Going the Distance

January 2024
Written By: 
Ashley Daniels
Photographs by: 
Magnolia Photography

Blake and India found forever love at just the right time and place

India Hillman & Corey Blake Newberry
April 22, 2023 • Brookgreen Gardens

Both hailing from small coal towns in rural Virginia, India Hillman and Corey Blake Newberry didn’t cross paths until they were students studying at the Davis College of Business at Radford University. But there would still be obstacles and the right timing in the way before the two would become one.

Blake and India had a chance meeting through mutual friends and college roommates one night, followed by them celebrating at Blake’s 20th birthday party and India’s rejection to Blake’s desire to be something more than friends. That all changed the following year, when their love interest aligned and they went on their first date on September 24, 2016, at Al’s on First in Pulaski, Virginia. 

The couple quickly became inseparable, traveling the country and world together (sometimes separately), cooking, and tending to their beloved Goldendoodle, Willow. On their fifth anniversary in October 10, 2021, Blake proposed to India on a beach in Saint Lucia.

“That day turned out to be a stormy, rainy day in Saint Lucia, but Blake worked with the local photographer to move the proposal up by three hours to hopefully miss the storm,” recounts India. “Once we arrived on the beach to begin the photo session that I believed was a part of our all-inclusive package, after a few photos, Blake began his proposal and quickly got down on one knee, I said, ‘Yes,’ and as Blake began to slip the ring on my finger, the rain started to pour.”

Another instance of perfect timing was when Blake and India said, “I do” on April 22, 2023, in front of the old entrance gates within Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet. India’s aunt officiated the ceremony, and cocktail hour and the reception were held at the Holliday Cottage on the garden property. The special day was a lovely luxe, romantic garden wedding theme, bursting with fresh flowers and a focal point of a full floral runner that was draped in the center of the U-shaped table and cascaded down to the historic bricked courtyard of the cottage. 

The bride wore a custom Winnie Couture wedding gown, featuring a plunging beaded bodice with a full ruffle skirt that continued down the train, detachable beaded cape sleeves, and a beautiful beaded headpiece. Bridesmaids donned long A-line sage green silk dresses with a swoop neckline. Blake and his groomsmen wore traditional black tuxedos for the ceremony; the groom changed into a white dinner coat before the reception.

Guests were treated to a plated meal from their choice of either crabcakes, ribeye steak, or fried chicken and sides, an open bar and tableside champagne service for dessert, which was a tiered cake baked in almond, lavender lemon, and banana cookie butter. 

Soon after getting engaged, the couple commissioned a custom-created crest to represent their lives, which appeared throughout the evening on the cups, bars, dance floor, hand-painted champagne bottle, and stationery. After months of dance lessons, Blake and India took over the dance floor for their first dance to Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” complete with flying cold sparks and a dense fog that crept over the crest-covered floor. 

Blake and India Hillman, both business analysts for CGI, now reside at their home in Abingdon, Virginia. 

Key vendors:
Planner: AshEvents
Photographer: Magnolia Photography
Venue: Brookgreen Gardens
Event Design: Caluna Event Design Collective
Dress: Winnie Couture
Hair/Makeup: Tori Corns
Cake/Dessert: FlowerChild
Florist: Willow Event Designs
Food/Catering/Bar: Inlet Affairs
Entertainment: Eyecon Entertainment
Videographer: Eyecon Entertainment
Signage: Oh, Darling Details and Designs
Transportation: Carolina Limousine
Rentals: Eventworks