“I’m honored to have the exclusive on Damian and Kay’La’s wedding and to introduce Erinnicole Goodwin, who designed Damian’s wedding looks. We are all from Oakland affectionally known as “The Town.” That means we are family and have each other’s backs! I appreciate them giving EBONY the opportunity to share their love and talent with the world.”—Michele Thorton Ghee, EBONY’s CEO
Over Labor Day weekend, on September 4, 2021, Portland Trail Blazers Damian LaMonte Ollie Lillard, 31, tied the knot with his longtime love, Kay'La Marie Hanson Lillard, 29, at the Rosewood Miramar Beach, Montecito, CA. The two met while they were students at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.
"I knew Kay'La was the one a long time ago. When we were in college she took care of me. She had the car, an apartment and bent over backwards for me. Kay’La accepted me with all my flaws as a young man," Damian shares with EBONY. "She reminded me of my mom in that way, very nurturing (and their birthdays are four days apart). So, it was just a matter of me being ready to take the next step."
"I popped the question in Chicago 2020 during the NBA All-Star weekend. I snuck all of my family and her family out to Chicago without her knowing. I told her we were attending a new Valentine’s Day event the NBA was hosting. We showed up to the venue where I had a wall full of roses designed with 'Will You Marry Me?'" continues Damian. "She turned around after she read the question and I was right there on one knee. Then both of our families joined us for the big celebration."
"I knew Damian was the one once I realized he could handle my crazy attitude. I'm a Scorpio. I’m a very passionate and strong-willed person who can easily get stuck in my ways. I needed a man I could feel comfortable leading me in all areas and Damian is the man I trust with my life. He’s always cool, calm, and protective," adds Kay'La.
For the Big Day, the beautiful bride wore a wedding gown and veil by Galia Lahav, with jewels by XIV Karats and shoes by Jimmy Choo. The stylish groom wore a tux by Erinnicole Goodwin and Desiree Olavarrieta of It’s Goode Clothing.
Kay'La's best friend Eternity Simon Buhl served as her maid of honor. "Eternity has been my best friend since I was a freshman in college. She coincidentally introduced Damian and me. She’s been by my side throughout our entire relationship—all of my major highs and lows," shares Kay'La. "Eternity is the godmother of my son Damian Jr., and I am the godmother to both of her children, Joseph and Emina. She’s my rock!" .
Her bridesmaids were all coordinated with the same ombre tones of their bouquets (courtesy of the wedding florist Celio's Design) leaving Kay'La with the lightest blush. At the outdoor ceremony, the magnolia trees were also dressed with the lightest roses, growing up the trunk, by the florist.
As for Dame, the honor of his best man went to the person who has been there from day one for him, his big bro, Houston Lillard, II. "I have a few cousins and friends that could have been the best man but no one knows me better and has been by my side like my brother," says Damian. "We don’t have to talk or see each other for weeks and we live 10 minutes apart. We have a bond and loyalty with each other that is a true brotherhood. I feel the connection with my brother on the level I feel with my kids. It was only right that he was my best man."
As for what were his thoughts when he saw his beautiful bride-to-be walking towards him down the aisle, Damian says "Someone told me I couldn’t love her any more but the moment she started walking down the aisle towards me I felt even more overcome with love."
After the wedding ceremony, the groom and bride made an outfit change to party with their guests. Kay'La changed into a stunning reception dress by Galia Lahav, the designer of her wedding gown, while Damian dazzled in a striking outfit by It’s Goode Clothing.
Regarding his bold choice, Damian says "[Erinnicole, Desiree, and I] wanted to get away from a traditional look and make it more of my style but louder than usual. I’ve been known to not wear a shirt under my suit so we made that decision and felt it was appropriate. The outfit itself was made to be comfortable, light and be out of the ordinary." And what was his favorite part of his ensemble? "My favorite part of the look were the pearls," he adds, cheekily.
At the reception, guests dined on grilled filet mignon, pan roasted salmon, or a vegetarian dish (upon request). The florist decorated the tables with a variety of roses, from quicksand to toffee, which allowed the serpentine tables to look like a river of beauty.
Musical acts, including Johnny Gill, Common, Snoop Dogg, Tevin Campbell, R.L. Huggar of Next, and Blxst kept the partygoers grooving. "Johnny Gill is one of my all time favorites so to have him sing at the wedding was a dream come true for me," explains Kay'La, but having her grandmother serenade her and and her husband with "At Last" had to be one of the highlights of the evening.
Kay'La and her crew of bridesmaids later took to the stage and surprised Damian and their guests with their own choreographed musical set, which they practiced for weeks ahead in preparation.
The best present of the weekend for the bride, aside from the wedding ceremony to her long-time paramour, had to be the surprise video message her sister sent in which was aired during the rehearsal dinner. "My sister Kalina is currently deployed in Kuwait and couldn’t attend the wedding. It made me very happy to see her," shares Kay'La.
As for the groom, "Seeing my dad smile and want to be in pictures because that’s just not his style. He’s the "in the background kind of guy" all the time. So I could tell he was experiencing real love. He’s as responsible for my success as I am so I was happy to see him in that space."
After a long night of festivities, the happy couple jetted off to the Italian Mediterranean for their honeymoon.
Below, a few snaps from Kay'La and Damian's weekend wedding festivities. All photos by Stanlo Photography:
Friday Night's Rehearsal Dinner
Prep for the Big Day
The wedding ceremony
The wedding reception