Brother Ryan Gilbreath is a Spring 2009 initiate of the Beta Gamma Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at Virginia State University and a current member of Nu Lambda, the alumni chapter of Petersburg, Virginia. His bride, Allison, came to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority via the Sigma Omicron Chapter at Virginia Wesleyan University. Their wedding took place on May 25, 2014 at the Founders Inn and Spa in Virginia Beach. Below the jump, Brother Gilbreath talks about Alpha’s role in his wedding, his family, and in his life.
The brotherhood that I have with my frat brothers is amazing. All of my groomsmen were Alphas and I regard them as actual “brothers” and not just members.
I am [the only Alpha in my family]. My dad is a Sigma from Alabama A&M who pledged back in the 80s. Me and my dad joke around about that all the time. But I told him that when I was looking at fraternities, Alpha really connected with me. I want to pass down my legacy to my son one day, but I will always respect his choices because at the end of the day, it’s his choice.
I loved my college experience after crossing; nothing like it! There is such a legacy that you have to uphold and you learn that it’s not about you but more about the fraternity. People look at you as a leader when you cross Alpha.
Alpha for me has always and will always be a pivotal area in my life. Alpha has taught me resilience and perseverance when it comes to life’s ups and downs. To always do what is right and to never give up; be a servant to all and to teach and uplift our communities.
Transferring to Nu Lambda [the alumni chapter in Petersburg, Virginia] for me was like coming home in a sense. The chapter has a mix of older and younger brothers and I gained great wisdom from both sides. I learned how to be an Alpha man even more, if you know what I mean.
For a wedding reception, Beta Gamma is known to put on a show! We performed a step from our 2009 neophyte show show and a party hop we learned from our big brothers. Five years later and we still had the show down pat. It’s still ingrained in me to this day.
I really wanted to incorporate the hymn with me and my wife in the middle. It was a very touching moment for us both and my wife teared up while I joined my bros. There is nothing like it. Our Greek roots (for me and my wife, who is an AKA) are part of our story. Also, if you did not notice from the video [below], our wedding colors were salmon pink and old gold!
My brothers have been there for me and I have been there for them. It’s deeper than the letters and the parties. I regard them as family.
I will never forget that wedding experience for the rest of my life!