Sometimes the thing you are searching for is right under your nose. Aaron and Alexia grew up in the same region of South Carolina, knew some of the same people and attended some of the same events. But they never met until they moved across the country. They call it God’s perfect timing.
Bride: Alexia Henderson, 29, director of marketing and communications –Magic Johnson Enterprises, native of Fort Mill, South Carolina
Groom: Aaron Henderson, 30, NBA and NFL agent – Vanguard Sports Group, native of Spartanburg, South Carolina
Current Residence: Los. Angeles, California
Wedding Date: May 29, 2022
Venue/Location: The Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina
How They Met
(Alexia) Aaron and I met in March 2017. He is from Spartanburg, South Carolina, and attended the University of South Carolina. I am from Fort Mill and attended Clemson University. We graduated a year apart, had mutual friends and had even attended events at the same time, but we had never met until we moved across the country to Los Angles. That’s when a mutual friend who, oddly enough, is not from South Carolina introduced us.
I had been in LA for about two months when I connected with a friend from Ohio. I later learned he had gone to graduate school with Aaron. When I told him I lived in Los Angeles, he said, “There’s somebody you should meet. He is also from South Carolina and works in the sports industry. Given your work history, I think it would make sense for you guys to connect.” He sent me Aaron’s Twitter information. I realized a few people following him, including my cousin, were also following me. My cousin told me that she had attended the University of South Carolina with Aaron and had known him for years. She was surprised we had never met. She told me there was nothing crazy about him. He was calm, and this would be a great connection.” We were introduced in a group text and agreed to meet for dinner.
(Aaron) I moved to Los Angles in 2015. I am a sports agent and an NFL agent. I had just signed a client for the 2017 NFL Draft when a friend, a former college coach of my client, reached out to congratulate me. He stopped in the middle of our conversation and said, “Hey, wait a minute. You’re from South Carolina. I know a girl who has just moved from South Carolina to LA. She works in sports too, for Magic Johnson. You went to the University of South Carolina; she went to Clemson, but I think it would be good for you two to connect.”
It was supposed to be a purely platonic, professional networking type of thing. We went to dinner, and I immediately realized she was pretty cool. The conversation was great and kept going and going. What was supposed to be an hour-long dinner stretched into a couple of hours. I texted her to make sure she got home safely. She responded, and the conversation kept flowing from there.
Their First Date
(Alexia) Aaron had lived in Los Angeles for a while, and I had been there for two months. He chose the restaurant and told me where to meet him. We went to RockN Fish. That meeting was all about work. He wanted to know more about what I was doing for Magic Johnson. I shared that I had considered becoming a sports agent, and he told me about his journey. I was looking at graduate school and learned that he had four degrees, including an MBA. We talked about the pros and cons of a law degree and MBA. It was an informal, focused and potentially great business connection. It was very natural from the start.
We kept talking but did not hang out again for two weeks. Our dating started more with him showing me the city. He would ask, “Have you gone to Malibu? Have you driven the PCH or been to this restaurant?” A bond was created by all the time we spent together.
I hadn’t always liked LA. I didn’t know many people, and the places I went to were usually work-related. I felt people were more interested in what I did than who I was as a person. He was a breath of fresh air, someone else from the south who moved a little differently.
Then he went on a trip for a few weeks. I was like, “Dang, I kind of miss him.” When he returned, he told me he was waiting for me to realize that we were supposed to be together. I admit, I do like this guy, and we officially became a couple.
This is “The One”
(Alexia) Aaron was very intentional about our relationship. I never found myself giving more than I got in return or feeling that I cared more about him than he cared for me. From the start, he made it clear, “I’m really interested.” He would plan dates, pick me up, and spend time together. He was always thinking about the big picture of our relationship. He had goals and talked a lot about the future. He always included me in his plans.
We also experienced some difficult times together. Although we talked about marriage, in 2020, we moved in together. He was far more adamant about us living together before getting engaged than I was. I eventually gave in but told him I would only sign one lease with him. He had to figure out if this was what he wanted.
During our first month of living together, his dad passed away unexpectedly. We dealt with the grief together. Then the world shut down because of the pandemic. We were both working from home and stuck there together. The entire year of 2020 was confirmation that this is the person I am supposed to be with.
(Aaron) Two days after our first date, I had an epiphany that Alexia was the woman I would marry. It had never happened to me before. I was questioning myself internally, but every sign I saw was just an affirmation that she was the person for me.
She has a very calming presence and is a great listener. She is a great conversationalist, but it was also the content of our conversations. There was a level of maturity that I had been looking for in a woman that I would call myself seriously dating and marrying. She was different.
Then there was her background. Her parents have been married for thirty-plus years. She is their oldest child. All these things began making sense. Her presence and balanced nature, our conversations, everything just felt natural. It felt right, and nothing ever felt forced.
(Alexia) He proposed the day after Thanksgiving 2020. I almost ruined the proposal. We were in Atlanta celebrating Thanksgiving with our families. His mother was planning a practice wine tasting for an online brand she was selling. I had gotten dressed in my favorite hoodie and sweats when my mother told me I needed to change into something nicer. She finally finessed me into changing by saying she had a photographer coming over to take family pictures. Then they asked me to go to the store for some last-minute items. I tried to get someone else to do it, but they all said they had other plans, so I went.
When I returned, his nieces ran up to me with flowers and told me I had to come to the backyard because something cool was back there. A photographer stuck a camera in my face and told me to take off my mask. As I approached the backyard, family members were lining a candle-lit aisle and gave me roses as I walked by. Suddenly, huge glow lights and letters spelled, “Will you marry me? “The first thing I said was, “What the hell!” Aaron got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was incredible. I thought it would happen in 2020, but I always assumed he would propose it privately in California.
(Aaron) I had bought the ring when I told my family about my initial engagement plans. My oldest sister said she thought my idea was pretty wacky and promised to help me. Our families conspired to surprise her.
We set up an event for my mother, who was selling wine for an online company. The event was to showcase the different wines she offered. This became the pretext for our families to get together. We got her out of the house by sending her to the grocery store. While she was away, we set up the sign, decorated the backyard and had the videographer come. When she came around the corner to the backyard, her mouth dropped wide open. She had no clue. It was the greatest, especially since she is tough to surprise.
(Alexia) Most of our family is on the east coast, so we decided to have the wedding in Charlotte. I went to a wedding at the Mint Museum, and it was absolutely beautiful. I liked the layout, with its indoor/outdoor spaces and a top floor overlooking the Charlotte skyline. We settled on most of our major vendors in 2021.
My mom is not a professional, but she has a huge gift for event decorating. I told her my colors and let her run with it. She gave me three options to decide from. One of my aunts was our wedding planner and kept us on track. A month before the wedding, I hired a coordinator to work with all the vendors. She helped set up the decor and executed everything on our wedding day.
(Alexia) Our wedding was phenomenal. I went into it very relaxed, thinking, “Anything that’s not done or that may not go according to plan is going to be okay.” We had a daytime brunch wedding that started at noon and ended at 5:00 p.m.
We wrote our own vows. Not to say that my vows were not good, but he blew everyone away. My dad, uncles and our grandfathers were like, “Oh man! Those vows were incredible, really top notch.” He really took the time to sit down and curate it. That was the moment I teared up most. I was like, “Man, this is poetic.” Mine were good too, but I thought, “I should have gone first.”
We had a moment of silence for family members that had passed away and did a three-strand cord ceremony. We jumped the broom before walking back down the aisle. We are still getting compliments on the reception. The food and music were awesome. People started dancing before we officially opened the dance floor. We never got to the garter or bouquet toss because everyone was dancing and having fun. The love in the room was unmatched, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
(Aaron) The most memorable moment for me was right before the ceremony began. I was coming from the second floor and could look down and see all my family and friends there. I literally felt the love in the room and so much support. People came from California, Texas, Virgina and New York. We even had friends who came all the way from Africa to be at our wedding. It was overwhelming, in a good way.
(Alexia) We went to Maui for seven days. I am so obsessed with this island; it is where I want to retire. We stayed at the Four Seasons, which was incredible. They really made it hard for you to leave the property.
We attended a luau and went on a sunset dinner cruise. One day we rented a car and went into the town of Paia. After walking around a bit, we drove up Haleakala, which is over 10,000 feet above sea level. It took about an hour of driving along the cliffs to get there. That was a little frightening. We were able to see the sunset from there. It was mind-blowing. We also did a private tour of the Road to Hana, which traverses the countryside of Maui. Our driver took us to many places you would not see on large bus tours. We saw oceans, caves, and rainbow eucalyptus trees. We even finessed a meal at the best restaurant on the island, Mama’s Fish House. It was the best food I have had in my life.
(Aaron) The honeymoon was amazing. It was our first time in Maui, and we got a chance to relax and unwind. We got a chance to see the side of Maui that most tourists don’t normally see while traveling on the Road to Hana. The sunset at Mount Haleakala was beautiful. It is the second or third highest peak in North America. I would highly recommend it to anyone who goes to Maui. We had massages, did paddleboarding, and went on a sunset cruise. We look forward to the day we can go back.
Advice to Others
(Alexia) Have a great team around you. Whether you need a planner to hold your hand through the entire process or want to do it yourself, it is important to have someone who understands and respects your vision and is willing to help bring it to life. It eliminates the stress.
(Aaron) My advice would be, don’t sweat the small stuff. Keep your eyes focused on the bigger picture. Take a step back on your wedding day and enjoy the moment because it goes by very quickly. I would also say you can have a great wedding on a budget. Don’t get me wrong, aesthetics is important, but the most important thing is making sure your union is solid and you are both happy without coming home with crazy amounts of debt.
Wedding Photographer/ Videographer: Smithalee Photography
Engagement Photographer: Xiaopan Xue Photography
Venue: Mint Museum Uptown
Caterer: Best Impressions Caterers
Decor and Flowers: Mother of the Bride Lendora Grevious
DJ: Bryant Kirk White -Operation Make the Bride Happy OMTBH)
Wedding Coordination: Adrienne White (OMTBH)
Wedding Planning: Wanda Alexander
Hair: Trinity Salon Charlotte – Aprelle Smith
Brides Makeup: Terri Craft Rodgers
Bridesmaids Makeup: Ashlyn Smith
Brides Attire: Wedding Angels Boutique
Groom Attire: Sidohr