Ms. Carmen Jeanine McCutcheon and Mr. Alphonso Simon Jr. both of Columbia were united in marriage on August 29, 2015, at Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church in Savannah, Georgia. The service of Christian Marriage and Holy Communion occurred at 5:30 o’clock in the afternoon with 125 friends and family members in attendance.
The bride is the daughter of Rev. Larry D. and Dr. Gloria Sanders McCutcheon of Camden and formerly of Orangeburg, SC. Maternal grandparents are Mr. David Sanders Sr. and the late Mrs. Hattie Mines Sanders of Denmark, SC. Paternal grandparents are the late Mr. Samuel D. and Mrs. Emma C. McCutcheon of Lake City, SC.
The bridegroom is the son of Mr. Alphonso Simon Sr. and Mrs. Marie Williams Simon (deceased). His maternal grandparents are the late Mr. David Williams and the late Mrs. Irene Williams of Bethune, SC. His paternal grandparents are Mr. James and Mrs. Jessie Simon, also of Bethune, South Carolina.
Rev. Dr. Robin Dease, Hartsville (SC) District Superintendent of the United Methodist Church, officiated the ceremony.
The bride and groom were presented in marriage by their parents.
The bride’s sister, Dr. Priscilla McCutcheon Benitez of Louisville, Kentucky was the bride’s honored attendant. The honored best man was the brother of the groom, Mr. Cerenzo Simon Sr, and the herald was nephew of the groom, Master Cerenzo Simon Jr.
Organ Music for the ceremony was provided by Mr. Michael L. Ellis of Orangeburg, and vocalists were Ms. Helene T. Carter, family friend of Denmark, SC and the bride’s Spelman classmate, Ms. Mari-Yan Pringle, of New York City.
The Wedding Program was designed by the bride’s god sister, Mrs. Courtney Cooper (David) Williams. Rev. Larry McCutcheon gave the Wedding Prayer; Dr. Jesulon Gibbs-Brown and Mr. Brenton Brown read the Wedding Scriptures; and Dr. Keecha Harris wrote and delivered a beautiful Wedding Reading.
The bride’s friends, along with her mother and sister, formed a circle of friendship and offered scriptures and prayers led by Spelman Sister, Ms. Eboni Walker, in the bride’s dressing room immediately prior to the ceremony.
The ballroom bridal gown was ivory satin with a pleated bodice defined at the waist with an appliqué of lace and sequin. Carmen chose to wear her mother’s chapel length veil trimmed in Chantilly Lace as her mother wore it 37 years ago at Trinity United Methodist Church in Orangeburg. She carried a beautiful heirloom bouquet of Juliet Garden Roses, tea roses, blue thistle, lavender, olive branch, rosemary, bay laurel, and camellia foliage wrapped in satin and pinned with her grandmother’s broach.
Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a beautiful reception at Garibaldi Cafe in Savannah. After the blessing by Mr. Adam Landy, guests dined on Savannah Style Entrees (rib-eye steak, salmon, whole flounder) and wedding cake varieties (hummingbird, red velvet, and cheese cake). The couple served each other and then served their parents from the wedding cake. Rev. McCutcheon and Dr. McCutcheon welcomed everyone and thanked them for sharing in this memorable occasion. Toasts were made by the sister of the bride, brother of the groom, and many well wishers who had travelled from afar to celebrate with Carmen and Al. The bridal portrait by Cecil Williams’ Photography was unveiled. The portrait was taken in the yard of Carmen’s birthplace in rural Denmark, SC with a background of live oak trees, keeping in line with the natural, outdoor theme of the wedding. Flowers by A to Zinnia’s florist included white hydrangea, herbal plants, and fruit. Music for the reception was provided by Mr. Delin Jackson, husband of Stephanie Jackson, the bride’s Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics classmate. Weekend of Event Coordinators were Tiffany Wiley and Olivia Smith of The Mrs. LLC, Birmingham/Atlanta.
After a honeymoon to Montreal, Canada the couple joined friends for a wedding trip to Antigua. They will reside in Columbia where Carmen is an Auditor and Attorney with the South Carolina Legislative Audit Council and Al is an Assistant Attorney General with the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
The bride graduated from Spelman College in biology and from Duke University School of Law School and Duke University Graduate School with a juris doctorate and a degree in public policy. The groom graduated from Furman University in political science and communication studies and Duke University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Other wedding weekend activities included:
The Rehearsal Dinner at Bella’s in Savannah was hosted by the groom’s father. The groom selected Bella’s because of the menu’s resemblance to a favorite restaurant of his family’s. The Simon Family welcomed everyone and expressed their gratitude while sharing some memorial thoughts about Al’s mother, Mrs. Marie Simon. Afterwards, the groom’s family hosted an ice cream social at the Savannah Bed & Breakfast Conner House. It featured Al’s renowned homemade ice cream and homemade pound cake from Orangeburg.
At noon on the wedding day, the bride’s mother and her mother’s friends (Ms. Helene Carter, Mrs. Hilda Conner of Florence, SC, and Mrs. Theresa Davis of Orangeburg, SC) hosted the Bridal Brunch at the Savannah Bed & Breakfast Jasper House, for women in the bride’s life. The Victorian furniture set the atmosphere for the event to honor Carmen’s grandmothers; grandmother Hattie Sanders’ china was used; and lemonade with mint (from Carmen’s garden) was served from a pitcher owned by Carmen’s great grandmother Iola Wright Mines. The menu included a Berry-Pear-Arugula Salad with pears from the bride’s grandfather’s tree in Denmark and from Camden First United Methodist Church, a gingered shrimp salad with Tybee Island Shrimp, and a Watermelon Basil Salad with SC melon. The featured dessert was key lime cake prepared by Mrs. Carolyn Sherman. During the celebration, the groom’s brother and best man delivered a keepsake box and flowers to the bride.
On Sunday morning, Carmen and Al’s first Annual Celebratory 5K Run/Walk traversed various parks and squares in historic Savannah. The walk was organized by Mrs. Sandra Johnson Brooks, of Falls Church, Virginia, and friend and schoolmate of the bride and groom. This culminating event was in keeping with their wedding theme, "If you want to walk alone, walk fast; if you want to walk together, walk slowly." After the 5K, Carmen and Al delivered the centerpieces from the reception to Hospice Savannah for flowers to be placed in the rooms of each patient.
Cousins and friends assisted in hosting various events during the weekend. They included Crystal and Aimee Sanders, and Khadija Jahfiya.
A Bridal Shower was hosted in July of 2015 by Carmen’s female colleagues at the home of Mr. James and Mrs. Courtney Phillips. The shower was enjoyed by all with delicious salads and tea cakes. All of Carmen’s colleagues showered Carmen and Al at an additional in-office gathering.
A Bridal Shower was hosted on August 1, 2015 by Dr. Audrey Gordon and Dr. Valerie Harrison, friends of the bride, at the Orangeburg Country Club. The shower was enjoyed by family members and close friends of the family. Guests enjoyed a delicious array of salads, and red velvet cupcakes decorated with swirls of frosting were arranged to form a beautiful wedding dress with a fondue waistband. Guests took home one of the bride’s favorite Savannah treats, pralines.