Real Weddings

Candice and Thomas at the Ryland Inn

Posted on February 10, 2021 by Lisa A. Flam


Their story:

In February 2015, Candice was nearing the end of her six-month run of online dating. Days away from deleting her accounts, she spotted Thomas’s profile. She liked what she saw—someone who appeared to be a nice guy. “I sent him a simple ‘hello there’ and that was it,” she says. They had a great online conversation, but after a day or two, she hadn’t heard back. Candice, 34, of Plainfield, was about to move on, and on the very day she was set to erase her account, something made her reach out to Thomas, 34, of Philadelphia, one last time.



Her message had a single character. “I just sent him a question mark,” she says, to which he responded with an apology and his phone number. “We started texting and the rest is history,” Candice recalls. “He always says our relationship was saved by a question mark.” She fell for him early and loved that she felt like she could be herself around him. “It was a connection that I had never experienced before, where you feel like you’ve known the person all your life and it was like old souls coming together,” the bride says. “In Thomas, I found my best friend, I found my soul mate, I found someone who I could literally laugh with, grow with.”


Will you marry me?:

Thomas always told Candice he would never propose around a holiday or on her birthday, but his surprise proposal came on March 9, 2019, the day before her birthday during a brunch with her closest family and friends. As she opened a birthday gift from Thomas, she found a sweatshirt with the word “girlfriend” crossed out and “fiancée” underneath. In an emotional moment, he dropped to one knee and everyone in the restaurant cheered them on. “It was definitely something we had talked about, but to live it in the moment was really, really special,” the bride says. “To have the support of strangers in the moment just clapping us on and congratulating us and having the closest people to us there was just awesome.”


Details of the day:

Thomas and Candice became husband and wife on October 27, 2019, before 150 guests at The Ryland Inn. Their wedding was a beautiful study of rustic romance, featuring a neutral fall palette of ivory, tan and cream. Dried flowers and pampas grass were mixed with delicate roses and orchids and lots of candlelight. “I purposely wanted something different,” Candice says. “I wanted it to look like me.”


The gown:

The bride wore an ivory lace gown by Calla Blanche with a sweetheart neckline and a sweeping train, while her bridesmaids each wore a different ivory gown.






The party:

Guests enjoyed a sit-down dinner of snapper and farm chicken breast, followed by cake, a donut wall, chocolate-covered strawberries, petit fours and fireside s’mores. They then danced the night away. The event was a celebration of love, Candice says, and she felt that energy in the room. “Everyone was there to celebrate Thomas and me and to celebrate each other and what they bring to our lives,” she adds. “You could feel the love that people have for us.”

Candice-Thomas-Ryland-inn-Kesha-Lambert-Photography Candice-Thomas-Ryland-inn-Kesha-Lambert-Photography

Favorite moment:

Candice’s favorite moment was when the doors to the Coach House opened and she was about to walk down the aisle, as she saw Thomas and all of her guests. “It’s a moment that I’ve had dreams about and it felt surreal,” she says.


Favorite detail:

For Candice, it was “our friends and family and the support and love that they provided and continue to provide for us as individuals and for us as a couple.”

Candice-Thomas-Ryland-inn-Kesha-Lambert-Photography Candice-Thomas-Ryland-inn-Kesha-Lambert-Photography

Candied apples from In The Company of Yum and sweet-potato pies made by Candice’s auntie Marietta from North Carolina were displayed with dessert but given as favors in treat bags and boxes for guests to take home.



After a honeymoon to Grenada, the couple is at home in Cedar Grove.

the details

Reception Location

The Ryland Inn


Kesha Lambert Photography


Pastor Rudy Coleman

Bride’s Gown

Calla Blanche, from Castle Couture

+ more