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Tiraq & Olivia’s Real Wedding

The Joy of Planning a Pandemic Wedding

This past year has brought tons of changes to our daily lives. When it comes to planning a wedding during a pandemic, we can multiply that frustration by a thousand. Luckily Tiraq and Olivia were still able to experience the joy of planning a pandemic wedding. Even though they had to pivot, they had an amazing team of NC wedding vendors to help carry out the celebration of their dreams! Keep scrolling to gain inspo from their real Raleigh wedding.

Bride and bridesmaids getting ready photos. Kelly Sullivan Photography.
Pretty black and white wedding program and wedding rings Kelly Sullivan Photography
JEWELRY & ENGAGEMENT RINGS Diamonds Direct

Tiraq & Olivia’s Love Story

How’s this for a love story. Tiraq and Olivia both attended and graduated from NC A&T, but when they first laid eyes on each other, they were dating other people! Olivia asked her college roommate about Tiraq, only to find out that he was taken. A year later, Tiraq sent Olivia a DM on Instagram asking for her number. Olivia ignored the message before eventually deciding to give him a chance. Soon after, they went on their first date, and the rest is history!

Surprise Proposal 

The proposal story is even cuter. Tiraq set up a photo shoot at one of their favorite date spots, 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina. Olivia was immediately suspicious. She once told Tiraq that if he was going to propose, she needed to have her nails done so she could show off her ring. So when her best friend took her to get her nails done earlier that morning, she knew something was up! Their photographer was snapping pictures of them walking through the art gallery, when she turned to the couple and said, “I think Tiraq may have a question to ask you.”

Tiraq told Olivia to turn around. He surprised her by inviting all of her family and friends, even some from out of town! When she turned back around to face Tiraq, he was down on one knee!

Wedding altar outdoor wedding ceremony. Kelly Sullivan Photography
Wedding broom for jumping the broom, outdoor wedding ceremony. Kelly Sullivan Photography
Groom looking at bride walking down the aisle. Kelly Sullivan Photography
Bride looking at groom. Outdoor wedding ceremony. Kelly Sullivan Photography

Planning a Wedding During a Pandemic

Planning a wedding in general is no small feat. But in 2020? Even harder, and even more stressful. When planning a pandemic wedding, you may have to call for help.

“We originally booked 21C Museum Hotel to hold our 125 guests, but with all the COVID-19 phases and changes we held off planning a lot,” Olivia says. “I clearly needed help planning, so I asked my aunt to help out, and she found a great wedding planner and they took off!”

Due to the pandemic, Olivia and Tiraq chose to change their venue and host their wedding and reception at a rustic AirBnB under a beautiful white tent. “I pretty much told them to go with what they thought would be best with our budget, so they came to me with questions and pictures so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed.”

Bride and groom jumping the broom, outdoor wedding ceremony. Kelly Sullivan Photography
Bride and groom wedding portrait. Kelly Sullivan Photography
Bride and groom wedding portrait. Kelly Sullivan Photography
Bride and mother of the bride portrait. Kelly Sullivan Photography
Bride and bridesmaids in black bridesmaids dresses. Kelly Sullivan Photography
Wedding party groomsmen and bridesmaids. Kelly Sullivan Photography

Personal Wedding Touches

Olivia and Tiraq chose black and gold with touches of green as their wedding colors. The black and gold paid homage to Tiraq’s fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. “The theme we went for was Harlem Nights or Harlem Renaissance, but not too literal,” Olivia says. “We threw in Art Deco elements from the 20s and 30s on the programs and menus, and we partied like it too!”

Even though they had to cut their guest count from 125 to 40 due to COVID-19 restrictions, Olivia and Tiraq enjoyed spending time with close friends and family. Since they haven’t seen their loved ones due to stay at home orders and fear of spreading germs, it meant a lot that they wore masks and supported their intimate outdoor wedding. They do plan to have a big celebration when it’s safe to do so in the future!

Outdoor wedding reception decor CE Rental. Kelly Sullivan Photography
PARTY RENTALS CE Rental
Black and gold menu table setting CE Rental. Kelly Sullivan Photography
Black and white wedding reception decor. Kelly Sullivan Photography
Sweetheart table outdoor wedding reception decor CE Rental. Kelly Sullivan Photography
PARTY RENTALS CE Rental
Family photos at wedding reception. Kelly Sullivan Photography

Catering Works – Raleigh Wedding Caterer

The culinary team at Catering Works is made up of creative innovators with professional training from distinguished institutions such as Johnson & Wales, The California Culinary Academy of San Francisco and the Culinary Institute of America. They are passionate about each client they serve. This local wedding catering team is prepared and ready to guide each couple through the process of bringing their vision to life, even with COVID-19 restrictions!

“The food was top notch, and the staff was very professional while practicing all social distancing procedures!”

Wedding food by Catering Works. Kelly Sullivan Photography
CATERING Catering Works
Green black and white wedding cake by Sugar Euphoria. Kelly Sullivan Photography
WEDDING CAKE Sugar Euphoria

The Bride’s Advice on Planning a Pandemic Wedding

Olivia has some advice for 2021 brides! “If I were to give any advice to the upcoming brides, I’d say just have fun and go with it! Things may not be as you imagined due to COVID-19, but weddings are truly about you and the person you love, not anyone else. Whatever makes you happy, do it, because you will remember this day for the rest of your life.”

Bride and groom toast. Kelly Sullivan Photography

Are you looking for more tips on how to plan a wedding during COVID-19? Check out this blog post!

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