For a relationship that survived five years of long-distance dating, life changes and other tests, its only right that Erica and Greg celebrated their union with the wedding of a lifetime.
These sweethearts started dating while living in two different cities – Greg was in Michigan at the time while Erica was in Chicago. They had known each other for quite a while (Greg is best friends with one of Erica’s cousins) but the official love connection started on Twitter. “After a few days of DM’ing each other, Greg asked me for my phone number so that we could continue our conversation over the phone,” says Erica. “We talked every day for two months before we had our first date in March of 2012.”
Although hesitant to start dating with so many mutual friends in the mix, the two hit it off and took it slow. Weekend visits to each other’s cities helped blossom their romance, and soon their whole inner circle was backing the relationship. What Erica loved most was the ease with which Greg incorporated her family into the relationship. “In Chicago, I lived with my sister and when Greg came into town, he would always invite her to come on dates with us,” says Erica. “He invited her on trips with us and into every part of our relationship. That let me know he was the perfect man for me.”
Though Erica and Greg used a month-of wedding coordinator to help with details, the bulk of the planner was done by themselves. An admittedly “very decisive” person, Erica relied on her sister’s help for execution and Pinterest for inspiration. The memories from their many picture-perfect dates in Chicago inspired elements of the couple’s reception (Garrett’s Popcorn, anyone?)
Check out the best moments from Greg and Erica’s glitzy Atlanta wedding.
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A Proposal To Remember
In January 2018, Greg proposed to Erica at his company's annual Black tie ball. "During the event, Greg went on stage to give a very heartfelt speech about his love for me. When I heard my favorite wedding song, 'You' by Jesse Powell, I became overcome with emotions. Greg called me on stage, got down on one knee, and asked me to be wife! The entire crowd of 300 people were cheering, and crying! Greg did an amazing job with the proposal."
Erica's makeup artist Patrice Morgan gave her a simple yet elegant look for her big day.
One of Erica's favorite parts of the day was getting to spend time with her bridesmaids. "I LOVE girl time, but with all of my girlfriends living all over the country, we don’t get to spend a lot of time together," she explains. "The fact that I got to see my ladies during my bridal shower, bachelorette weekend AND my wedding weekend was just amazing! My heart was so full."
It All Feels So Real
"Once I got to the wedding day and started taking pictures, getting dressed and being together with my groomsmen, it became surreal," Greg told ESSENCE. "We all had a few moments with them saying "bro this is real; you’re really doing this."
"I picked a stunning blush, mermaid gown by Allure Bridals. This dress had everything I envisioned in a wedding dress. I never thought I would pick a blush dress but once I saw the color on my skin tone it looked AMAZING!"
"The dress had drama, it showed my figure and I loved the beading," says Erica.
Greg went for a clean look with an ivory jacket with black liner and black pants.
Dressed To Impress
Greg's groomsmen looked snazzy in these sleek black suits from Savvi Formalwear.
Styles For All
After initially having some trouble finding affordable bridesmaids dresses in the champagne color she was looking for, Erica found the perfect looks for her girls at David's Bridal.
"Greg was not at all interested in seeing me before I walked down the aisle, so we opted to do a “first touch” vs a “first look” before our ceremony," says Erica.
Our Special Moment
"We did the first touch outside on the balcony of the Lowes Hotel and it ended up being one of the most memorable moments from our wedding day. It was an absolutely beautiful day outside. We got a chance to pray together and talk for a few minutes. I think the first touch helped us stay calm while we waited for the ceremony to begin."
Here And Now
Erica was walked down the aisle by her father to "Here and Now by Luther Vandross. "I LOVE that song! The lyrics are so beautiful and embody what I think marriage is about."
At Ease And In Love
"I began to feel anxiety when Erica and I had our first touch," says Greg. "When I first saw her walk down the aisle, I knew I was making the right decision. Not just because of her beauty, but because all the things I loved about her came to mind."
"We did the sand ceremony, signifying our two families coming together to create one new family," Erica told ESSENCE. "Family means the world to me and I am so excited to start a new family with Greg."
Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Burks!
They've Got Our Back
Erica and Greg credits their bridal party with making their wedding day so special.
This Is Why I Love You
"The thing that I love most about Greg is that he is very loyal. I think being in a relationship with someone who supports me and has my back is the best feeling in the world. I know that he is always going to be my partner in everything that I do."
What Greg loves about Erica the most is her unwavering support. "I can always count on her to be there. The dependability she has shown is amazing. She does everything in such a loving nature without expecting anything in return, which is what made me realize she was the one."
Flip That Space
"We loved the idea of transforming our ceremony space to a beautiful reception space using flowers, uplighting and the amazing natural light from the windows in the Piedmont Room."
The couple accented the guests' tables with cream, blush and gold centerpieces.
Going For Seconds
The cake was apparently so good, folks helped themselves to seconds. "Our cake was so delicious! It was a simple 3 tier ivory cake with flowers. Each layer had a different flavor: strawberry w/cream cheese frosting, red velvet with cream cheese frosting and pound cake with lemon curd and raspberry filling. YUMMY!"
The Perfect Day
"Our wedding was everything I could have wished for and better than I ever imagined," says Erica. "Greg and I woke up the next morning wishing we could replay the day over and over again. It was just perfect! I do not have one negative memory of my wedding day!"
Hit The Dance Floor
The DJ had the entire reception lit.
Erica's Advice To Brides
"My advice to other brides is to relax and enjoy the process. The planning process and the wedding day goes by in the blink of an eye, so don’t sweat the small things! At the end of the day all that matters is that you are marrying an amazing man/woman, who loves you dearly and that everyone you love will be there."
Stronger Than Ever
The Burks highly recommend marriage counseling to all engaged couples. "The sessions gave us a safe place to speak about things we either hadn’t thought about discussing or only had surface conversations about. After completing 6 sessions, we felt so much more confident about entering into the covenant of marriage."