Vicki and Darrell were engaged for 11 years before marrying. The couple, who met 14 years ago, decided it was finally time for I Do’s after the bride retired from her job as an elementary school teacher. Vicki says busy lives and growing families had kept them from getting married sooner and explains, “Our engagement was initially more of a commitment. Our long engagement is proof of our commitment to family and faith in our relationship. By the time we said, ‘I do’ we shared a deep and inseparable love.”
They planned a fall vineyard-themed wedding for their 50 guests at McConnell Estates Winery. The bride says, “It’s a beautiful venue and provided just the right atmosphere for our vineyard wedding.” During planning, the couple enjoyed their wine tasting, “Their wines are top-notch and it was fun to go for our wine tasting.”
When the big day finally arrived, the bride’s sons walked her down the aisle and presented her to Darrell to be married. “Our vision was for an intimate, vineyard wedding with an elegant yet casual vibe that highlighted the natural beauty of the venue,” she says. The daytime event was shaded by a majestic oak tree. Guests found additional shade under parasols provided by the couple’s event planner. The couple wanted their guests to feel relaxed, appreciated and comfortable so they encouraged everyone to skip the fancy attire and instead wear casual, summer clothes.
The ceremony was exactly what the couple envisioned. Their planning goal was to communicate and express love for each other, God and nature. “Our wedding definitely reflected this, as we had our minister and readers share scripture and we made up our own vows,” says Vicki.
The day was filled with love, friends and family. They hung a “Family Tree” sign on the big oak along with wedding photos of their respective parents and other family members. Both the bride’s and groom’s parents have passed and the family tree, “made us feel like they were there in spirit,” says Vicki.
At the end of the ceremony, the newlyweds jumped the broom to honor their African American ancestors. The groom’s family is from New Orleans so the couple had a “Second Line” during the reception where guests followed the couple waving white handkerchiefs while a Zydeco song played. The second line symbolizes the beginning of a new life together. “It was really fun for all,” says Vicki.
During their reception Vicki and Darrell skipped the garter toss and bouquet toss, instead including their guests in a Soul Train line. The celebration featured lots of music and dancing, including their most memorable wedding moment of their first dance to “Here and Now” by Luther Vandross.
Reflecting back on their big day, Vicki and Darrell are grateful for each other and their time together. “This was a second (and last!) marriage for both bride and groom,” she says. “We broke with several traditions to tailor it specifically for us.”