Bride: Katrina Gerard, 38
Groom: Lonnie Speller, Jr., 39
Occupations: Gerard, finance coordinator; Speller, banker
Homebase: New York City
Wedding Date: October 9, 2010
Wedding Location: ceremony and reception: Chateau Briand, Carle Place, (Long Island) New York
Second Time Around Back in 1993, Katrina was working part-time at JCPenney in Long Island, New York while pursuing her studies at a neighboring university. She instantly became pals with her co-worker Lonnie. “We went out to dinner a couple of times but we were just really good friends,” she explains. “I was always attracted to Katrina, she was laid back like me. I use to flirt with her, ” remembers Lonnie. Eventually, the duo went their separate ways and lost contact but as fate would have it they randomly bumped into each other at a popular Manhattan nightclub in 2007. They’ve been together ever since.
Like No Time Has Passed “When we bumped into each other, she didn’t remember me at first,” admits Lonnie. He definitely remembered her however and comments, “She was still looking good.” Katrina shares, “He said he never forgot me because I was the first person to take him to City Island (a cluster of seafood restaurants in the Bronx, NY).” After exchanging contact information they effortlessly picked up where they left off. “I felt like all those years never passed; everything just flowed,” Lonnie confides. Katrina agrees adding, “We’re very supportive of each other.”
[All images excluding honeymoon pic by 52 Shades Photography.]
Older and Wiser The years spent apart seemingly gave the couple time to live and grow so when they came back into each others lives they both knew what they wanted in a mate. “At first I was very guarded but we’re older now, there’s no need for game,” says Katrina. Lonnie, a divorced father of two echo’s this sentiment, “When I got married the first time, I was [just] trying to do the right thing.” “Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve been missing until it is in front of you. Once Katrina and I reconnected I said, ‘I’m not letting her go’,” Lonnie reveals. So one evening in November 2009 he surprised his sweetie at home with dinner from her favorite Japanese restaurant, mood music courtesy of Maxwell and a heartfelt marriage proposal. And sixteen years after they first met, Katrina agreed to become his wife.
Our Day, Our Way “I’m not the woman who had been dreaming about her wedding day since she was a little girl!” confesses Katrina with a laugh. Still, the Spellers pulled off a wedding day to remember. Like most modern nearlyweds, they went the do-it-yourself route for many of the day’s special touches. “A neighbor did our flowers and a friend did our programs, favors and corsages,” she shares. The frugal pair even had their rehearsal dinner catered by the daughter of a friend who happens to be a culinary student. In addition to staying within their budget, ensuring that they didn’t have a cookie-cutter wedding was a must. TV personality and hip-hop pioneer DJ Ralph McDaniels provided the music for their reception. As a nod to the bride’s Caribbean roots, jerk chicken, rice and peas and other island fare was served during the cocktail hour. Lonnie’s final memories of the day are, “Everywhere around us was love. I wouldn’t change our wedding day for anything.”
Katrina’s Money Saving Tips for Future Brides
Big City Appeal, Small Town Pricetag New York is a notoriously expensive city for weddings. The Spellers and their guests enjoyed the best of both worlds by hosting their special day in the NYC suburb of Carle Place rather than opting for Manhattan. Consider this in your own neck of the woods to get the most bang for your bridal buck.
Three is the Magic Number “I encourage people to do their research. I tried to meet with at least three different vendors per category before booking to compare rates and services,” recalls Katrina. Your saving account will appreciate the extra time and effort.