A professional football player and his fiancé showed off their fun-loving side with a carnival-inspired reception.
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bride and groom

NFL defensive end Alex Okafor and realtor Kaylee Lumsden met in Orange County during Alex's off-season in February 2017—and several years later Alex asked Kaylee to marry him during an intimate vacation. "We got engaged on a private island in the Maldives," says Kaylee. "We took a catamaran to a remote island where we had a picnic and photoshoot, and then he got down on bended knee."

Back home, Kaylee and Alex chose The Arlo in Austin, Texas, to host their 220 guests for a March 25, 2022, wedding with a carnival twist. The modern, spacious venue allowed them to show off their fun-loving (and competitive) personalities by bringing in a roomful of classic games—Skee-Ball, Ms. Pac-Man, and a balloon pop—plus a tarot card reader, several musical acts, cotton candy and popcorn vendors, and a trio of food trucks serving the couple's favorites for dinner. A floral wall selfie backdrop included a neon sign with the newlyweds' branding—#okaforever—and the couple's twin Pomski dogs walked down the aisle with sunglass-clad ring bearers the couple dubbed "Ring Security."

After a joy-filled ceremony and an evening of lighthearted competition at the carnival games, the couple served bundt cake and gelato for dessert as fireworks filled the sky. "Don't get hung up on the little things, and do exactly what your heart desires," says Kaylee. "Who cares about tradition? Do you!"

bride holding white bouquet

Her One-of-a-Kind Gown

Kaylee scheduled wedding-dress shopping trips at both big-name and "boho" boutiques "for the experience," but, she says, "I knew from the very beginning I wanted to design the dress myself with Valdrin Sahiti." Her custom gown included a pearl-encrusted illusion bodice, draped accent at the waist, and exposed corset back; she paired it with her grandmother's veil and heirloom pearls, and a bouquet of long-stemmed white roses from Stems Floral Design.

disco shoes

Touch of Disco

The bride's Aquazzura shoes reinforced her ensemble's sparkle factor, thanks to their bedazzled tips and glamorous stiletto detail.

bridesmaids in black dresses

Simple and Elegant

The bridesmaids donned black satin gowns with high front slits from ModaGlam Boutique—"I wanted them to look and feel sexy," says Kaylee—and carried asymmetrical bunches of champagne-colored roses.

groom and groomsmen

Going Green

Alex chose a custom forest green tuxedo made by Soto & Co., and added a classic Rolex watch. His groomsmen were timeless complements in black tuxedos from Generation Tux

groom in green suit

Close to His Heart

The groom's most important accessory was the pin attached to his boutonnière, which showcased a photograph of his mom. "We lost his mother in May 2020 suddenly to leukemia," says Kaylee, "leading Alex to create the Alex Okafor Family Foundation, which raises money to provide scholarships for students that have defeated blood cancers." 

ceremony arch with flowers

Flower Power

The couple's florist created a rectangular arch with roses in neutral shades—white, champagne, blush, and ivory—and pristine white hydrangeas, which was placed in front of the venue's outdoor fireplace. "Each side of the structure featured delicate green smilax vines 'growing' up the side to be slightly asymmetrical," says Kaylee. "The back of the aisle featured low floral arrangements of roses and greenery."

floral lanterns

Floral Lanterns

Altar pendants with draped foliage and the same blooms seen throughout the arch hung on either side of the fireplace.

dogs at wedding

Dog Days

The couple's ring bearers—dubbed "ring security"—wore headpieces and sunglasses, and each carried a briefcase in one hand while leading the couple's dogs, Zenon and Nebula, down the aisle.

wedding processional

Ready to Wed

After the bride and her grandfather shared a private first look, he escorted her to the altar while harpist Mallory McHenry played "Differences" by Ginuwine.

wedding ceremony

At the Altar

Kaylee and Alex exchanged personal vows during a Christian ceremony officiated by Marcellus Casey. For the bride and groom, laughing with their guests as they made jokes during their vows—and as Kaylee tried to get Alex's ring over his swollen "football knuckles"—remains one of their favorite memories of the day.

wedding bar

Meet You at the Bar

Greenery vines dressed up the cocktail hour's drink station, which composed of three connected bars.

cotton candy
tarot cards

Game Time

During the interlude, couple incorporated their favorite pastimes by setting up an indoor game room and an array of outdoor activities. "Alex and I are competitive and always go to the arcade for date nights," says Kaylee. Guests ordered cotton candy and popcorn while playing Skee-Ball and Ms. Pac Man, pulling up custom tee-shirts from a claw game, and sitting down for a one-on-one session with a tarot card reader.

game booth

Festive and Fun

Outside entertainment included balloon pop and Knock 'Em Down, plus a caricature artist and music from DJ Bootleg Kev.

sweetheart table

Table for Two

Inside, white linens covered the sweetheart table, contrasting with the black cloths on the guest stations; arrangements of ranunculus, sweet peas, lisianthus, and roses adorned the front and side.

centerpieces

Beautiful Blooms

On the guest tables, black linens set off tall crystal candelabras and gold-rimmed votives. The duo chose several different centerpiece designs: asymmetrical bouquets of champagne-colored roses; gold stands—sourced and painted by the bride and her mother—holding compotes of hydrangeas, roses, ranunculus, and sweet peas; and subtle white bud vases with smaller groups of lush blooms. Formal arrangements, composed in compote vessels, adorned their table-for-two.

Instead of choosing a single caterer come dinner, Kaylee and Alex offered guests their choice of cuisines from three different food trucks: Jerk Daddy's, Sauce It Up Pizza, and Taco Bronco.

first dance

Perfect Harmonies

Kaylee and Alex shared their first dance to "Weak" by SWV. "It's a classic that we would dance around the living room to while listening to it on vinyl," says Kaylee. The groom also shared a special dance with his aunt, his mother's sister.

The evening also included a private concert by Kalan.frfr, briefly interrupted by the bride's grandmother—who pulled the rapper off stage mid-song to dance with him. 

bride and groom under wedding arch

Sources

Photography, Kristin La Voie
Venue, The Arlo
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Betsy Lowery, Pearl Events Austin 
Catering, Jerk Daddy's; Sauce It Up Pizza; Taco Bronco  
Flowers, Stems
Videography, Crescent Films 
Officiant, Marcellus Casey
Stationery, Ashley McFadden (designer); Arnett Credentials (printing); Pink Champagne Designs (day-of paper goods)
Cake, Nothing Bundt Cakes 
Music, Bootleg Kev (reception); Kalan.Frfr (performer); Mallory McHenry (ceremony) 
Rentals, Panacea Collective; Premiere Events
Bride's Gown, Valdrin Sahiti
Bride's Accessories, Aquazzura shoes; Diamonds Direct jewelry    
Hair, Lux Beauty and Bridal 
Makeup, Vicky J. Rivera  
Bridesmaids' Dresses, ModaGlam Boutique  
Groom's Suit, Soto & Co.
Menswear, Generation Tux
Groom's Watch, Rolex 
Lighting, Caricature Artist, and Tarot Card Reader, Groove Labs
Transportation, Lonestar Party Bus
Arcade Games, Game On! 
Flower Wall, Party Hard Austin
Gelato Cart, Dolce Bacio
Photo Booth, MirMir
Staffing and Bar Service,Austin's Elite 

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