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Real Wedding

Sophisticated DC Wedding: Kelsey & Ayanna

pure Utterance Photography

July 27, 2013

Kelsey and Ayanna met online. As an active duty soldier in the Army, Kelsey couldn’t have her photo posted, but she loved the things Ayanna had to say and how she looked, so she sent a message and their love story began.

On Memorial Day 2012, the couple spent the day at the pool with friends. It was the sixth anniversary of their first kiss! Ayanna had taken a nap, and when she woke up, Kelsey proposed with a promise ring. Ayanna considers herself a pragmatist, and she had Kelsey return the ring but put the money towards and actual engagement ring that they picked out together. After six years of being together, their proposal was quiet and familiar, with nothing over-the-top, but everything they both needed.
pure Utterance Photography
Ayanna and her mother used to go the Mayflower Hotel, DC for high tea and Ayanna dreamed of what it would be like to get married there. Both brides loved the history, the location, the chandeliers, and the amazing elegance.
pure Utterance Photography
Planning the wedding became somewhat stressful, and Ayanna confesses to becoming a bit of a bridezilla. She says it best when she describes her approach: “With 14 months from the proposal date until the proposed wedding date, I had plenty of time to obsess over Every. Single. Detail.”
pure Utterance Photography
pure Utterance Photography
pure Utterance Photography
Four weeks after getting engaged, Kelsey and Ayanna tried to curtail the pressure a bit and eloped. Kelsey’s parents were visiting DC from Oregon, and Ayanna suggested that they just do it. Both sets of parents attended, along with Ayanna’s sister and three friends. It was perfect, especially for Kelsey. Ayanna still wanted the fancy food and all of the trappings, so they held the larger ceremony a year later. Even after the first wedding, they celebrated with lunch at the Mayflower. 
pure Utterance Photography
pure Utterance Photography
To Ayanna, the most special detail was having Kelsey there by her side. She kept her entrance song a secret, so she had no idea that one of their friends from the touring cast of Rent was going to play his guitar and sing an original song. Kelsey actually teared up, and she’s not generally a super emotionally person. Another favorite detail was the decision to have both Ayanna’s dad and stepdad play an integral role in their day. She also considered her mom the most beautiful, stylish mother of the bride ever!
pure Utterance Photography
pure Utterance Photography
Ayanna’s favorite memory of the day, though, was listening to Kelsey’s vows. They didn’t share them in advance and had no idea what the other would say. Kelsey’s vows were touching, and funny, and represented them as a couple. Both brides shared their challenges and triumphs. It was magical.
pure Utterance Photography
pure Utterance Photography
pure Utterance Photography
Ayanna made a lot of the paper goods for the ceremony herself, with some help from her cousin. They made the invitations, menu cards, place setting cards, programs, tissue packs, and signs, among other items. It was a true labor of love.
pure Utterance Photography
pure Utterance Photography
Ayanna shared her advice for other same-sex couples: “Don’t be surprised if you run into homophobic vendors. I had an issue with a florist that almost crushed my bridal spirit. Luckily, I found another florist who was leaps and bounds better, and whom I’d known since high school. 
Do things your way. Kelsey wore a custom tuxedo. It cost more than my dress! Your wedding day is about you and your fiancée.”
pure Utterance Photography
pure Utterance Photography
She added the following great quick tips: “Have a budget in mind and stick to it as much as possible.” “Remember that every Pinterest project should not be attempted.” “Some things are better left to professionals.” “Do hire a good photographer and videographer.  We have so many beautiful photos and a lovely video. Without both, there were moments that we would’ve missed; you can’t be everywhere all of the time.” Finally, “Have fun and love each other!”

Their LGBTQ-Friendly Vendors

Photographer: pure Utterance Photography // Venue: Mayflower Hotel // Custom Tuxedo: Alton Lane // Photo Booth: Smith Landing // Floral: Country Way Flowers // DJ: Imani Entertainment // Cake: Fluffy Thoughts

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