It all started with a cup of coffee that he still hasn't gotten her...
When Ben first saw Candice he was WOWed. That was how he described it to us. She was kind, she was beautiful and she was smart...the complete package...so he asked her to coffee. They ended up talking, and talking, and talking and never did make it to Starbucks before they closed, but this was one of the best Valentine's Days that either of them could recall having.
Then after dating for a year Ben popped the question...on Valentine's Day. Needless to say, Candice was overjoyed, but joked that she wouldn't give him an answer until he got her that elusive cup of coffee first.
Now I am sure that you can see a theme arising from their love story. I am sure it will come as no surprise to you that these two lovebirds were also wed...on...you guessed it...Valentine's Day!! Their gorgeous venue was the Crystal Gazebo in the Cascades Pavilion at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort. It was a tropical retreat that was a feast for the senses!
Emerging from the lush vegetation, in walked the bridal party. Soon followed by a fairytale princess, Candace, floating on a cloud, was escorted by her mother.
Candice's father, a Pastor in Detroit where her family is from, performed the wedding ceremony as friend and loved ones looked on.
Special honor was given to both Ben's mother as well as Candice's mother as they were asked to light the taper candles representing their children at the Unity Candle ceremony.
Once they were pronounced husband and wife a cry of cheers and shouts went up! It sounded as if all of Nashville was celebrating this wonderful couple. Guest from throughout the hotel stopped by to see what the commotion was and got caught up in the merrymaking passing along their best wishes to the happy couple.
Of course, as soon as they made their way down the aisle they were immediately surrounded by love and cameras...since Ben and Candice asked everyone to respect their wishes for an unplugged wedding ceremony, they were determined to get a photograph of the happy couple before departing to the reception at the Hard Rock Cafe Nashville.
Once their personal paparazzi had finally departed Candice and Ben were able to take a few photos with their bridal party.
For Candice she selected her closest cousins who had been her "partners in mischief" since they were small children.
For Ben, he asked the men who always have his back. Whether they are deployed in Afghanistan or just goofing around back home. They are always there for each other no matter what.
We are pretty sure that it is next to impossible to take a bad picture at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. All of the different pavilions and all the lush greenery provide so many different options for settings and locations.
Once photos were completed the happy couple joined their guests for dinner and dancing at the Hard Rock Cafe Nashville. We love weddings at Hard Rock because The Ledge Balcony offers extraordinary views of both Broadway and the Cumberland River for a truly unique Nashville feel.
They served the most delicious food, which was all Nashville "comfort food" from fried pickles and hot chicken to buttermilk biscuit barbecue sliders with cornbread and mac and cheese (which is actually considered a vegetable down in these parts). They wanted their guests to truly have a southern experience since they were all visiting Nashville for the first time from Michigan.
When it was time for the cake there was a crowd of people surrounding Candice and Ben as they made the first cut. They had heard how each tier was a different and more delicious flavor so they were eager to try all of them. Guests were able to choose from red velvet, snickerdoodle, strawberries and cream, and even carrot cake! There wasn't a single slice left by the end of the evening...
Good thing the baker agreed to recreate a miniature version of the cake for the happy couple on their first anniversary!
Candice and Ben opened up the dance floor with a beautiful and romantic first dance where they whispered sweet nothings to one another and shared kisses. It was such a lovely moment that there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
Once they realized you could hear a pin drop because all eyes were on them, they began to really boogie, pulling friends and loved ones up on the dance floor with them to really get the party started!
Needless to say, an amazing time was had by all! We are certainly glad that many of the guests planned to spend all of Valentine's week in Nashville seeing the sights. And...because I am sure you are all wondering...yes. Ben finally got Candice that cup of coffee...he surprised her with a signature coffee bar at the reception! They truly are the "perfect blend!"
Planning: Weddings & Events by Raina
Ceremony Venue: Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
Reception Venue: Hard Rock Cafe Nashville
Photography & Videography: John St. Clair Photography & Videography
Floral Decor & Draping: Curry & Co.
Cake: Jenifer Goode
DJ: Hard Rock Cafe Nashville
Bridal Attire: LVD Bridal
Grooms Attire: Street Tuxedo
Hair: Quinia Steele
Makeup: Face Fetish
Transportation: Legends Limousine