Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I have an extra big smile on my face for today's wedding because it happens to be the wedding of my cousin, Sherray. In October 2009, I traveled with my sister and brother-in-law to witness this lovely occasion. Everything, from the outdoor location to the tented reception, was just beautiful. Today, Sherray shares her memories and what went on behind the scenes of her big day.

Sherray & DeJuan Ratcliffe
October 3, 2009
Valrico, Florida
What was your favorite part of your wedding day? My favorite part of the day was walking down the isle. This moment was so signifcant to me because not only was I of course finally walking to the man that I want to spend my forever with, but I had my father by my side. This was signficant to me because unfortantely he was not in my life growing up and I truly thought I would never get to expierence that day with my father by my side. For the first time in my life I finally got a chance to feel what it was like to be a "daddy's girl"...and since that day our relationship has flourished wonderfully.

How did you spend the day getting prepared to walk down the aisle? That day flew by pretty fast. That morning my step daughter and I got up and went to the hair salon to get dolled up. We spent about 3-4 hours there and then went back to the wedding facility. The unique thing about the venue is that it was a beatiful two story home converted into a special events facility and had a complete bridal suite upstairs for all of the bridesmaids and I to relax AND get ready in for the big day. Make up started about 2 1/2 hours before the start of the wedding. It was not a rushed process at fact it was completely relaxing and I savored every moment of it.

What special touches did you include to make your wedding personal/memorable? Family is very important to DeJuan and I and we were both very close with our grandmothers. We wanted them to be a part of our day. Unfortunately his grandmother passed sudddenly in 1998. However his great aunt from Kentucky was able to make it to the wedding and we felt she was the perfect person to represent the memory of his grandmother. So we had both my materal and paternal grandmothers and his great aunt in the wedding processional. We also put a tribute in the wedding program to his grandmother and two of my uncles that I was very close to that had untimely sudden passings. On a lighter note my step daughter and I performed a cute little dance during the reception to Mary Mary's "Its the God in Me". We tried to get my son to shake a leg with DeJUan but you know little boys...he was way to cool for that! lol

My great-aunt :-)

Were there any wedding day "mishaps"? If so, how did you handle it? There were a few behind the scenes mishaps that I did not know about until after the honeymoon. My coordinator did a great job at "hiding them"! The biggest and most devestaing unfortunately I knew about and it couldnt have been hidden. We found out after it was too close to the wedding that we had a cake vendor from hell! She lost our sketches numerous times, wouldnt return calls, and called the NIGHT before the wedding asking questions about the details and decor of the cake! Needless to say when we actually saw the cake I was terrified and devested! It was leaning, cracked, and missing the detailed patterns that were to be etched into each tier. The grooms cake was supposed to be an alligator with a tomahawk in the head representing the rivarly between FSU (the hubby's fav team and UF the best man's fav team). It looked like a turtle or some other unGodly looking creature! I wanted to burst into tears when we saw the table with the cakes but I held my composure. The only thing that kept me from losing it was the taste! It was absolutely delicious! I know that sounds crazy but people were more impressed with the taste of the cake then the look..either that or they were just being really really nice about it! But I did eat a piece and it was magnificent! Needless to say she will never be used again and got a piece of my mind after it was all over.

You had a beautiful outdoor ceremony. What advice would you give to future brides about having an outdoor ceremony? The best advice I can give for a bride having an outdoor ceremony, especially if you live in Florida is to pray for the best but plan for the worse (or unexpected). In our case we had the ceremony and reception outdoors so we had to decide if we wanted to invest in the very costly tent rental. The wedding was in Oct so the rain chances are usually pretty low that time of year and the heat is usually not as intense. It rained all week and the wedding day we had a 20-30% chance. We decided to get the tent, and Im glad we did. Although the day turned out beautiful with not a cloud in the sky the sun was till beaming hard. Our guests would have been scortching hot if we hadnt had that form of shade for them to sit under for the reception. So while we we could have saved a few bucks b/c we got away from the rain, that savings was not worth the discomfort of our guests if we hadnt "prayed for the best but planned for the worse OR unexpected and gotten that tent!

Guess who caught the bouquet?

That would be me :-)

Me and the superstar couple :-)
Photo Credit: Richard Harris with Millennium Entertainment & Photography (Photo of me with bride and groom, mine)


  1. This was wonderful Audrey and Sherray! I'm glad you posted it because I hadn't seen it before.