Washington, D.C. was the perfect backdrop to Miya and Brandon Johnson’s intimate wedding day. The newlyweds met in passing while Miya was attending her sorority’s National Centennial in the nation’s capital. What started off as a long-distance relationship soon transformed into a long-lasting romance. The couple dated, moved in together and eventually had a son. Though Brandon had a proposal planned to be attended by her family, a moment presented while they were home alone that he just couldn’t let pass by. “I began to cry and rushed to embrace Brandon tightly,” says Miya. “He then asked, ‘So I guess this means you accept?’ I shouted ‘yes’ about 100 times!
The Johnsons, who coin themselves nontraditional, decided on a private 40-person ceremony at the D.C. War Memorial. The picturesque surroundings along the monument trails and gave them picturesque views along with the protection of coverage in case of bad weather. Thankfully, the sun couldn’t stop shining on their glorious day.
Since they had recently purchased a house, Miya and Brandon wanted to approach their budget modestly. Thanks to wedding planner Crystal Marie Events, everything was executed on theme and under budget. “Crystal saw our vision even before we saw it,” says Miya. “She was aware of how important efficiency, minimalism and uniqueness was for this special day.”
Scroll through the gallery for Miya and Brandon’s vintage D.C. wedding.
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The sweet and intimate proposal happened at the couple's home in Northern Virginia. Miya had just landed back home from a work trip in New York City. Brandon's original plan was to propose the next day. However, Brandon being the spontaneous person he is at heart, could not wait. As Miya freshened up in the bathroom to head back to bed, Brandon placed a red box on her nightstand. Miya was astounded to see a beautiful engagement ring sparkling inside and immediately said yes.
In Loving Memory
Among Miya's "something old" elements was her late maternal grandmother's vintage opal necklace. "It was very important that I wear her necklace as it was my groom Brandon’s birthstone and he also unknowingly proposed on my grandmother’s birthday."
Miya's hair and makeup team came to slay!
She's The One
Brandon says one of Miya's most beloved qualities is her dedication to their union. "When I asked for her to move down to Virginia, I knew she was afraid," he says. "But her stepping out on faith with me showed me her determination to make us work."
Mama Knows Best
"My dear mother Ann Marie Goodwin assisted me with my dressing along with my big sister, Mrs. Tamika Walker and cousin Mrs. Cayla Howard," says Miya.
Like Father, Like Son
This moment of Brandon and their son getting ready together was priceless!
A Close Few
The Johnsons chose not to have a bridal party. However, the bride's sister and cousin play an integral part in helping her get ready on the big day.
The groom looked sharp as a tack wearing his custom-tailored suit from Nordstrom, Cole Haan, shoes and Burberry cufflinks.
The Dress Of Her Dreams
"From the time we got engaged until the end of the summer, I searched about eight shops looking for my wedding dress," says Miya. "I found the on at the elegant and quaint Ellie’s Bridal boutique. It was lace Eddy K trumpet styled gown. The veil fit the dress so well it looked as though they were made for one another."
Miya and her father rode in style on their way to the ceremony.
The Music Of Love
"We chose a “Hip- Hop” violinist for our music at the ceremony, Mr. Marvillous Beats. His performance and professionalism were like none other!"
On The Way To Forever
"My father Stanley D. Goodwin walked me down the aisle to 'Fall For You' by Leela James," says Miya.
"Instead of incorporating the unity candle ceremony we performed the God’s Knot Ceremony that symbolized God being the head of our marriage," says Miya. "That knot hangs within our household today."
You May Now Kiss The Bride
Love was all around them as the Johnsons shared their first kiss as husband and wife.
Miya and Brandon take the next step into their future by jumping the broom.
Quality Over Quantity
Brandon credits his wife with planning a ceremony that was both romantic and intimate. "I am more of a private person," he says. " I was grateful that we were able to capture our wedding in the manner we did and that my wife was on the same page as me with the vision of our special day."
Miya and her sorors rep wherever they go.
Blue To The Bone
"ur color palette was unique and each color was an important meaning for our special day," the Johnson told ESSENCE. "The color blue represented serenity and peace. We asked guests to wear whichever shade of blue they chose."
"Our florist Ella O’Donnell of The Rosy Posy was amazing," says Miya. "I gave her freedom with our floral selections and boy did she deliver! Her team came up with the most amazing and unique combinations for my bouquet and it was unlike anything I had ever seen."
Riding In Style
"We rented a 1964 Classic Silver Cloud Rolls Royce from Regal Limousine in Springfield, Virginia. We used this beauty for my entrance and travel for the bride, groom and ring bearer (our son) after the wedding."
The 'Heart' Part
Miya says a defining time in their relationship was dating long distance, which solidified that Brandon was the one. "I felt like my heart was protected and that I could trust him and his word," she told ESSENCE.
Special Thanks To The Ring Bearer
The Johnson's commended their son on a job well done as ring bearer!
Brunch Over Everything
The couple had a morning ceremony, followed by a brunch reception at Old Ebbitt Grill - Washington's oldest bar and restaurant.
Surrounded By Love
The intimate theme of the day continued, as the couple dined with 40 of their closest family and friends. "The amount of love that radiated from the walls was unexplainable," Miya says. "There wasn’t a dry eye in the room."
Miya's Advice To Brides
"Allow your personalities to shine through it and make it your own," she advises. "Many people didn’t understand that we wanted an intimate ceremony. They expected a much grander occasion from us. But the authenticity and personal setting of it all really showed our guests how beautiful ceremonies like this can really be!"