Courtney and Willie's journey to happily ever after began in 2007 while both were attending Florida State University. Courtney, having difficulty locating the semester's textbooks in a local book shop, found assistance from the nearest store associate - Willie. Immediately drawn her, Willie approached Courtney for her phone number as she waited in line to purchase her books. From this day of destiny "developed a strong friendship that withstood the test of time," and after many years of friendship and support they took their relationship to the next level into something much more than either of them could've ever imagined.
Read all about Courtney & Willie's love story, romantic sunset proposal on the beach, and wedding aspirations in their two-part engagement session - retracing the steps of their relationship over time. Beautifully captured by MunaLuchi Coterie member L. Borne Photography.
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Bride & Groom-to-be: Courtney & Willie
Occupations: Higher Education Professional & Entrepreneur
Wedding date: Saturday, September 16, 2017
Wedding location: Lake Mary Events Center in Lake Mary, FL
Location of Engagement shoot: Atlanta, GA (Midtown and Piedmont Park) and Miami, FL (South Pointe Beach and Wynwood)
Tell us how you met and all about the proposal. How we met: Ten years ago, Willie and I met at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL in spring 2007 when I walked into Bill's Bookstore to buy books for my classes. Now being the directionally challenged person that I am, I couldn't find my books (even with signs), so I turned to the nearest associate, who just so happened to be Willie. He helped me find all of my books and I proceeded to go downstairs to get in line and check out. Before I could check out, Willie found me in the store and boldly asked for my number, I told him he better be glad I was being nice that day because I normally don't give out my number. Looking back on it now, I don't know if he was being so helpful because it was his job or because he wanted to get my number - maybe both!
Over the years, we developed a strong friendship that withstood the test of time; he actually became one of my best guy friends. No matter the distance, what was going on in either of our lives, or how long it had been since we had spoken, we always caught back up without missing a beat. Whenever I would travel to Atlanta, GA with girlfriends, he would host us, show us around the city and hang out; I would do the same on the few times he traveled to South Florida. After his last trip to South Florida in June 2015, we decided to take a chance on us and life turned our friendship into something much more than I could have ever imagined...
The proposal: In November 2016, we traveled to Puerto Rico and the United States' Virgin Islands (USVI) for vacation to celebrate Willie's (late) birthday. In Puerto Rico, we did a LOT of walking and exploring, so Willie let me know that he really just wanted to slow things down and relax while in St. Thomas, USVI. So I didn't plan anything for us to do much on the island except grab a bite to eat, see the sunrise, and spend time on the beach. On the last day of our trip, November 15, 2016, we took a ferry ride from St. Thomas over to St. John to hang out and explore the island - or so I thought.
We planned to spend the day with one of Willie's close friends who had moved back home to the island. His friend, Cooper, met us on the pier as soon as we got off the ferry with camera in hand. Since Cooper is a photographer, I was told in advance he would have his camera with him recording us all day for a business venture he was looking to start. So, with that in mind I tried my best not to notice the camera in our face all day and have a good time. We literally toured the entire island, stopping along the way to tour the local areas, grab some lunch, and take amazing pictures.
All day, I just really wanted to make it to the beach, get in the water and finally around 5pm, we made it there! As the sun was beginning to set, Willie and I walked in the water along the beautiful beach of Francis Bay. Before I knew it, a man seemed to appear out of thin air with a guitar; I thought he was just a random musician strolling the beach trying to get you to buy food or hand-made jewelry. But then he started playing "Waiting In Vain" by Bob Marley and Willie turned to face me, holding both of my hands in his. Within a few minutes, he was down on one knee asking me to be his wife and as the beautiful sun was setting behind us...of course, I said "YES!"
Describe your engagement session. Our engagement session(s) represented a few different stages in our relationship. We actually had a two-part session – one in Atlanta, GA that represented where we met, in a bookstore, as well as a more mature, sexy, sophisticated look. The second session took place in South Florida to represent where we were when Willie asked me to be his girlfriend, on the beach, and also to show our fun and relaxed side.
What did you do on your first date? When we first officially started dating during the summer of 2015, our first date was a fun night out in Orlando, FL. I was in my hometown for my God-daughter’s baby shower and Willie was visiting his family in Daytona Beach, FL. He picked me up from my parent’s home and we had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Bahama Breeze and went to Madame Tussaund’s and the Orlando Eye off International Drive. Although we had hung out plenty of times before, that night was different. I could just tell that it was the beginning of something special.
What's your favorite thing to do as a couple? Our favorite thing to do as a couple is travel.
How has wedding planning been so far? Wedding planning has been a bit overwhelming, but I’m trying my best to keep it all together with my various checklists and to-do lists. Willie has been very helpful in the planning every step of the way - from attending various wedding expos, helping to select our vendors, and of course, going to all of the food and cake tastings! I think that was probably his favorite part!
Tell us what you're looking forward to most on the wedding day. Courtney: I am most looking forward to walking down the aisle and seeing the look on Willie’s face. Honestly, I can’t wait to start this beautiful marital journey with my best friend, my buddy, and my (future) husband.
Willie: I am looking forward to the ceremony and the moment when we say, “I do.”
Photographer – Latoya Osborne of L. Borne Photography
Makeup Artist – Me'Chele Daves
Hair Stylist – Treana from Gocha Salon