Lonzell and Bianca both attended East Carolina University, though their love affair didn’t start until years later at the 2013 ECU Homecoming. “Bianca walks into our Kickback and says, ‘is that Zell?’ and the rest is history,” Lonzell remembers. “Once the weekend was over, we kept in touch, went on our first date to The Cheesecake Factory late November, and talked on the phone often.”

After nearly four years of dating, Lonzell knew he had found his forever – and he wanted to make the proposal feel as special as she’d made him feel all that time. After surprising her with a vacation to Rome, Italy, Lonzell found the most picturesque view in the city to pop the question. After becoming engaged, the couple immediately ruled out hotels, banquet halls, event centers, and country clubs and instead searched high and low for a unique venue with tons of character. “When we visited The Cookery, the aesthetic captured our vision perfectly because of the exposed brick walls, historical artifacts, market lights, location and layout.”

Set on their vision for a romantic yet modern ceremony and reception, Lonzell and Bianca opted for a day-of coordinator to help with logistics while taking the reigns on all the other details. “Overall, our wedding day was nothing short of amazing and everything ran so smoothly,” the couple tells ESSENCE.

Scroll through the gallery to see the best moments from Bianca and Lonzell’s modern romantic ceremony.

Want to see your wedding featured in Bridal Bliss? Send your story and a link to your wedding photos to bridalbliss@essence.com for consideration.

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