Carmen and Willie
September 6, 2018

How They Met
Carmen and Willie met in 2009 at Hampton University’s freshman orientation. Each underclassman was randomly assigned a “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” to help guide them through school. By luck of the draw, Carem and Willie were matched and formed a friendship that lasted years beyond college. Little did they know that six years later everything would change. She took a trip to visit him and the moment they locked eyes at the airport they fell in love.

The Proposal
Willie proposed just a few days after Christmas. Carmen’s parents had come to visit them for the holiday and he said he wanted to take everyone out for a nice dinner. On the drive to dinner, Willie took a detour and landed them in a beautiful neighborhood where they used to take their lunch breaks together. He told her to close her eyes and lead them to their favorite bridge. When she opened her eyes he was holding a single sunflower, her favorite. He asked her a series of questions all relating to her favorite things and how much she loved him. With each question, her then three-year-old son Maddox placed all of her favorite things by her feet. He followed by asking for a dance, which she happily agreed to. “This Is Why I Love You” by Major played as they swayed together on the bridge. As the dance ended, her son Maddox brought her a wrapped box and Willie got on one knee and asked if she and Maddox would marry him. She, of course, said, “YES!”

The Details
They chose the beautiful Main Street Station for their venue, a perfect foundation for their classy and elegant wedding.

When it came to decor, they chose navy, gray, and burgundy as their color palette. These colors were perfectly integrated into every detail of their wedding. They kept florals to a minimum and had the only real flowers in Carmen’s bouquet, which she made herself. Instead of traditional bouquets for the bridesmaids, each one carried wooden fans that Carmen painted gold. To decorate the tables, adorable photos of Carmen and Willie through the years were placed in the center to celebrate their journey together.

Carmen and Willie both have a very strong Christian faith. She shares, “It was very important that we center our wedding around our faith and give glory to God for our amazing love story.” They made sure to have their officiant, who is a pastor, read scripture and discuss how God has been an important part of their story. Both Carmen and Willie wrote their own vows and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room during the exchange. To finish the ceremony, they “Jumped the Broom”, a tradition derived from their African Ancestry.

They had amazing hors d’oeuvres and a delicious dinner menu consisting of roast beef, garlic mashed potatoes, and string beans for the main course. For the cherry on top, dessert was homemade cakes made by Carmen’s mother!

Favorite Part of the Day
“Our favorite part was seeing each other as I walked down the aisle to Willie. He began to cry and then everyone including myself and my father cried the whole way down the aisle.”

Biggest Challenge
“We had two big challenges planning our wedding, we were living in Orlando, Florida at the time so I planned our wedding out of state which is really tough and we did not have a wedding planner. We had a day of coordinator/decorator but as the bride, I had to handle all logistics, book all vendors, and coordinate them with the venue, it was a lot of work to plan our wedding in only 9 months. The second challenge was that we were determined to pay for our wedding completely in cash. I quickly realized all vendors require pretty large deposits so we could only book vendors as we worked our way to save all the money up we needed. By cutting back on our usual expenses and taking up part-time jobs, we were able to pay cash for everything including our honeymoon. Certain things I wanted I had to let go of for the wedding because we refused to go into debt for our big day.”

Best Piece of Advice
“Decide on a budget and a vision and stick to both. Don’t let anyone tell you that your budget is too small for whatever type of wedding you want. You CAN make it work you just might have to be creative and/or scale down the guest list. If something is extremely important to you then splurge on it, if you love a certain vendor”

*All information in our Featured Weddings is provided by the couple. Richmond Weddings™ is not responsible for discovering and adding vendors who were not on the submission form completed by the couple.* All photos courtesy of New Mindset Photography