Wedding Story: Raina Johnson and Jack Pitts Jr.

The beautiful bride arrived at The Pier at Caesar’s in a white Phantom Rolls Royce while onlookers took pictures. — HARRY BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

Raina Marie Johnson and Jack N.E. Pitts Jr. were married on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011, in an elegant early evening ceremony at One Atlantic in Atlantic City, N.J. The couple was married by pastor Adam Jacobs of As You Are Church in Raesda, Calif., as approximately 250 guests, family and friends from as far away as California, Michigan, Arizona, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., looked on.

In a vintage trumpet style gown, the bride was as beautiful as the picture perfect day at the Jersey Shore. It was adorned with an ornate lace-edged train with crystal and beaded detail throughout, including a crystal-embellished belt. A piece of the fabric from the father-of-the-bride’s suit that he wore on his wedding day to Raina’s mother was sewn in the shape of a heart on the inside of Raina’s gown. The bride wore Jimmy Choo stilettos with “something blue” being the blue crystal lettering reading “I Do” on the soles of her shoes.

 

About the Bride

Raina Marie Johnson, 28, is the daughter of Randall and Tanya Johnson. She was born in Boston, Mass. Raina’s childhood years were spent in Stoughton, Mass., and Huntsville, Ala. These years were filled with dance recitals — and Pastime, which, thanks to her “Nanny” (great-grandmother), was all she ate until she was four. In the mid-1990s, Raina and her family moved to New Jersey, where they “and her heart” have been ever since. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2005. In 2008, Raina received her Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law — which is where she met Jack. Licensed to practice law in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Raina is now in her second year as an associate with a law firm where she defends public entities against employment, education and civil rights claims.

 

About the Groom

Jack Nelson Evangelista Pitts Jr., 29, is the son of Jack N.E. Pitts Sr. and Greta Pitts-Moore. He was born in Lansing, Mich., and spent his early childhood years in Lansing and the suburbs of Detroit playing with G.I. Joes, sleeping with a football and making countless trips to the city for little league practices and games. After moving to East Lansing, Jack starred on the football field and in the classroom at East Lansing High School, earning a football scholarship to Hillsdale College where he played quarterback, running back, wide receiver and corner back during his four-year tenure. He received a bachelor’s degree in financial management in 2004 and graduated from Howard University School of Law, with Raina, in May of 2008. Currently, Jack is a third year associate at a law firm where his practice focuses on securities law, capital markets transactions and advising sponsors of and institutional investors in private investment funds.

 

The Wedding Party

The bride’s stunning attendants wore elegant black silk dresses adorned with crystals. Handsome groomsmen wore classic black tuxedos with black suspenders, white pocket squares and classic all-black ties. The ladies in the wedding party were: Teri Curtis, maid of honor; Stephanie Spow, maid of honor; and bridesmaids Dareth Wallace, Devin Williams, Stephanie Johnson, Kayra Merrills, Aja Nowlin and Erin Cannon.

The groom was supported by Jean Pitts, best man; Adam Jacobs, officiant/groomsman; and groomsmen James Barr, Jason Hollowell, Fred Walker, Charles Mann, Josh House, Jason Johnson and Todd Johnson.

 

The Reception

A lavish yet intimate reception at One Atlantic followed the ceremony. There was also an after party at The Chelsea Hotel themed, “Happily Ever After.” The new Mrs. Pitts changed into a short, white party dress with a crystal bodice and comfortable, designer crystal flats. The couple danced their first dance as husband and wife to “With These Hands” by Joe Sample featuring Howard Hewett, and the groom danced to “Summertime” by Sam Cooke with his mother. Raina danced to “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. And wasn’t that appropriate?

Guests were treated to a professional cigar roller and photo booth complete with props for guests to play dress up! In lieu of guest favors, the bride and groom made a donation to the American Cancer Society.

 

Those Very Special Moments

One of the most special moments of Raina and Jack’s wedding was the first time Jack saw Raina in her wedding dress. The first look occurred at the entrance of The Pier at Caesar’s. Surrounded by the bridal party and his parents, as well as hundreds of onlookers on the Boardwalk who had slowly gathered around the entrance in anticipation of Raina’s entrance, Jack watched from a far as Raina’s Rolls Royce Phantom slowly drove atop the Boardwalk and inched slowly towards him.

When the car finally arrived for Jack, Raina’s parents exited from both sides. Jack then escorted Raina from the limousine, seeing his bride for the first time. After sharing a few whispered words and a few tears, Raina and Jack kissed to the cheers of the crowd and, hand-in-hand, entered The Pier. It was truly magical!

 

The Honeymoon

The newlyweds honeymooned in Paris and the South of France, specifically Cannes. The honeymoon, planned from start to finish by Jack, included everything from a private cooking lesson with a French chef, dinner aboard the Marina de Paris on the River Seine, a bicycle tour along Giverny to Monet’s gardens, guided tours of the Louvre and Versailles and dining at the most famous restaurants and cafés in Paris, including in the Eifel Tower and Les Cocottes. In the South of France, Raina and Jack stayed at the chic Hotel Martinez in Cannes and spent their days relaxing on the beach, swimming in the Mediterranean and visiting historic Nice and the luxurious Monaco and Monte Carlo.

 

Reflections

“Our wedding surpassed my wildest dreams. It was actually better than I imagined it would be. It was magical and filled with excitement, love and laughter. So many people worked so hard to execute my dream wedding, especially my mom who was 100 percent my wedding planner from start to finish. It would not have been what it was without her,” said Raina.

“In addition to an absolutely fantastic and fun wedding, I really enjoyed the rehearsal dinner. It was held at the Wolfgang Puck American Grille at the Borgata, with delicious food and a great atmosphere, including tear jerking speeches which made for a memorable evening. On the morning of the wedding, I never will forget all of the laughs I shared with my groomsmen. With our schedules, who knows when we will all be in the same room together again? It was very special,” said Jack.

Congratulations, and very best wishes, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Pitts!

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