- How We Met. My husband Antione and I met in college at our alma mater, Florida A&M University (Go Rattlers!). I am a Midwest girl, originally from Kansas City, Mo, and was transplanted to Pensacola, FL. during high school. Antione is a Tampa, FL. native through and through. He was one year ahead of me in school but we had the same major, Newspaper Journalism, and we saw each other a lot. And I mean A LOT since we both, at one time, were on the FAMUAN newspaper staff working late deadlines. I think we had the fortunate and unique opportunity to see how each other deals with situations under pressure — corralling stories and dealing with challenging writers’ personalities — and that drew us close. I loved how cool and collected Antione was no matter the situation, which was the exact opposite of who I was at the time. We were young, 19 and 20, at the time and sparked a friendship. He was so easy to talk to, funny, and easy on the eyes. If you let my husband tell it he was always attracted to me, but I had a boyfriend at the time. I’m glad me having a boyfriend didn’t stop him from getting to know me better. He said he’d always noticed that I was attractive, but he didn’t become interested until he noticed that I was an avid hip-hop fan. There was some song that I was listening to and I was discussing the lyrics with someone. I remember him abruptly stopping what he was doing, whipping his head around to me and asking me what I knew about hip-hop. It stood out to him because he had never met a girl who was as into hip-hop as he was. So I guess you can say our love for music sealed the deal. I didn’t know it at the time, but I would gain a great education and a great husband while at FAMU.
Advice. I’m not a relationship expert, but I made some bad and good decisions along the way that can help someone else:
- Be Friends First. I can’t stress how important it is to be friends with your spouse first and I’m not sure why people feel it’s not important. This is the person you will be around the most, spend the most time with, have children with (if that’s your plan) and grow old with. If you can’t be close friends first then what is your relationship really built on? I know not everyone will meet their spouse in college, but I’m so glad I did. We were both two BROKE college students and without money to go on dates all the time, we had ample time to learn each other and develop friendship. I can’t tell you how many days we just vegged out, looking tore up from the floor up, just talking.
- Be Authentic. If you can’t be yourself around the person you intend to spend the rest of your life then most likely they aren’t The One. I was super quirky in college, to put it nicely. I dressed differently: afro puffs and afro pick dresses, and enjoyed being myself. Antione LOVED that about me. I was original and unapologetic about it. Now, my ex…he had a problem with natural hair, which is one of the many reasons he’s my ex. Get it?
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. You’d think two Communications majors would be great at communication. Nope. That’s something we had to learn as we grew in our marriage. On my end I was always afraid to “upset the apple cart” by bring up issues with my boyfriend/fiance and now husband and we both have avoidant behaviors. That results in things being swept under the rug and things going unresolved. Now, we bring things up quickly and deal with them head on.
Wedding Day Details I can’t really describe to you the “theme” of my wedding, but if I had to use one word I’d say, “chic.” I took care of the little details, like table toppers, by going to a wonderful, wonderful place called Old Time Pottery, a huge depot for home goods. I also made my bridesmaids’ jewelry. I absolutely loved my wedding dress, a fitted mermaid style with a train, because it is timeless. I could definitely see myself wearing it again for our 10-year anniversary. I don’t think I had typical colors: citron and gold, but I loved the choice. All my bridesmaids wore citron dresses, but they had different styles to fit their body types. I think that is crucial. Everyone should feel comfortable and beautiful, not just the bride. And my bridesmaids all had good style.
There’s one thing I warn brides about while planning: be super strict on who you invite. Unfortunately we planned our wedding in 2008, the height of the recession and so there was a lot of family members on my side who couldn’t come. That could be forgiven, but when I think about who I had invited I get upset because many of the people I wasn’t close with. Some were my mothers’ friends, people I met recently… a lot of them I don’t even talk to today. There should be some kind of Wedding Litmus Test to decide who will be invited to your wedding because you’re paying for them to attend.