While traveling in South Africa with a group of mutual friends and the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Todd Tucker found himself smitten with Kandi Burruss. The final day of the trip almost marked Todd’s birthdate. A party was thrown in his honor, which presented a prime opportunity for Todd to spend time with the reality television star. “We talked all night long,” remembers Kandi. “At the end of the night, he kissed me on the lips, which I thought was a little aggressive… but I liked it,” she coyly admits.

Todd is not only bold, but creative, too. After securing permission from Kandi’s daughter, he began making plans for a memorable marriage proposal. During a New Year’s Eve celebration hosted by the couple, Todd asked that guests share their plans for the upcoming year. He volunteered to start, and revealed that 2012 had been dedicated to preparation and the 2013 New Year would focus on execution. “He pulled out the ring and my mind went blank after that,” laughs Kandi.

Though Kandi and Todd were engaged for 16 months, they didn’t actually begin planning until a month before their nuptials. Luckily, the couple enlisted the help of an experienced consultant to assist with all the details: “Hiring Johnnie [Winston] was my greatest choice,” affirms the bride.

Securing a location that held all of the qualities Kandi and Todd wished for was not an easy feat. They wanted the venue to be in Atlanta for the convenience of their loved ones; allow for an outside caterer; permit animals; and provide a large enough capacity for their 350 guests. The couple settled on a beautiful family-owned event space that offered an ideal understated canvas.

While Kandi handled all the décor elements, Todd was heavily immersed in the selection of the food and entertainment. “I wanted everything to be fantastic and really feel like a celebration,” the groom describes. The wedding theme was inspired by the comedy classic Coming to America. “Since we met in Africa, I thought it would be nice to do something that involved the location,” shares Kandi.

Though the procession began a little later than originally planned (“The designer was still sewing bridesmaids’ dresses at the wedding!”), there were plenty of spectacular sights for guests to relish. Live lions at the entrance, elaborately dressed women dropping rose petals, drummers, and festive dancers were only part of the entertainment. There was also a vocalist singing “She’s Your Queen to Be” – just like in the movie!    

The ceremony was decorated in beautiful shades of white, gold, and purple. A striking chandelier was dramatically adorned with fresh florals, candlelight, and garlands of orchids. Violet lighting illuminated sheer ivory drapery that enveloped the space, and hundreds of candles cast a romantic glow.

Bridesmaids wore mismatched vanilla gowns and held elegant snowy nosegays. Todd was handsome in a crisp white tuxedo with an orchid and feathers at his lapel. Kandi looked like royalty as her mother escorted her down the aisle. The bride wore a custom trumpet-style gown featuring an illusion neckline and sleeves, thousands of hand-sewn beads and crystals, delicate feathers, and a 12-foot train. Kandi’s cascading bouquet showcased a hint of bling and crème brûlée roses and orchids. Her wavy hair fell loosely on her shoulders and a sparkling crown completed her stunning ensemble.

The reception décor mimicked the dazzling details of the ceremony, but with additional bullion aspects. Large estate tables were cloaked in silky white linens and bedecked with sophisticated floral arrangements and groupings of candles. Both low and high centerpieces were chosen to add glamour, but still allowed for guests to speak to one another across the table with ease. A sweetheart table was covered in sheer golden fabric and boasted a magnificent display of white phalaenopsis orchids.

Guests feasted on a variety of scrumptious fare, including stations equipped with chefs serving sushi, American food, and Southern favorites. Slices of the statuesque cake decorated in white fondant and gilt details were passed as dessert.

Kandi slipped into a shorter dress that encouraged dancing and joined guests on the dance floor. The music ranged in genre, but all of the songs were personal favorites of the couple. Todd says, “The entertainment was the best; it felt like a private concert!” Special musical guests included Bell Biv DeVoe, Musiq Soulchild, and Doug E. Fresh.

Kandi and Todd both admit that saying “I do” was one of their favorite parts of the celebration and felt their big day was “amazing.” The groom sums it up sweetly: “I wouldn't do anything differently… it was the wedding that was meant for us.”