“When I took Ryan home with me for Thanksgiving for the first time, I knew he was the one,” spills Dayna. “The way he interacted with my family, but most importantly with my Dad, was just an amazing sight.”
For her ceremony gown, lovely bride Dayna chose this pretty A-line Wtoo style with a ruffled skirt. She admits to traveling to at least four or five different bridal gown shops and trying on quite a few gowns before uncovering this fantastic find. “It was by far the most difficult decision to make regarding the wedding,” she tells us. “I just wanted to be sure that Ryan would fall in love with the dress as much as I did.”
Dapper groom Ryan and his boys wore orchid boutonnieres.
“I always knew I wanted to get married in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia,” says Dayna. “The moment Ryan and I started talking about what our wedding day would be like, we knew we didn’t want traditional venues.” The modern couple settled on the Edgar Allen Poe Museum for their ceremony and the Main Street Train Station for their reception.
Dayna carried a large bouquet of lush white peonies with a sprig of lilac in remembrance of her grandmother. “We worked with an awesome florist. They’re called Black Iris, based out of Virginia Beach,” she adds. Ryan wore a honey bee lapel pin in remembrance of his close cosuin “Honey.”
Fancy shoes for a fancy bride. We love these!
Dayna’s bridesmaids found their gowns at Amsale. “I knew I wanted an earth tone that would complement all shades,” she explains. “I let my girls choose which design they wanted.” (And, they look all the merrier for it!)
Ryan and his groomsmen wore tuxedo styles by Vera Wang for Men’s Warehouse. “Ryan just wanted a classic look, and he only wears bow ties, so he had to make sure his was special,” says Dayna. “We bought his from Barneys.”
Speaking of dapper, the fellas even coordinated their socks to add a touch of style. What a chic bunch!
Athough they couldn’t see each other before the ceremony, Dayna and Ryan found unique ways to stay close.
On her wedding day, Dayna had her entire support system by her side which included her sister Shajuana, who was her matron of honor, her niece Hailey, cousin China, sister-in-law Akilah, and besties Tonika, Megan and Ebony.
Dayna and Ryan’s three nieces, Sydney, Kaylin and Kamrin were happy to serve as the flower girls for their ceremony. (Just look at those adorable little dresses and matching smiles!) We adore everything about this picture.
The happy couple’s nephew, Elijah, was the ring bearer for the day. In lieu of a pillow he carried this custom plate.
“Because our ceremony was in a garden, we let the outdoors speak for itself,” says Dayna. “The only additional décor elements we added were rose petals along the aisle.” They placed charming, traditional southern fans on each chair in case the summer heat got to any of their guests.
The smallest bridal party members made their way down the aisle in preparation for the bride’s big moment.
“I cried looking at my dad before we even started walking down the aisle,” says Dayna. She came down the aisle to India.Arie’s “Beautiful Surprise” sung by her best friend with a little help from an acoustic guitarist.
“Ryan cried as I walked down the aisle,” Dayna admits. They were both overwhelmed by the magic and the emotion of the day.
Dayna and Ryan wrote their own wedding vows to share with each other. “Looking into his eyes at the altar was heart-stopping,” says the bride. “I saw our present and our future in that moment. I have never felt so much in love before in my life.” The happy groom felt the same way. “It was the most amazing feeling in the world,” he adds. “My heart skipped a beat.”
Dayna’s aunt had the pleasure of officiating the couple’s ceremony. “I remember when I was around 17, and she was first ordained, I said to her, ‘Aunt Gayle, when that day comes for me, you’re going to marry me,'” she shares.
Introducing the new Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. The couple donned matching smiles as guests cheered them along.
“Ryan is my best friend,” shares Dayna. “We laugh together, we cry together and we share our deepest thoughts. He is my everything.”
“Dayna was the first woman that I ever dated who treated me like a king,” says Ryan. “She helps me to be a better man and pushes me to grow into a better human being. Her actions make me want to give her the world.”
“I love Dayna’s heart,” says Ryan. “She can always put a smile on my face, even in my darkest moments.”
The bridal party poses on the grounds for a gorgeous photo opp.
“I love Ryan’s sense of humor,” Dayna shares. “He can always find a way to make me smile and to bring me out of any kind of slump. Whether it’s a funny face or a joke, he always brightens my day.”
“I knew I’d find true love, but I didn’t know when or where,” says Ryan. “Before Dayna came into my life, I was focusing on my acting career. During that point in my life, I thought a woman would only slow me down, but Dayna has been the best part of my life. Within my growth, I have been able to upgrade my acting career, my personal life and my spiritual life.”
The Main Street Station, where the couple hosted their reception, was just a few short blocks away from the museum. “We really wanted to make sure it felt like a party atmosphere and not a boring seated dinner,” says Dayna. The reception tables were decorated with silver linens, roses and ostrich feather centerpieces. “We drew inspiration from the Harlem Renaissance era.”
Custom “bride” and “groom” signs hung on the couple’s chairs. A cute touch that instantly upgraded their table style.
Instead of going with a traditional guestbook, Dayna and Ryan setup a typewriter guestbook station to allow their guests to type their well wishes. This is, by far, the most unique alternative guestbook idea Bridal Bliss has ever seen.
African drummers played during the couple’s cocktail hour. Dayna’s sister found the drummers on a college campus. Hiring local college students to entertain guests helped the couple save money without sacrificing any of the details they’d always dreamed of.
Dayna and Ryan created a signature cocktail to serve their cherished guests.
When it was time to party with their guests, Dayna swapped out her ceremony gown and slipped into this elegant Nicole Miller dress. “I felt like a true bride in my first dress and a sexy bride ready to party in my second one,” admits Dayna.
As the Johnsons enjoyed their very first dance as husband and wife, the soothing, romantic sounds of Anthony Hamilton’s “The Point Of It All” played in the background.
“Being a bride was all that I dreamed about and more,” says Dayna. “To have everyone around you happy and cheering for you on your special day is such an unbelievable feeling.”
It’s cake cutting time!
Diva bride Dayna even swapped out her shoes for her reception party. We love her style!
Milk and cookies, anyone?
Um, and did we mention there was even a candy bar for guests to enjoy after dinner? Boy, do we wish we’d received an invitation to this fabulous wedding celebration.
The couple decorated their reception with special memories from their life together. A sweet touch that only made their day more romantic.
“As a groom, I felt like the luckiest man in the world,” insists Ryan, and his smile shows it.
Dayna, Ryan and their wedding guests danced the night away.
The couple made a grand exit to be remembered as guests cheered for the newlyweds and waved their sparklers. Ryan and Dayna share the same wedding anniversary as her parents, who celebrated 39 years of blissful marriage on the couple’s wedding day.