Jamaal & Shanai Young
Shanai Ayana Jackson, 26
Jamaal Anton Young, 30
Parents of the BrideTheodore T. Jackson and Sandra Anthony-Tobias
Parents of the GroomJerome A. Young Sr. and Valerie Young
Hometown of the BrideNew York, NY
Hometown of the GroomNew York, NY
Wedding LocationCharlotte North Carolina
Occupation of the BrideLoan Specialist
Occupation of the GroomAdministrator/Teacher
Alma Mater of the BrideJohnson C. Smith University
Alma Mater of the GroomJohnson C. Smith University
How they met:Jamaal’s cousin and I were freshmen-year roommates. She would always ask me to come with her to visit her cousin on campus. Being new on campus, I really wasn’t ready to meet any new guys, so I would always say no. Jamaal was on the basketball team, and I was a cheerleader. I was injured during one of our practices and on crutches. This particular day I was sitting in the gym watching the cheerleaders practice and Jamaal came into the gym. I couldn’t get up, so he walked over to me. I guess I looked mad because he asked if my face could get any tighter? I knew from that expression that he was from New York. I didn’t answer, just gave him a half smile, but I was saying to myself “Who is that?” I was looking around campus for him but didn’t see him again until a month later when my roommate asked me again to go with her to visit her cousin. This time I said yes. She knocked on his dorm room door and, to my surprise, there stood JAMAAL -- the guy I had been secretly looking for all around campus. Roommate and cousin were properly introduced, and that was the
beginning of a very special friendship.
The moment they realized they wanted to be a couple for life:Jamaal and I were a couple for eight years before getting married. We went through our own trials and tribulations but stayed by each other’s side through it all. Jamaal would always say, “If we made it through this one together we can make it through anything.” We both realized that together we are a powerhouse and that our faith and commitment to each other has made our love strong enough to overcome anything. This realization made us appreciate each other more and realize that we complete each other and wanted to be a couple for life.
The Proposal:Jamaal proposed to me in January. It was cold and windy outside, and I had to drop our son off at my mother’s house (He was spending the weekend with Grandma). Jamaal kept calling to find out where I was and how close I was to the house. I kind of figured something was up but didn’t imagine I would walk into a house with soft R&B playing, roses on the floor and the kitchen table set with all kinds of seafood (my favorite). Once we finished dinner I was given a teddy bear and a card. I looked at the teddy bear but overlooked the little red box the teddy bear was holding. I’m glad the card said to open the box, because I would not have looked in the box at that moment. Jamaal always says I’m slow at times (LOL). I opened the box and started screaming and jumping in my chair. When I turned around to say something to Jamaal, he was on one knee. I said yes, and the rest is history.
The Wedding:Our Wedding Day was everything I could have imagined, and then some. We were blessed with the most beautiful, sunny day. We were happy that so many of our family, extended family and friends had traveled from so far at great expense to share our special day. Everything just seemed to flow as planned and on schedule. The makeup artist, the photographer, the videographer, the limos were all on time. The wedding party was so cooperative (Groomsmen and Bridesmaids) and helpful. My love for the retro vintage look of the 1920’s created a look, from the vintage hats worn by the bride and mom, the finger weaved hair, the vintage bridesmaid dresses, the colors of the peacock feather with a calla lilly accent. Thanks to the support of our parents. From the beautiful white balloons decorating the lawn at my Mom’s house when we got into the limo, to the beautiful wedding bouquets and the special candle-light ceremony at the church to the unbelievable ambiance to the food and music at the reception, our Wedding was all that we planned, all that we imagined and more than we could ever have hoped for from beginning to end. For me, it was a little girl’s bridal fantasy come true. It was a day that I will cherish and always hold dear in my heart.
The Honeymoon:We haven’t really gone on a honeymoon yet. We are planning a trip to Australia for our one-year anniversary. We are really looking forward to that.
Their Plans:We plan to travel and enjoy our life as a married couple, strengthen our faith and belief in God, expand our family, advance in our careers (I will receive my MBA in December ’10; Jamaal has an masters in education and plans to get a doctorate) and work together and support one another in our journey to achieve our dreams.
Advice to Others:Please be patient with each other, and it’s very important for both parties to take part in the entire planning process, beginning with the planning of your wedding. Remember that you are planning for a special day for the both of you, and how well you work together with this event may be a marker for how you will make decisions the rest of your life a couple.Please take the time for pre-marital counseling. Don’t bring baggage from previous relationships into your new life together. Always communicate and learn when to agree to disagree and move on.