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.
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The couple traveled to Rome in March of 2018. On the second to last day of the trip, the couple made a visit to the Boboli Gardens in Florence. "He wanted to set up the tripod for us to take a picture together in a really good spot," Bianca remembers. "He finally found a spot and setup the tripod, so I immediately got in front of the camera waiting for him to join me. He starts messing around with his phone and I thought, 'What is taking so long?' He then walked over and handed me his phone. and it was playing a video of my mother and aunt telling me how happy they were for me that our moment had come. I then looked at him freaking out, crying hysterically as he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife!"
Love All Over
"To be honest, I felt relaxed during the entire wedding planning process due to us having such an amazing planning committee," says Bianca.
The Bride's Tribe
Bianca and her girls enjoy a mini turn-up before the ceremony.
A Mother's Touch
"My mother was our rock during the entire wedding process," says Bianca. "She helped me get ready and kept me as relaxed as possible throughout the entire process. We could not have done any of it without her help."
"Nothing could prepare me for becoming a groom," says Lonzell. "Every time I would imagine our special day, I would always feel the excitement of the moment."
Here And Now
"Initially, I didn't think I'd find love when I did," says Lonzell. "As time progressed, our relationship grew stronger. It was something I did not want to lose. Everything was and is so easy with Bianca."
A Vision In White
Initially, Bianca thought she wanted to wear lace on her wedding day. Later on, she ended up falling in love with a silk trumpet-style dress by Lea-Ann Belter. "I knew it was the ‘one’ because I loved the way I looked in it, and it matched the theme of our wedding perfectly," she says.
Time Stood Still
"Once 'Why I Love You' played and I was able to catch a glimpse of my bride, I was overwhelmed by my feelings," says Lonzell. "I just couldn’t help myself. She was absolutely stunning in her dress. At that moment, everything felt so right."
When Two Become One
The couple's unity candle ceremony represented the start of their new lives together.
The Look Of Love
The chemistry between these two is undeniable.
Officially in this forever!
Made For Me
"I can tell Lonzell anything and be my complete self when I am with him," says Bianca. "I don’t have to pretend like I am somebody I am not; he loves me for me. He supports me in all that I do and makes me want to be a better person."
Cheers To Love
Because you deserve it.
A Sweet Touch
"Our centerpieces were the flowers from our ceremony," says Bianca. "We repurposed them and used flower arrangements from our arbor for the main table. We wanted the tables to give off a romantic feel, so we added floating candles between the flowers."
"We wanted to highlight the gold theme throughout," says the couple. "So we used gold table covers, table numbers, chairs, flower stands, napkins and even some gold on the cake."
The Sweetest Kiss
There's nothing like those "just married" butterflies.
Get In Formation
Bianca and her sorors tear up the dance floor.
Memories To Last A Lifetime
"We let our guests use a Fujifilm Instax mini to capture selfies and couples’ portraits for us to cherish forever," the Fogles said.
Dance The Night Away
After dinner and toasts, the couple's guests were ushered back into the front room of the venue for the party. "The front Room was PERFECT for dancing because the acoustics were better and the market lights were arranged beautifully."
That's My Jam
The couple's DJ had the reception jumping from start to finish. "We wanted to make sure we accommodated each generation," they tell ESSENCE. "For our reception, we provided our DJ with a list of songs to play. Our reception was LIT from start to finish."
"Our wedding day was nothing short of amazing and everything ran so smoothly," says Bianca. "I have no regrets and wouldn’t do anything differently."
The Way You Love Me
"It’s hard to pick one thing, but what I love most about Bianca is how warmhearted she is," says Lonzell. "I love the way she loves me, and the way she cares for me. It’s unwavering."
Bianca's Advice To Brides
"Stay organized! Create a Pinterest board of what style and theme you’d want. This way, you can pin your style of wedding gowns, decor and flowers. This helps when showing the vendors what you like and helps provide a vision for your dream wedding!"