"Being a bride felt unreal," said Aarika. "It was truly a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the entire process. Some days, I wanted to give up and get married at the Justice of Peace. But when the day actually came, there was so much love in the room, it made it all worth it. I would do it all again exactly the same if I had the opportunity. It was everything!"
Celebrating their birthdays which are one week apart, the groom had the perfect plant to surprise his future bride with her hand in marriage.
"In August 2015 we took a joint birthday trip to Austin," the bride shared. "When we checked in to the hotel, all of the staff was incredibly nice. They even upgraded our room to one of the Presidential Suites. I am extremely impressed and giddy at this point. I was thinking we were getting the VIP treatment because it was our birthday. That evening we went to the J Cole concert and headed back to the hotel afterwards. Donald insisted that we checked out the rooftop pool but it was almost 2am. I was extremely confused but decided to just go with the flow. The roof was actually locked but he somehow convinced the hotel staff to open the door for us. He convinced me that we would just hang up there and chill before heading to sleep. After the concierge opened the door, he followed behind us as we walked out on the roof (which I thought was strange). Donald then asked him to take a picture of us with the city skyline behind us. As I am preparing to take the picture, Donald gets down on one knee and asks me to marry him. Of course I said yes. All of the hotel staff was in on the plan and the concierge got it all on video."
"I said “yes” because I knew there was nobody else in this world that I would want to share every single moment of this life with," said the bride. "As cliché as it sounds, I never had a best friend like I have in him."
"The man that I married is 100% the life of the party," said Aarika of Donald. "He brightens the energy in every room and he breathes life into every negative situation. He wears so many hats (father, husband, brother, son, Kappa, Mason, accountant, MC) and finds a way to juggle them all without ever dropping the ball. He’s my number one fan and biggest cheerleader. He is definitely the image of a man that I would hope that those who are looking him, follow his lead."
"The bridesmaids dresses were very fun to choose," shared the bride. "I allowed all my bridesmaid to choose styles that looked best on their body type. I gave them a color scheme (blush and rose gold) to choose from and they all looked phenomenal. Each dress was different but they complemented each other well."
"I love the security that I found in him," Aarika admitted. "He has proven to me that I can literally trust him with my life. With him, I feel secure in our home, in the streets, in our finances, and in our love for each other. He has never wasted my time and has always made his intentions for our relationship clear."
"I knew she was the one the moment we were separated for a long period of time," Donald recalled. "She left Dallas to attend graduate school in DC. It was a rough 2 years and I knew the moment we were back together I never wanted us to ever be apart again."
"I knew he was the one on the Valentine’s Day weekend of my second year of graduate school. He was flying from Dallas to visit me in D.C. There was a huge snowstorm that was canceling flights all along the east coast. His trip got postponed to the next day, then the airline tried to cancel it all together. Finally, they offered him a flight to Philadelphia and he hopped on it. It was still snowing pretty bad so he told me that he would stay overnight and take the bus down the next day. I didn’t trust any forms of public transportation at that point so I picked up my cousin and drove in the storm and the middle of the night to come get him. He was so angry with me when he realized what I was doing, but I knew at that point I was willing to risk my life (and my cousins) to not spend another night without him. I knew how much I loved him and how the lengths I’d go just to be in his presence."
"Being at the altar was like a calm," said Donald who was overcome with emotion waiting for Aarika at the altar. "Everything about what we were doing that evening felt like we were living out a divine purpose. It truly felt like a dream."