Storybook Wedding: Kurtis and Jennifer

Read how the happy couple met and fell in love.

Charreah K. Jackson May, 10, 2012

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Two years ago Brooklyn teacher Jennifer Mack asked her art class to create collages. One student held a picture of New Jersey artist Kurtis Watkins from the ESSENCE 2008 Do Right Men feature. Just before he cut the image, Jennifer grabbed the page. She sent an e-mail to Kurtis and soon the eligible bachelor was gladly off the market.


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Kurtis thought it was destiny when ESSENCE, the magazine that brought the couple together, was promoting the Storybook Wedding contest shortly after he purchased an engagement ring. He wrote in and was selected as one of six finalists from more than 200 letters.


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3 of 10 Photography by Diana Zalucky

“Making the first move was so worth it,” says Jennifer. The couple’s trip to Walt Disney World coincided with their two-year anniversary, and it was Kurtis’s turn to plan.


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4 of 10 Photography by Diana Zalucky

The two artists and animal lovers nibbled strawberries and sipped champagne while gazing at exotic wildlife in an enclosure that mimics the African savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Kidani Village. Back when he was single, Kurtis created a romantic painting collection of a couple enjoying many of the same animals.


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5 of 10 Photography by Diana Zalucky

As the sun set, Kurtis brought his vision to life and tears to the eyes of his bride-to-be as he asked for her hand in marriage.


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6 of 10 Photography by Diana Zalucky

She said “Yes” to the cheers of vacationers at the resort. “She is my dream come true,” Kurtis says.


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7 of 10 Photography by Diana Zalucky

The fun-loving couple has enjoyed many adventures including fiestas, exotic trips, art exhibits, apple picking, karaoke, ballroom dancing and more. “I never know what to expect with Kurtis,” Jennifer says.


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8 of 10 Photography by Diana Zalucky

Knowing his bride-to-be loves Minnie Mouse, Kurtis surprised her with special edition Animal Kingdom Minnie ears.


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9 of 10 Photography by Diana Zalucky

Why they want your vote: ““We met because of ESSENCE and I am so thankful for that,” Kurtis says. “Jennifer has moved to be closer to me and our love keeps growing. A Storybook Wedding would be the perfect ending.”


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10 of 10 Photography by Diana Zalucky

See more of Kurtis and Jennifer’s story and their Disney World engagement in the June issue of ESSENCE.


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