Former best friends Genesis Draper and Brandon Leonard fell in love at the University of Texas in Austin. The Lone Star State residents headed back to their meeting grounds to tie the knot on March 28, 2010. Share their love.
M.A.C. makeup artist Vannessa Rosales created the wedding day beauty looks for Genesis, her bridesmaids and the bride and groom’s mothers.
Genesis’ dreadlocks were pulled into an up-do at Zayd’s Naturally Natural salon in Houston a few days before the wedding. “She gave me an updo that would hold up through the 5k I ran with wedding guests the day before the wedding,” Genesis says.
“Leading up to the wedding I really wasn’t nervous,” Brandon says. “That day as we got closer and closer to the realization of everything, I got nervous. But it was a good kind of nervous. I was really excited.”
Brandon buttons up and adds the finishing touches to his wedding ensemble.
Genesis’ wedding gown was the first dress that she tried on at Ann Barge in Atlanta. “I tried on some other gowns but I didn’t like them as much as I liked this dress.”
“I wanted shoes that were comfortable and chic,” Genesis of choosing these satin and studded flats to walk down the aisle in.
“He’s very family-oriented, very ambitious and very nice,” Genesis says of her new husband.
“Texans really do wear cowboy hats,” Genesis explains.
“Brandon is everybody’s friend,” Genesis stresses. “He gets along with everybody.”
Brandon and his groomsmen have been friends since high school. “Going off is what they do best,” Genesis says.
Genesis took some time out to share a smile with her two sisters, who were her bridesmaids.
Genesis was ecstatic when she found the Chapel Dulcinea in the hills of Austin. The Chapel was built to host weddings and is free to couples. The bride and groom donated their deposit to help with the upkeep of the grounds.
Here Genesis and Brandon’s nephew is wide-eyed, but during the ceremony, he caught some major shut-eye.
“We opted for a small wedding party,” Genesis explains. " My sister and his sister were my bridesmaids. I allowed them to pick any dress they wanted and just asked that they pick different shades of purple."
“As we were walking towards the aisle my dad said a prayer,” Genesis remembers. “He’s a very spiritual person and I just knew he wouldn’t forget to do that.”
The wedding ceremony began with a prayer.
A libation ceremony — performed by Genesis’ mother — honored close friends and family who had passed away.
“We wrote our own vows, but we said the same thing,” Genesis explained. “Weeks before the wedding we separately wrote down things that we felt we couldn’t live without. Then we sat down and wrote our vows together incorporating those things.”
Genesis and Brandon share their first kiss as husband and wife.
The newlyweds ring the chapel bell to commemorate their new union.
“She’s a beautiful girl and she’s just a great person,” Brandon says of his new wife, Genesis. “She’s always fun to be around and she has a great smile.”
“She was more gorgeous than I expected,” Brandon says of seeing his bride on their wedding day.
“All the things that I thought that I wanted in a guy, he has,” Genesis muses about Brandon.
“Our wedding was relatively small and intimate, attended by those who mean the most to us, all the way down to the little ones,” the bride says.
Guests headed to the Trattoria Lisina at the Mandola Estate Winery in Driftwood, Texas for an intimate wedding reception.
Brandon’s mother toasted to the newlyweds for a life filled with major milestones and happiness.
“We’re looking forward to creating our own legacy,” Genesis says. “My parents have been very impactful on their community. We have some huge shoes to fill, but it’s exciting.”
Genesis and Brandon ordered their wedding kale from 1886 Bakery in Austin’s Driskill Hotel. The light purple roses add a naturally beautiful touch.
When it was time for Genesis and Brandon to feed each other, the couldn’t stop laughing. “Our younger cousins were standing right behind us giggling in anticipation that we were going to kiss,” Genesis explains.
Genesis’ girls from Spelman University, where she earned her undergraduate degree, serenaded the new wife with the Spelman Hymn.
Genesis and Brandon did not have all the traditional activities at their wedding, but they made sure they included the bouquet and garter belt tosses.
“This picture is our ode to the Obamas,” Genesis explains. “I asked the photographer to try and recreate the shot from the famous Obama wedding photo.”
“It just felt so right,” Brandon reflects. “I knew I had something really special. It felt like I won the lottery.”