Bride: Kyla Maupin, 27, Advertising Executive

Groom: Aaron Maupin, 27, Consultant

Married On: September 29th, 2012

Wedding Location: Georgia Freight Depot, Atlanta

Wedding Style: Modern with Southern Charm

Long Distance Romance
“Starting a new relationship is hard enough without 400 miles between us,” says Aaron Maupin. He and Kyla became a couple shortly after they both graduated from Georgia Southern University, where they were friends and study partners. When Kyla moved to Indianapolis for a yearlong internship, the distance only served to strengthen their budding love, as the couple talked frequently and saved money to visit one another. “He even came to my rescue and drove from Atlanta when I fell ill on a work trip in Nashville,” she remembers. “Those moments throughout our relationship made me realize that I didn’t want to be with anyone else and that I wanted to share my life with Aaron.”

Vote for Love
As Aaron begin to plan a proposal for Kyla, he considered it a sign when multiple friends emailed him information on the ESSENCE Storybook Wedding contest. He wrote a letter about why his lady deserved a fairytale wedding hosted by the magazine. From 200 letters, Aaron was selected among six finalists and the couple was flown to Walt Disney World so he could propose. While there at an intimate restaurant, Aaron and Kyla fed each other desserts while a harpist played “A Whole New World,” one of the couple’s favorite tunes. The waiter then brought out the final course—an engagement ring. Aaron’s heartfelt proposal, paired with Kyla’s social media campaigning, won over the hearts of ESSENCE readers. After more than 10,000 votes for the ESSENCE Storybook Wedding were cast, the happy couple were named the winners.

One Sweet Day
Celebrity wedding planner Diann Valentine worked to bring Aaron and Kyla’s dream wedding to life. She unveiled many of her surprise designs to the couple on their wedding day at Atlanta’s Georgia Freight Depot. “When I saw Kyla walk down the aisle, I thought, wow she’s beautiful,” Aaron says. “I realized that was the first step to our future together.”

Photos: Derek Blanks

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