Nikisha, 30, and Carl, 33, believed in true love from the start. When they first met, she was seeing someone else, and when they began dating seriously, he had to move to a new state to pursue his dream job. Even though they had their ups and downs, they never gave up on the unique love they shared. After proving that long distance love can work if you give it your all, Carl asked Nikisha to be his wife. They were married on September 18, 2012 in a beautiful bohemian beach wedding in Big Sur, California.
You’ll never guess where practical bride Nikisha found this gorgeous wedding gown: J. Crew! “Dress shopping was easy,” she says. “I had a budget, and I already knew the style of dress I was going for. I searched online for about two months. I knew my dress was 'The One' because it fit my budget, it was a style I loved, and most importantly, the fit really flattered my body type.”
Carl’s brother is popular ESSENCE.com blogger and TV personality Modern Day Matchmaker Paul Carrick Brunson, who was on hand to help him get ready to meet Nikisha for their big moment on the beach.
Nikisha’s UrbanBushBabes.com co-founder and close friend Cipriana was there too, of course. She helped the bride slip into her fabulous no-fuss gown right before the ceremony was to begin. We adore this portrait. Don't you? Let’s hear it for true sisterhood!
“I said yes to Carl because I knew God had designed him just for me,” says Nikisha. “He takes his relationship with God seriously, and he is my complementary half.“
Prior to the ceremony, Carl and Nikisha took their portraits at their rental home in the woods.
Carl found his suit at J. Crew, too. "He got it tailored for a more GQ look," says his bride. "He wanted a European fit."
A moment of prayer between Nikisha and her family before she and Carl embark on the next, beautiful chapter of their love story.
“I wanted my bouquet and flower arrangement to be very hippie-like, so I chose wild flowers,” says Nikisha. “They were dark wine colored scabiosa, white and burgundy dahlias, lemon-scented geraniums and small, white daisy-like flowers.” Kate Healey of Big Sur Flowers created the arrangement.
“Carl is the kind of man I want my son to be like when he grows up,” Nikisha proudly exclaims. Now that's the type of man you marry. Nikisha, you go girl!
“I asked God to show me what real love was,” Nikisha confesses. “Then one day it hit me. Carl was the love that God spoke about in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). At that moment, I was really able to say to myself that every time a storm comes in my life, this man brings me peace and joy.”
To complement their bohemian wedding style, Nikisha and Carl chose to incorporate subtle décor elements like dark wine and burgundy colors, velvet and crochet materials and wild flowers.
And the award for the most photogenic couple of all time goes to: Carl and Nikisha Brunson.
“This is the man that accepts all of me,” says the bride. “Every mistake I’ve made and my messy past. This is the man that prays over me and prays with me.”
“One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was to be sure that you look like yourself on your wedding day,” says the bride. “So, I didn’t choose a hairstyle that I wouldn’t normally wear or that no one would recognize me in. I also chose to stick with the bohemian feel I was going for.”
We love the way Carl looks at Nikisha. It says more than words ever could.
“My husband and I wanted to have a wedding that was true to who we are,” Nikisha says. “We wanted it to be small, private and romantic because we aren’t into big crowds and traditional weddings.”
Natural hair blogger Nikisha, posing here with her new husband Carl and her son Jaden, did her own hair and makeup on her wedding day. (Another huge money saver!) A sweet family portrait like this one belongs in a gorgeous frame.
“Carl and I like to just hang out and have fun,” says Nikisha. “We work together on creating music, graphic designs and video.”
“We wanted to keep things as simple as possible,” Nikisha says. “Just us, barefoot on the beach, with a guitar player playing our favorite Radiohead song. We stuck to our vision because it was where we felt led.”
Nikisha and Carl skipped the whole idea of a traditional bridal party in favor of having only the pastor and her son, Jaden, there at the altar with them.
“My husband is a humble, God-fearing man,” says Nikisha. “He is very honest, intelligent and hard-working. He’s super laid-back, adventurous and incredibly creative. Plus, he’s funny, articulate, well-rounded and a great problem-solver.”
"We decided against any decor for our ceremony," says Nikisha. "We just let the beautiful beach and the woods become a natural backdrop."
“I felt so at peace looking into Carl’s eyes,” recalls Nikisha. This photo is so beautiful it brings happy tears to our eyes.
Meet the new Mr. and Mrs. Brunson!
After the ceremony, guests drove from the beach to nearby restaurant Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant to meet the newlyweds for an intimate reception dinner.
We're nuts about this fabulous wedding location find. Anyone up for a trip to Big Sur, California? We're in!
A total of 10 guests dined with Nikisha and Carl on their wedding night. (Now that’s what we call an intimate guest list.) It was an unforgettable memory for all those present. The reception dinner was held in the evening on the patio outside of the restaurant. There were lights strung all around the space, tall surrounding trees to make it cozy and long, carved wooden tables decorated with vintage hobnail vases filled with wild flowers.
For the outdoor enthusiasts, Big Sur offered a serene, remote beach and lush woods filled with giant Redwood trees. “For the reception dinner, I wanted to find a restaurant that had a reputation for delicious food because I am a huge foodie,” explains Nikisha. “I wanted the place to have a certain look and feel and décor. It had to be woodsy and have rustic charm. Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant was our place!”
Dinner done right with those that matter most. What more could a bride and groom ask for?
“I wanted my wedding cake to have a bohemian vibe and be very woodsy and earthy,” the bride explains. "It was a tall cake with smooth white frosting and raspberries shaped in a crescent on top. The cake sat on a handmade wooden tree slab that had our names and wedding date carved into it.”
For parting favors, Nikisha and Carl gave their guests small glass jars of honey with a tin of loose chamomile tea that the bride put together herself. “The favors were so us,” she says. “We love drinking tea and wanted to share our love for it with our loved ones. The chamomile tea is also very calming and soothing." Their DIY wedding day style was so authentic.
Now that's what a happy bride looks like! Congrats on your perfectly simple and totally original wedding day, Nikisha and Carl.
"Every single moment from my wedding was my favorite," gushes Nikisha. "At the altar, I remember Carl and I were in awe the whole time because the beach felt like it was untouched. We just had this feeling like we were at the end of the earth. When we said our vows, I lost it."
That background just keeps getting more beautiful. Insert us here!
“We can talk about God all day,” says Nikisha. “That’s most important."
“We both wanted to get married on the beach for the longest time because it’s our favorite place on earth,” Nikisha explains. “But, since I also have an affinity for the woods, I set out to find a place that delivered both. I somehow came across a place I’d never been: Big Sur, California. It was the perfect blend of everything I was looking for.”
“Carl makes me strong in areas where I am weak,” says his new wife, Nikisha. “We can talk every day for hours and never run out of things to talk about it.”
“I love that Carl is so different from anyone I’ve ever met,” says Nikisha. “I really admire him. He is a quiet riot that’s packed full of so many gifts. He makes amazing music and he can sing, play the guitar, bass, drums and piano.”