It's ironic how long true love takes to cross ones path, but when it does, it's kismet energy sparks a flame that no man can extinguish. Chanel and Maurice were both born and raised in the same neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio (more matter-of-factly, only one street separated their childhoods), both attended The Ohio State University and even shared a similar circle of friends. In addition, one is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and the other, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated - yet their paths never crossed. However, on the fateful night love came knocking on Maurice and Chanel's doors and luckily, both were home to answer.
"My sorority sisters wanted to hang out with the Omegas after one of our sorority events. Since it had been forever since we had hung out, I was excited to see what the night had in store! We all decided to meet up at Brothers, a bar in the Arena District. Upon arrival, I saw a group of Omegas, all of whom I assumed were married. While having a conversation with one of my sorority sisters, we started talking about Cleveland" says Chanel. Maurice, adoringly eavesdropping on Chanel's enthusiastic conversation about her hometown later injected. "[He asked] 'what part?' I replied, '93rd' to which he asked 'what street?' I said 'Orleans'. He then said, 'oh we are really family now, I grew up on 93rd and Heath'! We started traveling down memory lane, recalling street names, corner stores and high schools, laughing, joking, and having a great time thinking about our childhoods" shares Chanel.
After spending more time at the bar, the Omegas suggested going to another spot and Chanel and her sorority sisters decided to follow along. Following their arrival at the next bar, Maurice asked Chanel to dance but she agreed only under one condition - IF he wasn't married, in which he emphatically proclaimed “I’m not married! Who told you that". The pair trailed off to the dancefloor and proceed to dance the night away.
"We did the Cleveland Shuffle and the Trans Euro Express, but one particular song had us in our Stomp The Yard moment, when Columbus Short and Meghan Good were dancing in the club" says Chanel. That song is the melodic 90's inspired hit, "Play No Games" by Big Sean. As the two danced the night away, Maurice cutely sang the lyrics "I ain't like them others and I ain't trying to play no games wit' ya", in Chanel's ear. And after they departing from the bar, the two talked on the phone for hours.
"As the months progressed, we start finding out that our families already knew each other from the neighborhood, that we played together as kids, that we sat on my best friends porch together as teenagers, and that we had the same circle of friends from The Ohio State University! I'm a Delta and he's an Omega (Coleman Love!) and we never crossed paths until November 14, 2015! It was in God's plan for us to finally cross paths and I am so glad he has granted us our Soulmates! I know this sounds like a fairy tale story, but I love every bit of it and don't want it to stop!" shares Chanel.
Their fateful love story is nothing short of a divine plan. Read on for more of this unique couple's love story and view their Greek urban romance themed engagement session in downtown Columbus, Ohio shot by Herbert "Trae" Wilborn of Twenty3rdletter Photography.
Bride-to-Be:Chanel I. Norton
Groom-to-Be: Maurice C. Lee
Occupations: Bride-to-Be: VP Product Manager | Groom-to-Be: Educator & Coach (Football & Basketball)
Wedding date: 7/30/16
Wedding location: Columbus, Ohio
Tell us about the proposal!
Maurice: On March 26th of 2016 the day before Chanel’s birthday we went to a Jazz restaurant with two of her close friends and their husbands. Initially I was going to pop the question on her actual birthday, but the vibe was perfect to ask her hand in marriage. To my surprise my Dean of Pledges was there with his wife so I honestly believe it was no one but God telling me to take our relationship to the next level that night!
I had the ring in my pocket just in case the perfect opportunity was presented. When you have Christ in your corner, there's not a time frame attached to your commitment level. Chanel and I had only been dating for four months but when you meet someone that you have an instant connection with and the same goals, you automatically know this is nothing but God. I asked the waiter if he could assist me in getting the mic from the performer, he gave me the thumbs up. Once I obtained the mic, I professed my love to Chanel and asked Chanel to marry me… She said YES!
Describe your engagement session. Did you have a theme?
Chanel & Maurice: We tried to get inspiration from magazine, Pinterest, and even Munaluchi but did not find any inspiration that fit our personality! We settled for something simplistic, and sent our photographer an inspiration board but he had something else in mind. Herbert “Trae” Wilborn the owner of Twenty3rdLetter Photographer said, “Let’s do gritty, grungy, graffiti, broke glass, steel, brick, and concreate type backdrop”. Trae knows that our style is completely different then the next and we are having an unconventional/non traditional wedding.
We wanted our engagement shoot to truly show who we are as individuals and wanted to show that no relationship is “peaches and cream” smiling and looking pretty every day. There are going to be moments of discomfort and confrontation but nothing real can be threatened…and that’s TRUE LOVE! While shooting our engagement pictures, we had so much fun! Our engagement photos is completely different then what we have seen in the past! It incorporated our personalities, our style, and the city were we reside.
The photo shoot provided the vision of urban meets romance, classy meets gritty, and especially Omega meets Delta! What did you do on your first date? We meet each other on a Saturday right before Chanel was traveling to Paris and London that following Monday. We decided to hang out that following Sunday afternoon for an early brunch. We went to a soul food restaurant and had the opportunity to learn more about each other. We were a nervous wreck!
What's your favorite thing to do as a couple?
We really enjoy listening to music and dancing!
How has wedding planning been so far?
Chanel: Wedding planning is great! We are having a small and intimate unconventional wedding. Maurice and I are wearing black! Yes, I am wearing a black dress! While our guest are wearing white! We asked all our guest to wear white because we want every attending individual to be incorporated within our wedding. Everyone woman present is my maid of honor and every man is Maurice's best man!
Tell us what you're looking forward to most on the wedding day.
We are excited about becoming one and sharing the same last name! We are also looking forward to dancing the night away and having the best night of our life!