Danielle and Ashley attended the 2012 ESSENCE Festival simply looking for good food and great music. They also found true love. Now that they're headed down the aisle, we pay tribute to their love story!
The Lucky Lady: Carlevia Danielle Smith, 31, Finance Coordinator
Her Leading Man: Ashley Nygil Robinson, 34, Director of Athletics
The Big Day: November 30, 2013
Wedding Location: Jackson, MS
How did you meet your man?
I met Ashley through mutual friends at the 2012 Essence festival. After enjoying the festivities, we ate dinner as a group at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Our friends were actually hoping that he and I would click. The chemisty was definitely there as we shared a steak that I cut for him, which he makes jokes about until this day. We thoroughly enjoyed each other's company that weekend. Although we lived in two different cities at the time, we spoke everyday, and Ashley visited me often.
Were you looking for love at the time?
No. I'd actually given up on love, but I was content because I'd put it all into God's hands.
What was your first impression of him?
I thought he was a gentleman and very respectful. I also liked that he lived life to the fullest. He was fun to be around with a positive energy. I felt like there would never be a dull moment with him.
Did you play hard to get?
Yes. I'd been hurt in a previous relationship so I was very guarded with him. But I could tell that he was a good man so I prayed for my heart to heal. I'm a strong believer that God determines who walks in your life and it was my decision to let him stay.
Describe your most romantic date ever.
On Valentines day he decorated my house with rose petals, candles, balloons, candy, and my favorite fruit. He took me to a 5 star restaurant with a live band, wine pairings, and a delicious meal.
Weirdest date you've ever been on?
We went on a double date with a fighting couple. They didnt want to be around each other and it was extremely awkward for us.
What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened on a date?
For our second date he had just gotten into town and I was supposed to meet him at a sports bar. When we couldnt find each other, I realized that I'd driven to the wrong bar. I was so embarrased but we both just laughed about it.
How did he pop the question?
After Thanksgiving dinner at my parents house he had about 20 of my family members gather together in the living room. He asked everyone to say what they were thankful for. At that point, I felt like something was about to go down but I didnt know exactly what. When it was Ashley's turn he stood in the middle of the room and asked me to join him. I was nervous and shaking as I approached him. I felt like I was about to faint. He then took my hand, looked me in my eyes and started to read a poem he wrote. At the end of the poem, he asked if I would marry him.