The decision to propose to Alexandria Lopez was a fairly easy one for Joshua Smith to make. “We had been together for six years, and she had grown to be my best friend,” Josh says of his high school sweetheart. “I knew I couldn’t be without her, so I decided to take the next step.” Just after the clock struck midnight on New Years Eve, the professional athlete explained to Alex that while he was looking forward to spending the next year together, he also wanted to spend the rest of his life with her – and Alex happily accepted his proposal of marriage.

The ceremony took place in a grand hotel ballroom that was draped in flowing fabric and carpeted in white for the occasion. Aisles of clear Ghost chairs contributed to the ethereal ambiance, and soft lighting in a delicate shade of violet imbued the room with just a blush of color. An arbor of flowering branches dotted with roses framed the altar. “I wanted it to be pure and clean,” says Alex of the graceful décor. Flowering trees stood sentry at the entrance to the aisle where bridesmaids clad in black preceded Alex down the walkway. The bride’s elegant fitted gown was beautifully accented with a cascading bouquet of snowy phalaenopsis orchids, while strappy heels paved with crystals added a touch of sparkle to the ensemble. “When I saw Alex come down the aisle, she looked so beautiful I was speechless,” recalls the groom. The couple exchanged vows in a traditional Christian ceremony that was joyfully concluded with the pair jumping the broom.

The reception that followed reflected the bride’s desire for a glamorous affair with plenty of “wow” factor. “I wanted to feel amazed upon entering,” Alex explains, and the dazzling décor handily achieved that goal. Thousands of crystals were suspended overhead with long lengths of ribbon and strings of shimmering beads. Tables draped in sparkling lines were set with gleaming crystal goblets and chargers of beaded glass. Lush arrangements of white calla lilies, roses, orchids, and hydrangea blossoms spilled from towering glass urns and a variety of crystal vessels to form gorgeous tabletop tableaus and centerpieces. Dramatic lighting infused the room with violet, and flowering trees dotted the landscape of the space. “I had no idea,” Josh admits of the décor Alex had chosen. “I was amazed when I walked in.”

Guests were treated to a sit-down supper of classic Southern fare. “Josh is from the South, so we incorporated favorites into the menu, such as mac & cheese, fried chicken, and corn bread,” says Alex. The monogrammed dance floor was packed after dinner, with no little credit going to Josh. “I love music, and was very particular about what was played and when,” he asserts. “I didn’t want a stuffy reception – I wanted people to dance!” Although the décor was sophisticated and elegant, the vibe at the reception was young and carefree. “The lighting and music created a nightclub feel throughout the reception,” says Alex. “Guests had a blast.”

Although the wedding was infused with sophisticated glamour, the couple’s youthful energy was in evidence throughout. “I truly enjoyed every aspect,” confirms the bride. “We wouldn’t do anything different.” As for Josh, he’s happy to share the secret of their success with other grooms: “Stay out of the way as much as possible,” he smiles, “and let your fiancée take the lead.”