Bride: Jaclyn Nicole “Nikki” Simmons, 27, Academic Advisor

Groom: Derryk Charles Whitner, 28, Sous Chef

Married On: April 29, 2012

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Wedding Location: Wedgewood Metropolitan, Oakland, CA

Wedding Style: Outdoor Elegance

A Recipe for Love
One evening, after a fun-filled few hours of Salsa dancing, Nicole and her girlfriends decided to head over to popular restaurant Pican in downtown Oakland. As they dined, Nicole locked eyes with an attractive chef in the kitchen. She left without saying a word to him, but for the rest of the week, she just couldn’t stop thinking about him. Nicole told her good friend about her secret crush, and she encouraged her to pay the restaurant another visit. “I told her I had to go back and see if I was imagining the connection with him or if it was something more,” Nicole admits.

After her friend agreed to tag along to serve as her wing woman, Nicole returned to the restaurant armed with a smile and ready to see if the connection she felt to him was real. She made it a point to walk by the chef once more to see if he’d remember her, and he did. Nicole refused to leave the restaurant without making a move, so on her way out, she wrote on a business card “I noticed you. If you noticed me too, my number is…,” and then asked the waiter to pass it to the chef. “I later found out that three other women gave him their number that same night, but luckily, I was the one he called,” says Nicole. “We went on our first date about a week later and have been inseparable ever since.  My wing woman was our maid-of-honor.”

We Just Knew
“We had talked, at length, for a while about the idea of getting married with each other and amongst our families,” Nicole recalls. “We were simply waiting until we felt financially able to have a nice, yet simple wedding.” When their families realized they were serious, they offered them their financial assistance, which lead Nicole and Derryk to research potential venues and even shop for rings! Before Derryk had even proposed, they’d already decided on a wedding venue. “Even though we made the decision before the ring, Derryk still felt that he wanted to formally propose, but kept his plan a secret,” Nicole says. “One night before going to dinner with friends, he hid my engagement ring in one of my dresser drawers and waited, impatiently, for me to ‘discover’ it”.

Photos: A Perfect Impression