It started with a smile. Both Susan Goggans and Elliott Miles note the other’s smile as the standout moment from their first meeting. They talked for hours and left the date with the promise to see each other again soon. Quickly inseparable, the new couple could tell that they had each found The One. “I knew within the first two months of dating that I wanted to marry Susan,” Elliott confirms. He called her father to ask for his blessing and began his search for an engagement ring. The original idea was a romantic proposal at the restaurant where they had their first date; however, an oblivious Susan informed her beau that she already had plans with her mother. Too eager to reschedule the reservation, Elliott instead popped the question when his sweetheart returned home.

After taking a month to enjoy the bliss of engagement, the pair got started on preparing their perfect day. Deciding where to tie the knot was easy – Atlanta is the city they call home and made for a good central point between their two families. “Elliott came to the food tasting, venue tours, and the final walk-through, but he let me handle all the details,” Susan shares of their planning process. She credits her consultant with making the months leading up to the big day much less stressful.

Working with the bride’s favorite colors of coral and gold – along with classic wedding white – Akeem Clayton created an opulent floral design that made a statement as guests found their seats for the indoor ceremony. “The flowers suspended from the ceiling were amazing!” the groom gushes. A vast circular display of cascading orchids was suspended from the ceiling above the alabaster aisle lined with tapered candles and additional orchids.

The groom, wearing a three-piece black suit, stood at the altar as his groomsmen entered in grey ensembles, followed by bridesmaids in blush convertible dresses. His eldest daughter served as a junior bridesmaid, smiling widely as she reached the end of the aisle. Her little sister entered the processional as a flower girl tossing rose petals from her basket, as the young son of one of the bridesmaids walked alongside, serving as the ring bearer. Finally, the big moment arrived. Elliott was overcome with emotion as Susan entered on the arm of her father. Her long hair was styled in soft waves and pinned to one side, reminiscent of Old Hollywood. The fit-to-flare gown, featuring a sweetheart neckline and beaded embellishments, was perfectly accented with a cathedral veil adorned with crystals at the comb. She carried a colorful bouquet of peonies, garden roses, ranunculuses, and parrot tulips. During the vow exchange, the bride and groom participated in a candle-lighting ceremony to symbolize their families coming together.

After a cocktail hour allowed time to transition the ceremony space into a lavish reception, attendees entered to see the room awash in the bride’s favorite hues. The orchid installation was now over a dance floor showcasing the newlyweds’ monogram. Susan illustrates, “The guest tables featured an assortment of gold pedestal bowls of graduated heights boasting a lush pavé of fresh roses, garden roses, spray roses, and orchid blooms in rich shades of blush, peach, coral, and ivory, finished with a dramatic collection of pillar candles.” Following the dinner service, revelers enjoyed a five-tiered cake with alternating gold and watercolor coral tiers.

The bride and groom swayed to “So Amazing” by Luther Vandross to start the festivities. While the “first look” was her favorite part of the big day, the bride also treasures the moment when her sorority sisters from Alpha Kappa Alpha encircled her and sang their hymn, per tradition. To have more freedom to dance with her new family and dearest friends, Susan changed into a glamorous golden sheath with intricate beading. At 11PM, the lovebirds made their grand exit through a tunnel of sparklers into a luxury vehicle. The magical day exceeded Elliott’s expectations: “I didn’t know I was going to experience that much happiness and excitement. I was overjoyed!”