Shannon (née) Perkins and Tahir Whitehead first became smitten with one another when they were young. “We were at a high school basketball game and every time I looked at him, he was already looking at me but would quickly turn away,” she smiles in reflection. Years later, Tahir proposed at a romantic rooftop restaurant in Washington, DC. “He fooled me into thinking I could see The White House from our view,” Shannon explains. “I was getting frustrated trying to find it, so I looked back toward him and he was on one knee.”

The couple was first married in October of 2013 in the living room of their home, surrounded by only a handful of people. However, Shannon always wished for a large wedding and a big white gown. “Tahir knew how important it was to me and made sure it happened, even if it was five years later,” she reveals. The groom confirms: “It was important for my wife to have her dream wedding and receive everything she ever wanted.” This time around, the Georgia-based couple planned for an extravagant fairy-tale celebration in their home state of New Jersey with all of their friends and family present.

The venue – a brand-new castle in New Jersey – was booked while it still needed six months of construction before completion. “Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect but I trusted my planner, and the deal was sealed after I viewed the design plans,” Shannon admits, remembering her excitement. The bride confesses that working with a wedding consultant really helped to ease the stress of planning: “It made it enjoyable and easy.” In fact, the only setback Shannon faced was collecting addresses from loved ones. “It was not my cup of tea,” she laughs.

Since it was football season and Tahir is a starting linebacker for the NFL Oakland Raiders, he let his beloved take the reins and helped her to make final decisions and give input when he could, especially his favorite categories: food and music. Shannon worked meticulously to ensure that every detail was designed to perfection: “I wanted to wow our guests from start to finish!”

For the ceremony, a small stage perfectly draped and accented with blossoms indicated the spot for the vow renewal. Tall flower arrangements of vanilla roses, hydrangeas, and peonies, along with hurricane candleholders lined the snowy petal-covered aisle. A live singer performed soft, romantic ballads as guests found their way to their seats; shortly after, the couple’s young sons entered, dapper in full black tuxedos.

Shannon made her grand entrance looking exquisite; she wore a beautifully embroidered ball gown with an illusion neckline, and crowned her classic chignon with a sparkling crystal headpiece. “Seeing my husband when I walked down the aisle was a perfect moment,” confides the bride. The traditional ceremony began at sunset and incorporated sweet sentiments geared towards the couple’s sons.

The regal white-and-gold color scheme continued into the reception, with attendees first locating their seating assignments on a mirror table where place cards encircled a large blossom tree. Both round and serpentine tables were bedecked with glamorous towering centerpiece displays of florals and candles. Timeless crystal drinkware was mixed in with gold-rimmed chargers and bullion flatware to complete the tablescape.

Revelers enjoyed their seated supper and for dessert, slices of the prized confection. An all-white cake with gilt touches showcased a sleek look, matching the style of the stationery suite and wedding motif seen throughout the event. As partygoers made their way onto the custom dance floor, Shannon changed into a second, equally gorgeous gown for the evening festivities. “It was a surprise to me, and she looked stunning,” Tahir shares.

The couple highly suggests that others who are engaged seek out a talented wedding planner. “It made everything better than I could have imagined,” comments Shannon. “It was truly the day I had always dreamed.”