermuda for their honeymoon. "We stayed at the Cambridge Beaches resort in Bermuda, which is an adults-only property comprised of dozens of small cottages," she says. "It was pure heaven!" Leave the happy couple a little comment love below! Want to see your wedding featured in Bridal Bliss? Email us now.


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# Weddings