When hypothetically discussing a wedding date, December 28th seemed most apropos to Krystal Thorpe and Leonard Ricks. After all, this was when they met at a matrimonial celebration months earlier: Leonard was a guest of the father of the bride and Krystal was a member of the bridal party. The couple had been inseparable since. So getting married a year to the day they met was just part of the magic of their romance.
Both from a Christian upbringing, it was important for Krystal and Leonard to have a church ceremony officiated by one of their ministers. They chose St. John’s Cathedral for the beauty of its stained-glass windows, soaring wood-beamed ceilings, handmade floor tiles, and mosaics. Two elegant white floral arrangements in golden urns facing the Italian marble altar were the only finishing touches the sanctuary needed. A cellist played as guests took their seats.
Krystal’s father escorted her down the aisle, as a singer performed a soulful rendition of Alicia Keys’s “Never Felt This Way.” “It was beautiful and I recall looking at the man I love and thinking this is perfect – this is amazing!” says the beaming bride, who donned a drop waist satin ball gown with a ruched bodice, beaded waist detail, and chapel train. A veil was affixed above Krystal’s classic side bun. She held a creamy compilation of peonies and roses.
The instance that stands out in Leonard’s mind was their declarations to one another. “My vows expressed my most true and inner feelings for my wife. Krystal’s vows spoke to my soul,” reveals the groom, who accessorized his black tuxedo with silver cuff links engraved with the word “Love” on one and the all-important “12.28” date on the other. “It was a moment when our words were the only ones spoken.” Following a tradition from African culture, the couple concluded the service by jumping the broom.
The grand concourse room at Union Station fulfilled Krystal’s vision for a vintage reception venue. Bridesmaids’ sapphire blue gowns inspired the complementary bright color palette of the décor. “The final selection was jewel tones with gold accents. This fit perfectly with the winter season and my love of antiques,” explains the bride. Krystal changed into a lace gown more suited to the historic locale.
The space was framed by violet and hot pink uplighting on one wall and golden uplighting on the other. Two floral compositions graced tables swathed in amethyst linens. Round tables featured tall gold vases filled with roses, hydrangeas, and orchids in shades of purple, fuchsia, and red, sitting atop mosaic mirror disks sprinkled with rose petals. A petite version of this floral design housed in small bullion urns was the centerpiece for the long tables. The golden touch also glinted from chairs, chargers, glassware rims, and votive vessels. To add another personal element, “I researched events in history [that occurred] on December 28, selected the top 30, and used these as our table numbers,” says Krystal.
Two DJs, one of who was Leonard’s fraternity brother, ensured guests had a great time on the dance floor. “As soon as you walked in the music was flowing and made you want to get up and dance!” recalls the groom. Since Leonard’s mother was unable to attend the wedding, he shared a brother-sister dance – “which turned into a family dance and that was super special,” notes the bride. “We created our own tradition!” Finding the usual bouquet and garter toss a bit boring, Krystal thought up a more fun and unique approach. To laud her unmarried friends, she invited them to join her and they danced to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” As for the men, they played a rousing game of musical chairs to 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.”
In keeping with the celebration, the couple strived to offer their guests a feast of fare and libations. To great success, since attendees raved about the sit-down dinner. “The food was phenomenal! They’re still talking about it. The rib eyes were to die for, the lobster mashed potatoes – everything!” says Leonard. He credits their amazing caterer, Nathaniel Neubauer, for flawlessly customizing their menu.
The four-layer cake with understated ribbon, lace, floral, and sparkling details was “an unexpected beauty,” admits the bride. This was particularly so because it had to be redesigned a few days before the big day to reflect Krystal’s last-minute reception dress addition. With so many other pressing details to handle, she confidently turned this task over to her outstanding planners after they offered to work with the baker. It just goes to show that with the right team it is possible to compose a magnificent event for 200 guests in a span of six months. As Krystal attests, “It was absolutely perfect.”