Chanel and Del’Shawn

How We Met

The story of our meeting is not traditional in any regard. It was four years ago on a Sunday afternoon, that I first laid eyes on the woman of my dreams. I was casually scrolling through Instagram when I came across my friend’s post of himself and two friends after a dance concert. Like most social media users, normally, I would have liked the post and kept scrolling, however, this time was different. It was that day that I first stumbled upon the magnificently beautiful soul that I would one day fall in love with, Chanel Elyse Harrison. I tapped the link to her profile and much to my dismay, she was in a relationship. Although I decided to follow her, I never messaged her. Much to my surprise, she followed me back. Over the next four years, we liked each other’s posts as we grew in and out of relationships, traveled, and obtained our higher education. When I went to Wales to represent the US in an international music festival, I posted my Snapchat on Instagram for my friends and followers to watch my journey. Surprisingly, Chanel added me and we talked a little bit during my travels abroad. She informed me that she had moved from Indiana to Albuquerque with her family and we talked about college. I mentioned that we should FaceTime sometime and she agreed, but when I returned it never worked out. Over the next few months, we had some contact but it was friendly. Shortly into January 2018, I saw that she was back in the area and I messaged her to see if we could grab a coffee before I left for a trip to Colorado. Sadly, it didn’t work out. Three days later, I returned from Colorado with a broken heart and she returned to Albuquerque with a broken heart. A week later, I messaged her and asked her if she wanted to FaceTime or Skype. She agreed and over the next few months, our friendship grew into a long distance relationship. Growing worried about balancing my schedule and a relationship, I broke up with her. The three summer months that we were apart, she wrote me a 10-page letter expressing how she knew I was the one for her. In my heart, I knew it too. When she transferred to a school in Michigan to be a part of their dance program, she asked if we could meet for dinner. I agreed. When she walked into the restaurant, I knew that to live my life without her meant that I would live a life half fulfilled. We began dating again and I heeded the words of famed lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, “once you have found her never let her go.”


how they asked

Knowing that Chanel wanted to do a photo shoot together, I told her that I had hired a photographer for a professional photo shoot on the last day of our Chicago getaway. Initially, she was thrilled, but when I told her that I had bought two fancy dresses for her to wear, she smiled and said, “Babe, that’s great but I’m worried that people will think that they are engagement photos. Can’t we just dress more casually?” I looked at her and said, “Who cares what people think? This is about us and for us. It will be special.” When the day finally came, I noticed that the forecast for the day predicated storms all day. I immediately became worried that I was going to have to change the location of the proposal to a different and less special location. However, about five hours before the proposal, the clouds rolled back and the sun appeared in radiant glory. It was as if God was co-signing the proposal in the strokes of majesty displayed in the sky. When we were getting ready for the photo shoot, Chanel decided not to wear any of the dresses that I bought because she felt they were too fancy. I said, “Ok, babe.

You wear what you feel most comfortable in. The photos won’t take that long, besides you’ll look beautiful in anything you wear.” She smiled at me and continued getting ready. Once she was ready, we took the elevator to the lobby and walked outside to the car that was waiting for us. It drove us to the Adler Planetarium, the location of the proposal, which boasts a beautiful backdrop of the Chicago skyline. When we arrived, there was a wedding taking place in the plaza of the planetarium and many people were out to bask in the glorious weather. There was so much going on that she didn’t even notice the violinist and violist that were waiting for us. I waved to the photographers (my good friends Tim and Sherry) and they came over to us.

After introductions, we began talking about photo options. Suddenly, Chanel interrupts to say, “Babe, just be natural. Photos read better when you’re just being yourself.” Meanwhile, the heat is turning up inside my head as I focus on trying to perfectly execute this proposal within the next five minutes. After several shots, I told her to have a seat on the step while I grabbed something from my bag. While grabbing the photo book, I signaled the instrumentalists to come closer and to play while we read through the photo book.

I informed them that when I raised my hand, they should play the song I wrote for this specific occasion. I walked back down to Chanel and unwrapped the book. When she realized what it was she glistened and said, “I knew it! This was your surprise.” I smiled and nodded. As we went through the book, the instrumentalists began to play. We laughed and held each other close as we looked back on the beautiful blossoming of our relationship over the past year and a half. As we approached the end of the book, I cued them to play the song I wrote. As the book closed, we shared a kiss. As the music climaxed, I reached into my pocket for the ring and got down on bended knee to ask the woman of my dreams to be my wife.

Our Video

Special Thanks

Sherry Joines
 | Photographer
Tim Joines
 | Videographer
Caitlin Edwards/Seth Pae
 | Musicians