DIY Wedding

Autumn wedding at a Westerville hotel

October 23, 2021 | Ciera (Gooden) and Nicholas Thomas have overlapping social circles during their time at Miami University, so their meeting was almost inevitable. When the time came to propose, Nicholas went all out, arranging for a private tour at COSI. He popped the question in the Progress exhibit—Ciera’s favorite since childhood.

Another childhood memory influenced Ciera’s top choice for a first dance song: “At Last,” by Etta James. “I grew up thinking it was my parents’ wedding song, and hearing it always brought back the best memories. Eventually, I found out I was mistaken, and they had a different song entirely,” she says. “I like to think they were saving it just for me.” Other key musical selections included instrumental covers of their favorite songs during the processional ceremony. “It was a special Easter egg to those who could name the tunes,” Ciera says.