Couple: Nicole and Leonard
Wedding Date: July 19, 2014
Wedding and Reception Location: Hotel Seven 4 One, Laguna Beach, CA
Wedding Theme: Romantic Chic
Easy Does It “A mutual friend introduced us at a birthday party,” Nicole, an attorney, explains when asked how she and her husband Leonard, an officer in the Air Force, met. She adds, “We met in March 2011. He was so easy to talk to and kept me laughing the entire night.” Leonard seemed to feel those same sparks pretty early as well. “She was very confident, comfortable and it seemed like we already knew each other,” he recalls.
Adventures in Dating “Nicole was different from anyone else I’d dated,” admits Leonard. The pair began dating while Nicole was living in Texas and Leonard in Arizona. “For nine months we would travel to see each other at least once a month and every trip was like a holiday. In between those trips we’d spend hours talking on the phone,” shares Nicole. Leonard then went to Korea for a year but Nicole reveals during that time apart she actually fell harder for Leonard. “It just seemed right,” Nicole says.
[All images, excluding honeymoon pic, by Shanghai Studios.]
Long Distance Love Affair “We spent the majority of our relationship long distance and Nicole was great throughout that time,” Leonard says. Nicole echos this sentiment, “We were long distance the first year and nine months of our relationship. When Leonard returned from Korea in January 2013, we packed up a UHaul and drove from Houston to Los Angeles in three days.” Confesses Leonard, “It wasn’t always easy but we both did the work.”
A Holiday Surprise When asked how he proposed, Leonard doesn’t share any elaborate Lifetime-esque stories. “I didn’t put much thought into her proposal. I just knew I wanted to make Nicole my wife.” He popped the question on Christmas Day after the couple opened their gifts. “Nicole was cooking dinner and I was playing NBA 2K14, just a typical day in our house.” Leonard left the ring on a refrigerator shelf knowing his sweetie would see it while preparing their meal. “He paused his game and told me to ‘Just say yes.’ It wasn’t the most romantic proposal and we joke about how he bullied me into marrying him (very fitting since his nickname is Debo). However Nicole couldn’t care less about receiving a super sappy proposal. “Leonard is exactly the person I envisioned being with. I didn’t have to settle in any way,” she gushes.
From Miss to Mrs.“Nicole quickly began working on planning the couple’s nuptials which she documented in her BlackBridalBliss.com Road to Mrs. blog. The pair opted for an intimate evening affair just before sunset. “The venue fit our romantic chic theme. The courtyard has a “living” wall so we didn’t have to do much for decorations. From the sundeck we could see the ocean which made for a great backdrop during cocktail hour and the cake cutting,” Nicole explains. Leonard’s favorite part of the reception? “The open bar,” he reveals. He adds, “I’m looking forward to us having children and growing old together.” Nicole piggybacks this, “It’s nice to have a partner who just gets me. No matter what happens [in life], I know I have Leonard.”
Nicole’s Money Saving Tips for Future Brides
(Discount) Paper Chaser – “I bought all my wedding stationary online at Wedding Paper Divas.”
Ask & You Might Receive – “I asked for military discounts everywhere since Leonard is in the Air Force.”
Thrifty Travel – “For our honeymoon to Belize we purchased an escape on Living Social. Our flights were free as my really good friend gave us buddy passes as a wedding gift!”
Nicole + Leonard’s Wedding Vendors
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