Bride: Nicole JeNene Antunes, 38

Groom: Manuel Joaquin Antunes III, 32

Occupations: Nicole, Elementary School Art Teacher; Manuel, Transmission and Ingest Operator for SPEED

Married On: 4.16.11

Wedding Location: Charlotte, NC

Wedding Theme: Romantic and retro.

The Best Things Come to Those Who Wait
Four years ago when Nicole and Manuel first locked eyes, it was at someone else’s wedding. The occasion was her cousin’s big day. Nicole was a lovely bridesmaid and Manuel was a handsome groomsman. Manuel escorted Nicole down the aisle, but their love story didn’t begin then.

“It wasn’t our time yet,” Nicole recalls. “Three years later, our time would come.”

It was their destiny to be together, and Manuel must have had a hunch. He wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to get to know her better this time.

“The beginning of 2010, I promised myself to open up and enjoy life,” says Manuel (lovingly known as Manny to Nicole). “That is when I met Nicole the second time. Three years later, she still had that smile I could not resist. We talked for months revealing, sharing, and setting standards.”

Knowing things felt right with Nicole, and taking his mom’s advice to “just let things be,” Manny let her in and says his life got better.

“The first thing I told Nicole is that I won’t disappoint,” he says. “The second, was that she is a blessing and I meant that from the bottom of my heart.”

Nicole was equally smitten. After their lengthy love talks about life, goals and values, Nicole says they both “came to the realization that they wanted to be together.”

A Picture-Perfect Moment
Nicole had just finished working out with co-workers when Manny showed up to pick her up from the gym. In a strange move, he handed a camera to one of her girlfriends and asked her to take a few pictures of the two of them together. Nicole was so busy trying to strike the perfect pose in her gym clothes that she didn’t even notice Manny had gotten down on one knee with a ring box in his hand. Her co-worker started shrieking.

“When I looked over at Manuel my heart stopped,” she says. “I was completely surprised, but the thing I remember most was the look of love in his eyes. All I could think was how lucky I was to have this man ask me to be his wife.”

Though her hands were shaky and her breath short, Nicole still managed to get out the word “Yes!”

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