Mark + Erica’s Grand Marquise wedding was not only a fun, but also a festive soiree! When asked about advice to give engaged couples, Erica offered a thoughtful tip. She stated, “balance is going to be key to the planning of your wedding. Tailor your ideas to what fits best for you and your partner. It is your day and you only get one, so make sure you start the day smiling and end the day smiling even bigger!”
Grand Marquise Ballroom Wedding
Complete with insights from the bride!
Mark + Erica
May 27, 2017
The Grand Marquise Ballroom
Share with us how you two met:
We met in college at Winston-Salem State University’s Office of International Programs. We would reconvene in the office after classes because the Program Assistant, Mrs. Brim was like our mother away from home. Mark would come in the office often and have us all laughing from his silliness.
Tell us about your proposal:
Mark lived in Berlin, New Hampshire for about 19 months due to employment. He was not able to come home to my knowledge so seeing each other was not in our immediate plans. In August of 2015 I was moving back to Winston-Salem, North Carolina.Throughout this day Mark had been calling me, which was not out of the norm but he always made it a point to find out exactly where I was in town. My brother and father were helping me move into an apartment I’d be staying in, we were finishing up and they were about to pull off. That’s when a car parked a ways down in the parking lot and the driver got out and started talking to my Dad and brother. I thought I recognized the car and the driver as Mark but knowing that he could not leave New Hampshire I quickly dismissed that thought. It wasn’t until the conversation with my Dad and brother was over and they drove off, that’s when the driver turned towards me. At that moment I saw that it was my Mark, I became so overwhelmed that I shrieked, ran and started crying. He ran up to me and we hugged and held each other for a while. After that we went into my apartment and talked but he was eager to go to campus ( Winston Salem State University). I didn’t really wanna go because I was hot, dirty and sweaty from all the moving. He said it wouldn’t be that long and I got in the car and we left. When we got to campus I got out the car and walked a significant distance before realizing that he was not with me. I turned around and was just getting out of the car, it was a little weird but I didn’t think much of it (Mark can be a little weird). He took me to the Office of International Programs on campus, which is where we met but it also is no longer in use. The office had been vacated for a newer building and the office where we met was being prepped for renovations. Somehow we got into the office anyway, at this point I was kinda confused. When we got into the office the two members of the staff Mrs Deana Brim and Mr Rickford Grant, that we had grown close to over our collegiate years standing in the room. I awkwardly said “Hi” to them while Mark took me by my hand and led me further in the room. It was at this time that Mark took my arm called me by my FIRST and LAST name and began to tell me how much he loved me and how much I meant to him. I missed much of this (thankfully Mrs Brim had a camera Mark had given her before he came and surprised me at the apartment), Mark likes to compare it to that scene in a movie when an explosion goes off and your disoriented and temporarily deaf. That’s a pretty accurate description. Soon after he started talking he got on a knee and asked me to be his wife, I screamed and said “OF COURSE BABY!!” That’s how our journey began.
Describe your wedding dress. What was wedding shopping like for you?
My wedding dress was ivory, sweetheart, mermaid style designed by Pronovias. I had visited only four stores but after the third store I became exhausted and slightly discouraged. My aunt recommended a bridal store that we visited and found a dress in the corner but did not mention it to me due to the fear that I may not like it. As soon as I tried on the dress, I instantly had “the” moment and knew she was the one!
Grand Marquise Ballroom
How / why did you choose your ceremony venue:
Well I did not want to seem like a “crazy girl” but I wanted to pick Mark’s brain and show him the venue I have always wanted to get married at. So one day I randomly showed him the Grand Marquise’s website. He watched the video tour that they offered on their website and while he was watching I would secretly gaze over at him to get a reaction. Mark was reluctant at first to show any emotion but when he did he did it with a smile and he said “now that is a place where I can see us getting married at.” And so it was…
Any bridesmaids / groomsmen gifts?
The bridesmaids received monogram blush robes and the groomsmen received black themed superhero shirts!
Grand Marquise Ballroom
And your cake:
Our delicious cake was created by Ashley Cakes. We had a three tier cake consisting of strawberry creme and yes, banana pudding flavor! We always wanted to have a cake topper that will showcase our personality and with much research we found a company that created personalized characters of you. Our cake topper was mini versions of us with the groom showing off his Batman shirt.
Tell us about your flowers:
Big thanks to Shelley and her team at Expressions of Love!! Our wedding was adorned with beautiful mini callas, hydrangeas, garden roses, freesia and my personal favorite tulips! The groomsmen wore white callas as boutonnieres and the bridesmaids carried three long stem callas.
Tell us about your wedding planner:
They say that your wedding day can be the most stressful time in your life. Valonda was our day of wedding coordinator and she was truly a godsend! I did not have an ounce of stress on my wedding day or days leading up to it. I am forever thankful of this and I had the chance to thoroughly enjoy and live in the moment with my new husband. From the vendor meetings, rehearsal, the ceremony, and the reception all transitioned so smoothly thanks to her.
Tell us about your wedding photography:
Dajuan is certainly the eye behind the camera! Dajuan and his team did an outstanding job capturing our special day and made the experience a pleasant one. I was impressed by how creative he was utilizing every perimeter of our venue and the attention to detail is second to none. In His Image are some of the most personable and professional individuals that we had the pleasure of working with. Nothing was overlooked and most importantly we love reliving our happy moments through our photos.
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? If yes, tell us more.
My Parents are from the Congo and they are known for their music. My mother wore a traditional African garment at the wedding reception. My family picked a Congolese song for the family to dance to in celebration of the newly bride and groom. Most importantly we incorporated a lot of traditional and modern Congolese music that added a little spice to our ceremony.
Tell us about your honeymoon:
We went to the island of Koh Samui, Thailand. We wanted a place that was peaceful, romantic, and still be able to immerse ourselves in the culture. Thailand is known for its elephants and elephants are certainly my spirit animal. We had the opportunity to go to an elephant rehabilitation center where they have rescued from abuse. Most certainly the best unforgettable experience EVER!!