As a medical student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Michelle Okoronkwo was involved in an organization for minority medical students in which she sent out emails about various events to other medical students. When she met her now husband Bode Ogunwole at a scholarship dinner for the organization, he recognized her from the emails and greeted her with a natural "Oh, it's you."
The two clicked immediately and fell in love during countless library dates. After five happy years, Bode proposed to Michelle beachside while on vacation in the Dominican Republic.
"He wouldn't give me the ring in the sand because I'm so clumsy," Michelle says. "He waited until we were back on hard ground to actually put it on my finger."
Though the couple was living in San Antonio during their respective residencies, Michelle knew their wedding would be in her hometown of Dallas, but she didn't have an exact vision for the venue.
"We were actually seeing another hotel downtown when we walked through the Ritz-Carlton," Michelle says. "As soon as I saw it, I thought, 'This is it.'"
The busy couple armed Rachel Burt from As You Wish with plenty of Pinterest boards for inspiration and turned over much of the planning to her for their May 28, 2016, nuptials.
"I wanted luxury," Michelle says. "If I could have, I would have made everything pink, so that was a compromise with Bode to bring in some silver and bling — and less pink."
But that didn't stop the bride from selecting an Allure Bridal gown in blush champagne for the ceremony. A headdress from Rent the Runway and a belt from Etsy tied the ensemble together. Her more fitted reception dress by Berta Bridal with a detachable — and strikingly dramatic — train allowed more mobility to dance the night away.
After the ceremony, guests sipped cocktails in a flex room while the event space was transformed into a reception hall. Michelle's favorite decoration? A statement chandelier over the dance floor from Fauxcades.
More than 200 guests dined on a Southern-inspired dinner of pork fried rice, barbecue shrimp, mac and cheese, and chicken and biscuits before dancing to Keith Angelo performing Michelle and Bode's favorite type of music: '90s R&B.
"It was a fairy-tale wedding for our fairy-tale love story," Michelle says.
Venue, Catering, and Cake: The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas
Wedding Planner: Rachel Burt, As You Wish
Floral, Décor, and Rentals: Bella Flora
Photography: Khanh Nguyen Photography
Video: Inspired Effects
Bride’s Ceremony Gown: Allure Bridal
Bride’s Ceremony Gown Alterations: Ana's Professional Gown Alterations
Bride’s Ceremony Veil: Vera Wang
Bride’s Reception Gown: Berta Bridal
Bride’s Reception Gown Alterations: Impression Bridal in San Antonio
Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Bride’s Hair: Muffin the Stylist
Bride’s Makeup: Glam by Cham
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Adrianna Papell
Groom’s Suit: Hart Schaffner Marx
Groomsman’s Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Reception Singer: Keith Angelo
Lighting: Absolute Lighting
DJ: DJ Jason Esquire