"I tried to play hard to get," says Alicea. "I couldn’t make it easy for him, but he has such a charming personality that I couldn’t stay away for long."
"It took a couple of months for the L-word to come into play," Alicea shares. "There was definitely an instant connection as friends so love developed easily."
"I love that my future husband knows how to make me laugh," says Alicea. "We genuinely have a good time together. We can crack jokes, sometimes about each other, and laugh until we cry. We enjoy each other, but most importantly, we like each other."
"My family loves him.," Alicea shares. "They embraced him from day one which is extremely important to me. I'm close to my family so knowing that they approve of him means a lot to me. My mom says he's the son she never had."
"She changed my life," Justin tells us about how he fell in love with his bride-to-be. "She was so wise beyond her years. She always knew what she wanted out of life and what it took to get there and she helped me become a better man. She always supported and encouraged me to do things that I couldn't even imagine I could do. I knew I found someone who truly cared about me and my well-being and I knew I was in love."
"The sweetest thing he's ever done for me is open his heart to me," says Alicea. "When we met, he was a little guarded and afraid to reveal his true emotions. Now I think it's the sweetest thing when we can have a conversation or a special moment and he's comfortable enough to let his true feelings show."
The happy couple will wed on May 24th, 2014 in their hometown of Jackson, MS. It will be a classy and chic affair with bursts of spring decor elements. "Spring represents 'new beginnings' and it will be a great new beginning to the rest of our lives," says Alicea.
"I think he chose to marry me because I encourage and support his dreams," Alicea insists. "We motivate each other to be better people spiritually and mentally."
"I knew I wanted to spend forever with him when I felt comfortable enough to share my innermost thoughts and secrets," says Alicea. "At that moment, I knew I could be vulnerable with him and trusted him enough to protect my heart."
"He's the best man for me because he is my best friend," says Alicea. "We have such a strong friendship and that's what I cherish most. He's my other half without a doubt. Whenever I'm stressed about something or being too serious over small things, he always brings me back to reality. He's the only person who's been able to successfully check me. Well, I let him think he can. (Laughs)"
"I'm looking forward to being an amazing wife to the man I truly believe God designed for me," says the bride-to-be. "I look forward to building a family and creating memories that will last a lifetime."
The couple enjoys going to movies or having a pizza and Redbox night at home. "After we watch the movie, we always give our reviews and critiques," Alicea shares. "Sometimes we even get a little debate going. We should be the new Siskel and Ebert!"
"He picked out the ring by himself!" Alicea boasts. "I never worried about the ring because he has excellent taste and he knows exactly what I like. I wasn't surprised when the ring was exactly what I wanted. It's a princess cut diamond with surrounding diamonds on the band. I absolutely love my ring and the fact that he chose it himself makes it even more special."
Alicea's man described in three words? "Hard-working, loving and God-fearing," she shares.
"I'm looking forward to sharing our lives together and starting a family," says Justin. "God blessed me with an angel and I will always been thankful for that."
The couple hasn't decided on a honeymoon destination just yet, but Alicea says she's sure that plenty of sunshine and a beach will be involved." The dynamic duo says they will also be sure to bring their swimsuits, sunglasses and sandals.
Join us in congratulating Alicea and Justin as they make their way to the altar. Leave the beautiful couple some comment love below and email us if you'd like to share your engagement news on ESSENCE.com.