After meeting Atlanta Falcons player Levine Toilolo on a random Wednesday night, Stephanie Ming was captivated by their instant connection and unforgettable conversation. On the athlete’s birthday one year, he decided that Stephanie was the one who should receive a special gift instead. “He pulled out a shoe box full of memorable items that he had kept throughout our first year of dating. He then pulled out a letter he had written, then slowly rolled off the couch onto one knee. He said that the only wish he had for his birthday was to marry me,” Stephanie muses.
One month after the groom played in Super Bowl LI, and just moments after he signed his second NFL contract, the pair said their "I dos" at an elegant ceremony in Southern California, which was officiated by Levine’s pastor. “I always wanted a dreamy outdoor California setting, especially because my husband was born and raised in San Diego,” the bride tells. Showcasing a modern and timeless vibe, the décor utilized an array of white blooms complemented by gold metal orbs and monstera leaves. Stephanie proceeded down the aisle in a gorgeous mermaid gown while holding a bouquet that featured a photo of her late father, who she honored throughout the wedding. “I had a special table with a picture of my dad, candle, and letter to him set up close to the ceremony so I could see him and feel him,” she muses.
Attendees indulged in a lovely dinner followed by slices of the couple’s glamorous confection that doubled as the pièce de résistance of the room. The seven-tier dessert was suspended in the air and dusted with 14K gold. Guests also enjoyed the donut-making area and gourmet candy station that were placed outside of the reception space. Stephanie also recalls partaking in the Taualuga dance, a Samoan tradition that was very special to her and her husband’s family. “You perform such a traditional dance all the while having money thrown in the air and your new family shouting the traditional Samoan yell, known as a fa’aumu. It was incredible and very unique.” The couple was grateful that two of their uncles, who are members of Christian band, The Katinas, performed “From the Ground Up” for the first dance.
As busy as both of their schedules were throughout the planning process, Stephanie encourages every couple to take time to remember why they are getting married in the first place. “Take it one day – and project – at a time. Don’t get caught up in the planning so much that you forget how magical this time is.”