One night in 2007, as the bars around the University of Virginia were starting to close, Danielle Decatur spotted Brandon Lawrence across the street. “He has the most amazing dimples, so I yelled ‘Hey cutie!’ to him,” she remembers. Brandon smiled back—and managed to find Danielle on Facebook, which is where the pair formally connected. In the summer of 2008, they both interned in New York City, where their love story began. The couple dated for eight years, through graduation and new jobs in New York City, before heading to Danielle’s hometown of Cleveland for Thanksgiving. “Brandon had planned a proposal, but I almost ruined it by getting tickets to the Cleveland Cavaliers game the same night,” she recalls. But Brandon rolled with it, swapping his plans for an intimate moment at Danielle’s family home on Thanksgiving morning, followed by a day of celebration.
The couple returned to Cleveland for their October 28, 2017 wedding, exchanging vows at the Church of St. Dominic in Shaker Heights before heading into the city for a reception for 100 people at the Hedge Gallery. “We loved sharing our vows in the same church where I did my other sacraments, as well as where my mother’s memorial was held when I was younger,” says Danielle. But the pair sought something unique for their reception and fell for the Hedge Gallery’s exposed brick look. There, they worked with the gallery owner to create a reception decor that gave the space am industrial-meets-romantic makeover with soft flowers and lots of string lights. Keep reading to see how Chi-Chi Ari captured all the magic, below!
To fit the day's "modern romantic ambiance," Danielle chose an all-lace gown by Made with Love Bridal. The Frankie gown featured a plunging V-neck, a low back, and pockets—yes, pockets!—on the front of the fitted skirt.
Danielle added a pearl belt at the waist to match her Kate Spade earrings.
Danielle’s bridesmaids, including her two maids of honor, wore dusty-rose dresses in a variety of silhouettes. “My maids of honor were instrumental in planning the wedding," she says. "We had weekly phone calls and they were armed with spreadsheets. We had a good system to keep us on track!”
Danielle and Brandon, who wore a Havana blue shawl collar tuxedo from Suit Supply, exchanged traditional Catholic vows. “We exchanged love notes to one another during our first look, which are mementos we’ll cherish for a lifetime,” says Danielle.
The excited exit!
A limo bus brought the couple and their wedding party to the reception. During the ride, they drank bottles of champagne and whiskey—and even had a rap battle! Says Danielle, “We were all so excited after the ceremony, and it was so amazing to have our best friends with us.”
Inside the reception space, round tables were topped with ivory linens and surrounded by gold chiavari chairs. Centerpieces were made with white, ivory, and pale pink hydrangeas and Sahara garden roses, surrounded by eucalyptus garlands. Strings of lights hung from the ceiling to transform the main gallery space for the nighttime event.
The couple shared their first dance to “Stay With You” by John Legend, and then opened the dance floor to everyone else. “I thought about my mother throughout my wedding day, and the first song our DJ played was her favorite, ‘Red Wine’ by UB40,” says Danielle. “Brandon whispered to me, ‘This is for your mom,’ and we kicked off the night in her memory.”
Brandon and Danielle served a family-style meal of Memphis barbecue chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, and brown butter Brussels sprouts. “We had a really lovely mix of Jamaican and black American traditions, including traditional Jamaican black cake cupcakes,” says the bride.
Looking back, the bride says the wedding itself was a blast (obvi!), but that’s not all that’s at stake. She says, “Don’t look at your wedding as a finish line. People can get caught up in perfecting the end product, but really it’s just the beginning.”
Wedding Planner: Hilary Gent of Hedge Gallery
Ceremony Venue: St. Dominic Church
Reception Venue: Hedge Art Gallery
Bride's Dress: Made with Love
Bride's Veil: Lovely Bride
Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Bride's Jewelry: Kate Spade
Hair: Taria and Company
Makeup: Cleveland Bridal Makeup
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Azazie
Groom's Attire: Suit Supply
Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux
Wedding Bands: Darien Jewelers
Catering: Spice Catering
Cake: Cookie and a Cupcake
Ceremony Music: Kate Kooser
Reception Music: Me, Him & Her
Transportation: A1 Mr. Limo
Videography: Tiffany Chang
Photography: Chi-Chi Ari