I got married!! On 12/13/14 I married the man that loves me more than I could ever deserve. I married the man who I love! He is my best friend, my support, and my sunshine!! Below is a little about us, the engagement and the wedding

Stephan is a 22 year old Purdue Calumet alum with a BA in Communications w/ concentration in TV/Film. Seeking a career in film, directing, and in music business. His hobbies include video, and music. He is definitely the guy you want to have around for a great time out or in! His high maintenance personality and habits make him and Arika compatible in the love of fashion and luxury.

Arika is a 23 year old singer/songwriter currently employed as an Operations Manager at MegaBus in Chicago. She loves to sing and is currently working on an album. She also hosts a website http://www.saltnsparkle.com, a blog site dealing with various topics involving life as a young adult living as a Christian.

Arika and Stephan met briefly at Banneker Achievement Center during their elementary school years and became friends during middle school at Ambassador Christian Academy in Gary, IN 2002. Stephan and Arika’s little brother developed a relationship and began to hang out. Stephan became like family after being around many nights after school and weekends. Arika and Stephan were like brother and sister up until high school and into college years.

After past relationships failing,  Arika and Stephan’s friendship grew even closer as friends as they shared their successes and failures in their relationships. It wasn’t anything expected or even planned. Their love for each other and compatibility soon made it obvious to them both that they were meant to be.

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The Engagement

(An Excerpt from saltnsparkle.com titled 2014, New MEs, & Newsfeeds)

The moment I won’t forget is getting out of that Silver Impala, on a light snowy night with the man that I love,constantly telling myself “don’t overthink it”, as we walked onto the park grounds. I will never forget walking up onto the gazebo as he is speaking to me, but I am trying to keep it together and soak in my surroundings as I anticipate what is coming next. We walked onto the gazebo. “Do you want it now or later?” he says referring to my “second gift”. The first was a much needed and drooled over iPhone 5s. I turn my back to him and look out onto the field where a Santa Claus, sleigh, and reindeer light decoration stands. The snow is falling so slowly and soft. There didn’t seem to be a single sound from the cars on the street. There were two people there by the swings but they were blacked out from the darkness, also seeming not to make a sound.
I turn around and say yes. Stephan hands me a silver box with a bow on top. The box is big enough to fit a cupcake inside. I open the box and inside is a gold wrapped box with another bow. I have seen the wrapping before from other jewelry I have received from him. I am calming myself down, “What is this?!” I ask. He tells me to open it, obviously, as he stands there so peaceful and calm. I try to tell myself it’s not a ring so I don’t get my hopes up! I unwrap the box and take the blue velvet box from inside of it and tears instantly flow down my face as I gaze upon the ring I grew obsessed with no more than two months before. Still there is silence. He asks the question, but I am so overwhelmed that I don’t even hear what he says. Crying and wrapping my arms around him repeatedly, I am in awe. The night was so calm and peaceful. As the tale mentions…Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse….
He repeats his question, Will you marry me?, I say yes and I continue to cry. I look him in the face and I see him differently than I have through our friendship, through our relationship, since I have met him. I saw him as a Man. Not someone trying to be a man, growing into manhood, but a MAN, my man. All in these few minutes I am flooded with all of my doubts, worries, and nags. I am reminded of the last argument we had about just forgetting about marriage. I think about how many times he could have changed his mind. This is the most intimate moment I have been graced with so far. I feel the emotion and graciousness. “Did you record it?” “Do you have pictures?” “We could have met you guys there!”
My moment didn’t involve a single camera, not a soul witnessed it but the ones who experienced it, not a peep from a family member or friend to interrupt it…and for that I cherish it even more. It is more than an Instagram picture, it can’t be minimized to 15 seconds of bliss. It can’t be compared to others’ experiences or expectations. It is mine. It is engraved in my mind, and all up to me to share. Such sweet ownership I feel. More than something that can be shared with someone across the country who I don’t even know and tarnished by opinions. It’s mine. And I’m so glad I see it that way in a time when selfies are norms and newsfeeds replace conversations. Seize real life with your eyes, minds, and hands. Not with scrolls and double taps.

Below is the link to our wedding trailer


The Wedding and Beyond.. 

(An Excerpt from saltnsparkle.com titled Til Death Parts Us…)

After a year of cluttered minds and emptying pockets we have made it here… To center stage under the stringed lights and in front of our loved ones, hand in hand (Well actually not hand in hand, but I am sure we were supposed to be), and dressed to perfection.

There were so many ups and downs to get us here, low lows that don’t even seem to scratch the surface of this perfect moment. I recite my vows to you and they escape my mouth easily and anxiously. I can’t help but to do a little dance from my excitement. You are your normal self and somehow take the opportunity to profess your love to get a cackle from the audience. Classic Stephan. I think you were a little nervous, you say you weren’t, but why would you admit it.

The walk down the aisle was heavenly, the introduction of our union was exciting, and the day was nothing short of perfection. I am not here to give a full report of my wedding, but to celebrate the purpose of it all. The best part of the night, which is hard to choose from, was once we got away from it all. We laid there at 2am and cried tears of joy, tears of thankfulness, tears of dreams becoming reality.

I was captured by the love of a man who I used to call brother. A young man that I would talk to about magazines, fashion, and TLC wedding shows married me. No matter how much I think of it, I am awestruck by the fact that someone loves me the way he loves me. I am amazed by the fact that all these beautiful things have happened to me. He enjoys my interests and compliments my gifts. He reads all of my writing and gives me a commentary on the subject at hand. He follows me on every singing gig and does what he can to make sure he doesn’t miss a beat no matter how big or small. He shows me that he is proud of me. Even before we were dating, he traveled near and far to support me. This companionship is like none I have ever experienced this world.

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