This week's WeddingCrushWednesday couple goes to Mr. & Mrs. Ross. I've known Dakida for almost 9 years, as we are both members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and attended Norfolk State University for our undergraduate degrees. Always referring to her as 'big sis', when I reached out to her, she was more than happy, with her husband Edward (referenced as 'EJ' in the interview), to sit with me and talk about their wedding experience. The two, starting their love story in high school, now have a beautiful family with their son, Eric, and daughter Arielle. They reside in North Carolina where Dakida is a lead agent for the State, and EJ is a deputy sheriff for Durham County. Please take a moment to read how they tied the knot 'Ross Style'.
When and where did you guys meet?
"We met in 2002 in high school in Algebra 2 class. I was new to the school and we were walking to first block. It was real crowded because we were in the main hallway and all of a sudden I hear this loud voice saying, 'freshman, freshman... Move out the way... EJ coming through' and I looked and was like 'ugh... look at this jock!’ I was disgusted. I get into the class and I sit in the far right row of the class room in the second desk. Next thing I know the bell rings and I look up and here he comes walking into the classroom and he sat right in front of me. I was like, 'Oh My God!’ Eventually we had to do classwork and he turned around and asked me to be partners and pretty much the rest is history." -Dakida
"That's pretty much the story. Of course from my perspective, when I came into the classroom and sat down and turned around the first thing I noticed was her forehead. I told her that she reminded me of the rapper named 'Rah Digga' and asked her what grade she was in because she looked real young. I thought she was a freshman, but she said she was a junior. I remember the Carolina blue Capri pants she had on. She had on these thick black sandals and black shirt. We had to go pick up our calculators and she went and got mine for me and of course I was looking at her butt. After that the rest was pretty much history. I think like a few days later..." -EJ
"A couple days later I guess I started liking him and I had told my girlfriend about him. He just so happened to be my girlfriend's brother's friend so she was pretty much like, 'he's a good guy and you would really like him and he's not like these other guys out here' and so I ended up writing him a letter pretty much telling him that I liked him. I knew he was playing football and he was a senior so I told him he didn't have to say yes because I knew he may want to focus and not really want a girlfriend. He ended up calling me that night after football practice and pretty much taking me up on my offer to be my boyfriend." -Dakida
How long did you date before you proposed?
"It was seven years. We dated consistently, for the most part, through college. We may have had one or two weeks on and off where we said we weren't talking to each other." -EJ
"We had little breaks here and there, but we did date pretty much throughout college." -Dakida
How did you know that Dakida was the one?
"When you're in college you experience a lot of things. I had female associates, and then seeing my different roommates and their girls, and girls in general I just knew what I had. I felt like I had experienced enough of the world and I was ready to settle down. I knew I had something good on my hands and I knew that my girlfriend wasn't the 'party type' and she didn't talk with a nasty mouth. She carried herself like a lady and didn't dress inappropriately and I felt just like it was the right time." -EJ
How did you propose?
"I bought the ring in December and proposed to her in April. I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I ended up purchasing a cruise with the Spirit of Norfolk. I talked to the waiter and told him that I planned on proposing. I was still trying to figure out how I was going to do it. We got out on the dance floor and I was recording her on my phone. We were having a little 'selfie-moment' out on the dance floor and then I told her to hold my phone and record me. I was dancing and then I just got down on my knee on the dance floor." -EJ
Did you have any idea the proposal was coming and did you cry?
"Yeah I did cry. I had a feeling that it was going to happen eventually, but I wouldn't say that I knew it was going to happen on that particular day or at that moment. I guess you can say I was pretty surprised." -Dakida
How long were you engaged before you got married?
"It was probably like a year and a half." -Dakida
Wedding Date: September 12, 2009
Inside Ceremony and Reception (Great Aunt Stella Center, Charlotte, North Carolina)
Wedding Colors: Purple, Ivory, and Black
Where did you get the inspiration from for your wedding colors?
"Since we were having kind of a fall wedding I didn't want to do anything too bright. I also didn't want to do anything too dark. I was on David's Bridal's website and looking at the colors that they had for the dresses. I just liked that color, so we went with it." - Dakida
Approximate Expense: Between $10K and $12K
What was the most helpful during the whole wedding planning process?
"I don't know. That's a tough question. To be honest I didn't have too much involvement with the whole wedding planning process." -EJ
"He helped some, but it was more so me coming up with the choices and then I would ask him for his opinion." -Dakida
"I felt like it was her day, so whatever she wanted I was good with it because I wanted her to feel special and have it her way." -EJ
"I bought a book from www.theknot.com. It was like this wedding planning book and it pretty much gave a timeline of when things should be done and also gave me ideas. I think that was the most helpful because I pretty much followed that guide. Also, talking to my mom and Matron of Honor was a big help." -Dakida
What was the most stressful part of the whole wedding planning process?
"I would probably say making sure our finances were together and that we could afford everything that we wanted. The actual planning wasn't that difficult, but it was just the finances." -Dakida
"I would say for me, it was making sure that everyone else paid their rental fees and doing everything they were supposed to be doing." -EJ
What was your best or favorite memory from your wedding day?
"My favorite memory was just standing at the altar and seeing her come in. She looked like a doll baby or something. She was beautiful. I couldn't hold it back. I just started crying. I couldn't believe she was marrying me. It really hit me because thinking about all the things that we had been through and then seeing her come down the aisle was just amazing." -EJ
"It was probably seeing him up there crying when I walked in. I think that was definitely my favorite memory." -Dakida
What was your worst memory from your wedding day?
"I can think of plenty of things that went wrong. One of his groomsmen didn't even show up to the wedding. He didn't show up to the rehearsal, the day before, so we pretty much knew he wasn't going to show up to the wedding so that caused the first bit of stress. Then I was coming out and was getting ready to walk in the sanctuary for the wedding to start and all of sudden I was told to go back to the dressing room because EJ's grandparents weren't there yet. That threw everything off because we were just sitting there waiting for maybe 30-40 minutes. The last thing that really stressed me out was during the reception. My family drove down from the Raleigh area and were leaving that night to go back home. There were so many of them that were leaving that I think that a lot of people thought that the reception was over, so a lot of people started to leave. The reception ended up being shorter than we intended." -Dakida
"Dakida said it all!" -EJ
If you could get married all over again, would you, and would you do it the same way?
"I would do it all over again, but I would do it differently. I would probably try to push more for a destination wedding which is what we originally wanted to do in the beginning. We were so concerned with having our family members there. The focus wasn't necessarily on us, so I would have definitely changed that so that we did more things that were more so about us and what we truly wanted." -Dakida
"Personally I probably would have wanted to go to the justice of the peace and then have a large 'cook-out' or party. I'm sure that every female wants that experience of walking down the aisle, so it would really be about whatever she wanted." -EJ
Have you talked about or planned to renew your vows in the future?
"Yeah, we've talked about it and I think we will for our 10 year anniversary. I want it to be a destination type thing and be something small with just really close family and friends." -Dakida
Would you say that your wedding was everything you expected, more, or less?
"I don't know." -Dakida
"I would say that we didn't really know what to expect, but some aspects were more than what I expected and then in some aspects it was a little less. I expected to have a longer reception than what we did. The ceremony was excellent once it got started. In general, the whole day goes by so fast and after a while everything was kind of just a blur." -EJ
"I think I would agree with that. Some aspects were definitely better than what I expected and then other aspects weren't." -Dakida
What would you say was the most wasteful purchase?
"I don't think we really had anything that was considered wasteful because we tried to be as frugal as we could. My mom made a lot of different things. She made all the flower arrangements and programs. Pretty much anything that we could do ourselves, we did, so I don't think we had any waste. A lot of our resources were from people that we knew. We went to school with the photographer, EJ went to school with the DJ, and his roommate was the minister so I think we were able to cut corners on a lot of things." -Dakida
"I think we might have overestimated in regards to the food because we had a lot of food left over." -EJ
What would you say, in your opinion, is one of the biggest misconceptions in regards to getting married?
"I guess I would say that everything is going to be 'Happily Ever After'. I think people have these great expectations of marriage and what they think it's supposed to be or put marriage up on like this pedestal and thinking that everything is perfect and 'peaches and cream' when you get married. A lot of people don't realize or think about the fact that you have to put the work in to make it work. You have to be with this person every day and certain things about them you start realizing and you can't do the things that you used to do. You now have to try to keep up a household together and I don't think a lot people think about that when they get married." -Dakida
"Marriage is just the beginning. When people are dating I think they look at marriage as like the goal and in reality marriage is really the beginning of a whole new relationship. We had our son, Eric, before we got married and I think that can sometimes impact your relationship as well because that's somebody else that you have to divide your time and attention with. You have to learn to live with each other and raise a child together and there are just a lot of responsibilities that come along with marriage." -EJ
What would be the best advice you would give to a couple planning their wedding and also for them to remember while they start their new marriage?
"As far as planning I would tell the groom to get involved, but not to be too involved. Play more of a supportive role. It's good that some people put both of their ideas together, but I personally believe and feel that the wedding day is more for the woman, so just play a supportive role." -EJ
"The best piece of advice that I would give as far as planning would be to stay organized. When you're planning a wedding your thoughts can start going everywhere because you may see a lot of different things that you like and want. It's also very important to stay organized because certain deadlines start coming up and you don't want to wait until the last minute to get things done and finalized. It's very important that you just stay on top of everything." -Dakida
"For newlywed advice, I would say be honest with one another. If something is bothering you then I would advise that you talk about it and put everything out on the table so that it doesn't build up over time. You don't want something small that you could have communicated and talked about to end up blowing up into something a lot more serious." -EJ
"As far as marriage advice I would say to just continue to keep putting in the work. Do whatever it is that you need to do to make your marriage work. I know a lot of people say communication and I know communication is big, but I think that it's everything. That includes communicating, continuing to date and get to know this person and who they are as they will continuously change and get older. It's also really important to be supportive to one another. Just be open. I know my likes and dislikes change all the time and he wouldn't know if I didn't tell him and I probably wouldn't tell him if he didn't ask." -Dakida
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this week's #WCW and I hope that you tune in every Wednesday for new couples, stories, advice, tips, and guidance. Also, if you or someone that you know is interested in being featured as a future WeddingCrushWednesday couple, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org