From Poetry to Matrimony, Nakhaz & Ayanna’s Paramount Event Venue Wedding
Ayanna Albertson is a writer, spoken word poet and cosmetologist from Durham, North Carolina by way of Goldsboro. Driven by her passion for storytelling, Ayanna uses her words to impact, empower and inspire others. Ayanna has competed in various local and national poetry slam competitions, using her platform to amplify the voices of women in Black and Brown communities. Most recently, Ayanna was crowned the #1 woman slam poet in the world at the 2021 Women of The World Poetry Slam. Keep reading to hear her poetic love story.
Ayanna Albertson and Nakhaz Gay managed to elude each other for three years while students at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. What started off as a mere poetry collaboration bloomed into personification of romance. The two were crowned best male and female lyricists of the year within Oakwood’s campus poetry collective ArtnSoul. Their chemistry on stage blossomed into quality time spent together on and off campus. A year into their friendship, Ayanna and Nakhaz decided to date exclusively. After graduating from college, the inseparable couple went long distance – roughly 600 miles apart and in different states.
Ayanna and Nakhaz planned an anniversary photo shoot in Orlando, Florida, where Nakhaz lived at the time, just weeks shy of their 5-year anniversary. As they headed back into his home, Ayanna was greeted at the doorway with flower petals, candles, music and a beautiful balloon backdrop that read “Will You Marry Me?” As Ayanna began to cry, overwhelmed with emotion, her family popped out of the bedroom. “At that point, all I had was ugly tears,” Ayanna says. And of course, she said yes.
Planning a Paramount Event Venue Wedding in Morrisville, NC
Planning a wedding seemed overwhelming to Ayanna at first.
“That’s only because I’m not good at delegating and I like to get things done fairly quickly,” the bride says. “Taking advice from family and friends, I had a pretty good gauge on what I didn’t want and things to avoid.”
From there, Ayanna joined a few Facebook wedding groups, specifically for North Carolina brides. She even received two free engagement photo shoots from two different photographers who were active in the group. One was a raffle and the other was soliciting to enhance his portfolio.
While we loved both engagement photo shoots, we went with Barry Takes Pictures. Barry was personable, friendly, easy to work with and produced clean, high-quality pictures within a quick turnaround time. He also served as Ayanna and Nakhaz’s wedding photographer and lifestyle photographer for personal enjoyment.
I was able to find our venue, Paramount Event Venue, through google searches. After visiting a total of five venues, I was certain Paramount would be our choice.
“I wanted a space that required minimal decor and had natural beauty,” Ayanna says. “Not only was the venue stunning, but they allowed outside catering, had great spacing, the staff were super friendly and flexible and the venue was located close to the airport which was a major plus for our out-of-town guests.”
Instagram led us to our wedding coordinator, Reesey Collier of Classiq Company Events. I’d met with roughly four other wedding coordinators before Reesey, but didn’t feel like any of them were personable enough. When I reached out to Reesey she seemed to be very educated and confident in her work. Reesey went above and beyond the entire way and I can’t thank her enough for her dedication and flawless execution. I would recommend her to anyone. I even told her she’ll have to be my 10-year coordinator for our anniversary party.
Reesey connected the bride and groom with florist Vilma, of Genesis Eventos Florales. Vilma was very pleasant and helped work around my budget. Her wedding-day execution was beautiful. The bride has known her makeup artist and hair stylist for years. Uche, of Blush Beauty and Cosmetics, is a young, hard-working and detail-oriented makeup artist. Ayanna met Uche while she was still in high school as a young entrepreneur and quickly fell in love with her work. Natasha, owner of Royal Dream Hair LLC, was the bride’s wedding-day hair stylist. Tasha and Ayanna attended cosmetology school together. Tasha has flourished in the Triangle-area. “Both of these ladies undoubtedly contributed to the beauty and magic of our wedding day,” Ayanna says.
Other vendors to note were videographer, Elijah Leftridge, a college schoolmate of the bride and groom who produces clear and crisp cinematography; violinist, Patrick Bogui, also a college schoolmate, who helped make Ayanna’s ceremony entrance magical and cocktail hour vibrant and fun. “We’re so grateful to them all.”
Wedding Day Details – From Getting Ready to Sparkler Exit
The morning of Sept. 5, 2021 started early. Bridesmaids began makeup at 6 a.m., groomsmen got haircuts at 8 a.m. and everyone did their part to make wedding-day preparation seamless. After preparations, the bridal party headed over to Paramount Event Venue to get dressed, unwind, shake out the nerves and commune with each other. As the bridesmaids took robe pictures and the groomsmen helped button each other up, guests arrived. The wedding party gathered in the groom’s suite after dresses and shoes were put on, leaving Ayanna and her mother, Vangela Elezer, to get dressed alone.
Ayanna’s dad, Alonzo Albertson, and bonus dad, Felix Eleazer, surprised her by entering the bridal suite for an emotional pre-ceremony “first look.” After many hugs and kisses were shared, both dads left and the wedding procession began.
In true dapper fashion, Nakhaz sported a muted pink custom suit from KISBeSpoke and the groomsmen wore burgundy suits. This groom set the bar high for the rest of the wedding party by engaging with the audience and basking in his smoothness. As the wedding party entered the ceremony hall, guests jubilantly encouraged each pair that walked down the aisle. This gave a feeling of “family” to the room that eased everyone’s nerves. The violinist began to play and gasps could be heard across the room as the bride entered.
“I wasn’t nervous,” Ayanna says. “I was just hoping I wouldn’t fall. I felt beautiful.”
Paramount Event Venue was full of tears and smiles as the bride and both of her dads walked down the aisle.
Music captured the room and set the tone for the entire wedding. From the powerful prayer song performed by Jay Renee to the intoxicating rhythms of the “No Gray Band.”
You could hear a pin drop once it was time for the bride and groom to share vows. The audience waited in angst while two wordsmiths exchanged vulnerable but entertaining vows.
Ayanna and Nakhaz were so wrapped up in the moment that they forgot to exchange rings and skipped straight to the pronunciation and kiss. Everyone laughed once the pastor noticed. They decided to run it back, exchange rings, have the pastor say the pronunciation, and kiss again. It was perfect. The band played, guests cheered, and Darien Brockington sang “Only One” by PJ Morton, as the bride and groom joyfully exited the ceremony hall.
Rose Gold, Burgundy and Blush Reception at Paramount Event Venue
The Paramount Event Venue reception was painted in shades of burgundy, blush and rose gold. Blush uplighting cast a warm glow on circular tables covered in champagne linens and burgundy napkins. Each table was adorned by variously sized vases with candles and a bouquet of flowers.
Ayanna and Nakhaz entered the party to “Still Fly” by the Big Tymers duo, one many may not know, but the two shared nostalgic passion for. Their first dance to “How Deep Is Your Love” by PJ Morton was followed by a very fun mother-son dance and two father-daughter dances. Then it was dinner and party time.
Both the bride and groom changed their wedding attire into more comfy-chic clothing. Ayanna rocked a custom Oyemwen white jumpsuit with an attached tulle train and Nakhaz wore a slim-fit cream suit with matching cream Gucci shoes. The groom, originally born in the Bahamas, wanted to incorporate Bahamian music into the reception party playlist. Selecta Phoreign of BahaNation Entertainment fit the couple’s vibe to a T. Ayanna and Nakhaz’s 175 wedding guests danced the night away and some even participated in a bouquet and garter toss!
Guests headed outside Paramount Event Venue for the sparkler exit as the party winded down. The bride wore a white leather jacket that read “just married” and the groom rocked cream Gucci shoes as they walked between sparklers and guests cheered. At the end of the sparkler exit, the couple climbed into a Maserati with red leather interior. Nakhaz revved the engine and the newlyweds drove away into the night after a day full of family, friends and most importantly, love. Click the link below to watch Ayanna and Nakhaz’s wedding highlight video, made by videographer Elijah Leftridge.
While hopeful to return to North Carolina in the next few years, Ayanna has relocated to Orlando, Florida to live with Nakhaz where he works as an accountant. Ayanna continues to pursue her writing career as well as cosmetology. From proposal to reception, Ayanna wants couples to remember that the wedding is and should be focused on the couple.
“Set goals and boundaries, and be intentional about both of them,” Ayanna says. “When it comes to selecting vendors, look for people who are serious about their work from start to finish. Every vendor we mentioned is highly recommended and equally flexible, hospitable and efficient. Paramount Event Venue couldn’t have been a better venue to host our wedding.
Want to learn more about Paramount Event Venue? Click here to register for their free fall open house on Sept. 26, from noon to 4 p.m.