They say the art of love is largely the art of persistence. And if you're anything like Mike, you're sure to relate to this quote. Rewinding back, fifteen years, Abby and Mike "play dated" in middle school, but this pre-teen love affair was about as long as their bus ride home. "It was the second semester and we had a week left in school. He asked me to be his girl and I agreed. In the five days of dating Mike, who was a very strong judgmental Christian, he chastised me for every little thing I did that was wrong. The last day of classes on the bus I broke up with him because I was not a fan of feeling like a heathen every time he was around", shares Abby.
After their failed 5-day-romance, the two remained friends. They shared classes together and cutely passed flirty notes throughout high school, but when it came to dating, Abby shut down all of Mike's advances. During college, they kept in touch and while Mike remained steadfast in his quest to gain her affections, Abby continued to lend him the cold shoulder. It wasn't until her final year of pharmacy school that Abby, reluctantly, decided to take Mike up one of his many date offers.
While this couple's love story didn't quite begin with sparks, their shared love of God and spirituality is the force that truly united them. Read on for more on their journey to love and engagement session photos, shot by Afolabi Sogunro of Fotos by Fola, that pays homage to their "middle school love" and cultural heritage.
Bride-to-be: Abby Ademola-Dada
Groom: Mike Agbare
Engagement session location: Miller Grove Middle School, Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site, and Georgian Terrace/Fox Theater (Atlanta, Georgia).
Tell us all about the proposal!
Mike: I planned to propose to her on a Saturday in a hotel with petals all over, non-alcoholic wine (she stopped drinking) and chocolate covered foods, then dinner afterwards. It took me forever to set this up because if you know Abby, then you know that no one can successfully surprise her without her knowing the details. Tuesday, a few days earlier than the day I had planned out for the proposal, she was having a horrible day. She was stressed out and very irritated, so I came up with the idea of proposing earlier. I texted and called my family to inform them of my plans. I usually met with her on Tuesdays before and after my Master Life class so I figured if I could get her to a restaurant it would make her feel good. However, Abby assumed that I was doing the usual routine to cheer her up (she smiles with food, shoes and flowers).
I usually forget my wallet in the middle console between the front seats so I asked her to help me get my wallet while I went to the restroom. I pretended as if I was walking to the restroom while she walked to the car. In the console I had an index card that said open the trunk (she was oblivious because when I do things like this, it is usually because I have flowers and candy for her and I had some spelling errors of course she noticed but it wasn’t my fault I was rushing). She opened the trunk and in the trunk were red roses and with a notecard saying will you marry me. Before she could walk around the car with tears in her eyes I was on my knees on the side of the car with the ring in my had asking her if it was a yes or a no. She of course said yes. Took 15 years but I finally got the woman that I love to accept being my wife. We went back inside the restaurant to finally eat and she was so overwhelmed with joy that she did not touch her food. For a woman that loves food it is an accomplishment to know I can surprise enough to make her forget she was hungry.
She called those close to her and informed them of the good news. The beautiful woman who I saw frowning at the beginning of the date could not stop smiling and looking at her finger. She called both her mom and mine with excitement on her face, voice, and actions. I successfully surprised her and I look forward to the many surprises in the future.
Describe your engagement session. Did you have a theme?
We met in middle school for the first time! All four of our parents have different cultural backgrounds (Edo, Igbo, Yoruba, and American) so we had an idea of paying homage to all the cultures on our engagement shoot. The first part of the shoot was all about how it started so we took a trip to Miller Grove Middle School.
What did you do on your first date?
Abby: We went to One Midtown and during the dinner, as usual, I was cold in my responses. We ended up on the topic of God and discussed a class I was taking “Master Life”. Of course I became more involved in the conversation and we talked for hours. On our way home we continued our conversation on the phone and I invited him to church that Sunday. After church we went to brunch, the first restaurant we went to had HORRIBLE food. So I became really irritated (I don’t play with my food) and asked to go home but instead he took me to another brunch spot because he did not want me going home without a smile on my face.
I invited him to bible study that Tuesday and the funny part is, that day was the day I noticed him. My pastor always gives us passages to read in our intimate time with the Lord and we decided to actually read it together. We went to waffle house because I was hungry (I'm always hungry, LOL) and we fellowshipped with one another. It was a wonderful experience to expose yourself spiritually with another person and its not something you should take lightly. I have known Mike for over 15-16 years and for the first time I saw him in a completely different light. I guess people are right, “there is nothing like a God fearing man.”
As time went quickly we started going out more, majority of our dates were dinner or brunch after church or an event held by church. He became my prayer and accountability partner and I became his as well. At this point I could actually see myself with him because I could be my true goofy self.
What's your favorite thing to do as a couple?
We love hanging out together and fellowshipping with one another. We're both God fearing nerds that love having fun and trying new things.
Photography: Afolabi Sogunro, Fotos by Fola