I (William) was born in the Cleveland area suburbs. I went to John Carroll University to study finance and participate in Army ROTC. Upon graduating, I entered the US Army, then attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, completing my MBA and joining the corporate world in financial services technology in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2013. Since 2015 we have lived in Mountain View, CA where I work with investors and startups in the technology sector.
I've traveled to over 30 countries and enjoy both business and pleasure trips, and I love cooking for my wife Gloria.
I (Gloria) grew up Accra, Ghana with my mother and siblings, and moved to the United States as a teenager, to New Jersey first and then to Columbus, Ohio as our permanent home. I was a nearly straight A student and never missed a day of school that I can remember in high school or college. I graduated John Carroll University, the same as Will although we never met, and finished with my degree in chemistry.
I finished my Ph.D in pharmacy in four years and put on my white coat for the first time. Will and I moved in together in Northern California a few years later after dating and getting to know each other and falling in love. We both love to travel, cook and eat (he cooks more though!), and try new things out, like our recent attempts at playing tennis or golf together.
Despite going to the same undergraduate university we met years later when I got out of the Army and mutual friends introduced me to Gloria on Halloween 2010 in Columbus, Ohio. We quickly became friends and years later after going out separate ways decided to give long distance dating a try. The trips to see each other were often too short, but well worth the effort, planning, and expense so we could get to know each other. We finally moved in together in 2015.
In fall of 2016 we were visiting family in Ohio. What was unique about it and likely gave away something big was the fact that my brother visited Ohio all the way from Hawaii. Gloria knew SOMETHING was up because of that. While we were home, and with the engagement ring burning a hole in my bag, we went on a hike in a nearby park by my parents' home to a waterfall that is in a secluded spot along a river. I kept back and had her go first near the waterfall, and as she turned to touch it I got on one knee and asked her to marry me. What was ironic about it all was because it was a weekday there were very few people around, but there was one guy and his dogs. I kept waiting for him to leave nearby so we would have the privacy and thankfully the timing worked out perfectly.
Her engagement ring is a single large round cut diamond in a solitaire setting with small diamonds around two-thirds of the band. Her wedding band matches, and my wedding band is medium to thin white gold band with a brushed finish. I actually had little success finding a good engagement ring in California and travelled back to North Carolina where I lived for four years to buy one from a trusted jeweler that a good friend recommended. I trusted her to ship it across the country for me after my selection and six hours with her of deliberating which diamond and setting to purchase—which was difficult to wait for, but arrived in perfect shape and unknown to Gloria.
We flew back to Ohio in the winter of 2016 to view venues, and in about one foot of snow. We visited several places, but the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland (MoCa is how it is branded) fit with our contemporary theme and was totally unique. We were able to purchase the entire venue for six hours and have all the art exhibits to ourselves and our guests. It was something most of our guests said they never had experienced before.
It was pretty hard to find vendors from across the country while working long hours at each of our jobs, but we made the most of of frequent weekend or holiday trips home to meet with our choices. We had some hard moments where particular vendors were not available to meet face to face when we traveled home, but things like Skype video chats made it a bit easier for us to narrow down our list. Our DJ (Flash Jams Entertainment) we went with for sure because of his experience being a professional DJ in competitions in the 1990s. My brother, who is a professional photographer, recommended our photographer Robb McCormick and said he was the best in Ohio and he was worth the money.
Gloria wore a white 'fit and flair' cut Vera Wang dress with Christian Louboutin heels. I wore a Ermenegildo Zegna custom-made dark grey suit, white shirt, and pink tie with some black shoes and colorful Stance socks.
We tried to pick a mix of things the older crowd would recognize and dance to, and the music we preferred, which is mostly R&B and Hip Hop. Our DJ did a fantastic job gauging how to mix things up and when to do so. For our first dance we used Jason Mraz "I Won't Give Up" and for our cake cutting we did New Edition "Candy Girl" because we both like how it's kind of a corny song. We also got the DJ to play a few polka songs which drove my family crazy as it brought back memories of them growing up in a Hungarian/Polish family in Cleveland. Gloria got the DJ to play a few Ghanian songs, too.
Our ceremony was at a museum in Cleveland that was once an old industrialist's mansion and had a very fancy garden courtyard that we selected. The space was very elaborate and decorative and we did not need any additional flowers or decorations to get it ready for the day. Our officiants were Gloria's brother and his wife who did a fantastic job at their first officiant position ever. Gloria's seven year old niece Naomi read a Bible verse and served as flower girl. We also had my parents and brother's wife read Bible verses and statements. The weather was perfect for Cleveland: a very rare occasion in early August in northern Ohio.
My best man's speech was really amazing and touched on a interesting/funny story from 2004 or so and he brought the meaning behind that story to exemplify a quality in me about loyalty and trust and how that wove into my love for Gloria. Really amazing story and speech.
My brother's wife performed a Tahitian dance ceremony as a surprise for us that lasted about 7 or 8 minutes solo. She also had flown in hand made leis from Hawaii for us to wear for our wedding night.
We had the venue until midnight, and everyone kept dancing until the very end. We played a Green Day song "Time of Your Life" to end the night with all our friends on the dance floor.
Photography | Robb McCormick Photography
Videography | Thomas Ancel
Pre-wedding venue | Glidden House
Wedding coordinator | Jamie Brown
Florist | Blooms by Plantscaping
Catering | Marigold Catering
Cake | Michael Angelo's Bakery
DJ | Walt from Flash Jam Entertainment
Dress retailer | Le Jeune Mariée
Dress designer | Vera Wang
Designer for Gloria's shoes | Christian Louboutin
Designer for William's suit | Ermenegildo Zegna
I am a people photographer. For most families, photographs are among our most prized heirlooms. I strive to capture timeless images. I believe a great photograph isn't taken, it's made through the use of the right light, the right posing, and the right attitude to bring out the best in each client.