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Just Engaged: Brittany and Mario

Brittany and Mario returned to the middle school where their love story began to celebrate their upcoming "I do's."
The Lucky Lady: Brittany Powell, 28, Contracts Negotiator

Her Leading Man: Mario Austin, 29, Middle Grade Math Teacher

The Big Day: June 2, 2012

Wedding Location: Cancun, Mexico

How’s your meet your dream guy?
Mario and I met in middle school – it was Field Day 1996 at Peachtree Junior High, to be exact. I happened to notice this skinny, dark-skinned boy with a Caesar cut. Even though he was a lot shorter than me back then, he had a little swag about him. I thought he was cute, so I had mutual friends set us up.

Was it love at first sight?
He seems to think so, but I don’t remember it quite that way. We had been going to the same school for over a year, and I didn’t even notice him until Field Day, which was like the last week of school. And if I wouldn’t have had a mutual friend hook us up, I don’t know how long it would’ve taken him to approach me.

How long did you date before you got engaged? 
Even though Mario and I have known each other for years, we kind of lost touch after high school. We would see each other in passing from time to time, but we were both in college and doing our own thing. Surprisingly enough, the love and admiration we’ve shared has never really gone away. So when I heard of the sudden passing of Mario’s mom in 2007, I immediately wanted to be there for him. I struggled with how I’d reach out to him, or what I’d say when I called. I haven’t left his side since. We dated for four years before he proposed.

Who said “I love you” first?
I said “I love you” first.  It was actually not too long after we reconnected. Our friendship and chemistry was just very natural and we both just enjoyed each others company. I found myself sharing my feelings with him extremely early into our relationship, which was so unlike me. Thank God it didn’t scare him away… he actually stuck around!

Best gift he ever got you?
His unconditional love and acceptance of me.

How did he pop the question?
After coming back from a helicopter ride over the city we met in, Mario asked me to close my eyes for a final surprise. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but after a little force, I played along. He led me to a balcony and told me to open my eyes. And there it was…a big sheet held up in the air by four of our closest friends, spray-painted with the words, “WILL YOU” on top.  Then I turned around and Mario was on one knee with the ring asking me those four words I’d been waiting to hear…”Will you marry me?”  And of course, I said “yes!”

What was really going through your mind as he proposed?
It’s about time!!!

Fill in the Blank: I think he chose to marry me because _______.
I’m a ride or die chick – I’ve been there for him through a lot of difficult times… just as he’s been there for me.

Fill in the Blank: When we’re (finally!) husband and wife, I can’t wait to __________.
Travel together more and start a family.

Who would you cast to play your future hubby in a movie?
I would say 50 Cent or Bobby Valentino — only because so many people say he looks like the both of them.

Photos: Billie Board Photography