You can't please all of the people all of the time - and accommodating everyone's wishes while planning a wedding is a particularly challenging goal. When Sherry Jackson Gordy and C.K. Johnson began to feel a little overwhelmed, their planner Alex Alexander gave them some very sage advice: "Relax and trust that everything will work out." With their new mantra in place, the couple refocused on what they wanted as a couple, and as things fell into place, they began to enjoy the process of a very special time.
The first key decision that the couple agreed upon was an incredible waterfront location in honor of the bride's affection for the marina. "We wanted to hear the humming of boats and the water's gentle wake in the background," Sherry explains. Next, the couple pooled their favorite shades to create the celebration's color scheme. "Chocolate is my favorite color and deep wine red is Sherry's favorite, so we knew from the start that those shades would be important to the decor," says C.K. Elements of gold were also incorporated to complement the deep hues.
One of the most challenging aspects for the couple was keeping the guest list within reason due to the Gordy family's history with Motown Records. "We were surprised that so many people wanted to attend the wedding," confides the bride. "It required great diplomacy and love to ensure everyone felt appreciated in spite of our wish for a limited guest list." Of course, there were advantages to having so many friends and relatives eager to share the day. "The upside of this large extended family is that many of Sherry's loved ones are amazing and talented musicians," says C.K. Because of the couple's innate appreciation for music, they made sure that their big day incorporated numerous musical elements throughout the evening.
To commence a night full of fun and energy, the groom "worked" his way down a petal-strewn aisle to "Let's Get Married" by Jagged Edge. "It took a lot of convincing to get Sherry to agree, but everyone ended up loving [my procession]!" C.K. exclaims. The bride took a more traditional turn down the aisle escorted by her father, Berry Gordy, to the music of Wagner's "Bridal Chorus." Wearing a chiffon gown embellished with dazzling crystals and beads, Sherry held a lush bouquet of mixed florals that mimicked the color of her bridesmaids' garnet-colored gowns and echoed their nosegays of calla lilies and roses. The beautiful garden of the hotel where the wedding took place was enhanced with large bullion stands holding massive arrangements of roses in full bloom. Alternating rows were accented with hanging glass hurricanes containing floating candles and rose petals, while mounds of blooming roses were wrapped around the pillars of a gazebo. Intent on making their nuptials feel both special and personal to them, the couple asked C.K.'s aunt, Alice Knox, to officiate the ceremony, and requested musical presentations by Gordy family friends. Gavin Christopher, India Jones, Sasha Boutros, Celestine Booker (mother of Chuckii Booker), Glodean and Shaherah White (wife and daughter of the late Barry White), and Ali Ollie Woodson (former lead singer of the Temptations), all honored the couple with performances at the ceremony.
For the reception held in the venue's lavish ballroom, tables were covered in chocolate satin linens and balanced with elegant gold vases filled with flowers in shades of wine. Alternating pillar candles and towering candlesticks encircled the arrangements, lending a romantic illumination to the dramatic red drapes covering the walls of the room. "The ballroom looked amazing!" Sherry exclaims. "Always listen to your planner! Alex always had our best interests in mind... we knew she would offer suggestions based solely on what would make us happy." The bride's "Uncle Smokey" Smokey Robinson gave a special blessing over the dinner, and then guests enjoyed a four-course meal that included a health-conscious pairing of chicken and salmon.
The intimate arena lent itself perfectly to a live band, and guests enjoyed dancing to some of the biggest hits of the 60s. Meanwhile, Sherry had a special performance of her own planned for the garter toss - a choreographed routine to Joe Cocker's "You Can Leave Your Hat On" which she danced for C.K.'s benefit while he sat in the hot seat. "I wanted to make the garter toss different and sexy and I really did... everyone was clapping and laughing!" she shares. As the party continued into the early morning, Sherry and C.K. couldn't have been more pleased with watching their families become one. "It meant so much to feel like a whole family instead of two separate families," reveals the groom. And it seems the couple's initial worries about accommodating requests were completely unfounded; by being true to themselves, their wedding was automatically filled with nothing but love and happiness.