1 of 22 Bri McDaniel
Bride: Miriam Amina Denard, 33, Chief of Staff and Special Events Coordinator at First Congregational Church, UCC of Atlanta
Groom: Frederick Allen Brightwell, 37, Customer and Logistics Support at Gwinnett County Transit Authority & Personal Trainer
The Big Day: 6/18/16
Location: The Foundry at Puritan Mill, Atlanta, GA
Photographer: Bri McDaniel
Cake: For Goodness Cakes
Hair: Tracey Mayhew of Make Me Over Salon
Makeup: Allen Jones
DJ: Toryn Lankford, Exquisite Sounds Entertainment
Florist/Decor: Bold American
Planner: Summer McLane, My Simply Perfect Events
2 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"Honestly, I never dreamed of being a bride," revealed Miriam. "I did dream about the kind of wedding I would have, mainly the reception because of love throwing parties and dancing and celebrating. So in terms of that, I’m sure anyone would tell you that I soaked up every minute of it. It was just a magical feeling to be surrounded by that many friends and loved ones."
3 of 22 Bri McDaniel
Fred had a big plan to propose to Miriam but nothing seemed to work out the way he intended so instead popped the question when it was just the two of them. "We were in LA for a wedding that I was in and his plan was to propose the day," the bride recalled. "Turns out he was trying to propose to me that day on the beach in Malibu but the beach was incredibly crowded and nothing seemed to be working. We were in LA for a wedding that I was in and his plan was to propose the day. So the next morning, we woke up and were just having a chill morning. He turned on my favorite song by Stevie Wonder called “With Each Beat of My Heart” and then walked out of the room. Very weird, but VERY Fred. He walked back in the room and just stood there staring. Very weird but VERY Fred. He finally spoke and told me he wanted me to be his wife, got down on one knee and opened a box with the ring in it. Then he told me this was his late mother’s engagement ring and asked me to marry him. We were both in tears, like ugly cry tears!"
4 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"I always joke with Fred and call him “Puzzles” because he has a very unique and unpredictable way of thinking," said the bride of her groom. "While sometimes it makes me want to pull my hair out, I have grown to love his quirkiness and his commitment to being an individual and true to himself. He is quiet, intelligent, funny, kind, respectful, generous, accepting, athletic, supportive and he’s extremely cute so it works!"
5 of 22 Bri McDaniel
The bride and her mother have a bond that is simply beautiful!
6 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"It was surreal being a groom but at the same time, it was one of those moments where you wanted everything to last forever. I really wanted to take in everything that was going on and cherish it," said Fred.
7 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"Miriam is what I’d call a women's woman," said Fred of his wife. "She's versatile and she can do it all. She doesn't have a weakness. Women who are great individuals in their own sense of the word often admire Miriam for how great she is in everything that she does. She's the ultimate friend, companion, motivator, and wife. She's the ultimate people's person. I feel that I could leave her in a room with any group of people and she'd fit right in. She's very willing to have open communication yet she can be very opinionated but at the same time that comes from her having strong views and being confident in what she believes in. This passion is where I find inspiration and drive when I’m down and out. In all, there's nothing that you can't talk about with Miriam. She's the best friend that I’ve always wanted."
8 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"DUH! He cried probably more than I did. I had this enormous since of happiness that day that all I could do was smile. But I definitely had some tears drop as I walked down the aisle and during his vows."
9 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"My dad walked me down the aisle," the bride shared. "And I must say, he was the best dressed man in the building. He had a custom made cream suit designed by an African designer. He kept his outfit a secret from everyone, including my mom, so when he debuted it we were all in awe. He looked amazing!"
10 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"Fred and I wrote our own vows, mine were four notecards long. His was one notecard. A perfect representation of us!"
11 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"I chose to make her my wife because she exhibited all the characteristics that I always wanted in a woman: Fearlessness, kindness, passionate, loving, intelligent, selflessness, athletic, and she's a scorpio. Maybe it was the voice in my head, or maybe it was God, or maybe it was just that she was the only person for me who could truly understand me and the things I was going through, but my inner circle and my own intuition played a major role in me deciding to choose Miriam as much as I tried to fight it."
12 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"I truly feel like Fred balances me out. He and I are very different and I tend to be all over the place sometimes. His calm and organized demeanor is a good balance for my energetic and busy demeanor. But as different as our personalities are, we share the same passions and hobbies and just have so much fun together no matter if it’s cooking a good meal or watching sports, traveling…I love doing everything with him and can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else."
13 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"We had both acknowledged, from previous conversations, our love for music and that we shared a love for our favorite artist Stevie Wonder," Fred recalled. "It was the Stevie Wonder concert that we went to together, that I realized how much fun I enjoyed being with her and how much fun we had together. I saw the many similarities that we shared."
14 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"I love his sense of humor and his sense nostalgia," said Miriam of Fred. "He has this amazing memory. I tease him about being stuck in the 90s all the time, but I think he values his upbringing and the times when our lives weren’t so complicated. He always takes the time to remind me of different events or traditions from back in the day and I hope to continue and create traditions with him for our own family one day. Fred’s humor is very different from mine. I will admit that sometimes (or all the time) I try to get laughs, but Fred doesn’t try. He is so observant and that memory he has means you can’t get caught slipping with him. He will remember it and will choose the perfect, most hilarious and off-the wall time to throw it back in your face."
15 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"I actually knew he was ‘the one’ during one of the first times we hung out. I consider myself pretty well versed in my music, particularly my Stevie Wonder and my Neptunes/Pharrell Williams. We sat up one evening listening to music and every time I tried to put him on to some obscure songs that I thought only my family or I listened to, he already knew them! That was super impressive and attractive to me. I also knew it when we went camping with his cousins and it was the most amazing camping experience ever. About 30-40 black folks camping at the lake with very big, very nicely decorated tents. They event had a tent with a bathroom in it for their 90+ year old grandmother who was camping with us. Fred and I brought the smallest two person tent that we didn’t even it in! Our legs were hanging out the front and everything, and we aren’t the smallest couple in the world, I’m 5’10 and he’s 6’3 so….it was tight. They let us have it about that tent all weekend and it was hilarious. We had such a good time laughing at ourselves and I knew I wanted to be a part of his family then."
16 of 22 Bri McDaniel
Miriam and her bridesmaids were too cute with their capes!
17 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"My wedding cake was a vanilla cake with strawberry and white chocolate icing and it was delicious! It was decorated with white icing and blue and hand painted gold bands around the base of each of the tiers. It was very simple and incorporated the blue/gold/white them. I liked the idea of incorporating some kind of fruit into the cake and the strawberry fruit icing really stood out when we did our tasting."
18 of 22 Bri McDaniel
How great do Fred and his groomsmen look?!
19 of 22 Bri McDaniel
Fred and Miriam celebrated their special day with 250 guests.
20 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"So we did a mashup of “With Each Beat of My Heart” by Stevie Wonder and “Prototype” by Outkast. Of course the Stevie Wonder song was the song he played when he proposed AND it is one of my favorite yet obscure Stevie Wonder song that Fred surprisingly new back when we first met. And our favorite rap group and the best rap group of all time Outkast had to be involved and this is such a sweet and funky song. The words are perfect and it was fun to sing to each other during the awkwardness that is the First Dance!"
21 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"I surprised Fred and all of our guests twice. First, I planned a surprise Trombone solo for Fred right after our First Dance. I had the idea to play “Say La La”, a song FAMU’s band has played for years and years. I played trombone in high school so when my boss randomly had a trombone sitting around at work, I took it home and had been practicing for a couple of weeks. It was one of those things that I KNEW would be a hit because of all the family and friends from grade school that knew I was serious about band! Add that to the fact that so many of Fred’s FAMU classmates would be there, and you have an awesome moment! I was nervous and definitely missed a few notes but all in all it was a hit and his friends all came out on the floor and sang along and did their little cheer. It was cute!"
22 of 22 Bri McDaniel
"I like Miriam's energy and drive," said Fred. "She's pushes me to not settle for being average but to be the best at any and everything that I do. She makes me believe in myself even when i think that things are impossible. It also doesn't hurt that she's somewhat funny...somewhat."
You may like
Get The Essence Newsletter and Special Offers delivered to your inbox!