If you were raised in the South, your mama probably taught you never to enter a room without acknowledging the people already there. Have you ever gotten too busy or too preoccupied to follow mama’s advice?
Shanette Graham called out the stranger who entered the room without speaking. It was the beginning of their love story.
Mrs. Shanette Graham: 34, hiring manager/coordinator, a native of New York, N.Y.
Mrs. Stephanie Graham: 36, restaurant general manager, a native of Florence, S.C.
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Current Residence: Charleston
Wedding Date: July 25, 2021
Wedding Venue: Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, Charlotte
Shanette: We met in January of 2015. I was at a family gathering in Florence, South Carolina for my cousin’s birthday. We were sitting around and talking when Stephanie walked into the house. Where I come from, when you come into someone’s house, you’re supposed to speak, you know? So, when I saw her, I said, “Hey.” She just looked at me. I said, “You’re very rude. When you come in, you’re supposed to speak.” She started laughing at me. She settled beside me on the couch where I was playing with my daughter, and we started to talk. I mentioned that my daughter was having a birthday party the next day at my brother’s house. Eventually, we said goodbye.
The next day, I was at my brother’s house for my daughter’s party when one of my cousins told me that I had a visitor. When I went out to see who it was, Stephanie was there with a birthday card and gift. She said she had heard me say that my daughter was having a birthday and wanted to drop off a gift and visit with me. As she was preparing to leave, I thanked her for coming and told her that I hoped I would see her again. Twenty minutes later, she had gotten my phone number from my cousin and gave me a call. We talked until she got back home to Charleston.
(Shanette) Stephanie and I had been dating for a couple of months when I realized that she was “the one.” She called me and said, “Listen, I can’t do long distance no more.” We had been going back and forth between Florence and Charleston to see one another. We had only been dating for a couple of months, so I asked her what she wanted me to do. She said she wanted me to move in. I said, “Are you crazy?” She didn’t care. She said that she knew I was the one for her since the first time we met. She asked me to come to Charleston the next day and gave me a set of keys. She said they were the keys to our apartment now. I had never lived with anyone before, but I knew she was serious. I didn’t give it a second thought because she was the one for me too.
(Shanette) It was Stephanie’s birthday and we had gone to a casino in New Jersey. Stephanie had been carrying a backpack all day. While she was playing roulette, she asked me to keep track of the backpack. She told me to put it on my back but do not open it. Later, we went to dinner then to our room. Stephanie opened the curtains and we stood admiring the view below. Then I noticed that she had moved away. I looked around and saw Stephanie getting something from the backpack while on one knee. She said “I have to have you in my life. I knew that you were the one since the first day I laid eyes on you.” I asked her if she was proposing to me. She told me that I was the best gift she has ever received so she had to propose to me on her birthday. I was crying like crazy as she placed the ring on my finger.
(Shanette) We decided to get married in Charlotte because I am a city girl and Charleston is kind of small. Charlotte was the nearest large city. Besides, I like Charlotte. I wanted a venue that included a wedding package. Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel provided not only a venue where we could have both the wedding and reception, but they also provided the food and cake. Everything went pretty smoothly. My wedding planner was awesome. She gave us a lot of good vendors. Having a wedding planner from Charlotte was a big help since I am not from there. I was not stressed at all.
(Shanette) It’s funny, my wedding day went by so fast it was like a blur. The hotel brought us breakfast at 7 a.m. Then it was time for hair and makeup. My wedding planner helped me to get dressed and the photographers arrived. Before I knew it, Ivy, our planner, was calling me to come downstairs.
Our wedding was very traditional. We did however write our own vows. One of the things that stuck in my mind was Stephanie’s vow to be patient with me. Everybody knows that girl is not patient, but she has really stuck with that promise. Stephanie’s most memorable moment was seeing me stutter and cry as I gave my vows. I kept stumbling over my words and cried all day. Our wedding day was the first time she had seen me really cry.
My most memorable moment was walking down the aisle and seeing Stephanie for the first time waiting for me. She looked so different! In fact, she looked nothing like I had envisioned. Stephanie’s normal style of dressing is very plain. She normally doesn’t wear makeup or jewelry. But there she was, with makeup on. She had pearls earrings and pearls around her neck. Her hair was curled and fell onto her shoulders. She was wearing an ivory pants suit with a small train. She was beautiful! So, everything she would not normally do, she did for our special day.
We decided to delay going on a honeymoon. We will be going to Las Vegas April 11-15.
(Shanette) I would advise them to be calm, be patient, don’t overwhelm yourself. Cherish the moment and the time because that’s something that we cannot get back. It’s supposed to be a happy moment not a stressful one. Have fun!
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Wedding Planner: The silk Veil Events by Ivy
Venue: Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel
Photography: Mane and Grace Photography
Flowers: What’s up Buttercup
Make-up Artist: The Make-up Team
Hair stylist: The Infamous Experience, DeAuyna
Wedding Dress: Pantora Bridal