A Surprise Engagement Brunch Leads to Happily Ever After

While pursuing similar careers, Serena and Connor’s paths crossed in Chicago, Illinois. On the first day of their pediatric dentistry Residency Program at the University of Illinois, the two met and became quick friends with each other and other residents. Two short months after meeting, Serena and Connor began dating.

After falling in love while enjoying Chicago’s many festivals, concerts and restaurants, the couple decided to move to Arizona after their residency ended. It was a journey they were excited to venture on together.

A year later, when Serena’s mom was coming to visit, Serena thought it would just be a mother-daughter spa weekend. Conner had other plans though and arranged a brunch with both of their families. After surprising Serena with the brunch, Connor surprised her again as he gave a toast to his love for Serena before getting down on one knee and asking her to marry him. 


In July of 2019, Serena and Conner were married at a beautiful outdoor ceremony at Morais Vineyards in Bealeton, Virginia. Stunning décor, incredible weather and the breathtaking scenery made for an incredible day of celebration and love. The smiles on the couple embodied the pure excitement and bliss felt by everyone present as Serena and Conner were about to embark on life as a married couple. 

The morning of the wedding day, Serena and Conner each spent time with their closest friends. Conner and his groomsmen played board games and relaxed before getting ready. Meanwhile, with mimosas in hand, Serena, her mother and her bridesmaids enjoyed one another’s company while getting pampered by hair stylists and makeup artists. 

Wedding Bouquet
Wedding Dress
Bridal Party
First Look
Wedding Party

Serena’s stunning mermaid-style gown with its flirty silhouette and flared-out skirt not only complemented her skin tone and figure beautifully, but also added a wow factor that left everyone, including Connor, with a jaw-dropping reaction. For the ceremony, she showcased off-the-shoulder, three-quarter length lace sleeves, before removing them for the reception—transforming the dress into a whole new look. An added bejeweled belt, tear-drop earrings and an eye-catching hair clip also elevated Serena’s fashion-forward style.

All the while, Connor sported a white tuxedo jacket paired with maroon pants and tie to match his groomsmen while still standing apart. The bridal party looked stunning in a warm palette of light pinks and deep maroon. The bridesmaid dresses varied slightly in complementary shades of soft pinks that looked timeless, yet modern, beside the maroon of the groomsmen’s attire. 

Bride's Shoes

Serena and Conner wanted to ensure their guests would be entertained throughout the day, beginning with pre-ceremony activities. In their programs, they included games like sudoku, tic-tac-toe and trivia questions that guests could enjoy while waiting for the wedding to begin. 

To keep from overheating during the ceremony, guests were gifted with hand-held fans in the shape of the bride and groom’s baby pictures. The adorable fans were a fun personal touch that gave their families and friends a glimpse into their pasts. Adding an element of surprise, something both Serena and Conner love, they taped copies of the wedding readings under two random seats, so two randomly selected guests would became a part of their ceremony and wedding day.

Their vineyard-side ceremony made for an intimate and stunning backdrop. For Serena, having her mother walk her down the aisle was a special moment that would be cherished forever. After saying “I Do” and kissing his bride, Connor led Serena back down the aisle and into the beginning of their next chapter through a bubble send-off surrounded by friends and family.

Wedding Ceremony
Bride and Groom
Wedding Bouquet
Bride and Groom
Bride and Groom
Wedding Guests

Between the ceremony and reception, guests mingled during a cocktail hour and enjoyed board games and cards. During the reception, guests were treated to ice cream cookie sandwiches or warm cookies and milk, and sent off with customized toothbrush packets that sported their wedding logo, in honor of their careers as dentists.

Bride and Groom
Bride and Groom
Cutting the Cake
Bride and Groom

During the reception, Serena and Conner changed into traditional Ghanaian clothing to celebrate their marriage with a classic wedding tradition: the money spray, where guests throw money over the dancing newlyweds to not only celebrate their good fortune but also send them off into married life with some extra funds. The overjoyed attitude of the day continued throughout the reception, and the pure joy on Serena and Conner’s faces made a picture-perfect ending to a beautiful wedding day.  ~

Wedding Dancing

wedding vendors

Photographer: Mason Photography
Wedding Venue: Morais Vineyards
Caterer: Caribbean Caterers
Wedding Planner: Something New Events
Cinematographer: The Vincent Creative
Florist: Bella Fiori
Cake & Desserts: Captain Cookie
Beauty Stylist: Brown Bella Beats
Hair Stylist: I Do Artistry
Wedding Dress: Love Couture Bridal
Groom’s Suit: Parker & Schmidt

Virginia Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in Virginia Wine Country. Virginia Wine & Country Life is a semi-annual luxury print magazine with a full digital presence. The Virginia Wine & Country Gold Book is an annual guide to the top award-winning wines, wineries and experiences in Virginia Wine Country. The annual Virginia Wine & Country Wedding Planner is an art book of elegant Virginia weddings. The brand includes the Virginia Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, Va. It is a beautiful lifestyle boutique that brings the pages of the magazines to life. Virginia Wine & Country tells the stories of Virginia wineries, the farm-to-table movement, luxury travel, entertaining, art and the elegant country lifestyle. Ivy Life & Style Media also provides branding, web design and PR services for the wine industry.

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