When ESSENCE staffer Rondel paused during a heavenly vacation moment in Turks and Caicos to ask his love Yanique to spend forever with him, a photographer captured every second of their bliss!
The Lucky Lady: Yanique Ashwood, 30, Director of Inventory, Comedy Central
Her Leading Man: Rondel Holder, 30, ESSENCE Senior Marketing Manager/Founder of Soul Society 101
Where It All Went Down: The Somerset on Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos
How did you meet your man?
I met Rondel outside of the library on our college campus at Temple University. Our mutual friend, my roommate, introduced us.
What was your love life like before him?
I had a few boyfriends before Rondel, and they were all really nice (well, some were horrible), but I never saw a true future with any of them. He definitely changed my outlook on love and relationships.
Did you play hard to get?
Ha! He was actually in a very committed relationship when we first met, so we were just friends. When we connected romantically later, we didn’t play any of the dating games. We knew exactly what we wanted from a relationship.
At what moment did you know he was “The One” for you?
I knew Rondel was the one for me when he took me to church with him. He can be very private about things that are dear to him and his relationship with God is a special one. It was beautiful to see this strong man be so vulnerable to God. I never witnessed that before and I knew that he was what God had planned for me.
What’s the sweetest thing he’s ever done for you?
Our first Christmas together, he gave me a scrapbook with all of our photos from the first year of our relationship. Now we established the tradition of adding photos at the end of each year. One day, when we’re older, we’ll look back and be able to look at how our relationship and love has grown over the decades.
Most embarrassing date ever?
What’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened on a date? OMG! So we are on a double date. It was a lovely dinner. We had great French cuisine, a lot of laughs, and delicious wine. The four of us were walking to the train, and all of a sudden, my shoe betrayed me, and I did a backflip as I fell hard in the crosswalk. It was the worst! Rondel couldn’t even control his laughter. I was so embarrassed.
Who said “I love you” first?
Rondel said it first. I was scared to, but one day after a friend’s BBQ, we drove to Williamsburg and sat along the water overlooking Manhattan. We were talking about life and he just looked at me and said “I love you.” I cried. Then I confessed that I felt the same way.
How long did you date before you got engaged?
How did he pop the question?
He tricked me! I thought that we were going on a simple vacation and that he had to do a write up and lifestyle photo shoot for the resort for his travel blog. We get to the resort and we stayed in an amazing ocean view villa with a wrap-around garden and pathway to the beach. Little did I know that the photo shoot would end with a surprise proposal on the beach at sunset.
Photos: Paradise Photography