Cynthia’s wedding will air during this week’s ‘RHOA’, and we’ve got exclusive details on her big day!
Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey and her longtime partner, Mike Hill, got married on Oct. 10, 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Their wedding planner, Courtney Ajinca, is now revealing how she managed to plan such a huge wedding that was attended by 250 guests.
Hollywood Life: When did you first start working with Cynthia and how did you get involved in planning her wedding?
Courtney Ajinca: “I was actually introduced to her by the Danika. And when it came time to do her engagement, Mike actually reached out to me to plan their engagement party, as well. So then Cynthia reached out probably about a few weeks later or a month later to say, ‘Hey let’s get started with wedding planning.’ So they got engaged in July 2019 and we started the planning just before October that year. It was right off the year mark before the wedding. So no one had any idea that COVID was about to come in and destroy everyone’s happiest moment (laughs).”
Hollywood Life: What were the initial thoughts about the weddings plans when the pandemic hit?
Courtney Ajinca: “We really just took it as it came and played everything by ear. Of course, it was very unsettling for Cynthia to begin with because the government mandates saying that we couldn’t congregate. She had a larger guest count; we came down from 400 or so and then she brought it down to the 200s. Of course, you’re a bride and in COVID, it was very emotional. I would just try to keep her calm, try to keep her focused and letting her know that, ‘Hey, we have no control over this but I’m going to do everything I can in my power to make sure that this is your best day ever.’ We just took every day as it came and it turned out great.”
Hollywood Life: What can you tell us about the location where the reception and wedding were held?
Courtney Ajinca: “The reception and the wedding were held at the Governors Towne Club in Acworth, Georgia, which is such a beautiful property, and their staff was so helpful and so nice to us. It was originally supposed to be an outdoor wedding, so it would provide a nice airflow for all the guests and make sure that everyone could social distance and celebrate in a safe way. But hurricane Delta came through and we had to move everything back indoors. We went inside to outside, and we changed it back from inside to outside at least four times during the week of the wedding. It’s so rare that Atlanta would get a hurricane and it just so happened to be on her wedding day. And it was like, torrential downpour so thank God we decided to take it back inside. Our final call was about 18 hours before the wedding and we had to make the call because we needed to order more items like draping and chairs.”
Hollywood Life: Was there ever a time when Cynthia thought about rescheduling her wedding?
Courtney Ajinca: “No, she never wanted to call it quits. Throughout the whole wedding planning process she was like, ‘I love you, I want to get married to you, 10/10/20 is the perfect date. Let’s keep our date.’ Even when Mike was like, ‘Well, maybe we can get married next year? It’s COVID and we want to be able to celebrate safely. And she was like, ‘No, this is my date. 10/10/20.’ It was never a thought to just go and change it.”
Hollywood Life: What steps did you take to ensure everyone’s safety during the pandemic?
Courtney Ajinca: “So we were very strategic with how we wanted to provide a safe space for everyone to celebrate. We implemented a lot of different things including hand washing stations guests had to wash their hands before they were even allowed to step into the property to check in. They had temperature checks; everyone’s phone had to be placed in a plastic bag to prevent the germs spreading there. Then everyone had to sanitize their hands and then they filled out all the paperwork that needed to be done. They were made to wear masks while not eating or drinking so definitely all guests should be required to wear masks when not eating or drinking, just as they would at a normal restaurant. We had liability waivers for COVID letting everyone know the guest count, that we had implemented safety precautions leading up to the wedding. We communicated a great deal with all the guests who were coming to let them know everything that we were implementing, all the rules and regulations that would be enforced at the wedding which were wearing the masks, the shields, and the social distancing marks, and only a certain amount of people were allowed within one space. Everyone who came was all for abiding by all the different rules, and we just celebrated in a safe way and no one got sick so I think we did a good job.”
Hollywood Life: And what were those safety precautions leading up to the wedding?
Courtney Ajinca: “We sent out an email with a liability waiver that people could look over before the wedding. We suggested COVID testing, but it wasn’t mandatory. But we did suggest that all the guests receive a COVID test so that everyone else could feel safe.”
Hollywood Life: Did you get any backlash for planning such a huge wedding during a pandemic?
Courtney Ajinca: “I didn’t get any backlash or hear about any backlash. I know that a lot of people wanted to know about the safety precautions and so when we did and we told them that no one got sick, there wasn’t really any backlash from that. I think we did a really good job of making sure everyone was safe, and protected, and able to celebrate safely.”
Hollywood Life: Did you feel any pressure knowing that this huge wedding would be televised?
Courtney Ajinca: “I mean, of course there’s always going to be that pressure. But nobody got COVID from attending the wedding so that was a huge deal for us that we were able to celebrate safely. And then there was the pressure of it being televised. Of course, wanting to just give Cynthia the best day possible. At this point, I have been working with Cynthia for two years so I just really wanted to make all of her dreams for her wedding day come true. So yeah, there was a pressure there being that it was COVID, being that it was on TV. But I’m so pumped working with Cynthia. She’s so sweet, she’s so laid back, and she’s just this amazing person all around.”
Cynthia’s wedding will air on TV during the March 14 episode of RHOA, which you can tune into at 8pm on Bravo.