On a night where both Kayla Bergado and Dontae Johnson were respectively asked by their friends to go out for a night on the town – neither wanted to go and only went because of their friends’ persistence. As fate would have it, the two met that night, and soon after, fell in love. The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers cornerback proposed to his beloved during a family party at their home in California.
A year-and-a-half later, the couple hosted 85 of their friends and family at the historic Oheka Castle in New York for an incredible ceremony and reception. “It’s an extremely unique and amazing place,” says the groom of their venue. The bride envisioned an elegant décor scheme inspired by vintage elements. Since it started to rain on the big day, the couple opted for an indoor ceremony though they had originally planned for an alfresco service. It provided an intimate atmosphere and also allowed for guests to take in the lovely architecture and décor of the castle. “I didn’t let this bother me. I wanted to feel no stress and be very calm and peaceful on my wedding day, and I did just that!” affirms the bride. The romantic space had been decorated with fragrant flowers crafted into circular arrangements and placed on sleek white columns, as well as an aisleway embellished with clusters of low floral designs.
Bridesmaids wearing luxurious ebony gowns and carrying all-white rose bouquets for contrast preceded Kayla, as did as her precious niece who served as flower girl. Two trumpeters announced the bride when she made her grand entrance. Additionally, in a subtle way to mix up the melodies, only instrumental versions of classic songs were played prior to Kayla walking down the aisle; she processed to the sounds of live birds chirping followed by “Wonderworld” featuring Emma Sameth from the Wonder Park trailer.
Kayla looked like the epitome of royalty, wearing a princess off-the-shoulder ball gown with lace detail from Bridal Reflections and a sparkling crown atop her dark tresses was paired perfectly with an eight-yard-long custom veil. “Seeing the look on my husband’s face as I walked down the aisle was really touching. I felt this flood of emotion and had to look down real quick before the tears began to fall,” the bride recollects. “I looked up and continued to walk down the aisle with a big smile on my face feeling so ready to marry this man!” For the groom, the vow exchange was the highlight of the day: “The fact we were able to fully express our love for one another meant the world to me, and I would do it over and over again.”
A ballroom reception mimicked the décor from earlier in the day. Tablescapes were exquisite, covered in thick satin champagne-colored linens and adorned with assortments of roses and orchids placed in either very tall centerpieces or short styles. The wedding party’s table had added crystal candelabras going down the center and a floral garland that spilled onto the floor, whilst the sweetheart table was set up in a stately fashion made complete with a king’s sofa. “When you walked into the reception room, the smell of the fresh white roses was so strong,” describes Kayla. “It was amazing seeing my vision come to life… The room had a very classy, romantic feel.”
Loved ones took their seats to enjoy an amazing sit-down supper that each guest was able to customize to their liking, ending with slices of the couple’s tasty five-tier confection. The wedding cake was bedecked with sugar roses, quilted fondant with pearl accents, the couple’s monogram, and appliqués of gold lace. “We had a great time designing our cake with Chef Daniel Andreotti,” says Kayla.
As parting gifts, Dontae and Kayla gave attendees large vanilla macarons as favors. “They had a printed image of Oheka Castle on the front of them!” illustrates the bride of the treats. The couple felt completely elated with the success of their special day and grateful that their friends and family had traveled to New York for their destination wedding. The only thing Dontae would have changed: not getting selected for random NFL drug testing at 5AM the morning of the wedding! Kayla warns others not to leave any last “small things” to do the week of the wedding. “I put small things in quotations because things that I thought were ‘small’ took a lot more time than anticipated!” she laughs. “Our wedding day was one of the best memorable days of our lives.”