ATLANTA - After the death of a loved one, personal health issues, and a difficult year working in an Atlanta hospital, Nikita Horton felt like she could not catch a break.
Thankfully, a team of metro Atlanta wedding vendors wanted to make sure 2021 started off on a better note.
Dressed to the nines, before a backdrop dripping in flowers, Andre Archer and Nikita Horton rang in a new chapter of their lives in glamourous unforgettable fashion.
"This was meant to be, it was written in the stars, it was destiny," Horton said.
The nearly six-figure wedding came at no cost to the couple. Instead, the wedding was a gift from two dozen metro Atlanta wedding vendors who were looking to give back to a deserving pair on the front lines of the pandemic.
FOX 5's Emilie Ikeda first reported on the wedding giveaway last summer when the vendors put out the call, asking anyone who had to press pause on their wedding plans due to COVID-19 to let them know.
Hundreds of thousands of votes later, Horton, a medical social worker and her fiance came out on top, which shot them into a whirlwind of planning for their Jan. 17 wedding.
"We can’t say thank you enough. We are really grateful and honored that you all gave this chance and chose us," Archer said.
Horton called it "uplifting" which is what she needed after an extremely difficult year. When she wasn't in the ICU for work, she was in the hospital dealing with personal respiratory troubles.
"Seeing deaths is a regular thing for me, people are here one day, gone the next," she said. "Not having the opportunity to be with their families and also dealing with my own personal health issues was kind of like 'Woo, that’s kind of scary.'"
But not even the heaviness of 2020 could weigh down their wedding night - a moment of brevity and joy.
Courtesy of Glorious Moments Photography
The wedding giveaway was the brainchild of Miss Milly's Event Rental and Design's owner Courtney Laramore, after her son Brock's experience in the hospital last year.
"On the last day in the NICU, a nurse heard a heart murmur," Laramore described. "It was very faint; no one else had heard it."
It turned out to be a congenital heart defect, caught just in time.
"We don't know who that nurse was, we want to pay it forward," Laramore said.
Laramore said she and the other vendors were so grateful to play a role in giving Archer and Horton the wedding of their dreams.
"Every single one of these vendors has struggled in the past year to keep their doors open, but no one hesitated to jump on this opportunity to help someone out," Laramore said.
Nearly two dozen Atlanta area wedding vendors gifted a nearly $100,000 celebration to a couple on the front lines of the pandemic.
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