On the evening that Kristi and Kalon met, she extended an invitation to him that he could not refuse. It was an invitation to bare everything. Kalon understood exactly what she meant. Together they began the process of shedding the things that prevent us from seeing one another as we truly are. In advance of their October wedding, they shared their story.
Bride: Kristi Joyner, 28, IT professional, native of Bamberg, South Carolina
Groom: Kalon Anthony, 28, fraud representative, native of Riverdale, Georgia
Current Residence: Charlotte, North Carolina
Wedding Date: October 22, 2023
Venue/Location: Camelot Meadows/ Belmont, North Carolina
How They Met
(Kristi) Kalon and I met on January 16, 2019. He is a poet and was performing at a local open mic. My friend invited me to attend that evening. I kept getting glimpses of Kalon throughout the night and his spirit held my attention. I whispered to my friend, “That guy in the turtleneck looks good.” I did not know that he would tell someone in Kalon’s group that I was peeping him and suggest that he should come over and meet me. Kalon eventually came over and has been in my life ever since.
(Kalon) I perform inspirational, self-discovery and love poems. I saw her briefly as she came in but could not see her features. She was another person joining the group, so that was cool. At some point during the night a guy came up to me and said, “Hey, the girl in the corner is eyeing you.” I thanked him for letting me know and he went back to his seat.
Throughout the evening, I kept trying to get a good look at her without staring, but I never got a clear view. After I performed, the guy came over to me again and said that they were planning to leave soon, so I needed to come over now. Even though I had not gotten a good look at her, I decided to go over and introduce myself. As I was walking up to her, her back was turned to me. I tapped her on the shoulder, and she turned around just smiling.
(Kristi) I cannot tell you specifically what first attracted me to Kalon. When I caught a glimpse of him across the room, his spirit just seemed bright. That Intrigued me. I noticed little attributes about him. Like when he was around a crowd, he could flow with the crowd. But for the rest of night, he was sitting at the table by himself, and he seemed perfectly content with that. As an introvert, I loved that.
I did not know that my friend had said anything to him. I had no intention of speaking to him that night. I was content to just share a space with him. I thought, “I won’t say anything to him today, but maybe if I come back next week, I will say something.” When he tapped me on the shoulder and introduced himself, I wasn’t sure what was happening. I gave my friend the side-eye, like what did you do? Then we began a conversation that would forever change both our lives. It flowed so naturally and extended for a three-day period.
(Kalon) I asked her a question early in our conversation, and her answer was profound. She said, “I am willing to get naked if you are.” I instantly knew what she meant. It is meant to be emotionally and spiritually open. To be willing to remove the mask that we all wear, pull back the layers of the onion and be totally who we are without fear of not being accepted. Nobody had ever said that to me, and it drew me to her. I wanted to know more.
(Kristi) It was late, and the DJ had started playing music when we began talking. That made it hard to hold an in-depth conversation. Then out of nowhere, Kalon asked if he could drive me home. He says he has never done that before and neither had I. As crazy as it sounds, both of us saw nothing but green lights, and I said yes.
After reaching my home, we sat in his car talking until 5:00 a.m. We talked about everything. It was like catching up with someone you had already known. The realization that it was 5:00 a.m. came to us only when the school buses started to run. That is when Kalon suggested we continue our conversation at his house.
Considering the world that we live in, none of this was something that you should probably do. But I made the decision to go less because of my trust in Kalon than because of my trust in myself. Nothing about that evening had troubled my spirit or suggested to me that the situation was unsafe. I have been in situations where there were red flags and my intuition told me to choose another path, and I listened to the hints being presented to me. In this instance, everything said go, so we went with it.
(Kalon) I was surprised that I asked her and even more surprised when she said yes. It automatically felt like I was in a relationship. There was something that felt special about her. It was like my soul was reaching out to her and I was not ready to let it end. As our conversation continued, we learned that we were both fairly new to Charlotte and that we had both been previously engaged. What are the odds of that? Little moments and little bits of information added up, and I felt attached.
Their First Date
(Kristi) We knew we wanted to see each other again, as soon as possible. So, the next day we got together again. We just enjoyed spending time and space with one another. Whether it was a walk in the park, a walk down the street, or sitting in the house, we had established a safe space where we could relax and get to know each other. Sometimes we would get dressed up and go out, but it would be hard to pick any one event that we would consider a first date. Six days after we met, he asked me to be his girlfriend.
This is “The One”
(Kristi) It was like God had placed a unicorn in my life. There was nothing that needed to be forced or orchestrated for everything to fall into alignment. We are big on maintaining our spiritual lives with God, and everything really unfolded in a way that if I had any doubts, I would have been crazy.
I remember being in the kitchen one day making a sandwich. I do not like to put the little fasteners back on the bread bag. Instead, I make a certain knot in the bag. It has always annoyed everyone else. Kalon saw me do the knot and told me to undo it so that he can learn how to do it too.
One of the biggest things that I knew I wanted in a partner was someone who would be able to see me without changing me or the things about me that are not a major issue. With Kalon, I could be totally myself.
(Kalon) I was pretty committed to Kristi early on. She was constantly in my thoughts, and I didn’t want to spend time with anyone else. I fell completely off the grid for several days after we met, ghosting everybody. I had made a commitment to escort another young lady to an event the Saturday after I met Kristi. I spent the entire day talking with Kristi before picking up the other young lady. Then I could not wait to get home so that I could hear Kristi’s voice. It was like, “Where have you been all my life.”
We had everything thrown at us that year. There was a time when I had to move away for work, and we had a long-distance relationship. After I returned, at one point I did not have a job and she did, then vice versa. Through it all, we were just maneuvering and adjusting, and coming together to really figure it out as a team. Experiencing that with her was so gratifying.
When my family met her, she automatically became a part of the family. Her family accepted me as well. All of this helped me to know that she was the one.
(Kalon) We became engaged in January 2021. I had planned to propose to her in March 2020, but it was delayed because of Covid.
The proposal was beautiful. I had been hinting about it on Instagram all week, but Kristi had not figured it out. I set it up at a park that we visited on our first anniversary. We had carved our initials on a tree by a creek in the park. I had my friend, Shawn, and his son set everything up there.
When Kristi and I came to the park, I had flowers by the tree where we had etched our initials. When she saw the flowers, then Shawn and Avery, she asked, “Hey, what are y’all doing?” Then she turned around and I was on one knee.
It was as if everything went silent and blurry except for her. She was just smiling. She cupped her face in her hands as I told her what we already knew, that I already felt married to her. I just wanted it to be real and to be special. I told her that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her and asked her to be my wife. She said yes.
(Kristi) I knew it was coming; I just didn’t know when. That was already understood and established. Both of us having been previously engaged influenced how our relationship moved. We had experienced what we thought we wanted only to realize it was what we did not need. The experience helped us understand what we really wanted and did not want in a relationship. It also provided us with a mirror to help us see ourselves and how we wanted to show up in a relationship. So, getting married, kids, life plans and goals were things we had discussed early on.
I was so surprised by Kalon’s proposal. I was sure I would know when the time came. Looking back, I probably could have figured it out, but I am glad I did not. I thought we were going there for a photoshoot to celebrate our anniversary. When I saw Kalon there on one knee, everything seemed to stop. It was as if we were the only two in the park. I was in shock and covered my mouth with my hands as my jaw dropped. It was done perfectly for me.
(Kristi) We have been planning for about two years and we are ready to be done with it. The process has been really good. Our wedding planner is Candice Mack with QC Wedding Planning. She has helped make the process simpler.
It has also been a good stepping stone into our marriage, providing us with opportunities to practice our business and planning skills and to work as a team. Having a long engagement also allowed us to understand and completely feel the process of being engaged. It gave us time to get to know each other on an even deeper level and to do some self-work and self-healing.
(Kalon) We have had to communicate with each other and work with deadlines. It made me appreciate how Kristi loves to plan. It was her idea to start planning two years ago, which made things a lot easier and not feel rushed. Now we are just executing the plan and are ready to get to the big day.
(Kristi) There will be about one hundred guests at our wedding. Most of them will be from South Carolina and Georgia but we will also have guests traveling from Ohio, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Florida.
It will likely be one of the most unorthodox weddings that many people have attended. There is not a process or plan that we have not made our own. If there is something that we really do not want or that does not fit our lifestyle, we are not doing it. We are also implementing some symbolism that our community may not have seen before. For example, we are incorporating tasting of the four elements which is a tradition borrowed from the Yoruba people. While tasting the four elements the couple is asked to reflect on the various stages of marriage.
(Kristi) Our honeymoon is still in the air. We have a few locations that we are interested in. We want to keep our initial anniversary date special as well, so we are going to have our honeymoon in January. Therefore, we still have a little time.
Advice to Others
(Kristi) If you are thinking of getting married ask yourself these questions. Would you marry yourself? And when choosing who your partner will be ask yourself, if that person does not change any more for the rest of their life, would you still choose them?
(Kalon) If you are not willing to be naked with someone else, do not marry them. I believe the most successful relationships are built on openness and being willing to be vulnerable, even when it hurts.
Please take a moment to congratulate Kalon and Kristi and wish them the best in the coming years. If you are engaged, married within the last year, are renewing your vows, or celebrating an anniversary, share your story with us. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wedding Planner: QC Wedding Planning LLC
Engagement Photographers: Durwood Photography
Visions by Shawn Photography
Venue: Camelot Meadows
Designer: MTC Events LLC
Wedding Photographer: Flowersome Photography
Videographer: Timelezz Media
Caterer: Tina’s Southern Chic Catering
Baker: Nutty Creations
DJ: AamEntertainment Group
Saxophonist: Josh Geter
Painter: William Hicks
Officiant: Center of Positive Change Inc.
Audiobook: Carolina’s Photobooths
Wedding Dress: Anjolique Bridal & Formal
Suits: Miguel Wilson Collection
MUA: Facing Paris B
Hairstylist: Sharona Styles
Barber: Karlos Adams