The Lucky Lady: Imani El-Amin, 32, Speech Pathologist

Her Leading Man: Mark Howard, 41, Filmmaker and Educator

The Big Day: June 22, 2013

Wedding Location: Riviera Maya, Mexico

How’d you meet your man?

Mark and I met at a Border’s bookstore in Chicago. We locked eyes, introduced ourselves and ended up striking up a conversation with one another that literally lasted for three hours right there inside of the bookstore.

What was your first impression of him?

That he was tall, dark and handsome. He also had nicely groomed nails and feet. (Laughs) It was summer outside and he had on sandals. 

What made you fall in love with her?

When just being around her made me happy. I wanted to be in her presence and just see her pretty face, look into her eyes and hear her distinct laugh.

Were you looking for love at the time?

No, I really wasn’t looking for love at the time. I knew this time around that I wanted God to bless me with a man he predestined for me to have in my life.

At what point did you know he was the one?

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I knew it when it was no longer about the superficial. I honestly and truly cared about his well being and also how this person would add value to my life.

Describe your most romantic date ever.

Mark pays attention to what really interests me. I am a big lover of Audrey Hepburn and the style and grace that she exudes. This particular date, Mark researched and found out that Breakfast at Tiffany’s was going to be playing at a local movie theatre. He decided to surprise me and take me to the front of the box office and hand me two items: a box and an envelope. Inside the box were a pair of cute shoes and inside the envelope were two tickets to see the movie. How he pulled off the surprise date was similar to events in the Breakfast at Tiffany’s movie. I was a happy girl that day!

What is the sweetest thing he’s ever done for you?

Besides material things, this particular birthday Mark decided to make a card instead of just buying one. Inside the card were four illustrative points each demonstrating his thoughts and viewpoints on a particular topic. This meant so much because it wasn’t about something materialistic but more about his heart and feelings and that he took the time and effort to creatively express himself to convey his true feelings about me and this relationship.

When did he pop the question?

Mark proposed on a Tuesday evening. My birthday happened to be that upcoming Friday. Mark was extremely nervous, as he was Mr. Chatterbox. We had always talked about going to Paris, as this is one of my dreams to visit this magical place. He started off asking me if I still wanted to go to Paris, and if I wouldn’t mind accompanying him in the near future “together.” I said, “of course.” He than began to pour out words of love from his heart and engage me with his words of wisdom about how blessed we are individually as well as a couple. His words and the ring overwhelmed me. He then proceeded to get down on one knee, and the rest is history.

Why is he the best man for you?

Mark and I compliment each other very well. We have similar qualities and often times we don’t have to keep each other “entertained”. We are able to be ourselves and drop the facades. We can sit in a quiet room and talk and laugh for hours on end enjoying each other’s company.

What do you love most about your bride-to-be?

Her consistency; the ease with which she does things, and how yummy she is to my eyes. I love the fact that there was a beautiful and warm spirit behind on the inside to compliment what is pleasing on the outside.

What are you most looking forward to about marrying Imani?

Talking about the names and personalities of our children to be and waking up next to her each morning.

Photos: Geraldine Rodriguez