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‘I Was Telling Her How Much I Loved Her and Wanted to Spend the Rest of my Life with Her … And I Proposed’

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BY JE’DON HOLLOWAY-TALLEY | Special to the Birmingham Times

JACQUELYN AND ANTWAN HARRIS

Live: McCalla

Married:  March 20, 2015

Met: Early September 2012, via Instagram. Both lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee and shared a mutual friend who worked in media and introduced the two. Jacquelyn worked in sales, and Antwan was a news reporter.

“…[the mutual friend was a radio personality] and she and I worked out together and she knew I was single, and one day we got together for lunch and she said, ‘I have the perfect guy for you,’” Jacquelyn recalled. “She mentioned his name and I immediately went looking for him through her followers… First I found him on Twitter, then I looked him up on Instagram and we started following each other… The first interaction came about because I had just picked up a new hobby running 5k races… I posted footage of my first race, which was the Black Girls Run race in Atlanta and he commented ‘good job.’”

“Instagram was brand new back then, and I had like 50 follower requests and I just accepted all of them, and that’s when my feed changed up a bit and I saw her photo running a race with the #blackgirlsrun. And her profile said nothing about Chattanooga, nothing about New Orleans [which is where she’s from] so I was like who is this mystery woman? I commented on it with no expectation of a response, and then she responded asking, ‘if I was going to do the upcoming [Susan G. Komen race for breast cancer awareness] and I said, ‘are you here in Chattanooga? Because if so, I might have to,” Antwan laughed. “And after that, we kicked off. She ran the race, and I was there working.”

“After chatting a few times back and forth online, we started talking offline,” Jacquelyn said.

The pair deepened their rapport over the following weeks and had arranged their first date. To get the first date jitters out of the way, Antwan invited Jacquelyn to hang out with him and some friends ahead of their first date plans.

First date: Sept. 21, 2012, At Big River Grill, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Antwan picked Jacquelyn up from her apartment and remembered her beauty as she walked to his car.

“She didn’t let me through her gate, I had to park in the visitor’s parking lot and watch her walk down,” he laughed, “and when I saw Jacq, I was thinking ‘wow, this girl’s got some nice legs on her, very toned, very nice and shiny, she was very athletic,” Antwan reminisced.

Jacquelyn remembers “he was dressed super well and he was very funny. We were non-stop talking, we had great conversation, and he had a bright infectious smile,” she said.

“I remember we just talked all night. We closed down the restaurant and were the last people to leave. She was such a lady. She was very mature, I could tell from the conversation she came from a very good family and had a good upbringing, and those were some of the things I was looking for…,” said Antwan.

Jacquelyn and Antwan Harris met in 2012 via Instagram, sharing a mutual friend, and married in 2015. (Provided)

The turn: Feb. 14, 2013, at Antwan’s home in Chattanooga. “He set out the whole thing for me, tea light candles, rose petals, he had music playing, he made grilled asparagus and fish, and he had gifts, that’s when he bought me my first pair of red bottoms [Christian Louboutin heels]. They were the pink/nude color and were perfect for my wardrobe. He went hard for me,” Jacquelyn said. “It was so sweet.”

“I was obviously trying to impress her, and of course, we would talk about some of the past guys she’s dated and I prided myself on being a fun guy [that gave her new experiences]. “…I hadn’t dated anybody in two years, and I was 32, I knew what I was doing, and I knew what I wanted. I wanted her to have a Valentine’s Day she could remember, and it was our first one,” Antwan said.

“He kinda gave me the ultimatum and told me ‘I ain’t playing with you’,” Jacquelyn laughed.

Antwan clarified, “A week or two before Valentine’s Day I had asked, ‘Where are we at?’ and she was like ‘we cool’, and I was like ‘I ain’t trying to spend all this time with you and just be cool’ … I said ‘I’ve done all that I can do to let you know that I want to be with you. You let me know when you make up your mind; I’ve told you more than once I’m ready to do this’ … I guess she needed time to get her head in the game,” Antwan said.

“And he wasn’t sweating me [behind my indecisiveness], and that was attractive, so then on Valentine’s Day, we made it official,’ Jaquelyn said.

From there, the couple said they had a whirlwind romance, and shortly after Antwan took a job in her hometown, New Orleans she quit her job and found a new one in New Orleans and moved with him. “That was pivotal for us,” Jacquelyn said, “and two months later he proposed.”

The proposal: Dec. 7, 2013, in New Orleans. “I knew I wanted to marry her when we moved, it was just a matter of getting the ring. I went with a moment we were sharing in our dining room. I had her sit on my lap and I was whispering all these sweet nothings in her ear and telling her how much I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, and I pulled out the ring and proposed to her. Then we went out to dinner at the Ritz Carlton and Jeremy Davenport [a New Orleans renowned jazz musician with a residency at the Ritz Carlton] serenaded us…,” Antwan said.

“The best part of the proposal was when he got down on one knee, the first thing I did was hop out of my heels,” she laughed, “for some reason, I had to get flat-footed and grounded. “His eyes got glossy and red. He got emotional and I thought it was so romantic and simple and sweet. There was no ego, it wasn’t obnoxious, it was so intimate, and I loved it. I was totally surprised.”

The wedding: Ocho Rios Jamaica, officiated by a resort-provided Jamaican priest. Their colors were off-white, light purple/lavender, and oatmeal.

Most memorable for the bride was the reception “because it never ended. It was ongoing, and it ended with us in the pool. Everyone went back to their rooms and got their bathing suits, and we bar-hopped around the resort and ended the night in the pool. It was so much fun,” Jacquelyn said.

Most memorable for the groom: “When we signed the paper work it was absolutely official. I was like this is for real, the paper work sealed the deal, she followed through [with signing] and we are in this for life,” Antwan said. “…and having all of our loved ones there and taking our vows before our family; the culmination of that moment really stuck out for me. And by the end of the night, I remember me and my frat brothers were bar hopping and ended up at the pool… it went on till 4 in the morning.”

The couple stayed behind and honeymooned in Jamaica for a week.

Words of wisdom: “Be honest and communicate. Talk often, and be open about everything, you cannot hide things from your spouse. It will come out… communication is key,” Antwan said.

“Having the fundamentals of friendship present in your marriage is so important. Even though people evolve and change over time, you can always find a way to reconnect through the fundamentals of friendship. And something new for us that we are trying ourselves is the ‘six-second kiss’ rule. Every morning when [one of us leaves] we kiss for 6 seconds, you count the kiss. People can look it up, there’s a science to support it. A six-second kiss releases oxytocin and it’s the same hormone that’s released during intimacy,” Jacquelyn said.

Happily ever after: The Harris’s attend Church of The Highlands Southwest campus in Bessemer, and have one daughter, Anya, 7.

Jacquelyn, 42, is a New Orleans, Louisiana native, and Saint Mary’s Academy grad [New Orleans]. She attended The University of New Orleans where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in business administration [MBA]. Jacquelyn and her husband Antwan relocated to Birmingham from Atlanta in 2022, for a job promotion, and she works as a sales executive for the Telco industry.

Antwan, 44, is a Flint Michigan native, and Flint Southwestern Academy grad [Flint, MI]. He attended Eastern Michigan University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Antwan works as the marketing communications director for the McWane Science Center, in downtown Birmingham.

“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone, please send nominations to Barnett Wright bwright@birminghamtimes.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.

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