LaTasha Renee Swanson, Bride

Randous Jamar Bowens, Groom


Ceremony:  The Mansion at Oak Hill, Carmel IN (Outdoor ceremony site)

Reception:  The Mansion at Oak Hill, Carmel IN

Honeymoon: Playa Mujeres, Mexico


July 3rd, 2011 (6:30 pm ceremony start)


How we met:

I was introduced to Randous by his cousin, Ms. Stephanie.  I had known her for about two years.  She owned the hair salon that my mom and I had frequented.  One day when my mom was getting her hair done, Ms. Stephanie told her she was thinking about introducing me to her cousin who had recently returned home to Indiana from graduate school in Florida.

My mom later called me to share the details of her conversation with Ms. Stephanie.  Even though she seemed excited, I could not help but to be like many people who have been the subject of a “blind love connection”…a little apprehensive.  As promised, the next time I visited the hair salon, I was approached by Ms. Stephanie.  She described Randous as intelligent, attractive, and an overall good person.  She gave me his contact information and persistently collected mine.  When I had an opportunity, I again did what most people, who have been the subject of a “blind love connection” do, I looked him up on Face book.  She was right, he was attractive.

He called me later that day and we had a great conversation.  His phone calls became as calculable as the 5:30 am buzzer on my alarm clock.  When my phone rang, I lit up like an anxious teenage girl.  After a week of good conversation, he invited me on a date.  To this day, I am still not sure about what she saw in me (out of all of her clients) that she thought would be a good fit with him, but I am glad she acted on her prophetic match making ability.


First Date:

We planned to meet at P.F. Chang’s on a Friday at 8 pm.  The date was such a success we decided not to stop at dinner.  We went from dinner to a lounge/sushi bar and finally to a place where we could dance.  We called it a night a little after 1 am.  I drove home smiling, with a new excitement.


When did I Know (I would marry him):

After Randous successfully talked me into running up 806 stairs for the Bop to the Top race for Riley Children’s Hospital, I knew there was something really special about our relationship.  We went to dinner after the exhilarating event and I just had this indescribable feeling.  I felt like I had found someone with common interests, who complimented me and created a new excitement about the future.


How did he Propose:

He was so nervous the night her proposed.  It was an unseasonably cold October night last year.  We went to the Jazz Kitchen for dinner and live music.  After dinner, he asked if I would like to take a walk on the Canal (Downtown Indy).  I quickly said no (it was too cold).  I think this may have slightly increased his anxiety.  He then suggested a carriage ride.  In the carriage, he got down on one knee and presented me with a beautiful ring.  This proved to be a somewhat dangerous stunt because when the carriage hit a bump in the road, he almost lost his balance.  I happily said yes and a small crowd of people watching from the sidewalk began to cheer.


Our Favorite thing to do together:

It is difficult to pick just one.  We both love music.  We sometimes stay up all night together playing, singing, and dancing to favorite selections from our CD collections or on YouTube.  From our private music concerts in the car to our Wii karaoke and dance competitions, music brings us together. We also enjoy playing competitive games of Scrabble, Monopoly, and Chess (that I usually win).


The Wedding Scoop:

Wedding Colors:  A very soft kiwi green and cream.  We used soft tropical colors like pink, orange, and purple as accents in our floral arrangements.

Number of Guests: Approximately 95 guests.

Wedding Party:  2 bridesmaids, 1 maid of honor, 2 groomsmen, 1 best man and an adorable ring bearer.

Wedding Style:  Our wedding had a tropical theme.  The bridesmaids wore a tropical flower in their hair.  We used unity sand instead of candles.  We requested smooth reggae love songs during dinner, served a tropical punch, and used island floral arrangements and decorations.  Our guests received a little island themed box of candies and each table was named after an island.  This was noted on their place cards.

Something Traditional:  Even though we were encouraged to by many people, Randous and I did not see each other the day of or before the ceremony.  This was mainly his suggestion and I think it made seeing each other at the altar that much more special.

Something Very Different & Most Memorable:  We did not do the “expected” traditional first dance.  We performed Dennis Edward and Siedah Garrett’s song “Don’t Look Any Further”.  It was a song that we both really liked. At some point while we were dating, we came across the original 80’s music video and it became a source of great entertainment for us.  We watched it over and over again (we are silly and easily amused). We always joked about remaking the video, so we decided we would surprise our family and friends at the reception.  We even spent a few days learning the dance step from the video so that we could perform it.


Best Decisions:

-The DJ – Tim Glesing of Circle City Sound

-The Venue – Oak Hill Mansion 

-Wedding Photographer – Brenda Staples of DeFabis Photography


The elegant, but casual experience! We decided to create a more casual atmosphere for our wedding.  We wanted elegance, but we did not want our reception to be too formal.  We had a buffet style dinner and the DJ did a great job of playing music to keep the party going.  He danced, encouraged guest participation and even took requests. I think we achieved our goal.  We wanted a celebration, a party – and that is exactly what it was.  Our guest mingled, laughed, and stayed on the dance floor until the last song.

We also felt that we selected a talented and professional photographer. Brenda did a great job of communicating and capturing every detail of the wedding.


Things we would do again:

Even though we stressed and grew grey hair over the fear of rain on our wedding day.  We even considered adding Bob Gregory to our speed dial.  I would still have an outdoor wedding.  It was a gorgeous and natural setting! A perfect blue sky and the light of the sun not only made everyone and everything glow, it also accentuated the presence and beauty of God on our wedding day.


Things we would Not do again:

Nothing – Even though everything was not 100% perfect, everything worked out perfect.  Even the things that did not go as planned added to our memory and story about the wedding.  Overall, it was beautiful and special.


Wedding Advice:


• Stay together as a couple throughout the night.  I read this in an article prior to the wedding and it was great advice!  It keeps the focus of the night on your union, you meet guest and get good advice together, and you don’t have to worry about getting side tracked or lost in all of the very busy activity.

• Hire a good DJ.  Our DJ created the structure for our event.  He kept everything on schedule and he made sure we and our guests had a great time.

• Find a good venue.  The Mansion at Oak Hill was a great venue.  Erin was very organized and we received exceptional customer service from the staff during the event.  They took care of our guest and even went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we needed.

• Write a letter to your spouse-to-be and have it delivered before the ceremony.  We wrote each other love letters and Randous took it a step further by making my favorite dessert, banana pudding…yum! It was delivered to me a few hours before the ceremony with the letter.  This builds the excitement and helps you two stay connected in the midst of all of the commotion.

• Don’t forget to enjoy this time and the friends and family who help make it come to life.


List of Vendors:

Venue (Reception & Ceremony) – The Oak Hill Mansion, Carmel IN

DJ –  Circle City Sound, Tim Glesing

Wedding Photographer – DeFabis Photography, Brenda Staples

Videographer – Michael Simmons

Flowers & Decoration – My amazing, creative family!

Cake – Encore Desserts & More

Limo/Transportation – Above & Beyond Limo