Deniece and Marquis first crossed paths at the Dixie Classic Fair during their ninth-grade year, but it wasn’t until after college when Marquis crashed Deniece’s dinner with friends that their love story truly began.

Their first date took place at Pilot Mountain, where the couple walked and talked for over 10 hours. A few years after Marquis asked Deniece to go steady, the two were back at Pilot Mountain when Marquis surprised Deniece by dropping to one knee and pulling out a ring. “The wind blew so hard, my eyes started watering,” she says. Pilot Mountain has become one of Deniece’s favorite places as well.

Although the couple enjoys spending time outdoors, Marquis and Deniece decided to host their ceremony and reception in the grand ballroom of the Millennium Center. “It made it easier to plan, as well as not having to plan a contingency and watch weather reports like a meteorologist,” Deniece says. The venue in downtown Winston-Salem embodied the theme of "classic, timeless and elegant," and easily accommodated their 250 guests. Deniece walked down the aisle to the music of a string trio — a touch of elegance that the couple was looking for. Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed light horsd’oeuvres in the lobby before being escorted back into the ballroom for a plated dinner of a mixed seasonal salad and entrées of pan-seared chicken breast and beef tenderloin, provided by Artisan by Meridian restaurant.

The couple added a homemade touch with their favors, in which guests received cards, gardening seeds, tea bags, books of the couple’s favorite poems, and more. “My mother-in-law is a crafts whiz!” Deniece says. Although the couple planned on more D.I.Y. elements, they ultimately decided to save time and stress by not attempting extra projects. “From hearing other brides’ stories, I cannot even begin to tell you how glad I am that we didn’t,” she says.

“Our major approach to planning the wedding together was to make everything reflective of us as a couple, and to only have what we could afford in cash. It was perfect!” Deniece says.

The bride’s favorite part of the day was watching her groom’s reaction as she walked down the aisle. “It wasn’t shock or awe, but rather, love in its purest form. His face told me everything that I needed to know: We were making the right decision and that we were going to be fine.”

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