WEDDING WISDOM: ERIC AND LAVELL
Very few people get to boast about meeting their future husband at the Mr. Black Universe contest, but LaVell is one of the lucky ones. As Eric was backstage readying himself for the talent portion of the contest, LaVell grabbed Eric by the arm and introduced himself. Struck by his forwardness, but having to go on with the show, Eric agreed to exchange numbers with LaVell later that evening. The men did not meet again until the end of the weekend where they planned a first date at Starbucks that turned into a real date in Virginia Beach a month later.
It wasn’t too long into their long-distance dating that LaVell made another forward move and gave Eric a six-month ultimatum to get serious. “We aren’t going to be playing house unless this is going somewhere,” reminding Eric every month that the clock was counting down. So, Eric did what every guy would do and “waited to 11:50-something on the last night” to make good on LaVell’s pronouncement. “We are gonna make this official,” Eric finally said.
After a year living together, weathering the ups and downs typical to any couple, Eric decided it was time to really make it official. Under the guise of celebrating one of LaVell’s latest business accomplishments, Eric reached out to LaVell's family and friends, asking for his hand in marriage, and inviting them all to the proposal. “Why is everyone here?” LaVell asked. The answer came when Eric proposed and presented the ring on bended knee as John Legend’s “You and I” played.
“I was feeling so much excitement and joy, that it took about a minute for me to say yes!”
LaVell got to work instantly on the wedding, set for a little over a year later. “Every night for a year, Groomzilla was working on something for the wedding,” Eric points out. “And, in the beginning, it was all pre-planning, so I said: ‘whatever you like, I like.’ If he’d said we are getting married in a Fiat, I would have said OK.” Even though Devin Reckley was the wedding planner, LaVell was very hands on. “I knew what I wanted. And, down the line Eric eventually got involved and everything was smooth sailing.”
“We overcame a lot of obstacles – some of our groomsmaids and groomsmen dropped out of four days before the wedding and Eric’s family not attending out of disapproval of their relationship – through prayer and being each other’s cheerleader. We stayed positive. That’s what got us down the aisle,” said LaVell. “Even if two people show up, we are going to be married.”
And, marry they did, in the Gallery of Amazing Things in Dana Beach, FL., filled with art and fashion, surrounded by a wedding party of 20 and presided by the Reverend Ann Atwell from the Sunshine Cathedral in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. They exchanged original vows, ones that Eric had written that morning, and that LaVell had prepared weeks before! Why are we not surprised!?
“Now, our reception, at Club Tropical Ballroom, was a David Tutera type event. Very elegant,” said LaVell. Groomsmen wore Joseph Abboud, while the grooms wore custom tuxedos from House of Melvin in Miami. Blush, white and silver were their colors with “mirrors everywhere, clear chiavari chairs, chandelier centrepieces with beautiful bouquets and we had pictures of us throughout the years at every table. People didn’t ever really sit down.”
Among their 120 special guests were, Sommore, Queen of Comedy, who played an important role throughout the couple’s courtship, and LaVell’s mother who originally was among those not attending the wedding. “Having my mother there, looking beautiful and so present, was incredible.”
Despite the “food being amazing, the décor being amazing and the DJ being amazing,” Eric described his favorite moment of the wedding being when he saw LaVell for the first time. For LaVell, his moment was when he walked out to see all their loved ones and feel the energy and love in the room. “It was so surreal.”
“But, then to see Eric was to be reminded that this was the best decision of my life.”
As Eric and LaVell are busy planning their first year anniversary, they shared that “actively listening” to each other is fundamental to the success of any relationship and especially when you are planning something as big as a wedding. “We all have fairy tales and we have to respect each other’s feelings. This is the person you’re going to become one with, so listen to him. Be a crutch for each other and have a hell of a good time!”
“I’d do it all over again,” said LaVell. Eric quickly jumped in to jokingly say: “but not the planning!”