What would you do if the person who caught your eye and made your soul sing came with children? What if they came with a tribe or with unusual circumstances? Are you still in?
This North Carolina couple proves that dreams can come true when you operate with openness, wisdom and patience. Javion shares their experience of turning what some may consider obstacles into a fairytale ending.
Bride: Javion Whetstone, 37, life coach, native of Clinton, North Carolina
Groom: Carlos Whetstone, 46, medical manager, native of Chester, South Carolina
Current Residence: Troutman, North Carolina
Wedding Date: November 19, 2022
Venue/Location: Champagne Manor, Monroe, North Carolina
We met eight years ago in Greenville, South Carolina. My friends and I had finished a dinner celebration for my birthday when we decided to stop by a little sports bar. At that time, it was called Spotlight. It is now Club 1243 Food and Spirits. When we got there, Carlos and his friends were at the bar. They were visiting from Charlotte.
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He seemed very shy and reserved and was dressed very preppy. He was wearing a sweater with a turtleneck under it. He looked very proper and reserved. I was intrigued by that.
We spoke with them, and he and his friends approached our table. He asked if I wanted to dance. So, we got out onto the floor and danced. We talked for a while and exchanged numbers.
We talked and texted on and off over the next five years. We learned that we had a very similar religious upbringing and church background. We were raised as members of the holiness church, which is very strict and disciplined in its rules and teachings. So, our belief system was very similar. It was good to talk to someone who understood what we had to do to unlearn some of those practices and behaviors, as well as being able to plot a life based upon great principles coming from the teaching that we had.
One year, I was going to a tailgate party in Charlotte, and I let him know that I was going to be there. We decided to have dinner. We laughed and talked, and that was it. I came the next year, and we did the same thing. The third year after I came, he started modeling and sending me images. They were wonderful pictures. We started talking more often, and I started making trips to Charlotte more often to hang out. Before long, hanging out turned into dates.
We went to Wild Wings Cafe on our first date. We had some drinks and good wings and sat around talking and laughing for about two hours. I knew nothing about sports, so we talked about everything I did not understand. We continued to see one another only during the tailgate season. It would be another three years before our friendship developed into something more.
We never actually declared ourselves officially dating; it just happened. We had some intentional conversations about it, but I was finalizing a divorce, and we wanted to make sure that we did it the right way. So, there was never officially a time when we said we were a couple; we just rolled into becoming one.
After we started talking more, I started making trips to Charlotte more often to hang out. That is how our friendship grew into something deeper. One date turned into small weekend trips and ended with us falling in love with one another.
I was the mother of 10 children. They ranged in age from teenagers to young adults, with two little ones who were ten and four. After enjoying several weekends and trips with him, Carlos said, “You know, I need to meet your sons. They need to know who their mother spends time with on the weekends. I believe that they should meet me. That way, you can see how they feel.”
I was just really taken aback. He understood how important my children are in my life and took the initiative to address the issue. It surprised and impressed me. That is when I knew that I could spend the rest of my life with him because he really valued me and my relationship with my children.
Carlos said that he knew that my children came with the territory. He knew they were a part of who I was. It did not bother him at all. He was the father of an adult child and just had to embrace my family as well.
He said he knew within two or three months of us starting to date that I was the one for him because of the way I love and sacrifice for my children. He knew that I was a nurturer. And I was extremely patient wherever our relationship went. He said those were the things that made him say he could definitely spend the rest of his life with me.
At first, my oldest son was reserved and guarded. He just said that he saw how happy Carlos made me, and he thought he was going to be okay for me. It took time for them to make their decision, but everyone grew to love him. They really loved how happy he made me. They could see it in my face, eyes and countenance. I was much calmer once we started dating. It was awesome. We now have an eight-month-old daughter together. So, she is number 11.
We had been dating for about nine months when Carlos proposed. I had a really big birthday celebration, as I do every year, at a hotel in Greenville. I had invited Carlos and all my friends for a private dinner. I was feeling a little anxious by the time he arrived and kept telling him, “Hey, you need to get dressed.”
Then came the time to open the gifts. I felt very emotional because my sister gave me some things, including a tambourine that belonged to my late grandmother, who had passed away that year. I turned around and was surprised because everybody was staring at me. I thought, “Okay, I guess I need to give a speech.”
I began by thanking everyone for coming and saying it had been a wonderful evening. I wanted them to know how appreciative I was. Suddenly, Carlos touched my shoulder. I pulled back and looked at him in shock because it was not like him to speak a lot in front of people. He said, “You know, I met you seven years ago. In seven years, you have completed everything in my life.” He got down on his knees and asked me to marry him.
When I saw my kids jump up and down, I began to cry. I was saying, “Yes,” but nobody could hear me. Nothing was coming out. I had lost all my breath in my body and was speechless. My mom screamed,” Speak up!” I said, “I am talking, but nothing is coming out.”
He really surprised me. We had talked about how he might propose, but I remember him saying he would never do that in front of many people. It would be an intimate setting. So, I did not expect him to propose that evening.
I had asked my friends, “Has he said anything at all about proposing? Has he asked you about it?” They all said no. I later found out that he asked my daughter when we took them to Disney World and asked my mom for her blessing several months before the proposal, but I had no idea. So, he was having that conversation with my family, and I was having that conversation with my friends, but we never had that conversation with each other.
The wedding planning went smoothly. Carlos said, “You can do what you want to do.” I wanted a fairytale wedding, like a dream come true. Everything that I asked for, he said, “If that is what you want to do, then that is what you do.”
I hired a wedding coordinator, Darrell, with DKG Weddings, who went through the entire planning process with me. My second maid of honor lives in Texas, so Darrell and I did everything, including flying to Texas to have my dress made by celebrity designer Ese Azenabor.
We found the venue early on. The venue required us to use their preferred vendors for nearly everything, so planning was easy. One of my closest friends, Essence Pugh, is an event decorator, and I trusted her to bring my vision to life. We had monthly meetings to go over what was in my head. Of course, I would run everything by Darrell to get his opinion. For every question or every place that I needed help, Darrell was there, supporting me one hundred percent. The only time Carlos gave me any pushback was when I asked him to help with the playlist.
I was carried to the ceremony in a horse-drawn carriage. My oldest son was one of the groomsmen. Five of my sons walked me down the aisle, one on each arm; two walked behind me carrying the train of my dress, followed by the other. My 6-year-old daughter was the flower girl and was escorted by my 11-year-old son.
We exchanged traditional vows. My most memorable moment was walking down the aisle and seeing Carlos tear up. That was amazing. Our first dance was also memorable. We danced to “First Time” by Teeks.
The cocktail hour was inside the mansion and flowed outside around the pool. The reception took place inside a large white tent beside the mansion. Everything was so beautiful, especially having our family and friends around.
I have had some amazing birthday celebrations. I met Carlos on my birthday. I got engaged at my birthday celebration. And I woke up the day after my wedding to celebrate my birthday as Mrs. Javion Whetstone. It has been amazing.
We honeymooned in Turks and Caicos for five days. We went parasailing, rode on horses through the ocean, and went canoeing. The water was so clear you could see straight through it. We went out with sea turtles, rode, watched the dolphins, ate so much good food, and shopped. He took me to every boutique we could find. It was amazing.
I would say focus on what makes you happy. Do not do it to please other people. I wholeheartedly am a huge advocate for marriage counseling. Ask the tough questions before marriage, including questions about parenting and finances. Make sure that you can have a tough conversation before marriage.
Note: Have you experienced dating with children? How did it work out? In the comments, give us your best advice. Don’t forget to wish Carlos and Javion continued love and happiness.
Are you engaged, married for one year or less, celebrating an anniversary, or renewing your vows and want to share your story? Click here to begin, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wedding Coordinator: DKGWeddings – Darrell Gambrell
Wedding Photographer: Smithalee Photography
Venue: Champagne Manor
Décor and Design: A Touch of Essence Events – Essence Pugh
Wedding Gown: Ese Azenabor
Groom’s Attire: Marquise Foster
Bridesmaid Dresses: Bridal Babes
Hair: Nautica Houston @_itsnauticacharese
Makeup: Che` Watts @che_watts
Diedre Mills @thediedremills
Catering: Best Impressions Catering
Wedding Cake: Doux Anni
360 Photo Booth: Stormi Harmon @its_stomis_life
Cigar Bar: Bon Vie Cigar Lounge