Crystal Martin & Kenneth Walker, II
Cover Contest Runners Up!
Featured in the Summer 2013 issue of Memphis Pink Bride Magazine
Tell us about your love story.
How we met:
Who ever knew that you could find true love on Beale Street?
Kenneth and I met while my friends and I were on the way to the car after a long, miserable night on Beale Street. I saw this handsome guy flexing his biceps and triceps to this young woman and immediately thought, “Who does this guy think he is?” Well, I caught this guy’s attention (I mean… what can I say), and he came over, asking to walk me to my car. During that five-minute walk, I knew that I was interested. Very interested. We exchanged numbers, and I texted him almost immediately to let him know that I would like to see him again. He was and still is THAT guy. I am forever grateful for Beale Street and for my friends who dragged me to Beale Street that night. That night was the start of something amazing, and I will cherish it forever.
During a family trip in Orlando, FL, in Summer 2012:
Kenneth and I decided to get away from the family and have some alone time in Orlando. We decided to explore the city. However, there was one problem. We had no transportation. Adamant about having our alone time, we set out to explore the city via public transportation, specifically via an Orlando bus. What the heck were we thinking?
Anyway, Kenneth and I decided to start downtown. I mean, what better place to explore than downtown, the heart of every city. In retrospect, downtown may not have been the best place to start, especially considering we were riding the BUS. I mean, it took two hours to get there, and it was storming. But, when we arrived downtown, it was perfect. We got sushi and set out for Lake Eola Park (Kenneth’s planned place to pop the question). Once we arrived at Lake Eola Park, Kenneth had planned to take me out on the paddle boats and propose in the middle of the Lake. Of course, everyone from the paddle boat station was gone home because it had rained all day, but Kenneth was determined and didn’t let that stop him. He found an area overlooking the Lake, dropped to one knee, and expressed that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I was completely caught off guard, and after almost fainting, I said Yes! The long, long, long (wink) bus ride back was the best part because we got a chance to really sit back and think about how the proposal would change our lives forever.
We were engaged in July 2012 and married by August 2013. The engagement lasted 13 months.
Recap the big day for us.
There really isn’t much space to get dressed in at the train station, so I had the hardest time figuring out where the bridesmaids and I would get dressed. One of my classmates Alam lived footsteps away from the train station and offered to allow my bridesmaids and I get dressed in her home. This turned out to be the best blessing I could have ever prayed for! It was so convenient because after we all got dressed, we all piled into a six-passenger van, and we drove around downtown Memphis to get some great photos. My dress fit me perfectly, so being squeezed into a minivan with eight bridesmaids was very challenging. I couldn’t breathe, and I was sweating. It all turned out just perfectly though because I had the best bridesmaids. They made me laugh, bought me water from some random guy on the side of the street (it was a closed bottle of water), and they tried their hardest to make my dress wrinkle-free by giving me as much room as possible to lay out on the backseat (no luck with that…ha!). I’m really into great photographs, so I was just glad that we were able to get some fantastic photos downtown. We went to several different locations in about an hour, and I was very satisfied and grateful for such an open-minded and creative photographer.
My most memorable moment from the wedding was walking down the aisle and seeing the love of my life. I was SO eager to see him, and when I finally saw him and the tears rolling down his face, I just broke down. I’m a tough girl, and I said that I wouldn’t cry, but you can’t say what you won’t do…especially when it is related to LOVE. My husband looked AWESOME up there in addition to our entire bridal party, so I was just amazed at how well the colors came together and how well my vision for the venue came to life! Our wedding colors were majolica blue, olive green, and gray, and I just couldn’t believe that those colors came together so well. I was so worried about that, but once I saw the wedding party and the venue, I gave myself a pat on the back and whispered into my own ear, “Good job on the color choice Crystal.”
I wanted the venue to have a vintage chic feel, and it was all of that and more. Paula Payton from Payton Perfect Designs really blew my mind. I’m still in awe about how well she decorated for the vintage chic theme. One other memorable moment that I look back on and laugh at all the time is when my sister burned my leg minutes before I was walking down the aisle. With all the moving around in the van and hoping out at various locations downtown to take pictures, my dress was wrinkled. I was really ok with it, but my sister (who is two years younger than me) insisted that she get a few of the wrinkles out. Right before the wedding started, she plugged in one of the steamers we had been using that morning and started steaming the front of my dress. She had a brilliant idea to put the steamer under my dress and steam from the inside out… bad, bad idea because she burned the crap out of my leg. That steam was SO hot, and I didn’t really have time to scream and cry like I wanted to because the wedding had started. I needed to put something cold on it to soothe the pain, and the only thing that we had was an iPhone. I placed the iPhone on my thigh, and needless to say, it didn’t help at all. I had to suck it up and get ready to head down the aisle because it was time for the bride to enter. Now that I think back on it, as soon as I saw everyone stand in anticipation of me entering, the pain magically disappeared, and it didn’t bother me through the rest of the night. I do, however, have a burn mark on my thigh as proof that my sister had no clue what she was doing. Other memorable moments included jumping the broom and being introduced as Kenneth and Crystal Walker with Natalie Cole in the background singing “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love),” dancing with my grandfather during the father-daughter dance and trying to keep him on beat, and playing the Shoe-ly wed game (a game that my DJ surprised us with). I don’t want to give away the details because it completely takes away the element of surprise for any bride that goes with Dingo Entertainment, but he had us play an awesome game during our reception that no one had ever seen before, and it had us laughing and smiling the whole time. It was awesome!
Did your groom help with the planning?
My groom helped me by being the “ok babe” guy. He was studying to take the bar after completing law school, so he had a valid excuse not to be extremely involved. I gave him a pass! He did help me with creating our wedding website, choosing our honeymoon destination, and choosing what the ushers would wear. He thoroughly enjoyed the food tasting at Draper’s Catering, but he was missing in action for the majority of the wedding planning. After the wedding, he kept telling me how much of an awesome job I did, so I really appreciate him for that, and I’m glad that he was able to enjoy the wedding as much as I did.
Share something unique that you did for the celebration.
The Shoe-ly Wed Game during our reception. Our DJ with Dingo Entertainment told me that he had a surprise for me, but I had no idea that we would be playing a game at our reception. It turned out to be AWESOME. We laughed and smiled the whole time, and the guests thought that it was a very unique part of the reception.
Do you have any regrets or wish anything had been done differently?
We have two dogs: a Yorkie (Dillon) and a French Bulldog (Jaxon). We were allowed to include them in the wedding, but we chose not to because we wouldn’t have anyone to transport them home. We didn’t want to leave them locked up in cages, and we didn’t want them to be afraid of being in a new environment with so many people and such loud music. We’re great doggie parents, and I believe we made a great decision, but I would have LOVED to see my boys run down that aisle in puppy tuxedos. If I could do it all over again, I would have had our dogs in the wedding. We did, however, get a chance to spend the night with them because the Westin Hotel in downtown Memphis is pet-friendly. I will cherish that night forever because we had our whole little family together on our wedding night!
What advice do you have for future brides?
Keep calm and just be a bride, not a bridezilla. So many brides say that when they look back on their wedding day, it goes by so fast that you don’t remember anything. You don’t get a chance to eat, you feel like Was that it? Well, I was so cool, calm, and collected that I had the BEST experience of my life. I invited peacefulness to surround me so that I would have no worries on my wedding day. When you think about the type of wedding day you want to have, think about the kind of bride you need to be! Be cool, calm, and collected. I’m in graduate school working on my PhD, so I knew that I wouldn’t have a lot of time to plan my wedding. I started planning the day after Kenneth proposed to me (yes, I started planning while I was on vacation in Orlando), and within a month I had my WHOLE wedding team, and I had all of my venues booked. I didn’t have time to waste, so if you start early, you will just be sitting around waiting to get married rather than running around hoping that you’re still going to get married. I was stress-free as far as wedding planning, and that is because I set my budget early and started early.
I also used the planning tools on The Pink Bride’s website to help me understand everything that needed to be done. Their bridal calendar tells you everything that needs to be done, and when it needs to be done. It saved my life because I had everything that I needed to be a successful bride right at my finger tips.
Once you find your wedding dress, stick with it! I didn’t watch any wedding shows such as Say Yes to the Dress because I didn’t want anything to influence my decision. I tried on three dresses at one bridal shop and knew that I had found the dress when I slipped it on! It was very inexpensive, and it was absolutely beautiful.
No matter how many people you invite to your wedding, at least 30 won’t show up and at least 5 people will come who didn’t RSVP. Keep that in mind when coming up with your number! I invited 235 people, so I had 235 chairs, and I had food for 235 people, which was entirely too much. If I could do it all over again, I would have accounted for the 30 people that didn’t show up, and I could have saved some money!
Tell us about your wedding professionals.
I had the best wedding team! All of my wedding professionals knew each other on a very personal level, so I felt like I was working with a family that treated me like part of the family. Dianne, the planner and coordinator, was the mother of us all and she kept all of us informed and told us all what to do. No, I didn’t have many choices! She knew how to keep me in my budget, and she knew the greatest wedding professionals in the city that would come together and make our wedding a success. She was the pilot, so we just had to buckle up and ride along. She took control just as I needed her to, and she did an amazing job!
As I stated on Facebook, everything was absolutely amazing and beautiful. I was blown away. I’m extremely grateful for each of my wedding professionals because all played a major role in giving me the wedding of my dreams. I have worked so closely with all of them that I don’t know what it will be like to let them go so they can start making another bride happy and stress free! I don’t want to let them go! I love them all!! Thank you again! And for those of you looking to have that special, special wedding team:
Photographer: Dorothy Smith. I absolutely loved every minute of our engagement session, and our wedding shots blow my mind every time I see them. You rock Dorothy!
Caterer (hands down best in the land): Draper’s catered the wedding rehearsal dinner and the wedding reception, and everyone was beyond pleased. The bread pudding is amazing! Please try it at the tasting, and fall in love with it like I have. The service is like none other. You won’t get service better than Draper’s. I’m pretty sure that better service does not exist. They are extremely professional and experienced.
Videographer: The magnificent Justin Croninger with Message in a Bottle.
Florist and designer: (turned my vision into the most amazing vintage layout that I have ever seen) Paula Payton
Planner and Coordinator: The motherly love of Bridesaver’s Dianne Trammel is one that I will cherish and miss dearly
Stationary: Dixon’s Printing. They saw my vintage vision as well and turned it into beautiful vintage chic programs, save the dates, and invitations. Thank you Cheryl! You rock!
My Cool and out of the box DJ: Tommy with Dingo’s Entertainment. The Shoe-ly wed game and anniversary dance took our reception to a different level! Loved it Tommy!!!
I had the DREAM team! Once again… Love you all!!!!!!
Tell us about your honeymoon.
We went on our honeymoon a day after our wedding, and we were treated like true royalty at The Paradisus La Perla in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This place was absolutely amazing. We stayed for 6 days and enjoyed the most amazing vegetarian food (we’re vegetarians), the most beautiful area of the beach, and the best resort experiences such as sushi class, salsa class, and Michael Jackson tribute shows. On some days, we were very adventurous and traveled to Cozumel by Ferry, or we hiked around the ruins of Tulum, but for the majority of the time, we slept in cabanas on the beach and enjoyed how beautiful and peaceful life can be when you just sit back, relax, and let go of your worries. We enjoyed our honeymoon so much that we tried to contact our agent to stay another day, but unfortunately, it costs big bucks to stay 24 more hours. No worries though…we will be making our way back to the most amazing resort in Mexico some time soon.
Photographer: PBD Studios
Wedding Planner: Dianne Trammell
Florist: Paula Payton
Cake & Caterer: Draper’s Catering
Invitations & Calligraphy: Dixon’s Printing and Design
Bridal Shop: Pearl’s Place
Formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse
Bridal Party Attire: David’s Bridal
Ceremony & Reception Location: Memphis Central Train Station
Videographer: Message in a Bottle Productions
Music/Entertainment: Dingo Entertainment
Officiant/Minister: Pastor Earle Fisher
Makeup: Kimberly Smith