Bride: Ashley Nicole Cooper, 30, Electrical Engineer

Groom: Melvin Royce Nichols Jr., 32, IT Support Analyst

Married On: March 7, 2015

Location: New Orleans

Instant Romance
Ashley and Melvin’s paths crossed for the first time when they both wound up visiting Washington, D.C. on the same weekend. “The weekend we went just happened to be the same weekend as the Congressional Black Caucus conference,” she recalls. “He and his friends had no idea, so they ended up being the only ones in the lounge without a suit on.” Believe it or not, it was Melvin’s attire and laid back vibes that helped him stand out to Ashley. “It was rather refreshing because my friend and I met a lot of pretentious people that night, and he and his friends were just normal.” The next night he took her on a date to the harbor. They started talking and never stopped – they wound up hanging out the entire evening. “We both had bad experiences with long distance relationships before, so we didn’t put much thought into the possibility of our relationship growing,” Ashley admits. “However, we found each other to be pretty cool so we decided to keep in touch.” It was the best decision they could have ever made. When she got back to New Orleans and he returned to Maryland they started using FaceTime video calls to say connected every night. One month later they met in Atlanta to spend the weekend together and they both knew they’d found “The One.” Eight months later he packed up his life and drove to Atlanta,” she recalls. “I flew to Atlanta to meet him and then we drove back to New Orleans, his new home. That’s when we began our next chapter.”

Treat Her Like A Lady
Melvin’s 10 year old daughter was staying with them for the summer when he decided it was time to propose. “He told us he was going to take us on a date and that he wanted to show her how a guy is supposed to treat a lady,” Ashley shares. “She’s a girly girl so she told me she wanted us to wear dresses and get all dressed up. I obliged, of course.”

Melvin gave them flowers in the car and took them to their favorite restaurant, Vincent’s, which happened to be the first restaurant they tried together when he moved to New Orleans. As they looked at the menu, while dining in a private room, Melvin presented both of his ladies with gifts. “He bought her a necklace and me a charm for the Pandora bracelet he bought me for our first Christmas together,” says Ashley. “He would always buy charms to represent different events for my bracelet. The charm he bought this time was a ring with a little diamond on it. He explained her gift to her and told me that my diamond charm represented his desire to one-day marry me. I thought it was really sweet and thoughtful.”

What she didn’t realize just yet was that Melvin had just kicked off one seriously sweet proposal.  His next move was the best move. “He knows that I’m big on deals and sales so he asked me to scan the code for the restaurant with my phone, “ says Ashley. “I didn’t have the app, so I downloaded the QR reader. When I scanned the code it said, ‘Will you marry me?’” Melvin’s daughter then reached in her purse and gave her dad a box. “He got down on one knee and said the sweetest, most heartfelt words before asking me to marry him,” she adds.

It was a joyous occasion and the surprises just kept on coming. She turned around to find her mom, dad and brothers standing there videotaping the entire thing. “I gave his daughter a little nudge and told her I couldn’t believe she was in on it the entire time (she really did a good job of keeping the secret) I never suspected anything!”

Photos: Courtney Dellafiora

Planner: Wink Design and Events

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