They went from plan A to plan D in less than a week. Kylil and Brielle had the perfect day planned. Then Coronavirus happened, and along with that, the shelter in place order.
People keep asking how we are doing during “the shutdown.” Honestly, I’m mostly fine, I get to talk to my brides every day remotely, we have virtual and in-home appointments, and I get to spend every day with my family and dog (a luxury as a business owner, I don’t typically have). The times I’m not fine, is when I get a phone call from a heartbroken couple telling me their wedding was postponed. It’s never easy.
I love my job and become attached to our brides. Each one. It’s why when I got the text from our stylist Kylisha that one of our store’s brides, Brielle, made it in time to say “I do” before the shutdowns, I literally screamed and started tearing up. I shared the photos with just about everyone. I think at one point, I even showed the lady at the Post Office. I don’t know; I am pretty sure I blacked out from the wave of emotions.
Brielle is one of those brides who we all naturally became attached to. She is so magnetic and each time she came in, the entire staff would become involved with her appointment wanting to check in on her alterations, inspecting her gown when it came in, helping her any way they could. We celebrated her wedding planning process with her every step of the way from the moment she walked in the door. And when I spoke to her other vendors, it seemed that they had the exact same connection.
Her story is what really captivated me and everyone else.
Our bride’s wedding wasn’t ordinary from the start. Brielle and Kylil had a different vision for their day that wasn’t like any couple I had heard of before. They were getting engaged the same day they got married. Not only that, but the wedding was a complete surprise to Brielle. YEP. You read that right.
Brielle and Kylil are a traditional couple that have always been just a little untraditional. When they first met, Brielle was not interested. She with someone else at the time, so they were just friends. They kept in contact on Facebook as friends and saw each other around randomly, but it wasn’t until they bumped into each other later that the spark lit…for Kylil.
“One day, I decided to go to a new church with my mom,” Brielle said. “I noticed a familiar face singing with the worship team.”
Kylil pursued a relationship from there.
“It took a lot of effort on his part before I let him in,” she said. “He was determined. He took his time with me. He paid attention to my likes and dislikes, he motivated me to better mentally, physically and spiritually.” Eventually, she finally gave him a chance and let herself fall. (I mean, with a guy like that, who would have fallen?).
They wanted to wait until marriage before making big steps in their relationship, because of their traditional Christian values, but it wasn’t long before they were house-hunting and talking about getting married.
Family is super important to both Kylil and Brielle. She wanted her family there when she celebrated her engagement and her wedding, so they decided to hit fast-forward and do it all at once.
“We decided to kill two birds with one stone and just get married while we have everyone already together,” Brielle said. “There was no point in waiting or going through an ‘engagement’ period when we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with one another.”
Brielle put her wedding in the hands of her all-star maid of honor, Beatriz, and released creative control, wanting to be surprised for her engagement.
“The date of the engagement/wedding remained a secret,” Brielle said. “All of our guest knew what was going to happen except for me.”
She kept a couple details for herself to plan, letting people know how she wanted the ceremony to be and shared her opinion on certain things. She is also a photographer, so choosing the photographer was her biggest request.
Though she knew what she was looking for in a photographer, wedding dress shopping was a different story.
“Before my husband came into my life, I didn’t know how long it would be until I got married, let alone what kind of wedding I wanted or wedding dress!” Brielle said.
It was only a few months before the big date when we came into the picture and met Beatriz.
It was a random evening in the fall when she waltzed into our store with her curls tossed up in a bun and a notebook in hand. She was a MOH on a mission to help her bestie find the dress. She worked closely with our stylist Kylisha and spent the evening planning the perfect shopping trip for Brielle and figuring out which dresses would fit her style: a little lace with a good balance of sexy and classy. By the end of the evening, Kylisha and Beatriz were exchanging numbers.
The day of her appointment came, and in walked Brielle with her magnetic energy and bright smile. Her easy-going approach and positive attitude toward wedding planning opened her up to new styles.
“The staff at Laura and Leigh really took care of me! It was Ky who introduced me to my dream dress,” she said. “It was perfect. Lace covered the straps and the front. It showed just enough to keep it classy but look sexy. It accentuated every curve and left you mesmerized by a beautiful lace train.”
She completed the look with a classic finger-tip veil by Bel Aire Bridal and elegant drop earrings handmade by Thomas Knoell Designs. They matched perfectly with her hair and makeup vision and were a great complement to her tiara.
We grew more excited as the journey towards her wedding day went on, asking her family and entourage for more details and gearing up for the moment when she would have her fairytale wedding day.
The day came closer and Kylil had a plan: He was going to rent out a movie theater with her friends and family all gathered. They were going to watch a special video he made of their relationship together, after which he’d pop the questions and a limo would whisk them away to the ceremony at The Madison.
Brielle didn’t find any of this out until later, because as the big day approached, a big problem arose. Things were starting to shut down and their wedding plans became more uncertain. Coronavirus was beginning its spread in New Jersey; people were social distancing and businesses were shutting down.
Rather than take the risk that gathering at the movie theater would even be an option, Kylil made new plans.
“Instead he proposed in the privacy of our home a few days before we said, ‘I do.’” Brielle said. “We sat down with our daughter and he played the video for me that he and his videographer had beautifully and carefully created. I couldn’t stop crying it was so beautiful. It was an intimate and heartfelt proposal I couldn’t have asked for more.”
If you’ve met Brielle, you know that family, love and faith take precedent. The couple was really just looking forward to their family and friends gathering together for the first time. It’s probably why letting go of the reins on her wedding was so easy for her. It’s also probably why when the venue said her wedding wouldn’t be possible due to COVID-19, she and her fiancé quickly rebounded and found an alternative plan.
“We were on plan D at this point due to the pandemic. It could have snowed. It could have just been the two of us and our pastor. We would still have gotten married,” Brielle said.
Her maid of honor grabbed a bouquet from a local florist, the couple shifted gears, and got married at The Family Church in Voorhees.
“You have to understand we had our venue cancel, people drop from the wedding party, and went from 120 guests to just being allowed 35 people,” she said. “For this to be so unplanned and different from how we envisioned it, it couldn’t have been more perfect. The amount of love that filled the room. You could feel the Holy Spirit. It was really beautiful.”
Surrounded by her loved ones, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room as they took their vows in front of their pastor, Ted Winsley. Brielle was surprisingly the biggest crier!
“Omg ugly Kim Kardashian cry! I’m a tad bit surprised at myself!” Brielle said. “I thought I would have held it together longer but as soon as I heard the music and my dad held my arm tighter, it was like a wave of emotion came over me.”
It may not have been what she, her friends, family and fiancé all planned, but it was perfect. It wasn’t their original dream wedding, but the couple knew why they were getting married in the first place: to start a new chapter together. And it’s the first chapter in a beautiful story.
Brielle’s Advice for Future Brides:
Most importantly don’t worry about the glitz and glam. If you don’t have it, don’t break your back to have a miraculous wedding. Do what you can afford and focus on having a healthy loving relationship.
You will see a lot of people’s true colors at this point of your life. Take notice of those who begin to distance themselves from you during this important time of your life and those who are truly happy for you. You may lose friends, even family members, and that’s okay. You are entering into the next chapter of your life. It’s all about you and your spouse till death do you part.
To all you beautiful brides out there, please never forget why you are getting married during this whole planning process. Make sure you are evenly yoked with your partner, that you share the same values and morals. Marriage is about two whole individuals becoming One. If you are not happy with yourself don’t look to find happiness in your spouse. Be ready to lay down your selfish wants for this person you are spending your life with. Keep God at the center of your marriage and it will last a lifetime!
The Vendors Who Made The Day:
Photographer: Stories By Josh
Ceremony: The Family Church
Original Venue: The Madison (Note: According to Brielle’s IG, they were refunded)
Photo Location: The Bradford Estate
Hair: Lavish JC Salon
Makeup: Shanah Makeup Artistry