Bride: Kia Collier, 26
Groom: Jason Miles, 26
Occupations: Collier, nurse; Miles, small business consultant
Wedding Date: August 8, 2008
Wedding Location: Atlanta
College Sweethearts: The yard was the place to be at Atlanta University Center on a warm Friday afternoon in 2000. A friend of Clark Atlanta University freshman Kia Collier spotted a guy she wanted to meet. Kia took on the role of wing woman and sought to connect the two—but Morehouse sophomore Jason Miles only had eyes for her. Her rejection didn't stop Jason from trying again while passing out party fliers in the same spot two weeks later. Within a month the two were officially a couple. "I usually go for the rough-around-the-edges guy but he was different," Kia admits. "I really liked him."
Back to the Beginning: Having a serious relationship while in college didn't come without its challenges, but Kia and Jason were dedicated to making it work. "I met lots of guys but no one ever kept me interested and happy like him," she says. "He's my best friend." After seven years of dating and feeling settled in their post-college lives, Kia was ready for the next step. Yet she didn't want Jason to feel pressured. Then, Jason asked Kia to ride with him back to campus one morning. With no time to change, she rode with a sweatshirt and scarf on her head. Jason pulled over and asked her to come outside for a moment. Walking over he stopped at the place where their paths first crossed seven years before and dropped to bended knee.
Enchanted Evening: After the surprise proposal in May 2007, the two quickly began planning their wedding and settled on August 8, 2008 (08-08-08) at 8:00 P.M. "Eight turned on its side means infinity and it represents a new beginning," the bride says. "This day was the beginning of our new chapter and our theme was everlasting love." For Kia the day also held special meaning as her granddad walked her down the aisle in her custom-made gown. "My mother was a single mom of three and never married so my grandfather got to give me away."
Bridal Budget Bite: Kia and Jason's wedding was a fairytale—that came with real price tags. The couple proudly paid for everything themselves by saving and budgeting and left for their Caribbean honeymoon with a balance of zero. Along with cutting back on their personal expenses for the year, Kia also made many of the wedding items herself. "I became the Black Martha Stewart," she jokes. "It helped that we started early. We didn't use one [credit] card and paid for everything the cash."