We had the fortune to talk with Alexa Carlin, the founder and CEO of Women Empower X about her holiday engagement and unforgettable wedding. She shared her recommendations of local vendors as well as swoon-worthy honeymoon plans. Thank you, Alexa!
How did you meet?
It all started with one swipe right. I’m originally from South Florida and had just moved with my family to Raleigh, NC in April 2019. After dating a few people after I moved, I was over it and ended up deleting all the apps. On July 25, 2019 I was on a plane heading to a speaking engagement when the flight was delayed on the tarmac. Bored, I opened my phone and saw the one app I had yet to delete. I randomly opened it and the first profile that popped up was Colby Murphy.
Colby’s bio and answers to the questions on the app caught my attention and I swiped right then closed the app. A few seconds later I received a message from Colby. We started messaging one another on the app until the flight was about to take off. I then gave Colby my phone number to text me as I never check the app. When I got to my hotel room I received a text from him, asking me if I got there safely. One sign that immediately made me like him. 🙂
After a few short conversations, I said to him “let’s grab coffee when I get back in town on Sunday.” Being the gentleman that he is, he offered dinner instead and asked if I wanted him to pick me up.
I said I’d meet him there since I didn’t know him and always am hesitant for random people to know where I live. (Great advice for all of us! –PA)
We had our first date on July 28th, 2019 but there’s a funny story before I walked into our first date…
Since I drove myself, I arrived at Tazza in Cameron Village (now the Village District) a bit early. Since I didn’t want to walk in too early I took out my phone and decided to record a TikTok video.
In the video, I said, “I’m about to go on a first date and before every first date I always say to my mom before I leave the house, ‘you never know, this may be my last first date!’ I’ve said that many times now, but you gotta keep your spirits up, right?! Wish me luck!'”
And what’s funny about this is 1) it was my LAST first date! and 2) Colby saw that video on my TikTok a few weeks later and got so sad thinking I made that before a different first date after we already had ours. Months later he told me about it and I said to him, ‘THAT WAS BEFORE OUR FIRST DATE!’ – it made him super happy. 🙂
Skip over to 2 years later, we went out to dinner on the 2 yr anniversary of when we met and I re-made the video into this!
How did he propose?
Colby and I made plans for a real date night for a random Thursday night as we haven’t had a real date night since pre-covid. He said he would pick me up from our bedroom at 7 pm. When he picked me up, we were both dressed up, I in a red dress and him in a sports jacket ready for our ‘real date’ in our home. He took me downstairs and to my surprise, he set up a whole beautiful picnic by our fireplace! He bought a new red blanket which he laid on the floor in front of our fireplace, had a picnic basket with a bottle of wine and bourbon inside, pillows for us to lean on, and had picked up our favorite sushi from Tasu.
It was so beautiful with all the lights dim and just the fire and the lights from our Christmas decorations. We sat down to eat and have a romantic date night where he said he had a surprise for me. It was a Xmas puzzle and I was so excited haha. After dinner, he said he had the idea, for our date night activity, for him to sing the song he had written me for our 1 year and I could film. him. (I asked him this a million times beforehand as I really wanted the song on film so I could listen to it anytime) He always pushed it off so I was SO excited he was game for letting me record him. I went up and got my camera equipment and set it all up where we were both sitting on the ledge by our fireplace with the Xmas lights twinkling above us, and he sang me the song as I just smiled and listened.
Afterwards, camera still rolling, he began to tell me how much he loved and referred to one of my speeches where I talk about the 1%. He said it’s really true as before he met me, he gave up on love and felt like he was going to spend the rest of his life alone and while he was okay with that, there was 1% of him that believed I was out there. When we met online, he sent my pic to his mom and asked her if he should go out with me. She said, “what do you have to lose?” He said to me, “while that was true, I thought I had nothing to lose if I take a chance and just go out on a date but the truth was – I had everything to lose… If I didn’t go out with you I would have lost everything…”
He then said he had one more surprise for me. Grabbed a bag under the Xmas tree he hid, and said “I really do love you so much and want to spend the rest of my life with you so…” he then pulled out a ring box from the bag, got on one knee and asked me to marry him! I was SOOOO shocked and excited and immediately said YES as tears began to stream down my face.
And what’s funny about this is, I caught it all on camera! I told him a longggg time ago the only thing I ask when it comes time to propose is to capture the moment on video. So he somehow found a way for me to capture my own engagement without me even knowing (to ensure he didn’t mess it up!). It was all so perfect and romantic and now every time I look at our fireplace, I think of this moment.
How did you feel moments before your wedding? Nervous? Anxious?
When they lined us up for the wedding processional, I thought I was going to be nervous walking down the aisle but to my surprise, I never felt more excited. My mom was on one side of me, dad on the other, and I was smiling ear to ear just so excited to walk towards my soon-to-be husband and marry the person I love!
It was literally the best feeling ever.
Where did you get your dress? Details, please!
I found my dream wedding dress at Alexia’s Bridal in downtown Raleigh. The designer of my dress is Monique Lhuillier. It was actually only my 2nd bridal store I ever went to and my mom, sister and best friend who happened to be visiting from Denver went with me. Right when I walked out to show them and looked at myself in the mirror, we all started crying. I knew right away this was it, I had the dress moment!
What are your plans after the wedding? Honeymoon details? What’s next?
We went on our honeymoon two days after our wedding to Greece! It was a trip of a lifetime. We visited Mykonos, Santorini, and Athens. In Mykonos, we stayed at Mykonos blu resort and explored the island on ATV’s, went to Kaluha Beach Bar, the famous Scorpio’s at night, and explored the beauty of Little Venice and Mykonos Town.
In Santorini, we stayed at The Grace Hotel which was rated as the top hotel in all of Europe. We had a private outdoor pool overlooking the caldera and every night was the most magical and romantic night of my life watching the sunset from our private pool in the best location on the island.
We chose Greece because while I have traveled to many different countries, Colby never had been out of the country so we definitely knew we wanted to go somewhere abroad. And then we both decided we wanted the experience to be new for the both of us, sharing it together and creating memories so since I’ve never been to Greece and it had everything we were looking for from the beauty, romantic atmosphere, cool towns to explore, adventurous excursions, and beautiful beaches to relax, it was an easy choice for us and one we HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
What local vendors did you use? Who exceeded expectations?
I loved all of my vendors! We scouted each one ourselves through extensive research and were able to work with incredible people while sticking to our budget.
Venue: The Umstead – they know how to do weddings. Top white glove service for everything. We loved working with them so much planning the wedding we ended up just doing our whole weekend there with our rehearsal dinner in a different room the night before.
Florist: Petal and Oak (we interviewed quite a few and I am so beyond happy we found Michelle last minute as she over delivered on every single thing we wanted and turned my vision into a reality! She charges such fair prices and even went beyond what we asked with all the small details that really made a difference, not just in the decor and florals but also her team and service. I can’t say enough about them!)
DJ – DJ-Ones was recommended to us by a friend and he was great to work with. Listened to everything we wanted and stayed on script. He also knew how to incorporate many different genres of music since our guests were ranged in ages and cultures and our wedding was such a beautiful event of everyone coming together and dancing. The music really made two families from different cultures meld into one. It was so beautiful.
Rings – we got our wedding bands customized from Bailey’s
Cake – Once In A Blue Moon Bakery – she was so lovely to work with and we loved that this bakery was local and woman-owned! (Plus it was delicious!)
Hair & Makeup – Reign Beauty. Loved loved loved working with Marissa and Adrienne for the bridal party HMU. They were so fun to hang out with in our suite all day as we got ready and everyone looked so beautiful yet natural which was really important to me. My entire bridal party and my mom and mother-in-law loved how they looked as well as they really knew how to make everyone look naturally glam!
Officiant – Kevin Holland – We continue hearing from our guests how our wedding ceremony was the most beautiful ceremony they’ve ever been to! Our officiant, Kevin was outstanding. He told our story beautifully, made everyone cry, and really did a good job at melding two different religions together making sure everyone felt included and met our desire as a couple, which was to have the full ceremony really just focused on our love for each other.
Photography – Viviimage Photography. Our photographers were the only vendors not local to Raleigh as I’ve been using Viviana for my Women Empower X events since 2017 and once I found out she also does weddings, it was a no-brainer as I absolutely love working with her. So we flew her out for our wedding.
Videography – Sugar Shack Films – John was amazing to work with and our creative film turned out exactly as we imagined.
What advice would you give future Triangle brides who are currently wedding planning?
- Do your research on vendors and then pick 3 of your top for each category. Meet with each of them and then go with your gut!
- Have somewhat of an idea of what you want before meeting with vendors. Separate Pinterest boards for each section of your wedding really helps.
- Tune in to your heart when planning a wedding. There are so many decisions to make and so many different options that all seem amazing, it’s easy to get decision fatigue. Continue to remind yourself that whatever decision you make, will be perfect for you.
Thank you so much to Alexa Carlin for sharing her incredible engagement and wedding story! Mazel tov and congratulations to Alexa and Colby! You can follow Alexa on Instagram at @alexarosecarlin.
If you have your own engagement and wedding story you’d like to share, let us know here!