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Wedding Announcement: Angel McWilliams and Connie Emery-Walker

Connie Emery shares the first dance with Angel McWilliams (Photo: Jessie Harper Photography)

Names: Angel McWilliams (aka Xavier Bottoms) and Connie Emery-Walker

Ages: Angel, 43; Connie Emery-Walker, 36

Professions: Angel is a contractor, and Connie is a Perkins Restaurant Manager

City, State: Washington, D.C.

Date of Wedding: November 2, 2013

The Big Day: When we got engaged, we knew exactly where we wanted to get married. No other place made sense in our hearts, and that place was Almas Temple, in Washington, D.C. The Temple has been home for so many things in our community, and its members are always graciously accepting and non-judgmental—no matter what the occasion. Angel has worked there throughout the years, and its members are a big part of our family.

The glass staircase in the main ballroom was the perfect setting to say, “I do.” The architecture of the building itself is so beautiful and historically breathtaking that instead of hiding all of the beautiful qualities of the room, Connie thought up the perfect plan to highlight each and every detail. It’s no secret to family and friends that Angel can build anything, and it’s Ophelia and Connie’s job to make it look pretty when she’s done! With that being said—it was easy.

Connie adores peacock feathers so an enchanted forest theme seemed to make the most sense. From the chocolate-brown pin-tuck table linens to the birch-bark-wrapped centerpiece vases adorned with their wood-burned initials, it was clear to everyone that this wedding’s guests would be the accents in the room. Since everyone there meant something very dear to us, we felt that highlighting them as the “color in the room” was only appropriate. All-white flowers and peacock feathers filled every centerpiece, and the mood was set by thousands of candles that filled the room, from lanterns lining the staircase, to hundreds of votive candles scattered across every surface. It was clear that love was the ever-present theme to the room.

Brittany’s Confections, of Manassas, VA, painstakingly made our cake and 200 cupcakes; Purcellville Florist, of Purcellville, VA, created the gorgeous flower arrangements; and the décor by Angel and Connie, with gracious assistance from our fellow performers and friends Myster E and Chaser Round, completed the setting. The room was exactly how we dreamed it would be.

The Firsts
First Meeting: Years ago (2002), we met through mutual friends. Connie had a small group of friends whom she always hung out with, and Angel had just started dating one of them. Throughout that time frame, we had the chance to form a friendship that would last eight years. We’ve been there for one another through ups and downs and failed relationships. Even still, we remained true to who we are and remained faithful to our significant others and just could never seem to be single at the same time.

First Date: Angel got into an accident in June 2011, while riding her motorcycle. Sitting at a red light, she was hit from behind; the driver was not paying attention to the road. The police and paramedics who had arrived on the scene thought for sure that she was dead. Luckily for all of us, she was not. It was then that we knew, time isn’t promised to anyone; it was now our time to stop wasting it. Two weeks after being released from the hospital, we had our first date (July 11, 2011). Connie flew in from South Carolina, and Angel picked her up from the airport for their official first date at Freddie’s Beach Bar, at the Freddie’s Follies drag show.

First Kiss: Our first kiss happened on July 11, during our first date at Freddie’s.

When They Knew: I think, deep down, we’ve always known that we were meant to be together. We almost lost Angel in a motorcycle accident; it just showed us that the excuses we were making for not being together didn’t matter anymore. Angel called Connie two days after the accident, and said, “We’ve been doing this for eight years now, and I’ve realized that I’m done doing that.”

The Proposal: The proposal happened on Connie’s 35th birthday (August 8). As a child, Connie had spent a lot of years living in a town in Calvert County, MD, called North Beach. For dinner, we went to Abner’s, her favorite hometown restaurant. Afterward, we walked along the boardwalk in North Beach, looking out over the sand and the Chesapeake Bay. I got down on one knee and asked her to “be mine forever.” Thankfully, she cried, and said, “Yes.”

The Rings: Platinum and diamonds for both; Connie’s had to be something that was like her—simple, with a touch of the past. (For such an independent woman, she has an old soul filled, with a big heart.) Angel’s had to be something that not only made sense for what she does every day (work with her hands), but that also looked good on Xavier’s hand. Connie was not only marrying Angel McWilliams, but—BONUS—Xavier Bottoms, as well!

The Honeymoon: We spent a glorious week in Nashville, TN, the country music capital of the world. Connie had always wanted to go there, and Angel hadn’t been in several years (since she was a child). We were lucky enough to see the Country Music Awards (CMAs) live, and what a show that was! We also attended the taping of the Country Music Association’s Christmas Show. We visited The Country Music Hall of Fame, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, The Stage, and The Bluebird Café—the list goes on and on. Coming home with even more cowboy boots and cowboy hats to add to Xavier’s collection was an added bonus. But, the best part had to be the amazing Opryland Hotel: It was truly stunning!

Looking Into the Future: With Angel having to fight through several surgeries because of the motorcycle accident, and Connie battling cancer, our future plans are simple: love one another, spend time with our beautiful children, and help the next generation of our community achieve their dreams. We love our new home in Purcellville, VA. And, our family and community are everything to us. For now, we’re focusing on getting better and doing all that we can to make the world a better place for our 12-year-old son, Cole.