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Who doesn’t love a day party? Shavon and JaQuinn met at one of Charlotte’s popular rooftop soirees in 2017, and he couldn’t let her leave without introducing himself. Tragedy brought them closer and showed them they were meant to be. Now, they’re planning to become husband and wife with a wedding next spring.
Keep reading to learn more about their love story.
Bride-to-be: Shavon Sanders, 35, underwriting coordinator
Groom-to-be: JaQuinn “Jay” Bell, 37, senior consultant
Wedding date: March 27, 2022
Wedding venue: Mint Museum Uptown
Engagement session location: The Duke Mansion
How they met
Jay and Shavon met at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in September 2017. His fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, was co-hosting the Fall Kolors rooftop mixer, and Shavon attended for a night out with a girlfriend. Before leaving the event, Jay introduced himself to Shavon, but they didn’t exchange numbers.
Two days later, Shavon suffered the tragic loss of a close family member. Jay learned about what happened through Shavon’s cousin and got in touch with her.
“He called every day to check on me,” she remembered.
Their first date was a casual lunch at a Ballantyne restaurant. Shavon noticed how he always opened the door for her.
“He was a gentleman, which I appreciated,” she said.
During their meal, they talked and laughed. Shavon considers herself a “serious-natured person,” but she loved that Jay genuinely made her laugh “without being corny.”
How they knew they found ‘the one’
Jay knew Shavon was ‘the one’ when he realized how comfortable they were with each other.
“I felt like reality was shaping around us being together,” Jay told me. “Everything we said to each other and did for each other was the right thing at the right time.”
Shavon couldn’t pinpoint when she knew that Jay was it, but she knew he was special after seeing how family and friends connected with him — especially her dad. She loved how Jay accepted her and didn’t make her feel guilty about desiring the things she wanted out of life.
“If anything, he made me feel like nothing was unattainable,” she said.
By 2020, Jay knew he wanted to propose to Shavon. The pandemic delayed his plans several times.
“I had the ring for a while, and it was burning a hole in my pocket,” he said.
He wanted to end the year on a high note, so he decided to pop the question around the Christmas holiday.
It was Dec. 19, and they were supposed to attend a “Friendsmas” dinner. When plans fell through, they made it a date night at a local restaurant.
“I didn’t feel a proposal was coming that day,” Shavon said, “but I remember feeling really excited because we were going out on a date.”
Amid conversation during dinner, Jay told Shavon he wanted to ask a question. Next, he dropped down on one knee to ask Shavon to be his wife.
She was completely shocked. They captured the attention of other restaurant guests. When she answered “of course,” everyone began clapping. Their server later brought over two glasses of champagne to celebrate the occasion.
How wedding planning has been so far
Shavon and Jay went in with a plan to not hold off too long on securing wedding vendors. The pandemic made booking certain vendors almost like a sport — competing with couples who rescheduled their nuptials due to pandemic-related restrictions.
One thing that surprised Shavon was how overwhelmed she felt about picking her wedding dress. She visited a boutique in Atlanta with her best friend but didn’t fall in love with anything. Her sister traveled from Philadelphia to tag along to other bridal stores in Charlotte.
“I thought it was going to be a little more simple,” Shavon said. “What I thought I was really going to love, I didn’t love so much when I tried it on.”
But, she found her dress at a local boutique and can’t wait to wear it as she walks down the aisle to her soon-to-be husband.
What they’re looking forward to on their wedding day
Jay: “I am honestly looking forward to seeing our visions of the day come to life.”
Shavon: “I am looking forward to celebrating our love with all of our close family and friends that have been a part of our journey.”
Shavon and Jay’s Black Business Vendors
- Photography: Dorn-Long Photography
- Videography: Dorn-Long Films
- Event Design/Flowers: Tabby Lane Events
- Makeup: Whitney Elise Beauty