Carolina Bride

Passport to love

When Kester Garraway asked his girlfriend LaToya Bynum to go to the mall with him, she didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until they started heading to a bridal attire shop that LaToya became confused. From the moment they stepped inside, Stephanie from Indigo Photography was there capturing the whole day. “I’m in David’s Bridal wondering, ‘Why the heck am I here?’ I had no idea she was hiding taking pictures,” says LaToya. Even when she realized Stephanie was there, the photographer played off the event like it was just a normal photo shoot. “She was so professional and she played along so well,” LaToya adds. Once she was dressed in a black Adrianna Papell dress, and Kester in a tux, the couple took a limo to their next destination.

Throughout the drive, LaToya received phone calls from her closest family and friends. At the end of each call, the person on the phone would ask, "What if Kester asks you to marry him today?" They finally arrived at a beautiful mansion where a helicopter was waiting to take them on their next adventure. Before they boarded, Kester handed her a large box with a smaller box from Tiffany & Co. inside. “He had come across the Tiffany Ribbon engagement ring in our earlier years of dating and thought it was unique and perfect for me,” LaToya says. “When he actually went to purchase an engagement ring and saw that the same design was still available, he knew it was the right ring.” As detailed in the July/September 2011 issue of Carolina Bride, Stephanie and the couple then boarded the helicopter and took a tour of Charlotte by air.

The helicopter ride is just one small element of the travel-filled life that LaToya and Kester share. When they first started dating, they lived in different states and had to travel back and forth to see one another. Since travel became such a large part of the couple's relationship, they planned a travel-themed wedding for their guests.

To set off the travel-inspired motif, LaToya and Kester used Party Reflections for their tables and chairs and Connie Duglin for their linens. With the basics covered, the couple used little details to highlight the rest of their theme. The wedding programs were designed to look like passports and the escort cards were luggage tags. They added the finishing touches by decorating the venue with trunks. “We wanted to keep the international aspect there,” she says. “We even had the DJ play reggae music, that way everyone could feel like they weren’t in Charlotte for a while.”

In addition to those special touches, the couple incorporated a ring-warming ceremony so that their guests could become a part of the wedding. “Our wedding bands were passed around to all guests in attendance," LaToya explains. "This allowed for each guest to ‘warm’ the rings with their love or to say a quick prayer over them before they were exchanged." To make the ceremony even more personal, the couple incorporated a broom that Kester's mom had brought from South America. It was this broom that the couple would jump over when they were declared husband and wife.

For her wedding cake, LaToya chose a variety of cupcakes from Nona’s Sweets. “I had this elaborate idea of a cupcake tree wrapped in old maps, and Dominica was so amazing and so patient with me,” she raves. “Everything tasted amazing and it was the easiest part of my wedding planning.”

Another easy decision was choosing Indigo Photography to capture the wedding. “We had Stephanie along for the entire ride,” LaToya says. “If it wasn’t for her in the beginning, who knows where we would have been for our wedding.”

Although the couple saved for a honeymoon to Italy, the flight was canceled last minute due to mechanical problems with the plane. LaToya and Kester lived it up in Puerto Rico instead. They still have plans to visit Italy one day, but right now the couple is embarking on a different type of adventure: home ownership. "It's been a whirlwind year for us," LaToya says. "Now we're just trying to make Charlotte home."

Featured Vendors


Nona’s Sweets



Indigo Photography



Connie Duglin Specialty Linen and Chair Cover Rental


Party Reflections


Continue reading real wedding stories! Up next: ’Floral Enchantment’