The wedding party included the Matron of Honor, Ione Rucker Jamison; Bridesmaids, Udanda Belk, Shawuan Johnson, Adriana Mason, Barbara Purvis, Tiffany Sholtz, Tara Staten; Best Men, Antawn Jamison, Cori Brown; Groomsmen, Charles Brinkerhoff, Marc Eversley, Carlton Rucker, Jeffrey Scott, Shammond Williams; Honorary Bridesmaids, Jeralyn Allen, Taylor Corley, Nikiya Hall, Christina Murdock, Kisa Pangburn; Ushers, Christopher Carter, Desmond Long, Makhtar Ndiaye, Ademola Okulaja, Aaron Rucker II, Edgar Scott, Jr; Junior Bridesmaid, Skyla Rucker-Martin; Junior Groomsmen, Robert Ferguson II, Otis Ferguson, IV; Ring Bearer, Ford Cooper, Jr.; and Flower Girl, Journey Rucker.
The bride was breathtaking as she graced the church's aisle in a Jenny Lee Couture champagne silk crepe, empire waist sheath with a French Alencon lace overlay by LaBella Sposa-North Carolina. The gown featured a sweetheart neckline with duet silk straps and a plunging "v" back. The custom Alencon lace trim cathedral length veil offered the perfect compliment. Tall and handsome, the groom was stunning in his custom design by Elevee Custom Clothing-Van Nuys, California. His tailored ivory vested tuxedo was 4-button notched collar self-stripped with an accompanying champagne tie. Bridesmaids in the Rucker-Carter wedding wore an ivory chiffon strapless empire waist gown with a bias drape. Honorary bridesmaids were gorgeous in designer Jim Hjeim's smoked silver tea-length satin dress with a sweetheart neckline and ribbon trimmed waist also from La Bella Sposa. The flower girl and junior bridesmaid wore ivory chiffon sleeveless tiered gowns with matching ballerina slippers. Ushers, ring bearer, and junior groomsmen donned Tommy Hilfiger's 2-button classic black-notched collar tuxedos with matching vest and platinum ties by After Hours-Palm Beach, Florida. The groomsmen were handsomely outfitted in custom 4-button notched collar black self-stripped tuxedos with matching vest and ivory ties by Elevee Custom Clothing. Owner Jhoanna Wiegman was on hand to give particular attention to the fittings of each tuxedo.
Events surrounding the wedding began as early as January 2004 with an engagement party hosted by the groom's mother, Michelle Carter. The venue was the scenic 54th floor Canoe Restaurant in Toronto, Ontario (Canada). Montage Jazz Ensemble provided music. The food was excellent and the atmosphere offered the perfect mood for the 200 guests that evening.
On Thursday evening, prior to the wedding, the Carrousel Motor Yacht was the setting for the pre-nuptial party cruise. One hundred guests cruised the intercoastal waters of South Florida. Michelle Carter, the groom's mom, greeted guests as they boarded and assured that all would have a festive time. Guests enjoyed Caribbean cuisine and lots of dancing. Music was provided by Jeff Lilley-Ormond Beach, Florida.
On Friday afternoon, July 2, 2004, Vince and Ellen parted ways for a bit as the bride's sisters, Patricia McCray, Ruby Cooper, and Ione Jamison hosted a bridal luncheon in Ellen's honor at the Brazilian Court's Café Boulud-Palm Beach, Florida. At the same time, Vince hosted his groomsmen, ushers, and male family members at one of his favorite pastimes, bowling. Verdes Tropicana Bowling Lanes-Palm Beach, Florida was where the fun took place. As the sun began to set, the Breakers Ocean Terrace and Beach Club Patio Restaurant became the tropical paradise for the Rucker-Carter Rehearsal Dinner. Kym Bichon of The Breakers and Michelle Carter teamed-up to serve up the best in southern hospitality. Immediately following the wedding rehearsal, the evening began with a cocktail hour on the oceanfront, open-air terrace followed by dinner in the oceanfront restaurant. One hundred guests enjoyed southern and Caribbean cuisine. The room was impeccably bedecked with flowers from the tropics. Richard Grilean of The Breakers exquisitely arranged the decorations.
After the exchanging of marital vows, platinum and "lots of diamonds" wedding rings, Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Lamar Carter were presented to three hundred guests who attended the pre-reception and dinner reception in The Breaker's Venetian Ballroom. Dr. and Mrs. Douglas (Ruby) Rucker, parents of the bride and Ms. Michelle Carter, mother of the groom, hosted guests at the fairytale-like reception. Marilyn Crawford was the eloquent mistress of ceremony of the evening. Notable guests included Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors), Antawn Jamison (Washington Wizards), Milt Palacio, Lawrence (Judy) Tanenbaum (owner of the Toronto Raptors), Coach Dean Smith (former basketball coach of the University of North Carolina).
The entrancing décor, created by Richard Grille of the Design Studio at The Breakers, included the bridal bouquet of delicate round design of white stephanotis adorned with crystal and pearl accents. Stems were hand-wrapped in satin and accented with a pearl treatment up the stem. Guests were seated along royal tables covered in ivory poie de soie linen, accented with champagne silk dupioni table runners that puddle on the floor and festooned up at each end. Silver chairs, covered in a sheer organdy overlay, accented with a coordinating champagne silk sash. Each place setting was adorned with a silver leafed charger and a cream linen napkin with striped tone-on-tone border. An eclectic mix of crystal vases, candelabras and candlesticks were randomly placed along the table. Tall floral displays, handmade garlands, and delicate nosegays of flowers were intermingled through the table cylinders. A tonal color palette was achieved utilizing white, creams and porcelain roses, hydrangeas, stock and wax flowers.
Guests feasted on a menu prepared by The Breakers' Catering Manager, Kym Bichon, with Executive Banquet Chef Jeff Simms. Dinner began with a jumbo gulf shrimp display, followed by baby greens with Champagne vinaigrette with wild mushroom strudel and sundried tomato chutney. A passion fruit sorbet cleansed the palate to prepare for the main course of orange balsamic glazed French-cut chicken breast with accompaniment. The evening repast was topped off with a chocolate oval illusion filled with Hagen Daaz vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, fresh mint; "chocolate palm tree" topped with hot fudge sauce. The magnificent wedding cake was a five-tier "Southern Favorite" red velvet cake.
Besides the guests of honor, one of the highlights of the evening was the performance by world-renowned Rhythm and Blues artist, Brian McKnight. Mr. McKnight sang two of his originals, Love of My Life for Ellen and Vince's first dance, and Still in Love for Vince and his mother, Michelle. He also favored the guests with a Nat King Cole original, Unforgettable as Ellen and her father had their dance.
Best Wishes, Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Lamar Carter.
With my first child, I nursed for 12 months, so the weight came off easily. Nursing is the best way to burn tons of calories without having to exercise. However, with my son, I only breastfed for 1 month, so it didn't come off as fast -- this was because my son did not take to the breast well.
He was given a bottle in the hospital, due to me needing rest, and then when I went to breastfeed he was not used to the milk coming in slower. I fought through it for a month but then my milk started drying up. My daughter never got a bottle, she took to the breast right away.
After AJ's birth, I started working out 4 weeks later. Nothing too strenuous, just walking at a normal pace and doing light weights at first. Gradually, I started to jog and do lunges, sit ups, and push ups. I fortunately have a naturally small build, so I like [to] have a little extra in some places; I mainly just wanted to get my stomach back to its normal size.
Did you experience cravings with either pregnancy?
With Kathryn, the orange peanut butter crackers. With AJ, I did not crave much, but I did eat way more than usual.
What was your most difficult challenge as a first-time mom and how were things different (or were they?) when you had your son?
My most difficult challenge was, and still is, not getting enough sleep. Both of my babies wake up throughout the night...two sometimes three times!!!
Have you found there to be a difference between having a baby girl and a baby boy? How have you made adjustments to accommodate their unique personalities?
There are major differences between having a baby girl and a baby boy. First, with the girl I seemed to be more protective over because she seemed more delicate at first. My son was bigger and he has always been really laid back, whereas my daughter has always needed tons of attention.
Also, I find myself not spending as much money on my son because they don't need as much. My daughter, however, needs the bows, the purses, the tights, the frilly socks, the cute outfits, etc!
My son is far more active than my daughter was at 8 months, and he is 5 pounds heavier than she was at this age. They both have tons of personality already...Kathryn being the ultimate girlie girl, and AJ being the active baby taking in everything!
Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham) has rocked the mommy world with her incredible sense of style and fashion. I know you to be quite the fashionista as well. However, watching commercials like Suave, it seems pretty safe to say that many moms find that balancing being mommy with being stylish to be a difficult task. How have you been able to strike a balance and still find time for yourself?
I always find time to get my hair done and my manicures and pedicures. Fortunately, I have always had the help of my nanny, Raquel, and other family members and friends. It is very important to create some '"me time" because it keeps you fresh and energetic.
Maternity fashion has come a long way. Did you wear any particular brands or looks while you were pregnant that made being fashionable a little less of a chore?
I loved Liz Lange Maternity clothes. They were very stylish and fit my body perfectly. Also, I lived in the tunics and leggings during my pregnancy with AJ, I was lucky that was in style then.
(Liz Lange also makes a less pricey line of her maternity clothes for Target.)
Do you have any "I could not have lived without them" items that you depended on after you had your children? What were they?
I love the Sit N Stroll stroller ($220). It is a car seat and a stroller all in one. It is great for us because we travel a lot. Also, I don't know how I ever lived without baby wipes...they are the best!
Your equally fabulous sister, Dr. Ellen Rucker Carter, who was married to Vince Carter of the New Jersey Nets, had a beautiful celebrity baby of her own around the same time that you did. Are all of your nieces and nephews close in age and how does that affect the family dynamic now?
My sister Ellen's daughter is Kai. Kai was born three weeks before Kathryn...as you can imagine they are the best of friends. Kathryn wakes up every morning talking about Kai.
My oldest sister, Patsy had her daughter, Siarra 6 days before Kai. I have 12 nieces and nephews and they are all really close. We usually all get together at least once a week, we recently took them all on the Disney Cruise!
Due to your husband's profession as a basketball player-I imagine you have to travel frequently. How do you manage a toddler and infant on the plane? Do you have any tips for other moms out there?
My best tip is not to do it alone. Always have a family member/nanny travel with you! Nowadays, it is too difficult to go through the airport with two babies alone.
What have you learned about yourself from being a mother that you did not know before and how has that changed you?
I have learned that motherhood has been the greatest blessing to me. I feel like I am a more spiritual person because of my two blessings...I thank God for them everyday.