When it comes to love, timing is everything—just ask Chasity McGrady and Francois Lindo. The duo first met at the University of Florida in 2010 and remained friends for years. But, when they decided to pursue a romantic relationship in 2018, they wasted no time writing their love story. (As the saying goes, when you know, you know.) Less than three years into their relationship, Francois got down on one knee—and the couple set the date for November 6, 2021.
“It was a never-ending adrenaline rush,” the bride explains. “We began the planning process with an elopement in mind, but quickly realized we wanted to celebrate with our family and closest friends. This caused us to pivot rather quickly and—with an amazing team and the grace of God—we were able to pull it off in less than two months.”
Ultimately, the couple decided to make things official at The Red Earth Venue in Moab, Utah, with 50 of their closest friends and family members in attendance. “When we thought about a wedding, we wanted a venue that made it seem like we were in the middle of nowhere, but [had] a scenic view,” she adds. “The Red Earth Venue provided us with this and a blank [canvas] for our wildest dreams.”
With a stunning backdrop, live musical performances, and heartfelt vows, the day was the perfect mix of intimate and extravagant—just as the friends-turned-lovers had envisioned. Read on for an up-close and personal look at this dreamy, desert day, planned by Jaime Kostechko of Wild Heart Events, coordinated by April Arnold of Kosi Events, and photographed by Zoe with The Foxes Photography.
Francois looked dapper in a custom tan suit from Adam Ross, which was accessorized with a spritz of Prada’s Luna Rossa cologne and a set of cufflinks that read “I Love You” and “Chasity.”
Though the couple decided to forgo a wedding party, they got ready for the big day with their nearest and dearest. Francois prepped alongside his friends, dad, and brother, while Chasity had a blast popping bottles with her inner circle.
When I finally put the dress on, I immediately knew it was the one.
The bride stunned in a beaded gown from Berta, which she says was love at first sight. “I had my eye on this dress for some time,” Chasity recalls. “When I finally put the dress on, I immediately knew it was the one; it was like a Disney fairytale.”
“One weekend, I decided to do dress shopping in Houston, Texas,” she shares. “After five unsuccessful store visits, I noticed a section for a trunk show on its last day [in the area]. Would you believe the dress I had my eyes on for so long was sitting there in front of me?” She accessorized the show-stopping dress with her sister-in-law’s diamond bracelet, a Berta veil, and a pair of heels she sourced from Amazon.
Prior to the ceremony, the couple shared a first look. “I was super nervous and I thought that by seeing Francois, I would be way more relaxed,” the bride explains. “Our decision to do a first look actually happened the morning of our wedding. We wanted to have an intimate moment together as we originally planned—before saying ‘I do’ in front of everyone.” This sweet one-on-one time allowed Francois and Chasity to kick off the festivities feeling calm and grounded in their love.
For the ceremony, planner Jaime Kostechko of Wild Heart Events was tasked with the unique challenge of creating an eye-catching arrangement that wouldn’t upstage the desert’s landscape. Fortunately, she was able to strike the perfect balance with a deconstructed flower arch tunnel.
“We really wanted to create something spectacular for Chasity and Francois,” she shares. “I have been dreaming up a flower-filled aisle for a while and the red earth of Moab was the perfect setting for this. Farmyard Florals not only nailed this concept, but [they also] did it all sustainably!”
The ceremony setup was completed with sleek additional seating and customized sweatshirts, so everyone could stay warm all night long.
“We knew we wanted something super clean, whimsical, and chic,” the bride says of the day’s glamorous bohemian setup. Clearly the mission was accomplished.
Francois was escorted down the aisle by the couple’s daughter, while Chastity walked down the aisle with her brother in tow. “We had the pleasure of having Kenny Lattimore sing ‘For You’ live while I walked down the aisle,” she adds.
Our vows captured our journey to our wedding day, and we wanted to share this journey with our family and friends.
“We both decided to write our own vows during this day,” the bride shares. “Our vows captured our journey to our wedding day, and we wanted to share this journey with our family and friends.”
The ceremony was filled with sweet, sentimental moments, including a unity sand ceremony that they shared with their daughter.
Once they traded vows, wedding bands, and a kiss to seal the deal, the newlyweds recessed down the aisle to “Made to Love Ya” by Gerald Levert.
After the ceremony, the couple celebrated by popping Champagne.
Throughout the day, the couple made sure to sneak away for some “them time.” “Although we made a decision to have a wedding with our friends and family, we did not want to lose the intimacy of an elopement before celebrating with everyone else,” the bride shares.
After the ceremony, guests moseyed over to the reception area, which was decked out with string lights, the floral arch tunnel, and long tables swathed in white linens and woven placemats.
Thirsty? Guests could choose from three signature cocktails: an Old Fashioned called “Papi Chulo;” the “China,” a lemon drop martini; and the “Vibe,” which was a tequila sunrise. As for dinner, Francois and Chasity tapped Hilton Hoodoo in Moab to create a mouth-watering menu that captured some of the couple’s favorite entrées.
Moab-based bakery Sweet Serendipity delivered by whipping up a chocolate and vanilla cake with strawberry filling.
Francois and Chasity shared their first dance as husband and wife to “When I Said I Do” by Chanté Moore and Kenny Lattimore.
In addition to live mini-concerts by Kenny Lattimore and saxophone player Tony Harris, a fire dancer performed during dinner.
The simplicity of the design and the ‘turn up’ during the reception really exemplifies who we are as a couple.
“We are very simple people who enjoy a good time,” the bride shares. “The simplicity of the design and the ‘turn up’ during the reception really exemplifies who we are as a couple. We prefer to spend our days Netflix and chilling, but love a good time as well.”
As if Francois and Chasity’s wedding wasn’t epic enough, they concluded the evening with fireworks from Lantis Fireworks.
Though planning a wedding within two months is by no means an easy feat, the couple’s glamorous, bohemian nuptials went off without a hitch. And, it was topped off with an absolutely stunning photo session amongst the natural rocks of Moab. The secret, according to the couple, is starting with a clear vision and hiring your very own wedding dream team.
“This will require a lot of research but you only have one shot to get this right. So having a team that you are confident will execute your wildest vision will be essential,” Chastity shares. “Finally, don’t stress and let the professionals do the work. If you took the time to properly research your dream, have faith in your research and know that they will deliver.” With the right people in your corner, anything is possible.