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July 22, 2014, 7:15 pm

Wedding of Alexia I. Hudson, Linton H. Ward

Alexia I. Hudson and Linton H. Ward exchanged wedding vows on July 20 in a beautiful ceremony at the Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas, USVI. Minister William L. Arnet of St. Thomas officiated at the ceremony in a garden gazebo on the breathtaking Caribbean oceanfront.

Alexia’s mother, Hattie Hudson James, lovingly gave the bride away. The stunning bride wore an antique white bias-cut silk sheath gown by Philadelphia designer Nicole Miller. The gown featured an asymmetrical neckline. White beaded straps accenting the back profile and a petite train with a draped ruffle were elegant. Alexia’s bouquet was a blend of blush-colored standard roses, white calla lilies, white avalanche roses and white stephanotis. Pavé rhinestone jewels and white pearl inserts accentuated her bouquet.

The Rev. Phaedra Blocker of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia served as the couple’s spiritual consultant and conducted the wedding closing prayer.

The Bride

Alexia, 41, is the daughter of Hattie Hudson James and the late Alexander Hudson. She is a native of Philadelphia. She earned a bachelor’s in English literature and African-American studies from Temple University and a master’s in library and information sciences from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a tenured associate librarian at Penn State University Abington branch and was recently elected to the national executive board of the American Library Association. Alexia is a former entertainment writer for The Philadelphia Tribune. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., The Junior League of Philadelphia and The Links Inc., Philadelphia Chapter.

The Groom

Linton H. Ward, 41, is also from Philadelphia. He is the eldest son of Maxine Ward and the late Linton Ward. His stepfather is the late James Brown. Linton is currently the toll operations manager for PRWT in Philadelphia. He is passionate about baseball, fine dining, good beer and laughing with friends. Linton was strongly influenced to be the responsible, well rounded man that he is by his father and stepfather as well as two uncles, Eugene Solomon and Herbert Alexander.

The Wedding Party

Monica Lester Thomas, Alexia’s sister, was her matron of honor. David Ward, the groom’s brother, and stepbrother, Terrill Brown, were best men. The groom’s mother was escorted by the groom’s son, Linton R.C. Ward.

The Receptions

Alexia and Linton hosted a series of destination wedding weekend events in St. Thomas. The couple humorously nicknamed their wedding weekend “The buddy-moon.” A joyous welcome reception and cocktail party took place at Havana Blue Restaurant on the eve of their wedding day.

Following the wedding ceremony, guests were transported to the Oceana Restaurant for a four-course reception dinner that included luscious wedding cupcakes for dessert. Later that evening the couple hosted an enjoyable champagne toast and cake-cutting party in their suite at the Frenchman’s Reef.

How They Met

Alexia and Linton met in 1989 at a party as students at Temple University. They were introduced by a mutual friend, Terry Alford. “Sparks flew, but not of the romantic sort. We just really liked each other a lot,” said Alexia. “We were platonic friends until an inexplicable shift in our relationship took place in 2007 when we developed romantic feelings about each other. Although we were concerned about risking our good friendship by starting to date, we decided to take a leap of faith and begin dating.”

The Proposal

Linton thought he had it all worked out. He planned an amazing dinner date with Alexia at XIX. He suggested that they would walk a few blocks to the Ritz Carlton Hotel for after-dinner cocktails and dessert. During the walk, he planned to escort Alexia to The Academy of Music where they had shared many wonderful musical memories. Linton would pretend to be interested in peering into the doors and then he would drop to one knee and propose.

Unfortunately, his plan was altered. The night of the proposal, Dec. 23, 2009, was one of the coldest in the history of Philadelphia. High winds and minus-degree wind chills whipped through the city. Thinking quickly, Linton ushered Alexia into the car and drove to the Ritz Carlton. While they sat in the lounge area and enjoyed cocktails, Linton presented Alexia with a beautiful engagement ring. Alexia cried as Linton asked her to be his wife. The newly engaged couple shared their happy news with family and close friends via text messaging, phone calls and Facebook.

Reflections

“We felt extraordinarily blessed to be surrounded by the love of our family and friends who traveled so far to celebrate our special day. Many weddings encounter several unforeseen challenges and ours was no exception. Inclement weather delayed some of our guests’ flights coming into St. Thomas and forced us to make the tough decision to secure an indoor alternate location for the wedding.

The good news was that approximately 40 minutes before the ceremony, the rain stopped and we were able to have the wedding outdoors as originally planned. Our delayed guests were present for the wedding and smiling. The other great blessing is that as we were pronounced husband and wife, the sun shone upon us brightly as if God was displaying his favor with our union. Everything truly worked out in the end,” said Alexia.

“As we reflect back on our relationship today, we know that God is God all by himself. We had no idea that our first dance as teenagers would lead to a nearly 25-year friendship that would later blossom into today’s love story. Over the years, we shared a transparency that few relationships enjoy. We have celebrated our individual victories and supported each other during difficult periods. We now know this was all in God’s plan in allowing us to grow up and grow together with the strong foundation of friendship.”

Alexia and Linton agreed upon important decisions about their wedding day early on. They selected St. Thomas for their destination wedding, created fun activities and selected delicious food that would capture the essence of the beautiful island. They chose the starfish, which symbolizes divine love, as their wedding motif and found a special way to remember their deceased loved ones during the wedding ceremony.

The couple created a gorgeous wedding ceremony “memory chair.” It was adorned with two white roses placed on the seat in remembrance of loved ones gone, but not forgotten.

The Honeymoon

Alexia and Linton opted out of a traditional “honeymoon” and had a “buddy-moon” instead. They included everyone in a fun-filled weekend celebration in St. Thomas at The Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort.

The day after the wedding, Linton took one group on a tour of St. John. Alexia relaxed on the hotel’s beach and by the pools with another group. They also hosted a large, group sit-down dinner.

“The most enjoyable thing about our “buddy-moon” was that the guests really enjoyed each other’s company. New friendships were formed that I believe will last a lifetime. A few people have asked Linton and me to renew our vows next summer so that we can have the buddy-moon sequel.”

Thirty-three guests traveled to St. Thomas to enjoy Alexia’s and Linton’s wedding weekend from as far as Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. Guests included Terry Alford, Eugene Solomon and Willie Johnson, who accompanied Phyllis Lawrence.

Other friends and family members enjoying the wedding celebration were: Marcia Brown, Yvonne Cowser Yancy, Marva Lisa Scott, Catherine Broach Peabody, Donnell Sheppard and Leah Sheppard, Valerie Kersey Dobson, Carolyn Blocker, Joseph Thomas, Courtney Young, Miles Henry, Frank Minutello and Alice Chapman-Minutello, Robert Clegg and Lillian Clegg, David Harper and Karen Harper, Rhonda Clinton and Mozelle Clinton-Butts.

Congratulations, and very best wishes to Mr. and Mrs. Linton H. Ward!