Charis, 31, a high school teacher, and Peter, 34, who works in health administration, have always shared a unique connection. Their parents were close friends who grew up together in Trinidad. Convinced their kids would hit it off famously, their parents hinted and plotted for three long years before they finally got Charis and Peter to see the obvious -- they were meant to be. After meeting twice before and missing the connection, the third time around they felt nothing but sparks. Nearly three years later, he proposed, and on July 1, 2012, they were married in a romantic Atlanta ceremony. Share their love!
Charis wore an ivory tulle Anjolique wedding gown on her big day.
Charis was a vision of beauty on her wedding day.
Charis's pretty wedding day pearls were the perfect pick for her tulle gown.
Charis wore a lovely, ivory birdcage veil with beautiful pearl pin details and a crystal and pearl brooch.
Charis’ bouquet was a combination of ivory, soft pale, blush and candy Bianca roses wrapped with ivory French ribbon and pearl pins. Florist Darryl Wiseman, of Darryl Wiseman Flowers in Atlanta, provided all of the pretty blooms.
To ensure that she partied all day and night, Charis opted for comfortable (and cute!) footwear.
“Finding the right wedding gown was definitely a difficult process for me,” Charis admits. “Initially, I had my heart set on a traditional ball gown, but ended up purchasing a strapless sweetheart neckline dress with a tiered skirt and drop waist. It was everything I wanted my wedding dress to be.”
We just adore the back-detail buttons on Charis' stunning gown. It's absolutely fabulous!
For her “something old” and “something borrowed,” Charis used her aunt’s handkerchief.
“My love for Peter has strengthened my love for God,” says Charis. “I know his love for me is constant and unchanging. He has always accepted me for who I am, and I feel completely safe in his love.”
“What I love most about Peter is his quiet strength,” says the bride. “I know that I can depend on him to not only love me, but to be there for me when times are hard. He is unafraid of hard work, and I know I married a man who will work to make me happy.”
“When I started planning, I knew I wanted to have a wedding that would reflect my personality – classic, romantic and elegant,” explains Charis. “I also wanted a wedding that would celebrate our families’ roots. My family and Peter’s mother are from Trinidad and Peter’s father, who died when he was 16, is Kenyan.”
“I wanted the girls to look beautiful, so I chose dresses that were flattering to their bodies and offered a lot of movement for dancing,” says Charis. The winning look were these Grecian-inspired gowns by Bari Jay.
Beaming bride Charis took some seriously fierce bridal portraits. Check this one out!
Charis chose the grooms’ and groomsman’s attire. “I wanted to use navy suits as a complement to the creamy color the girls were wearing,” she tells us.
“Peter and I did most of the planning together,” says Charis. “He was a very involved groom. I was also blessed to have three wonderful women in my life to help me plan and coordinate the wedding. Although these women were family and friends and not professional wedding planners, they each had an impeccable eye for detail.”
Peter’s younger sister designed and created the couple’s wedding invitations and programs.
When Peter proposed, he said to Charis, "The man I am with you is not the same man I am without you, and I want to be the man I am when I’m with you.” That’s when he asked her if she would be his wife. She immediately started to cry tears of joy.
“I absolutely did not think I would find true love how and when I did,” Charis says. “Peter was not the man I thought God would send into my life. But I realize now that God, in his wisdom, sent the man I needed, not the man I wanted. Peter balances me, centers me and calms me.”
“I knew Peter was the one when we traveled together to visit my extended family in Ohio, for my cousin’s graduation,” Charis tells us. “That weekend was amazing. He fit in perfectly and was a big hit with my family. When I saw that Peter loved my family and that they also loved him, I completely fell in love with him.”
“Peter is loving, consistent, dependable, hard-working and strong,” says Charis. “He is loyal and focused on being the best man he can be for his family.”
“Peter and I chose the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta because we wanted a unique venue that wasn’t overused in the city,” Charis explains. “We also wanted a space that would allow us to hold both the ceremony and reception in one location because we had a lot of out of town guests. We support the mission of the organization which is to promote peace, health, democracy and human rights worldwide.”
Charis pulled from her experience as an English teacher to find romantic inspiration for her ceremony décor – she themed it around one of the final scenes of Romeo and Juliet. “I wanted to include a lot of candlelight throughout the ceremony to add softness and romance to the room,” she says. “Candles lined the aisle and on the stage of the chapel.”
To pay tribute to their roots Charis and Peter included photos of their parents on their wedding days in the lobby of the chapel. It was also a memorial tribute since Peter’s father passed away when he was teen.
Charis walked down the aisle to a rendition of the song “Sunrise, Sunset” from the musical Fiddler on the Roof. “The song was special to me because Peter grew up watching the musical, and I had never seen it,” Charis explains. “One afternoon, while we were dating, he invited me over to his apartment, and we had a Fiddler On the Roof viewing party.”
“My father, who is my hero and the first man I ever loved, walked me down the aisle,” says Charis. “I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
Large arrangements of roses and hydrangeas lined their ceremony stage.
Charis and Peter held a traditional Christian ceremony inside the chapel at the Carter Center. “God played an integral part in our lives, and as such, we wanted a ceremony that would not only celebrate our love, but also give all glory to God,” says the bride.
Charis’ sister, who she also calls her best friend, was her maid of honor.
Charis and Peter’s wedding was officiated by Pastor Clifford Jones, a long-time friend of the bride’s father. An elder from their church, who is Kenyan like the groom, also officiated.
One hundred and seventy guests were on hand to witness Charis and Peter become husband and wife.
To celebrate their unity, the couple held a hand-washing ceremony. Charis and Peter rinsed and dried each other’s hands to symbolize the washing away of their pasts, their vulnerability to each other, and God’s ability to cleanse and renew them. “We wanted to do something more unique than the traditional lighting of the unity candle,” Charis explains.
Candle-loving bride Charis made sure they were expertly placed everywhere on her wedding day.
The couple’s ceremony included scripture readings, a homily and rendition of the song, “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory).” Charis says she felt completely at peace looking into Peter’s eyes at the altar. “It brought me joy and comfort,” she says. “I also felt and overwhelming sense of calm and relief – we had made it!”
“Peter and I wrote our own vows,” Charis tells us. “We chose not to share our vows until were standing at the altar. Both of our vows started with, ‘Today, before God and our family and friends, I choose you.’”
“Peter and I both recognized that we could not expect our parents to foot the bill,” says Charis. “So we worked together, with our parents, to find affordable options that would still allow us to have the wedding and party that we wanted. As a teacher, I was able to work extra doing after school and summer tutoring to earn a little extra money.”
After the ceremony, guests moved into The Carter Center’s Cyprus Room for a seated dinner that began promptly at 6 p.m.
Charis and Peter chose John Legend’s “Stay With You” as their romantic first dance song. (Aww!)
During the cocktail hour, while a steel plan player provided music as a nod to Charis’ culture, guests were asked to write messages of love for the couple. Sweet quotations about love were displayed on the highboy tables.
We love these sweetheart style, beige chiffon gowns – a lovely pick for a bride looking to let her bridesmaids shine too. Some people told Charis the color might look washed out, but she was confident it would match her vision perfectly.
“I always knew I wanted roses to be an integral part of my wedding day,” says Charis. “They are favorites of mine and a classic symbol of love and romance.”
You are witnessing four-tiers of beautiful wedding cake perfection.
Romance was in the air on Charis and Peter's wedding day – and on all of the tables, too.
Intimate lighting, and a soft palette set the stage for romance at the couple’s sit-down reception.
At their reception, to get the party started, Peter’s cousin, a well-known Kenyan musical entertainer, performed songs from his latest album.
“Peter’s mother’s toast was probably the most heartfelt and moving speech of the evening,” says Charis. “For a longtime, I wondered how she felt about me. During her speech was the first time I felt she spoke openly about her feelings toward me. She presented us with the Bible she and Peter’s father received on their wedding day.”
“My mother spent countless hours handwriting each escort card with our guest’s name on the front and a personal love quotation on the back,” says Charis.
“In keeping with my love of candlelight and the theme of romance, we gave each guest a votive and a heart-shaped votive holder,” says Charis. “We also gave each guest a box of homemade traditional Trinidadian black cake in honor of my roots.”
“Our friends and family are still raving about how beautiful and tasty our wedding cake was,” says Charis.
Charis' single guests were more than willing to take their shot at nabbing her pretty bouquet. What a fun shot!
“The day very much felt like it was a reflection of us as a couple,” says Charis. Did you enjoy she and Peter’s romantic wedding style? Tell us about your favorite detail and leave your best wishes for the newlyweds below. Want to see your wedding featured in Bridal Bliss? Email us now.