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I spotted this sensational duo on instagram and I knew I wanted to share them and their love story with you on Nu Bride.
Say hello to beautiful Alethea and Yanni, chilled out, laid back, and deeply in love and on a journey through their happy ever after and debt free living.
Together for over 11 years, their story is a real life example of how when two people are meant to be together, it’s like the whole universe conspires to allow them to meet.
They first met as children, and had another encounter as teens, but it wasn’t until they discovered they had randomly chosen the same small college that their romance started to blossom. Now they’re married and living in China, teaching English, paying off their student loans, and preparing for the rest of their beautiful lives together.
Find out more about these American sweethearts, how they make their relationship work and get their sterling marriage advice while perusing these beautiful images from some of the moments on their wedding day captured by:Daniel Luk Photography
How did you meet?
We originally crossed paths in Kindergarten, but had no idea until his mom showed me a school picture. I immediately recognised the background was similar to mine. Come to find out, we went to the same elementary school! We again crossed paths at a Historical Black College Tour that a church sponsored in Maryland, where group of us went on a big coach bus to see different colleges. I saw him, but he didn’t see me. I thought he was cute, but I didn’t say anything – I was too shy!
We met officially during our freshman year of college in Pennsylvania at a small, predominantly white school in a small town. The school had icebreakers for the freshmen on the football field, where we played games to get to know one another. I saw him and was shocked it was the same guy! He saw me and knew I was from the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area because he saw my shoes. He says: “She had on 992’s New Balance and I knew she was from around the way! She looked artistic, chill and pretty. I was like, I gotta know this girl! So I had to slide in there. I started hanging with her friends and we would hang out, go on walks and chill.” We have basically been inseparable ever since!
We had planned a European trip before moving to Asia to teach English. Yanni met with my parents and asked for my hand in marriage. My mom said:
“About time, took y’all long enough!”
Everyone gave their blessing. We had been together for eight years at this point, so everyone was expecting it sooner or later.
Yanni had planned to propose in Paris because I love Paris and speak French. He hired a local photographer on Craigslist while still in America. While we were traveling through Spain, Italy, and finally France, he had to hide the ring from me, and hide messages on his phone setting up when to meet for the proposal. (He says it was hard hiding it from me because I know everything!) He messaged our friend Louis, who lives in Paris, and asked him to help hold a sign. Louis and his family made a whole sign on a pillow case!
That day, Yanni told me to get ready and look really nice, makeup and all, as we were going to take some pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower. We went down there and he told me to wait for him – meanwhile, he was getting his friend and the photographer into position. Finally, we walked to a spot in front of the tower, and he told me to look in the camera lens and at the view. I saw my name and the words: “Alethea will you marry me?” and immediately broke down in tears. He got down on one knee and asked for my hand in marriage. He sounded so nervous! I couldn’t get the words out, but I finally said yes. I couldn’t believe it! Then I saw Louis come over with the sign and I couldn’t believe it was him! He brought champagne and we all drank some and then, boom!, the Eiffel Tower lit up! Such perfect timing! What a magical day.
Describe your wedding in three words
Nontraditional, Multicultural, Passion
What was your favourite moment of your wedding day?
Alethea: “It’s hard to pick just one, but if I had to, my favourite moment was our first dance. We did us! We had fun together and connected like no one was there.”
Yanni:“My favourite moment? Just one? My favourite moment was standing in front of her, in front of everyone, making up my vows and looking her in her eyes, but this was all after the moment I waited for her to come through those doors for the first time.”
What are your favourite things about each other?
Alethea: If I had to pick one thing, my favourite thing about him is the way he loves me, how charming he is and how old school he can be. He cares so much about me in every way and is such a gentleman. His mama taught him well! He cares whether I have had enough water for the day, whether I need anything, whether I’m growing and becoming my best self. I love how he surprises me and treats me like a queen and shows me so much affection, even after ten years.
Yanni: That’s hard – there are so many! My favourite thing about her is when I wake up, she’s right there by my side. She’s loyal, man. I got a good one.
Have you had to overcome any obstacles in your relationship?
Some obstacles we’ve had to overcome were other people in our relationship, negative vibes, family issues, family wanting to dictate our relationship and trust. To trust each other, we had to communicate better. We tell each other everything and communicate before we make decisions. We communicate about what we want and our goals to make sure we are always on the same page. We don’t keep secrets from each other.
Things you love about each other
Alethea: I love that he never gives up. No matter the obstacle, he keeps striving to be his best self, for himself and his family. He is funny and I never get bored with him. We are always looking for new ways to add spice and ‘sice’ to our relationship, whether we go hiking, do something new together or find cool creative date ideas. He gives me life! There’s never a dull day with this man. To top it all off we are living in China together, paying off our student debt to live a better life. Sice your life! I love how he can be my homie, my lover, my best friend and my husband all at the same time.
Yanni: I love how loyal she is, and caring about family. How determined and focused she can be. I love how she taught me what real love is and always has my back through any situation. I love how she misses me even if I’m away for one minute, even if she’s on the other side of the couch. I love how she looks at me and finds me so attractive. I love how she’s so strong and so mentally tough and continually strives to grow as a person and for us. I love your head, your toes, your chin, your nose!
Share your marriage wisdom for other couples about to embark on I do
Talk things through before going to bed.
That way, the next day, it’s truly a fresh start.
Always add spice to the relationship. Talking to the men out there: find new ways to treat your lady. And to the women: surprise your man, they like to feel special and wanted too.
Do something fun and creative. It doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money; it’s the love, the thought and the effort that counts. It doesn’t always have to be outside of the home. For example, since we are on our debt-free journey, we look for fun ways to sice our relationship! We had a date night at home and got dressed up in separate rooms. We made dinner and had dinner together, then salsa danced to Latin music and ended the night with a comedy show in our living room. It was a fun and new night!
Photographer: Daniel Luk Photography