Benita and Michael first met their freshman year at Southern University and A&M College in 2001. Benita says it was not love at first sight. "In fact, I am not sure if it was like at first sight," said Benita jokingly. The two shared mutual friends but never really got to know each other. However, a couple of years later, after Benita's deployment to Kuwait, they would meet again with new lenses. In 2004, ?Michael approached Benita on campus and asked for some tutoring assistance in his nursing course. Benita not wanting him to fail, as he was an architecture major and she was a nursing student, obliged to his tutoring request. The two became fast friends and it was a failed trip to a haunted house that left them talking and getting to know each other better at Benita's apartment for hours. After two months of dating the college co-eds became an official couple, at Benita's request. "I wanted to make it official. Yea I said it. I wanted to make it official. Honestly, Michael would have let me do anything concerning us at this point (I am sure he will beg to differ, but I know the truth)," said Benita. Nine years later, Benita and Michael celebrated their union with a classic New Orleans wedding with a Nigerian Flair at the Southern Oaks Plantation, captured by North Photography & High-Definition Videography .
Bride: Benita Nwokolo, 29, Registered Nurse
Groom: Michael Chatmon, 30, President of Chatmon Construction (roofing company)
Place of residence: LaPlace, Louisiana
Wedding date: 07/27/2013
Honeymoon Destination: Los Cabos, Mexico
Engagement story (From the bride):
"Based on my timeline, the “proposal” was supposed to occur every major holiday for the past 5 years. Michael and I would spend our Christmas holiday in Maryland in 2011 with my sister Iris. Like any other holiday, I was expecting “my” ring. The anticipation of waking up and being asked to be Michael Chatmon’s wife was exciting. As everyone is opening gifts, I wait in anticipation because of course Michael has to propose this Christmas. He just has to (at least we all hope). However, Michael had a better plan in mind. He knew that I would be expecting it, so he decided against giving it to me that Morning. At this point all gifts had been opened and yet, still no ring. I am upset to the point I lose my Christmas spirit. All the plans of cooking that morning went out the window. In fact, Iris had to provide me “a come to Jesus talk”. Letting me know in due time all my heart desires will manifest. Unbeknownst to Iris and myself, due time would be sooner than later. Of course Michael anticipated that his day was going to be filled with attitude when it came to interacting with me. At one point, Michael got so upset with me and my attitude, he stated “see you gonna mess your own self up”. I’m thinking “really? It’s been eight years, I’m already messed up”. Prior plans had already been made to visit the newly built Martin Luther King Jr. Monument in DC Christmas night. Michael, Iris, Dametrius, Gabe (my cousin), and myself went off to the monuments. I noticed that Gabe had his camera and video recorder, but thought nothing of it. Finally, we get to the MLK monument. Michael calls for me to come to the actual monument where he is. I wanted so deeply to say no, but something in my spirit said “no, don’t start, go and see what he wants”. Supposedly, Gabe was in on what was about to happen. Gabe asked to take Michael and I a picture by the MLK monument, I complied. As I am getting ready to place a big pretty smile on my face for my photo moment, Mike brings out the box with “my” ring and asked to marry me. In disbelief, all I could think about at that moment was 'yeah, he got me'."
What makes your love special?
Our Love is special because it is truly authentic. We are real people who go through real issues. However, we put God first knowing that with God over us we will be okay.
Your best/most memorable moment:
Walking down the isle awaiting a new chapter in my life.
From the Bride:
Oh Wow!!! My wedding day was truly a blur. I have key moments that I will never forget. On the other hand, I have moments that I did not even know existed. I was extremely exhausted. We had already had two days previously of events, not to mention the fact that I was running around all that week. Additionally, I was so nervous. I literally did not eat the day before or the day of the wedding. However, as soon as I came off the carriage to walk down the aisle, every fear or nervousness magically went away. Almost, as if I had control of the world and the world stopped briefly for 3 minutes to just watch me. It was so meaningful and exciting to me. I felt so special during that moment in time. It was perfect to me. When I got down the aisle and looked at Michael, that was when I knew that God had a timing for our heart desires.
“I Found Love” By BeBe Winans- Because Michael and I never went searching for love, however we “found love”.
Favorite wedding detail:
The live painting of our first dance…it captured that moment from an authentic standpoint.
From the Groom:
The day was truly special to me. I truly enjoyed seeing how happy Benita was, to add to my excitement was the presence of all my close family and friends to witness the occasion. My favorite part was when we changed into the traditional wear. I was glad that we could embrace Benita’s Nigerian culture on that day.
What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?
Creating our family. We want to be able to dismiss pass failing in our lives, and to be an even better example of what a strong family unit, consisting of God represents.
Advice for a Bride/Groom on their wedding day:
“I know that you hear it often, but everything will truly be okay”
We wish you both a happy life and a happy marriage together!
Photographer: North Photography & High-Definition Videography- www.northproductions.com/
Ceremony and reception location: Southern Oaks Plantation- www.southernoaksplantation.com/
Bridal gown: Martina Liana Gown from Town and Country Bridal Salon & Ladies Apparel- www.townandcountrybridal.com/
Bridal party attire: Vera Wang Draped Satin Dress with Grosgrain Sash/David’s Bridal- www.davidsbridal.com/Vera-Wang
Groom’s tux: Jean Yves Steel Grey Twilight Evening Tuxedos- www.romestuxedos.com/
Cake : The Royal Cakery- royalcakery.com/
Favors: Photo Booth
Wedding planners: Iris Mannings- [email protected]
Music: Provided by venue (Southern Oaks)
Hair and makeup: Hair- Meosha Jacobs- https://www.facebook.com/invuhairsalon~
Makeup: Kisha Williams- themakeuplabartistry.com/
Flowers: Bee’s Wedding & Event Floral Designs- www.beesweddingdesigns.com/
Stationery: Wedding Invitations~JWD Paperie- jwdpaperie.com/pages/about.htm
Second Line Hand Kerchiefs- Gem Printings – www.gemprinting.com/
Wine Glass Labels for Non-traditional Guestbook- EVCreations– www.evcreations.com/
Curated by our Wedding Features Editor, C.K. Alexander. C.K is the owner and founder of Love Ink. Keep up with C.K. on Twitter here: @Love_Ink