Meet the Gibsons!

Bride: Erika Peters, 27

Groom: Terence Gibson, 28

Occupations: Peters, legal analyst; Gibson, systems analyst

Homebase: Maryland

Wedding Date: September 26, 2009

Wedding Location: ceremony and reception brunch: The Gardens at Sunday Park; reception after-party: Crown Plaza, Richmond, Virginia

First Impressions: After being coerced by mutual friends to meet, newlyweds Erika and Terence went out for a group outting to an Ethiopian restaurant. The date was in a word…horrible. “Terence was too nervous to talk to me so I thought he was ignoring me. Things weren’t off to a good start,” recalls Erika. Terence has a slightly different recollection. “I couldn’t believe my buddies hooked me up with her and I kept thinking, ‘Wow…she’s pretty!” admits Terence.

Loving You is Easy: Although things got off to a shaky start, the twosome stuck the initial date out and Terence eventually asked Erika for her phone number. “We had so much chemistry over the phone. By our second date, he asked how I felt about changing my last name to Gibson,” Erika reveals. The next day, they both called their parents and sisters saying, “I think I met my husband/wife.” “We both knew it was something different about each other,” adds Terence. During a summer BBQ at his aunt’s home, Terence asked for Erika’s hand in marriage and she excitedly responded, “Yes!” Watch the touching (and hilarious) proposal yourself here.

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All photos (excluding honeymoon pic) by Erin Marie Photography

House Hunters: While their courtship was short and sweet, the couple’s relationship was definitely tested during their 13 month engagement shares Erika.  The ambitious pair started the home-buying process in the midst of their wedding planning. “Financially it was a real hard time for us,” remembers Erika. Terence shares, “It increased our faith in God and we learned so much about each other under stress. It seriously prepared both of us for the future.” He adds, “That is what marriage is about — enduring the tough situations, not just being in love.”

Love is in Bloom: Since both Erika and Terence come from large families (they had a whooping 300 guests!), they opted to host two receptions after their outdoor garden ceremony. Although the couple resides in Maryland they returned to Erika’s hometown of Richmond, Virginia for their nuptials. The first reception was immediately following the jumping of the broom and a hearty brunch was served. The second was for more of their younger guests who enjoyed a lighter fare and cocktails. A great time was had by all at both affairs. The lovebirds danced the night away while their friends and family celebrated the couple’s union.

Erika’s Money-Saving Tips For Future Brides:

Bangin’ Brunch: Dinner is generally more expensive than brunch so keep it in mind when planning your reception. “I strongly encourage couples to serve brunch at their wedding reception. We literally cut our budget in half because of it!” says Erika with pride.

You Can Afford a Planner!: Erika saved big by planning wedding festivities herself and hiring a same-day coordinator to troubleshoot, facilitate and organize wedding matters the day of her nuptials. She was able to relax and enjoy her day virtually stress-free yet remained in her budget because of this wise decision. “Also check with your venue before hiring a same-day coordinator because they might offer one on-site ,” warns Erika.

Family with Benefits: Instead of spending hundreds of dollars to get her strands styled for the big day, Erika’s hairstylist cousin offered her services for free as a gift to the couple. Remember to tap into your own resources to cut costs for your wedding day.

Take a look at past Tie the Knot Tuesday features here.

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