Photographer Antonio Rocha wrote, “RayShawn and Avery flew from Atlanta to get married in Connecticut. They were married in a small intimate Ceremony at Elizabeth Park in Hartford, CT. The roses were in full bloomed and looked fabulous in the backdrop.
RayShawn and Avery were married on June 26, 2013 on their two year anniversary of being together.”
How did you two meet?
We met while in the Atlanta Police Department Academy. Ray was a class ahead of Avery. It wasn’t until Ray invited Avery to her undergraduate graduation ceremony that they began to talk more frequently. Avery officially asked Ray on a date shortly thereafter.
Tell me about the proposal:
The Proposal took place on Ray’s late Grandmother Flossie Miller’s birthday, April 12th. Ray took that day off from work, while Avery used her time to tie up some loose ends. As Ray lay asleep at their home, Avery picked up Ray’s Engagement Ring, a digital picture frame, and an Edible Arrangement to help her complete her proposal. When Avery arrived back home, Ray was still fast asleep. Avery, no more than 15 feet from her future wife, began to put the wheels in motion. She uploaded pictures to the digital frame of Ray and Grandma Flossie and of Ray and Avery. Once that task was completed, Avery placed the digital frame in the kitchen next to the Edible Arrangement. The arrangement was significant because it had several Morning Doves. Ray refers to Grandma Flossie as her Morning Dove. Once the digital frame and arrangement were in place, Avery awoke her sleeping beauty. After freshening up, Avery coaxed Ray into the kitchen, where her presentation was set. Ray took in the lovely arrangement, while Avery began the slideshow on the digital picture frame. As the pictures transitioned, Avery got herself into position with Ray’s ring. The last picture to appear on the frame was that of the engagement ring. Ray turned to find Avery on bended knee with an open box, displaying a beautiful ring. Avery spoke the words, “I know this day usually brings you sadness, but I want to replace your thoughts of sadness with thoughts of happiness. I want you to have a reason to smile on this day. Will you marry me?” Ray said yes, as tears flowed down her face. Tears of happiness were shed that day.
Were any relatives or close friends in attendance?
While none of our relatives attended our Connecticut ceremony, four friends stood by us. A beautiful couple, Misty and Jae, who were hot off the heels of their own honeymoon, came to witness our day. A wonderful and newly engaged couple, Coko and Mahagony, also attended our ceremony.
Why did you choose your location?
We chose Connecticut to have our ceremony for several different reasons. Connecticut just so happens to be one of then 13 states that recognize same-sex marriages. Neither of us had ever visited the state before, so it was a first for the both of us. Also, we knew that there were lighthouses in Connecticut. It has been a dream of ours to go see a lighthouse. We were able to fulfill that dream and commit ourselves to one another.
Can you tell me a little about your ceremony? Wedding colors? Officiant? Photographer?
Our wedding took place in Elizabeth Park, which is located in West Hartford, CT. The photographer who captured our special day, Antonio Rocha, recommended that we have our ceremony at that particular park because of its rose garden. Our wedding colors were lavender, gray, and white. Much to our surprise, our officiant, Elisa Chase, wore a lavender dress without foreknowledge of our wedding colors. In the center of the rose garden, stands a small pavilion, this is where our ceremony took place. The roses were in full bloom, which added a special touch to our special day.
Can you tell me a few favorite things about your day?
-The conversations that took place while we were en route to the ceremony. We had conversations about our last moments of being an engaged couple and how HOT we hoped it wouldn’t be in the park!
-Our officiant, Elisa Chase of Tapestry Ceremonies did a wonderful job of lending words of love, comfort, wisdom and hope. Her passion for what she does made our ceremony very personable.
-During our pavilion ceremony, we had onlookers who stopped and watched. They also took the time out to personally congratulate us after the ceremony ended and during our photography session.
– The personable photography session that followed the ceremony (we had the opportunity to laugh and enjoy the experience).
A few words of advice to share with other couples:
The #1 rule we adopted for our special day was that it would be all about US. We wanted to ensure that our vision would come to fruition without any outside pressure. We envisioned a small, intimate ceremony and that’s just what we experienced.
The soundest advice that we could offer any couple looking to wed is to be selfish. And by selfish we mean that you should, as a couple, tailor your day to suit your wants and needs. Your engagement and wedding is a celebration of you, so why not do what you want? Do not make amendments to your day to suit someone else. The only person that should have a voice in the decision making is your partner. Having said that, be fair to your partner and respect your partners’ opinions and ideas. If a disagreement arises, then a compromise should be reached.
Any other details you wish to share about how you planned your day?
Since this ceremony didn’t take place in our home state, we went for a more reserved and intimate feel. We are looking forward to our Atlanta, GA ceremony and reception this November with close relatives and friends.