Dorian moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland for a new job opportunity – a move she admits to making reluctantly at first. After spending a year homesick in a brand new city, one of her Facebook friends offered to introduce her to his fraternity brother, Darryl, who had moved to LA from Cleveland twelve years prior. What started as a casual request for companionship blossomed into something more after Darryl asked if they could see each other exclusively. A year and a half later Darryl popped the question with his daughter watching on FaceTime.
They decided a wedding and a vacation all in one would be a winning scenario, so they landed on the idea of having a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic. Their wedding planner Yuleisi Fernandez Santana went above and beyond to ensure every detail of their big day of romance to the beach.
Scroll through for the most beautiful moment from Dorian and Darryl’s oceanside wedding in Punta Cana.
Meet The Cellers
Bride: Dorian Harriston
Groom: Darryl Celler
Theme: Beach Chic
Venue: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Punta Cana
Wedding Planner: Yuleisi Fernandez Santana
Wedding dress: Galatea
Bridesmaids dresses: Aura from BHLDN
Photographer: Keith Cephus
How He Proposed
On the day he proposed, Darryl asked Dorian to pick up dinner on the way home (she later found out he was just stalling.) "When I arrived home I found my sister Yulonda in my kitchen and he was talking to his daughter via FaceTime. That is when he handed my sister the phone (so his daughter could view us), got down one knee and told me 'Love changes things. I know that I said I would never get married again, but I cannot imagine my life without you. And, I want to ensure we are never without one another. Marry me and let me make you happy for the rest of our lives.' And, then I cried hysterically."
A Second Chance At Love
"I convinced myself that I would never get married due to going through a terrible divorce many years prior," Darryl told ESSENCE. "During our courtship, my days and nights started being consumed with thoughts of Dorian. Our first Christmas really solidified that my life’s journey would be with her. I’m really happy the light bulb came on and I was mature enough to understand the woman of my dreams was right in front of me."
Wedding Day Jitters
"Being a bride was extremely stressful, but it was also the most exhilarating experience I’ve ever had," Dorian says of her wedding. "Early in the process, Darryl said, 'Never forget this marriage is the most important thing, not the wedding. I just want to marry you.' I went back to that statement whenever things became overwhelming."
Strike A Pose
Dorian hit a few angles in her hotel room before heading down to the beach for the ceremony.
A Walk To Remember
Dorian's brother Herbert walked her down the aisle to “Femininity” by Eric Benet. "The song was chosen by Darryl because he said the words and music best described how he felt about me."
Dorian and Darryl bridal bliss
We Are Gathered Here Today...
To honor their late parents, Dorian and Darryl's ceremony incorporated a violinist who played a selection of their favorite songs. They also had fireworks for their 88 guests to enjoy at the completion of the vows.
Their Tribe Is Loyal
"We did not think that a huge number of friends would attend due to distance, time of year and cost," Dorian said. "The original thought was that maybe 25 people would come with a guest. However, it was very humbling to know that many of our family and friends would choose to spend their vacations witnessing our wedding and sharing our love."
You May Now Kiss The Bride
How cute are they??
Watching From Above
"The moment of silence for our parents during the ceremony was so important to us. To feel their spirits and seek their approval and let them know we were ok was so emotionally vital."
The couple said Darryl's daughter Angelique came through in a wedding crisis moment. "During the start of the cocktail reception, there was no music because we forgot to provide the DJ with the playlist. Thank goodness Angelique provided her playlist via her phone."
Oh Happy Day
The Cellers were all smiles as they pose with their bridal party.
Customized To Perfection
Dorian says she tried on about 16 dresses before landing on the right one. However, it was the adjustments really made the dress perfect. "I had some reservations because I thought I was too busty for the low neckline, but my sister worked with the seamstress to suggest adding the ribbon on the waist to the neckline of my dress. I would suggest if any bride loves a dress but thinks she can’t wear it, to talk to the seamstress first. Customization can save your life!"
"Since my bestie lives in Cleveland and I’m in Los Angeles, I constantly sent her dresses to review. We finally settled on Aura from BHLDN, a sage green A-line selection."
A Moment Of Happiness Well-Deserved
It felt great to be a groom," Darryl says. :I went through a lot of hurt and loneliness over the years and it was a great feeling for my friends and family to share in my joy and excitement. I wanted my wife’s first (and last) marriage experience to be cherished and one of the best experiences of her life. I was her fan as I enjoyed her tears of happiness with each day spent in the amazing Dominican Republic."
"We started with guests being shuttled from the beach ceremony to a cocktail reception immediately following in the Hard Rock’s Moon Lounge which was beautiful. The guests were then ushered into the Hard Rock ballroom that was transformed into a wonderland with our colors of silver, blush, and sage."
DJ, Play My Song
"We had a DJ and MC along with song request cards on every table to ensure we had an inclusive playlist. It was quite a night that no one wanted to end!"
"The most personal portion of the reception was when Darryl joined his fraternity brothers in singing their hymn and doing a stroll," Dorian said. "After I joined my sorority sisters in singing our hymn, we strolled with to a routine they created for me with personalized music detailing Darryl and my relationship journey. It was beautiful and everyone caught it on video."
"Our guests had such a great time that they have asked us to plan future trips. It was so touching to know we are that loved and that we love every single one of them."
Dorian's Advice To Brides
"The biggest lesson learned is that it’s not the charger plate or the food they’ll remember most. It is watching to see if you’re stressed or having the time of your life. Your guests will follow your lead. Eat, dance and enjoy! No one will know if something goes wrong unless you tell them. Enjoy the happiest day of your life and slow down enough to revel in the joy of it. "