Anniversaryvirginia weddingsVow Renewal

Surprise Vow Renewal & 50th Wedding Anniversary: Dannie & Dorothy 

Virginia Bride features weddings weekly here on the blog. Being featured in the blog does not necessarily mean they are featured in the print magazine.

Bride: Dorothy Carter,73, Retired Educator

Groom: Dannie Carter,73, Retired Entrepreneur

Wedding Date: July 9, 1973

Vow Renewal: 
July 8, 2023

Venue: Oakdale RVA, Ashland, Virginia

Guests: 140


The Carter children surprised their parents, Dannie and Dorothy, with a vow renewal and 50th-anniversary celebration on July 8, 2023, at Oakdale RVA in Ashland, Virginia. The vow renewal was followed by a cocktail hour and a dinner reception. One hundred and forty guests enjoyed the celebration of life, love, and family. 

Oakdale RVA was chosen for the event because of its stunning beauty. The high ceilings and classic architecture provided a majestic backdrop for the joyous occasion. The main event space was transformed into a scene of opulent beauty and refined charm. The decor was a perfect blend of elegance and serene sophistication, making the occasion truly unforgettable. Every detail was meticulously planned to enhance the theme of elegance and tranquility. Princess Allen, the owner of Rose & Ry Events, was the wedding planner and decorator, overseeing the celebration.

During the cocktail hour, guests eagerly awaited Mr. and Mrs. Carter’s arrival at the venue. As anticipation filled the air, guests savored various appetizers, including a charcuterie board, shrimp boats, chicken lollipops, meatballs, and a vibrant fruit display, and indulged in an open bar.

The Carters were driven to the venue in a sleek black limousine under the ruse that they were attending an awards banquet for their son. When escorted indoors, their children guided them to a floor-to-ceiling wall. The couple was welcomed by an atmosphere of pure joy as their surprise was revealed. The couple’s daughter, Reverend Makeda Carter, led the vow renewal ceremony in a space adorned with white roses, hydrangeas, and baby’s breath, creating an ethereal beauty.

The guests were seated at rectangular tables designed to evoke the grandeur of a king’s estate. Each table was draped in luxurious black linens, creating a striking contrast against the room’s ambient lighting. Gold accents were thoughtfully incorporated through elegant chargers and cutlery, adding a touch of regal splendor to the setup. Personalized menu cards, elegantly scripted, awaited each guest at their place setting, adding an intimate touch to the grand occasion.

The black and white theme continued through the fine china and glassware, ensuring a cohesive and polished look. The plated dinner menu featured Tuscan salmon, stuffed Florentine chicken breast, beef short ribs, whipped potatoes, and baby honey carrots. After dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Carter danced to “My Everything” by Brianna Babineaux.

The decorations included a bold black and white personalized floor covering placed prominently in front of the sweetheart table. This elegant detail proudly displayed “Mr. & Mrs. Carter,” adding a personal touch to celebrate the beautiful couple’s 50th wedding anniversary. The floor covering highlighted the couple’s unique place in the room and was a stunning focal point for the evening.

The sweetheart table was beautifully decorated with a balloon arrangement in soft champagne shades, creating a whimsical frame around the area. Marquee numbers displaying “50” marked the significance of the couple’s wedding anniversary, adding to the celebratory atmosphere.

The wedding cake was an elegant masterpiece, perfectly complementing the event’s overall theme. This five-tiered confection stood tall and majestic; each tier covered in smooth white frosting. The cake was adorned with cascading white fresh roses and detailed with edible gold flakes on each tier, highlighting the cake’s luxurious design.

The live band played a mix of timeless classics and contemporary hits, setting a perfect soundtrack for the evening. Their energetic and joyful performance got everyone dancing. Mr. Carter surprised his lovely wife of 50 years by serenading her. His beautiful voice filled the room with love as he performed renditions of “My Girl” by The Temptations and “For Your Precious Love” by Jerry Butler.

Mr. and Mrs. Carter’s children and guests honored them with a sparkler exit as the night’s celebration ended.

Love Story

“I met my wife, Dorothy, in June of 1970 at McKay’s Hair Salon in Brooklyn, New York,” said Dannie. I was immediately smitten and took her on as a new hair salon client. After a few months, I finally got the nerve to ask her on our first date, and we went to the Movie Theatre on 42nd Street in Manhattan, New York.

I wanted to surprise Dorothy, so I asked my sister-in-law to help plan a surprise proposal. The setting was a beautiful May evening in 1973 on a scenic boat ride up the Hudson River in Manhattan, New York. My band, The Soul Corruptors, was scheduled to provide live music for the guests that evening. I invited Dorothy on the boat ride, leading her to believe that she was coming to listen to my band play. As the night drew to a close, I serenaded Dorothy with the lyrics of “My Girl” by the Temptations. Then, I dropped to one knee and asked her to marry me. On July 9, 1973, we exchanged vows in Lawrenceville, Virginia, with our faith at the forefront of our union. Her ring was an elegant, timeless white gold band adorned with three diamonds, symbolizing her, myself, and our bond.

I loved everything about my wife, from her quick-witted sense of humor to her loving nature. We grew up together, from teenagers to grandparents, and were each other’s love language.

There was no greater love than ours. We enjoyed 50 years of sheer bliss, and our beautiful union touched, inspired, captivated, and revitalized, giving hope to so many hearts.

The love story concludes with a beautiful mix of heartwarming and heartbreaking moments. After renewing their vows and celebrating their anniversary, Mrs. Carter peacefully entered into eternal rest a few weeks later.


VENUE: Oakdale Rva – @Oakdale_Rva – Https://Www.Oakdalerva.Com  

CONSULTANT/PLANNER/FLOWERS: Rose & Ry Events – Owner, Princess Allen – @Rosenryevents_

 PHOTOGRAPHER: Dwayne Morris – @Dwaynemorrisphotography

 VIDEOGRAPHER: Isaiah Taylor – @Isaiahisadore

 RENTAL EQUIPMENT: Marquee Numbers – Alphalit Rva – @Alphalit_Richmond

 CATERING: Chef Edwin – @Chef_Edwin_Long

 FLOOR WRAP: Mawusi Events – @Mawusievents

 BALLOON DECOR: Events By Amba – @Eventsbyamba

 SPARKLERS: Together Entertainment – @Together_Entertainment

 MUSIC: J Tucker & The Krewe – Live Band With Soloist Janell Perkins – @Jtucker_And_Thekrewe

 CAKE: Cakes By Pat – @Cakesbypatrva

 OFFICIANT: Reverend, Makeda Carter 

If you are planning a wedding in Roanoke Virginia, Richmond Virginia, Fredericksburg/Northern Virginia, The Shenandoah Valley, Coastal Virginia or in Charlottesville/ Lynchburg Va. we can help with your wedding planning and ideas.

The author: Debra Shepperson

Debra is a native of Virginia, having lived in both Roanoke and Richmond. She is the co-owner of Relish – Say I Do!! Officiant & Photographer. She is an artist who aims to create ceremony scripts and capture photos that evoke positive emotional responses, inspire others, and deliver nostalgia. Debra holds a graduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth and an undergraduate degree from Saint Leo University, Florida. Before gaining more than ten years of wedding-related experience, Debra was a human resource executive. She has been happily married to the co-owner of Relish for more than 20 years.