The scene was Oakland, California in early 2010. Aja Campbell was attending the going away party of a friend (and leaving for college herself the following day) when she noticed a newcomer in the crowd, Alexis Epps. Little did Aja realize that the new face would turn out to be the love of her life, a partner whom she would tie the knot with in a uniquely-themed wedding years later.
“You know how in movies the main character sees the love interest in the crowd for the first time, and their eyes meet before turning back to their conversation?” recalls Aja. “I noticed Lex when she first walked in, and for the first time, I felt something different. She was one of the only people who ever caught my attention. I definitely wanted to know who she was.”
When Alexis (who goes by Lex) ended up sitting next to Aja at the party, the two hit it off. To Aja’s surprise, Alexis was not the shy wallflower she appeared to be. Instead, she was chatty and even a little goofy. The pair ended up passing the night in each other’s company playing King’s Cup, and dancing and drinking the evening away. Alexis remembers thinking how beautiful Aja was. “The first time I looked into her dark brown eyes, I knew she would have a large impact on my life.”
After a group date to a roller rink in which Aja (who was a good skater) skated circles around Alexis (who could not skate at all), the two quickly became a couple. They spent that first year together exploring college life and learning and growing, but after a year together, the couple parted ways.
“I remember right before the split I told her, make sure you always do what you want to do, and not what everyone tells you to do,” says Alexis, “and then I left.”
The relationship ended abruptly and for four years, Alexis and Aja didn’t see or speak with one another. “It was weird, to feel so in-tuned with someone and then just have them vanish. It was like a book with two storylines, the two main characters keep missing each other as one walks in a door and the other walks out.”
Then, in 2014, Alexis went to visit her friend Francis at her apartment to hang out before a night on the town. Unbeknownst to her, Francis’s roommate was none other than Aja. Francis, aware of the set-up, was about to hop in the shower and asked Aja if she could let her guest in when she arrived, “Oh and it’s Alexis!” she called out before shutting the bathroom door.
“My heart dropped. Butterflies went on a rampage in my belly,” says Aja. “I had no idea what to expect as I heard her knock.”
After being apart for four years, Alexis and Aja had a lot to catch up on. The chemistry was still there and after a few months of seeing one another regularly, the couple began dating again. Two years flew by and finally, Alexis proposed. The moment happened out-of-the-blue when, after a long trip visiting family over the holidays, Alexis and Aja finally arrived home. They were both feeling tired and cranky and wanted nothing more than to snuggle up on the couch in front of the fireplace. Alexis set up a blanket and a glass of wine, and just as Aja was falling asleep she leaned over and asked: “Are you sure you want to be with me forever?”
“Yes!” Aja replied.
“Are you sure?” Alexis asked again, this time setting a ring box in front of Aja.
“Of course,” Aja said, surprised and still half-asleep.
For the couple, it was important that their wedding at Mason & Rook in early January was designed not only to be a celebration of their journey together, but an homage to one of their favorite book series: Harry Potter. Alexis especially was enthralled by the novels; the couple has three different complete sets of the series in their home.
“We grew up on Harry Potter” Aja and Alexis explain. “We wanted our families to see that this book series was more than just a story to us—it was one of the first times we learned that being different was okay, as long as we lived with love in our hearts.”
The motif showed up in a barrage of details throughout the wedding. To start with, Alexis’s cufflinks and socks were inspired by Harry Potter (the cufflinks were golden snitches and the socks boasted a Marauding Map print), as well as the garters, which read “I solemnly swear I am up to no good,” and, of course, “mischief managed.” All of the signage at the wedding was done in the classic Harry Potter lettering font, including the table names, each of which was a different location within the Wizarding World.
The name of the couple’s signature cocktails were potions from Hogwarts, including the ‘Felix Felicis’ for Liquid Luck and ‘Amortentia’ the Love Potion. Each of the centerpieces in the reception was housed in a potion bottle. The couple even arranged to have dry ice in bottles on their sweetheart table and the bar to create the illusion of fog. And, of course, the cake toppers were deer patronuses.
On top of their cake was a word from one of their favorite lines from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, “always,” when Snape reveals his love for Harry’s mother, Lily, has never faded.
“Even after all this time?” Dumbledore asks.
“Always.” Snape responds.