Shana and Carlton

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How We Met

When I first moved to Charlotte, NC in November of 2012 I didn’t know many people. On one of the first nights in my new city, I ran into an old friend from high school, Jessica, celebrating her 24th birthday. She went to college in the area and had an established group of friends that she wanted me to meet. Through the month of November, I met many of them and began building friendships with all of the girls.

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On December 9, 2012, Jessica invited me to a Carolina Panthers tailgate. The Panthers were playing the Atlanta Falcons; I remember being thrilled to experience my first NFL tailgate! Jessica told me that some of her male friends would be joining us at the tailgate. As we walked up, there was one guy that stood out to me. I noticed that not only was he cute, but he had a personality just as goofy as mine. However, he didn’t pay me much attention that day; so as the prideful girl that I am, I pretended not to pay him any attention back :-)

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Fast forward to January 4, 2013. The “crew” is now getting ready to go to the mountains to celebrate Sebrina’s 26th birthday. Sebrina was a friend of Jessica’s and I was excited, as the newcomer to the crew, to get an invite to the trip. I was one of the designated drivers. As I am helping to pack the cars, I overhear Jessica and Sebrina discussing who’s riding with whom. I heard that Carlton was going to be a little late and they were discussing who he would ride with to the mountains. I remembered that he was the cute goofy guy from the tailgate. I quickly put into action a plan to start over packing some of the other cars, leaving only my car with an extra passenger seat.

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When Carlton pulled up and asked, “Who am I riding with?” I told Sebrina, “I think all of the other cars are full, but he can ride with me.” Sebrina then yelled, “Carlo, you’re riding with Shana!” On the ride up to the mountains, everyone in the car fell asleep, except Carlo. He stayed up and although he didn’t talk to me much, every 30 minutes or so he’d ask “Are You Ok?”. Still, to this day, I’m not sure if he was truly that sweet, or if my driving was just so bad that he couldn’t sleep.

We were having a great time while at the cabin. Someone decided to start a game of truth or dare. After some pretty funny dares, it was Carlton’s turn. He stood up, and pointed at me saying “I dare Shana to give me a kiss.” My stomach dropped, but I had to play hard to get! I responded by saying, “you didn’t give me a truth option, so instead of your dare, I pick truth.” Him being the goofy guy that he was, he said: “Ok, if I tried to kiss you, would you stop me.” To which I responded, “I don’t know you!” Later that night Carlton and I were the last two up, still in the living room laughing and talking. When we got back to Charlotte we began dating, and the rest is history.

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how they asked

Every Wednesday, my friends and I get together for what we call “Working Woman Wednesdays.” On Wednesday as I prepared to go out with my friends, Carlton said: “You always go out with your friends on Wednesday, why can’t I get a date night on Wednesday from time to time.” This caught me off guard because Carlton always embraced how close I am to my friends. So much so, he was the one to name this day for us. I responded by saying “I’m sorry. If you want to take me on a date next Wednesday, I will make sure I am available.”

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So of course, that night I had to talk to my friends. I was so confused about why he would say that. I thought I had done something wrong. I talked a little junk to my best friend saying “We never do anything on Wednesday! He gets Thursday’s to go watch football with the boys and I get Wednesdays with the girls!” The next day he went out with the guys to watch football. So of course, at this point, I’m not the happiest person. ☺

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The following week came quickly and Monday he called me and said: “Hey my godparents are having a cookout tonight with some of their friends so I’m going over there tonight.” Now I’m confused! I love his godparents and they cook amazing food. Why wouldn’t he invite me! My birthday was coming up on Friday and we are getting ready to spend the weekend in Atlanta so I decided not to say anything. But inside I’m a little uneasy about why he’s acting so funny.

On Wednesday, he texted me telling me to be ready and dressed by 8p m. I instantly got excited, because my birthday is coming up. There was a concert that night so I just knew that’s what we were doing. At 8 I’m dressed and ready to go. He shows up wearing a suit jacket. Carlton only wears suit jackets for Church and work. My stomach dropped! I was not dressed for church!!! I immediately asked “Babe are we going to Bible Study? Should I change?” He smiled and said, “No, you look great, let’s go.”

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We are in the car and he drives to Chipotle. Chipotle!!!! He tells me this is where we are eating. Hungry, I eagerly hop out the car, ready to eat. He laughs and says, “Shana, why are you always so hungry get back in the car, I’m just playing!” Now I’m really confused and a little hangry.

We pulled up to Nikko’s Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar. I walked in and there were all my friends! They all screamed, “Surprise!!! Happy Birthday!!!!” I instantly freaked out! This was the best early Birthday gift. We ate and had a great time. The cake is brought out and laughs are flying across the table. The waitress brought everyone’s bill and it was just about time to go. Carlton turned to me reminding me to thank everyone for coming and for my gifts. I stood up and thanked everyone for coming. Then Carlton stood and said, “I still need to give you my birthday gift, but my gift comes with a lifetime commitment. The commitment to make you the happiest WIFE in the world!” AND THAT WHEN IT HAPPENED!!!! He got on one knee and asked me to be his wife!

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I immediately called my mom to show her the ring. It’s past her bedtime so I was prepared to call back to back. Shockingly she answered her FaceTime immediately with a smile and screamed CONGRATULATIONS! She already knew! Carlton took off work early that Monday to ask my parents for my hand in marriage!!!! I couldn’t believe it!!!! He wasn’t even at his God Parents House!!

The surprises didn’t stop there! The entire weekend was full of surprises in Atlanta. On my birthday, he took me on a surprise Spa Day at the Chateau Elan Winery and Resort and that day I decided that’s where I wanted to get married; sight unseen!

We will be married there on September 8, 2018, and I couldn’t be more overjoyed!

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Our Video

Special Thanks

Kimberly Gibson
 | Photographer
Clifford Barrett II
 | Videographer