Sports journalist Jemele Hill is officially a married woman! Though she and husband, Ian Wallace, settled on Monarch Beach Resort in California as the location of their gorgeous wedding ceremony, they were adamant about paying tribute to their hometown Detroit every step to “I do.”

ESSENCE spoke exclusively to Hill and Wallace just before their wedding ceremony and got the scoop about every detail, from Jemele’s custom Vera Wang gown to the couple’s surprise performance by R&B crooner Musiq Soulchild.

Photo Credit: My Touch Weddings

Jemele and Ian had a few locations in mind for their ceremony. The couple was initially going back and forth between a destination wedding and a ceremony in Detroit. However, having recently moved to Los Angeles, the pair decided a ceremony on their home turf would the perfect location and compromise.

When it came to hiring someone that could pull their vision together, Jemele says she discovered the planner of her dreams at a tea party thrown by actress Erica Ash. Carpe Diem Special Events by Slomique was the creative genius behind the party’s decor. “We kind of had that instant connection with Slomique,” says Jemele. “She said she had done over 300 weddings and [she gave us] just the right type of energy. Ian was very focused on having a celebration with great music and vibes. I wanted the food and the ambiance to be great. She was able to combine both of our priorities and put them together to create what we think is an impeccable vision.”

Jemele and Ian also gave a nod to their hometown by hiring Detroit-based and Black-owned vendors. As for the flow of their wedding, the newlyweds went outside the box and treated guests to libations before the actual ceremony. “The pre-wedding reception served just wine, champagne and beer,” says Jemele. “We don’t want them to be too lit for the wedding.”

Their special day turned out exactly the way they both wanted, and the journey to the altar taught them a lot about each other. “I learned that Jemele is very accommodating,” says Ian. “It’s her wedding, but she’s thinking about others. She’s also very decisive.”

You won’t see many photos of the wedding on social media, since Jemele and Ian’s no cell phone policy was strictly enforced (why not put the phones down and live in the moment!) However, the Wallace’s were gracious enough to send us a few snaps and a gorgeous highlight reel from their celebration.

See a gallery of Jemele Hill and Ian Wallace’s wedding photos below:

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