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The gift of love

By Samantha Daniels | Photography by Photoplay Photography

Posted: Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011

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Some friendships last a lifetime – Aki Wallace and LeJay Parker are betting on it. After meeting on the campus of Winston-Salem State University, the two became an inseparable (platonic) pair. They spent the next three years as close friends but the possibility of something more wasn’t lost on LeJay. “He would always joke about us being together and dating,” recalls Aki. Eventually, his joking became reality.

The couple dated as they went through graduate school and started their careers. On Christmas Day in 2009, Aki and Parker were at Aki’s family home. Both of their families were gathered for Christmas dinner and fellowship. When it was time to open presents, Aki had a little something extra. The whole room gathered around as she opened her final gift. It was a pair of leather gloves and a little white box. Before she could say a word, she heard LeJay say her name. “He had the box and ring in his hand and before he even kneeled down I started crying,” says Aki. Surrounded by their family on Christmas, Aki and LeJay had the best gift of all.

For the big day, Aki and LeJay knew they wanted a relaxing day that all their friends and family could enjoy. As a graphic designer, Aki designed all the graphic elements of her wedding from invitations to programs. Sadly, during the planning process, Aki lost her mother to breast cancer. “It was difficult to continue moving forward after losing my mom, but we knew she would want nothing more than for us to stay strong,” says Aki. Aki wanted to try to incorporate her mother into her wedding day as much as she could.

On a hot, June day under the Carolina sun, Aki and LeJay were joined in holy matrimony. Aki wore her mother’s engagement ring and band on her right hand during the ceremony. “[My mom] enjoyed little things like that and I knew she would appreciate it,” says Aki. The wedding was officiated by Aki’s father, Reverend Michael E. Wallace, which was a special element of the ceremony.

Soon the wedding transitioned from outside ceremony to inside party. The Magnolia Room in Rock Hill proved to be the perfect reception area. The hardwood floors and beautiful light fixtures served as a foundation for the rest of the décor provided by Classic Party Rentals. The centerpieces for the tables featured orchids submerged in water. Everything was kept simple and elegant.

When recalling her favorite moment of the day, Aki says it was, “just looking around and seeing our families together and having a great time.” Wedding consultant Ivy Honeycutt of The Silk Veil made sure the day went off without a hitch. Aki and LeJay were able to enjoy every moment. As one large wedding favor, Aki and Lejay made a donation to the American Cancer Society in honor of Aki’s mother, as well as other lost family members.

As the night came to a close, Photoplay Photography captured final moments. Mr. and Mrs. Parker were whisked off to begin their new life together.

After a relaxing honeymoon in Siesta Keys, Florida, the happy couple is now enjoying the married life. Their loving family members have been hinting at children but Aki insists, “We want to wait awhile before we have little Parkers!”

Featured Vendors:

Photography
Photoplay Photography
704-779-6756
www.photoplaync.com

Reception location
The Magnolia Room
803-366-8226
www.magnoliaroom.com

Rental provider
Classic Party Rentals
704-523-9300
www.classicpartyrentals.com

Wedding consultant
The Silk Veil Events by Ivy
704-287-6073
www.thesilkveil.com

Wedding night hotel
Embassy Suites Hotel Charlotte
704-409-3574
www.escharlottecatering.com

Continue reading real wedding stories! Up next: 'All in good time'

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