YAKIRA MAY­NARD & JOHN PRISE

YAKIRA MAY­NARD & JOHN PRISE

Inside Weddings - - Inside - Septem­ber 4, 2016 Bishop, Ge­or­gia | Pho­tographed by Mi­lanés Pho­tog­ra­phy

Septem­ber 4, 2016 Bishop, Ge­or­gia Pho­tographed by Mi­lanés Pho­tog­ra­phy

Meet­ing your fu­ture part­ner at a bar is seem­ingly com­mon, but there was noth­ing mun­dane about the night Yakira May­nard and John Prise first locked eyes. The two spoke briefly, but it wasn’t long un­til John re­turned to his group. “I didn’t want to crowd her or her friends,” he notes. Just then, an­other man swooped in to talk to Yakira. Hav­ing no in­ter­est in this new suitor, she searched for a po­lite way out of the con­ver­sa­tion. “I pointed across the bar to my ‘boyfriend,’” ex­plains Yakira. Adds the groom, “I no­ticed her mo­tion­ing to me, and I could tell what was hap­pen­ing. I nod­ded my head and played along, even walk­ing over to join her.” The man raised his glass to the cou­ple and left, leav­ing the duo to spend the rest of the evening to­gether.

“Be­ing sin­gle and dat­ing around for a while, you come to learn what you want in a wife – I soon re­al­ized all of the build­ing blocks were there,” says John of his de­ci­sion to get on bended knee one year and a half into their courtship. Fol­low­ing his Christ­mas Eve pro­posal – and her im­me­di­ate ac­cep­tance – the bride felt pre­pared to take on the task of wed­ding plan­ning, hav­ing or­ga­nized a num­ber of for­mal events her­self. She was, how­ever, sur­prised at how in­volved she be­came in the process. “It’s like hav­ing a sec­ond full-time job!” she ex­claims.

Through­out their two-year en­gage­ment, Yakira and John strug­gled to find the per­fect place to wed. “We ac­tu­ally went through two – com­pletely con­tracted and de­posited – venues be­fore de­cid­ing on the third,” says Yakira. Their fi­nal lo­ca­tion, a pri­vate es­tate and farm, en­cap­su­lated all they had en­vi­sioned for their spe­cial day. The top pri­or­ity of the bride and groom was mak­ing their 214 at­ten­dees com­fort­able, which in­cluded pro­vid­ing a fun at­mos­phere well be­fore the “I dos.” “We wanted to cre­ate a full ex­pe­ri­ence of mini events dur­ing the week­end,” notes the bride.

For the cer­e­mony, the bride ex­ited the doors of the es­tate alone to honor her late bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther. She met her step­dad halfway down the aisle and they made their way through the court­yard to her groom, who stood on a raised plat­form in the mid­dle of a cir­cle of friends and fam­ily.

Yakira donned a fit­ted sweet­heart dress with a dra­matic mer­maid skirt and ex­tended train. Brides­maids matched the ivory hue of the bridal gown in chic pantsuits with fem­i­nine over­skirts. “I wanted to go very un­tra­di­tional with the flow­ers, so I opted for a flo­ral ‘hand­bag’ made up of or­chids and roses in lieu of a bou­quet,” re­veals Yakira. Through­out the vow ex­change, an as­sort­ment of mu­si­cians – to cre­ate a makeshift band – played soft ren­di­tions of the pair’s fa­vorite tunes.

The cel­e­bra­tion space fea­tured floor-to-ceil­ing drapes, ta­blescapes, and even grand, cas­cad­ing flo­ral ar­range­ments – cre­ated by Akeem Clay­ton De­signs – in a snowy hue. “The re­cep­tion as a whole was so unique – my wife worked so hard to bring her wildest dreams to life,” muses the groom. “The trans­for­ma­tion of the horse sta­bles into the all-white scene was awe­some!” Ev­ery­one found their seats on ghost chairs de­tailed with the new­ly­weds’ gilt mono­gram, which com­ple­mented the gold charger plates at each set­ting. Tex­tured linens be­decked the long king’s ta­ble and sur­round­ing round ta­bles. Rev­el­ers en­joyed sen­ti­men­tal toasts, a de­lec­ta­ble “South­ern hospi­tal­ity” menu, plenty of lively danc­ing, and de­li­cious cake bites – sep­a­rate from the tow­er­ing white-and-gold dis­play con­fec­tion – as well as slices from the groom’s choco­late Rice Krispies® cake. “The day was as close to per­fect as you could imag­ine,” smiles John.

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