Moneca and Randall met 17 years ago, but there weren’t exactly sparks flying during their first encounter. Randall was an employee at Sprint when Moneca came in to get help with her phone. “I was immediately attracted to him,” she recalls. After being formally introduced by a mutual friend, they arranged for a date night. Their plans fell through and they didn’t speak for two years before running into each other at a mall. “Even though on the outside I was giving him major side-eye, I was happy I ran into him on the inside,” she remembers. “Randall called me shortly after to arrange plans to cook me dinner, which was excellent!” Thank God for second chances!
After a wonderful five-year relationship, Moneca and Randall got engaged during a couples trip to Turks and Caicos (stick around for that story!). They immediately had their hearts set on having a modern New Year’s Eve wedding at the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina, a venue Moneca says “spoke to her soul.”
Pulling off a wedding during a major holiday can come with its own challenges, but the couple didn’t feel them a bit thanks to their wedding planner Events by Nishaka. “Nishaka is like a unicorn,” says the bride. “Her work ethic is like no other! She made my wedding planning process seamless and 100 percent stress-free.”
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An Unexpected But Perfect Proposal
Randall planned to propose to Moneca on the last night of their couples trip to Turks and Caicos. The plan was to pop the question at dinner. Unfortunately, an all-you-can-drink rum punch excursion left Moneca hungover and dinner plans foiled. "While I was asleep, Randall and my best friend had to concoct a new plan for him to propose because we were leaving the next day," Moneca remembers. "Randall waited for me to wake up so he could seize the moment. I finally got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. I told Randall he had probably seen me at my worst. He responded, 'Yeah, I guess I’ll have to marry you now.' We both laughed before he asked, 'Well, will you marry me?' I said, 'Of course,' still not realizing he was actually proposing. By that time I turned on the bathroom light to wash my hands, I saw the ring on my finger! I ran to the bed, hugged and kissed him and said, 'Yes!' It was the best feeling in the world!"
"I realized Randall was The One early on," Moneca tells ESSENCE. "We would hang out and do absolutely nothing but would have such a ball just being in each other’s presence. I've never had that type of connection with anyone, and I could feel this was something special."
A Solid Squad
"I really enjoyed spending time with my parents, my bridesmaids and other friends before walking down the aisle," says Moneca.
The groom and his groomsmen opted for a classic, James Bond–inspired look for the ceremony. "I knew with the night being so elegant—less was definitely more," says Randall
Dressed To Impress
"The dress I chose was by Casablanca Bridal," says Moneca. "I wanted something romantic and elegant, so I opted for an off-the-shoulder, sheer back and fully beaded mermaid-style gown that was absolutely stunning. For the bridesmaids' dresses, I felt like black mermaid-style dresses would go perfectly with the elegant theme."
"One of my fondest memories was surprising Randall right before he walked down the aisle with his dad," says Moneca. "He hadn’t seen or spoken to his dad in years and was afraid he wouldn’t show up. I worked on getting in contact with his dad through Randall’s cousin Nita. He was thrilled to be my 'gift' to Randall on his special day. The surprise was perfect!"
We Are Gathered Here Today
The Social Lobby at the Proximity Hotel provided the perfect heavenly backdrop for the Stevensons to say "I do."
Setting The Stage
How adorable is the flower girl?
Forever A Daddy's Girl
"My father walked me down the aisle to 'Still' by Mali Music, which Randall chose," says Moneca. "Having my father walk me down the aisle was one of the most important parts of the wedding for me because I am a true daddy’s girl."
A Walk To Remember
The venue's aisle set the perfect stage for Moneca's gorgeous cathedral length veil.
"I love flowers and candles, so it was very important to incorporate both throughout the ceremony and reception," says the bride.
In This For Life
There's no better feeling than marrying your best friend.
Stop And Smell The Roses
Moneca and Randall's large bouquets of white roses, hydrangeas and orchids from the ceremony were smartly repurposed as centerpieces in the reception space.
New Year, New Us
The couple's New Year's Eve reception featured a delicious selection hors d'oeuvres, signature cocktails and a dessert bar. Oh, and a killer DJ.
Feel The Love
Moneca's dance with her father was such a moment.
Just in time for the ball drop, the wedding guests grabbed champagne for the toast and covered the place with confetti.
The couple's wedding cake included multiple flavors like buttered toffee crunch and strawberries and cream.
Memories To Last A Lifetime
These are the types of moments we wish we could bottle up and keep forever.
Moneca's Advice To Brides
"Be as creative as your heart desires and your wallet can afford," Moneca says. "One of the most exciting details was the creative freedom to do exactly what I wanted. Start as early as possible with the planning process, as it allows you to actually enjoy the process and not get stressed out."