Whitney and Richard met during the summer of 2011, when Whitney spotted Richard at his job, while she was visiting a colleague. "I saw him looking so handsome in a pair of sweats and a hoodie! I’m not particularly shy, so I made sure that my colleague, who knew him since they worked together some years ago, called him later to give him my number," said Whitney. The two didn’t actually meet that day, but when Richard got a call from his colleague about Whitney, he called her the next day. "We spent hours talking on the phone that first day, went on a date the day after, and 5 years later…are husband and wife!" Check out their elegant New Jersey wedding, captured by Kanayo Adibe!
Bride: Whitney Hopkins, 30, Director of Performance Technologies
Groom: Richard Strong, 34, Athletic Director
Wedding date: 8/13/16
Wedding location: The Merion, Cinnaminson, NJ
Wedding theme: Black Tie Luxe & Chic
Honeymoon Destination: Ixtapa, Mexico
I had an inkling that he was attempting to propose on the Saturday of the week he actually proposed. One of our close friends asked me to go get our nails done (jackpot!), people were asking me when I thought it was going to happen, and I just felt it in the air. I thought I had it all under control. The Thursday before I thought he was proposing, he called me at work to ask if we could meet with his boss and his wife for a paint night dinner instead of us going to our favorite Mexican spot. I was looking forward to Mexican all day, and was starving, but I could tell it meant a lot to him, so I gave in. I met him downtown DC for the paint night, went inside and saw there weren’t many people. I asked him where his boss was, and he’d mentioned he was on his way, but we should get a glass of wine and get started anyways. I was terribly irritated (and hungry lol), but playing it cool, and we went to the studio to begin our session while we waited. Because Ricky is so sweet, he tried cheering me up by making our paint session a competition, and we pitted the backs of our easels together to keep them private until we finished our masterpieces. It was time for the reveal. I went first. I painted a taco. Yes, a taco. It was horrible!!! But I was STARVING! And my creative juices wouldn’t let me be great. I presented mine and we laughed until he showcased his with the words “Will You Marry Me” plastered all over them. He got me GOOD. I broke all the way down, he bent on his knee and said, “I only know one other Mrs. Strong, would you do me the honor and be the second?” Out of nowhere, I see flashing lights and look toward the stairs to see our good friend who happens to enjoy photography as a hobby, snapping everywhere! It was beautiful, quaint, personal, and perfect. I looked a mess, nails weren’t done, taken completely off guard, and wouldn’t have had it any other way.
From the Bride:
I was ( to most people) abnormally calm. I remembered making a promise to myself not to allow anything to ruin my wedding weekend, so it was perfect. I made a decision to sleep alone the night before, so I could get a good night’s rest, enjoy waking up alone and reflecting, and it was the perfect decision for me. Everything was organized, calm, and smooth (crazy, right!). The morning was perfect…literally. Mimosas, bagels, the laughs - my highlight film really shows just how calm and fun the time leading up the aisle really was. I was so happy, things ran well and I remember every second – which was my number one goal.
From the Groom:
I’m not one for the hoopla or attention, so it was pretty overwhelming. We had about 220 guests, so seeing all of those people in about a 5 and half hour time span was hard! But it was all worth it. Whitney was happy, all of our loved ones were present and enjoying themselves, and that made it all worthwhile for me.
Most memorable moment:
We had a church ceremony and during which, we invited all of our guests to take Communion with us. Not only did it mean so much to have a split second of personal time with each guest, it was nontraditional and so special for us. Definitely something that I’d love to do as a guest at another church wedding!
What makes your love special?
When you think of a special and unique type of love, you’d probably like to envision how two people complement each other, love each other selflessly, or that they’re accepting of each of the other’s flaws. While we believe we meet that criteria, candidly - sometimes at minimum or not at all, we think our love is unique because it’s imperfect. We are two completely different, and often opposite, people who have chosen to love and build one life from two experiences together. That takes commitment, acceptance, and true personal introspection. While we have a ways to go, we acknowledge our flaws personally, while understanding the other’s, and loving wholeheartedly all the same.
Favorite wedding detail:
Food! Hands down. Food was the center of our reception and one of the most important things we wanted to have at our wedding. There was tons of it - we had a bacon station, macaroni and cheese station, cold seafood, pasta stations, Philly cheese steak stations, and more but that was just the Cocktail Reception! The Merion in Cinnaminson, NJ is known for their beautiful and abundant spreads of food, and we wanted to indulge in that with and for our guests. The Main Course included a choice of Branzino, Rib-eye, and Chicken Oscar – and the evening concluded with a Dessert Room full of treats from soft pretzels, adult root beer floats, and kahlua chocolate cups. It was perfect!
We had three first dance songs – we couldn’t choose!!!
Never Felt This Way - Alicia Keys version
Promise To Love - Kem
Saving My Love For You – Kem
Never Felt This Way was a song that I’ve loved for years now, even before I met Ricky. I remember listening to it after about a year into dating him, and saying I can finally say I feel this! I wanted that for the wedding also. We are also huge Kem fans, and love how he displays our feelings into a perfect melody. The words in all three songs were perfect depictions for us. Of course, we didn’t dance to all three songs fully, our amazing DJ did a little transition of sorts.
What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?
Buying our first home and having our first baby! He’s been a homeowner before, so it was important to me to do that together in a space that we call our own and build our family within those walls. We also get excited about what traditions we’ll start for our family too!
Advice for a Bride and Groom on their wedding day:
Remember that the day flies by, so be purposeful in how you spend your morning and leading up to walking the aisle. It’s important that you surround yourself with people who respect that, and will allow for that tranquility to unfold, giving you both the downtime you deserve.
Congratulations to the newlyweds Whitney and Richard. We wish you many more years of wedded bliss.
Photographer: Kanayo Adibe
Ceremony location: Haddonfield United Methodist Church
Reception location: The Merion
Bridal gown: Watters Gown purchased at Betsy Robinson Bridal
Bridal party attire: WeddingtonWay
Groom’s tux : Lapel, Graham Sowash at Lapel
Day of Coordination: Randi Martin
Music: DJ Premonition
Hair: Adilisha Patrom
Flowers: Alisha Simone
Stationery: Elegant Wedding Invites
Alterations: Dahnistry, Owner Dantrese Canady