If you’re at all familiar with the “people you may know” section of Facebook, you’ll know that most times the suggestions aren’t always appealing. Luckily for Jonathan Phillips, this feature worked in his favor. Kendra Sutton had just moved to Tallahassee to start pharmacy school at Florida A&M University. That’s when she met the perfect stranger in Jonathan. “Seeing we had mutual friends, Jonathan decided to request my friendship and slide in my inbox,” Kendra told ESSENCE. “After conversing through Facebook messages for a while, we exchanged phone numbers.” Though Kendra had to reschedule their first date for after her exams, the wait proved to be worth it. Jonathan stole her heart on their dinner and movie date!
After completing pharmacy school, Kendra got the ultimate gift – a proposal from Jonathan asking to be hers forever. Though she mistakenly got clued in that the proposal was coming, she remembers feeling “happy and relieved” when he got down on one knee.
After choosing a wedding venue in Atlanta, Kendra and Jonathan knew they needed help planning the ceremony from miles away. They also knew they wanted a Black tie affair with a spread of Southern eats (shrimp and grits, anyone?) Thanks to Zephanie Curlett of Z. Curlett Events, everything on their wishlist was checked off. “If we had to do it over again, we’d choose her again,” the couple says.
Scroll through the gallery to see the gorgeous moments from Kendra and Jonathan’s romantic Atlanta affair.
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"Jonathan proposed at my pharmacy school graduation party," says Kendra. "After my son’s speech, he crawled under the table and grabbed a huge gift box. I opened the box to find boxes inside of boxes. In the last and smallest box was a pill bottle with the ring inside. On the bottle was a pharmacy label with the directions, 'take immediately to make me the happiest man in the world. No refills. One dose will last a lifetime.” He then got down on one knee and popped the question in front of my family and friends!"
The couple ended chose the Biltmore Ballrooms in Atlanta as their wedding venue. The gorgeous facility, which boasts two beautiful ballrooms with huge columns and chandeliers, reminded them of a Cathedral.
The Bride's Tribe
Kendra's bridesmaids helped make her wedding day the experience of a lifetime. "Dress shopping, my bachelorette trip, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, up until the day of was all an experience. It was all I wanted and more!"
The Dress That Chose Me
Kendra's gorgeous lace gown was designed by Pnina Tornai. "I chose my dress on my first dress shopping experience in New York at Kleinfeld. My plan was to get an idea of what I liked, and then have the dress designed. My plan failed. I fell in love before making my second appointment."
One Lucky Man
"I wasn’t expecting Kendra to come in my life at the time we met, but I’m extremely thankful she did. She loves me for me, accepts my flaws, and motivates me to become a better person daily."
Love & Trust
"I knew Johnathan was the one after about a month or so into dating," Kendra said. "He was patient with me. I had previously come out of a bad relationship, and it was difficult to trust again. He was responsible with my feelings and made sure I felt safe and secure."
"I’ve been a part of and have attended weddings in the past," said Jonathan. "It’s a different feeling being the one at the altar. I told myself not to get captured in a photo ugly crying."
Kendra walked down the aisle with her adorable son to “Why I Love You” by MAJOR.
Love All Around
The couple was surrounded by love and God as they exchanged vows.
Introducing Mr. and Mr. Phillips
That feeling when you just married your best friend!
What Kendra loves most about Jonathan is that he brings light and hope to her life. "I love how I can come to him with a bad situation and instead of harping on the negatives, he encourages me to think of the positives."
"I wanted something classy with a mermaid look for my bridesmaids," says Kendra. "It just so happened that one of my favorite bridal designers, Haley Paige, had the perfect dress. For the groomsmen, I found a picture of a suit I liked on Pinterest and we had a tailor overseas make it."
Feast Your Eyes On This
"Our estate table was the focal point of our decor," says Kendra. "It was 32 feet long with huge floral centerpieces, lots of candles, and black velvet linen topped with mirror."
Black Tie Excellence
"After the ceremony, guests moved to the lobby area for cocktail hour while the wedding party took pictures. They were able to eat, drink, and take pictures at the photo booth. Guests then moved into the larger ballroom for the reception, which was a black-tie affair."
Nothing Else Matters
Despite a few lost items and wedding day hiccups, Kendra and Jonathan remembered to smile and make the most of their special day. "The day goes by so fast," Kendra told Essence. "You have to enjoy it while you can."
Kendra and Johnathan's reception had a soul food buffet of fried chicken, beef ribs, and shrimp and grits as the entrees. Side dishes included macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and garlic roasted mashed potatoes. "Our guests are constantly telling us how good the food was," they say.
Take A Bite
The couple's cake was a black and gold 4-tier cake with various flavors – red velvet, key lime, and almond butter. "Our top tier, which we will eat on our 1-year anniversary, was red velvet," the newlyweds told ESSENCE.
Cuttin' A Rug
Jonathan and Kendra's son had a blast on the dance floor.
A Loyal Tribe
Kendra was covered in love by her sorors on her special day.
Kendra's Advice To Brides
"The best advice I can give is to choose good, reliable vendors. It’ll make your life easier and relieve unnecessary stress. Remember the day is about you and your husband – no one else! Don’t let anyone ruin or make it about them."
The Phillips's left for their honeymoon to Montego Bay, Jamaica two days after the wedding.