Intimacy and nostalgia take center stage when lifelong friends unite in marriage in a pair of ceremonies.
Carrington Gabrielle Riggs & Tyler Michael Marks
Morgantown | 3.19.22
Written by Julie Perine
Photography by Andrea Cooper Photography
When Carrington Riggs and Tyler Marks got married, good things came in twos. There was a pair of pearl-studded Betsey Johnson wedding heels, a pair of dresses, and even a pair of weddings. They had spent time together in two different settings—the first in school in Bridgeport, and the second at West Virginia University, where they met by chance on several occasions.
When Carrington was attending law school at WVU and Tyler was employed in Morgantown, they saw each other during a night out—and this time, it was different. “She was so mature, and the way she carried herself was extremely attractive,” Tyler says. “Knowing Carrington from a young age and seeing her now, an independent woman, successful at law school, was personally inspiring and made me want to grow and be a better person myself.” He admits he had his eye on her for a while. And as Carrington says, “I had been looking for someone, and there he was the whole time.”
Carrington and Tyler began dating in June of 2019. They loved spending time together at Tyler’s dad’s pond and dining out, their favorite two restaurants being Julio’s Cafe and Don Patron. Even after COVID-19 struck in early 2020 and their dating options became limited, they loved spending time together.
On May 19, 2020, the couple became engaged at Tyler’s family pond, which had become very special to them. Tyler popped the question at a surprise proposal, enlisting his sister to get Carrington there on false pretenses. “Tyler had this little picnic set up. He got down on one knee, and I immediately said yes,” Carrington says. The pear-shaped diamond set in white gold stole her heart as well. That’s because, when they had looked at rings a few months before, Tyler had paid as much attention to Carrington’s desires as he had to her. “There was one I had my eye on from the moment we sat down. I asked if she could try it on just for fun,” he says. “Once she put the ring on and I saw her eyes light up, I knew that was the ring I would be getting.”
Carrington didn’t have a lot of preconceived ideas for her wedding, but there were a couple of details she really wanted to be part of her big day: A cookie table and a black and white color scheme. Originally, the couple planned for a July wedding to be held at the family pond. But ultimately, the ceremony and reception were held at Morgantown’s Hotel Morgan for May 19, 2020. Carrington and Tyler looked forward to that time of celebration with family and friends, but Carrington decided she also wanted something more intimate. So, on March 17, 2020, she and Tyler were united in a simple ceremony at All Saints Catholic Church in Bridgeport. “It was just our parents, grandparents, and siblings,” Carrington says. “It was nice to take that moment to establish the basis for our marriage. It was nice to have that without all the outside noise.”
She kept the decision about the wedding dress simple, too. She shopped online, intentionally making the decision herself to avoid being persuaded by others’ opinions. In fact, she purchased a dress for each wedding. “I had only spent $200, so I found a third dress for the reception that would be easier to dance in,” she says.
On May 19, 2022, her arm in her father’s, Carrington walked down the aisle in a strapless white ball gown with buttons down the back, her mother’s pearl earrings, and those blue-soled Betsey Johnson shoes. “At that moment, it was almost like everything slowed down and she was the only person in the room,” Tyler says. “All the thoughts of a wedding going smoothly went out the window and were replaced with pure joy, excitement, and overwhelming love for Carrington and the life we were about to start building together.”
Her bouquet was a mix of white, soft pink, cream, and linen-colored orchids and roses. Tyler sported a white tuxedo, and his groomsmen were in black, as was Carrington’s man of honor—her brother Chase. Her other attendants wore black gowns of various styles. Guests also wore formal attire.
The wedding couple’s first dance, to Frankie Valli’s “I Love You Baby,” and the father–daughter dance to Joey Ramone’s version of “What a Wonderful World” started the party at the reception to follow. After an hors d’oeuvres spread of chicken and waffles, mini-charcuterie cups, and spring rolls, guests were served sirloin with roasted portobello mushrooms, roasted chicken breast with risotto, and pasta primavera. “We also had two signature drinks, his and hers. Tyler’s was a ‘Cran This Be Love,’ with cranberry vodka, and mine was a ‘My Ty’ mai tai.”
Individual cookie trays had been assembled and were personally delivered to the tables by Carrington and Tyler. Fifty years earlier, Carrington’s grandparents had done the same thing. Atop Carrington and Tyler’s wedding cake was her grandparents’ cake topper.
A black and white “Kardashian” glam-style photo booth enabled guests to capture memories, and a late-night snack of McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, and Philly Pretzels put the couple’s personalized finishing touches on a perfect day.
In their married life in Bridgeport, Carrington works as law clerk for the Honorable Christopher McCarthy, and Tyler is extraction manager for CannaVentures of West Virginia. Although the couple has two wedding anniversaries, Carrington says they will likely celebrate on March 17. “It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so it’s easier for Tyler to remember,” she says.
Sandra Harrison, Bridgeport
Lulu’s Salon and Bridal, Fairmont
My Tailor Shop, Bridgeport
Key to Adam
Oliverio’s Florist, Bridgeport, and somethingborrowedblooms.com
Hotel Morgan, Morgantown
My Little Cupcake, Bridgeport
DJ Doc Vincent
Lux Photobooth, Pittsburgh, PA
Hotel Morgan, Morgantown