A Perfect Match: An Engagement Session in Cleveland, OH

Unique and Marcus' love story began in 2017 when they were both serving together in the medical ministry at their local church. Marcus, being the friendly guy that he is, made several attempts to talk to one of the most introverted people, Unique! She would continue to give him one word answers until a lady walked up to them at the end of service asking for prayer. By the time Unique made sense of what was going on, Marcus was on his feet in fervent prayer with the lady. That's when she took the time to finally look up and notice him. Unique says, "That moment, honestly, touched my life." The two developed a genuine friendship before Marcus admitted he had feelings for her in May 2017. The pair have been together ever since and celebrated their upcoming nuptials with a fun and gorgeous engagement session captured by Dragonfly Photography

Bride: Unique Arriel Smith, 28 years old, Registered Nurse-COVID Travel

Groom: Marcus Dwaine Lowe, Jr., 30 years old, Third Year Medical School Student

Residence: Cleveland, Ohio

Photo Locations: Ice Cream and Formal Photos- Cleveland Museum of Art; "Movie" Photos-The Arcade Cleveland; Scrub Photos- CWRU Health Education Campus


Engagement story (please tell us the story of your engagement proposal and your most memorable moments

Whew! Our engagement story is a tumultuous one. We’re both in the medical field so we often miss “minor” holidays and celebrate them on our off days. In 2019, that “minor” holiday was Valentine’s Day. I had a nursing shift and Marcus had a medical school exam so we agreed to celebrate with a nice dinner together on that Saturday, two days later. Marcus ended up coming to my house after my makeup appointment and seeing me in my outfit, complimented me, and ABRUPTLY LEFT with no explanation! He called me about ten minutes later and said, “I’m about get you but I pushed the dinner back from 4:00pm to 9:00pm”. I immediately was fuming. After threatening to go home and bawling my eyes out,  we head to Hyde Park Steakhouse. The whole time, Marcus was too nervous to eat his food. He went to the bathroom, and when he came out, the band was playing our song. I saw Marcus walking along with a group of restaurant staff, as he came to propose.

For the Groom: Walk us through the behind the scenes of creating this special day

I asked our mutual friends to find out Unique’s ring size for me. They were able to do this on a spa day they went on a few months prior. Unique wanted a rose gold, ruby ring and I found a jewelry retailer that would be able to create the perfect ring for her. The ring arrived in the beginning of February and it was beautiful. Though I planned to propose three weeks later, once I saw Nikki at her house, she looked perfect and I knew I had to propose to her that night. I immediately left her house, called my mom and told her, “I think I need to propose to Nikki right now. She looks gorgeous.”  I texted her best friend to let her know what was going to happen and I began letting my cousins and friends know. I called Hyde Park and I wanted the live band playing our song “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar but they had never heard of the song so I had to keep pushing dinner back so they could learn the music. That’s when I got a call from Nikki and I heard that she had been crying.  When we got to the restaurant, Nikki was still a little upset and my stomach was in knots. I was so nervous that I almost dropped the box. Luckily, my queen said yes. 

What makes your love special? 

There are a lot of things that makes our love story special. From the fact that serving Christ together is at the center of our love story to the fact that we’re both black, first-generation college students serving in the medical field as a nurse and a doctor, there are so many things that we love about our love. However, the thing that we both love most about our love is that we can be one hundred percent ourselves. We’re just two flawed, goofy people loving on each other.

What was the theme of your shoot?

We had four different looks all shot by the fabulous photographer Oona of The Dragonfly Photography. If I had to pick a particular “theme”, it would probably just be “Us Being Ourselves 2.0”. We really wanted a shoot that captured our favorite date nights and the fact that we are both excited for our wedding day (formal shoot).

Were there any memorable moments during the shoot? 

The entire shoot was magical but some of our favorite moments were: laughing during every single shoot, slow dancing beside the pond as the sun set, and Marcus whispering sweet nothings in my ear.


What are you most looking forward to about your wedding? 

For the wedding, we are most looking forward to being surrounded by our loves ones as we take this next step together. Mostly, though, we are looking forward to our marriage. While our wedding is a special day, our marriage is the rest of our lives and growing together. We honestly do not have an unrealistic, perfect view of marriage. Coming from two households where we never saw our parents in a happy, consistent, successful marriage, we know that marriage can be tough.  Our friend Antwan always states that “Marriage is the greatest sanctification tool”. While we have experienced a lot of growth during our courting season, I know that we will continually experience growing pains together in our marriage. Individually and collectively, our first commitment is loving Christ. 

Have you started planning your wedding? 

I’m very Type A, so I started wedding planning the day we got engaged in February of 2019. Marcus is very Type B, so he’ll start wedding planning the month before our wedding!

Congratulations to the happy couple! We wish you a fruitful marriage and many years of wedded bliss!


Oona Breyer- Dragonfly Photography|Monika Robinson|Tiana Stringer

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