Mariah and Corrinn’s love story began on the storied campus of Hampton University. It was 2012. She was the beautiful junior volleyball player and he was the fast freshman on the track team. He’d seen her around campus and was smitten, but struggled to get up the nerve to speak to her. One day, he finally worked up the courage to say something and approached her in the campus cafe. He didn’t have the smoothest lines to share, but he had enough charisma to make what would be a lasting impression.
“After I introduced myself my next words were, ‘do you like movies?’ At the time it seemed like a good line to go with, but now that I think about it, I probably should’ve started with something else because she tried to play me,” Corrinn tells ESSENCE. “However, I was able to win her over with my smile and charm, and by the time I left the cafe she gave me her number.”
The two would go from supporting each other at their competitions and falling in love as young students to wanting to build a life together. Nothing could hold them back from making that happen, not even COVID-19. Not only did Corrinn ask for Mariah’s hand in marriage around the start of the pandemic and had buy a ring online instead of in person, but the couple also said “I do” long before many restrictions were lifted. That meant that such major moments had to remain incredibly intimate. Their wedding, for example, which took place February 20, 2021 in Richmond, Virginia at the Jefferson Hotel, only allowed for a few guests, including the couple’s parents and their pastor (and their dog, Simba, whom they shared a special moment with after the ceremony). It wasn’t the way they imagined they would say “I do” after their almost 10 years together, but it was just right for them. They didn’t want to wait another year or longer to make it official, so they made the most of the moment.
“We really got to focus on each other and cherish each moment, tradition, and special touches our parents and the hotel staff helped bring to life,” Mariah says.
Despite a limited guest list, the couple made use of all the amazing space in the Jefferson hotel to make for a gorgeous wedding album.
See how the couple went about planning for and celebrating their micro wedding and learn more about their love and how they’re settling into married life below.
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“It was spring of 2020 and we were at my parents’ house. I know that I was a little nervous but very excited as well,” says Corrinn of preparing to ask for Mariah’s hand in marriage. “It was a big deal to me because I was letting Mariah know that she was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.”
“Co had shown me some rings online and asked which style I preferred. I didn’t know he had purchased one until it arrived in the mail and he was on one knee with a box,” Mariah recalls. “He told me he loved me and asked me to marry him. Despite the pandemic not allowing us to actually go into a store to try rings on, when he slid it on my finger it was a perfect fit. It felt even better knowing we were moving into the next stage of our lives together, no matter what our ceremony would look like.”
The couple went into planning knowing they would have to keep things small, bu that didn’t mean they couldn’t go big with the venue.
“We began with a list of about 10 venues ranging from AirBnbs, to hotels, to bed and breakfasts,” Mariah says. “We vetted the list down to two options, toured them, and ultimately fell in love with The Jefferson Hotel’s traditional grandeur, romance, and impeccable service.”
How Cinderella Found Her Prince
In the early days, she was drawn to his speed on the track. She also fell for Corrinn’s singing voice (comparable to an angel according to her) and songwriting capabilities. But for Mariah, what ultimately made Corrinn her match was the fact that she could count on him.
“Over the years I’ve pushed him out of his comfort zone, and he adapts like a chameleon,” she says. “His consistency is unmatched, and [he] rises to the occasion no matter what. That’s how he gained my trust.”
The Bride, The Groom & Simba
The couple’s beloved dog, Simba, was a part of Mariah’s most memorable moment from the day.
She says, “the most memorable part of the evening was once dinner was over, and everyone was in their rooms. The Jefferson Suite was enormous and it was just Co, our mini Dachshund Simba, and I. We showered, got in our robes, and sat on the terrace together as an official family even though it was freezing.”
A (Small) Family Affair
The pair both have large families, so it was hard to go forward knowing they wouldn’t be able to accommodate them all.
“This was an extremely difficult decision, but we found comfort knowing so many other couples were going through the same thing.”
So the couple stuck with their parents and pastor, and the assistance of hotel staff.
The most memorable part of the day happened after the wedding for Corrinn. “We were officially married, and taking photos with our parents. I took a moment to look around and see how blessed we were to still have all of our parents alive and present during our big day despite it still being a pandemic. I know a lot of couples weren’t as fortunate as we were,” he says.
Mariah is photographed here getting ready with help from her mom.
What Was on the Menu
They said “I do” in the hotel’s Jefferson Suite, and had dinner with their loved ones at Lemaire’s private library. Mariah says they were “both breathtaking spaces that managed to amplify each magical moment.”
What Married Life Is Like For Her…
Since saying “I do” in February, Mariah is loving being a Mrs. to her Mr.
“Married life feels amazing. We work, travel, record music, and are making an effort to get involved in our new city,” she says, as the couple moved to Richmond. “We go on dates, and enjoy trying new restaurants in our neighborhood. As well as stay active by playing volleyball together at Richmond Volleyball Club, riding ATVs on Corrinn’s family property, and snowboarding in the winter. I fell in love with my friend, and now everyday is like getting paired with your crush.”
What Married Life Is Like For Him…
Marriage has only made an already solid love even stronger, according to Corrinn.
“I’ve been really enjoying married life. Throughout our relationship we took the time to really get to know each other, and build a foundation. Technically nothing has changed since we got married, but our love has gotten deeper – I didn’t think it could,” he says. “I find myself falling more in love with my wife each day.”