Sharde Simpson was searching for her first apartment when she met the love of her life instead. Ken Douglas didn’t think the young woman meeting with him could possibly be living on her own – her small stature made her appear several years younger. Yet, they were both in their early twenties and quickly felt a connection. At first, this connection merely manifested in a close friendship, but during a trip to Los Angeles they realized they both harbored romantic feelings for one another.

During dinner celebrating Sharde’s 25th birthday, a conversation made it clear that the pair wanted to get married. “The proposal was more of a discussion because Sharde was heading to law school in the fall,” recalls Ken. Once the bride passed the bar exam, they spent a year planning their dream wedding, and were married on July 30th – two days after Sharde’s 30th birthday.

An Italian restaurant in their beloved Brooklyn neighborhood gave the couple the view of the water they were hoping for. The mother of the bride owns a company which provided the save the dates, engraved Champagne flutes for favors, and the display for the candy buffet. Sharde made sure to honor her mom, who raised the bride in a single-parent household. “My good friend is the founder of a non-profit dance school and conducted a personalized tribute to my mother,” the bride explains. The performance, which was in lieu of a father-daughter dance, was a touching moment displaying the newlyweds’ love for their family. 

The bride wore a showstopping gown for the ceremony – an intricately embellished bodice that billowed into a tulle skirt above the knee. The bridesmaids were elegant in ebony while the groom and groomsmen wore fashion-forward white tuxedo jackets. Honoring their African-American heritage, the newlyweds participated in the jumping of the broom at the end of the vow exchange. 

Following the first dance to “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King, Sharde changed into a slim, V-neck gown with long illusion sleeves. The white centerpieces with branch details coordinated nicely with her reception dress. Gold circular menus informed guests of their choice of chicken, steak, or salmon. In addition to cake, attendees also enjoyed frozen yogurt, cake pops, and a cigar station. 

It’s clear the big day went well, as the only thing the bride would change would be to extend the celebration. “I had so much fun! I would have had a few more events to make it a wedding weekend!” Sharde exclaims.