On May 16, 2015, Tolu and Emerald, two ambitious young professionals living and enjoying the city life in Washington, DC, "matched" on Tinder, a popular dating app. Tolu says he was looking for love (hmmm!), and Emerald...well she was mainly in search of a nice guy that could offer good company and great conversation. (A fun trip to the Caribbean would be a nice bonus, but she wasn't holding her breath.)
After messaging back and forth for a couple of days, Tolu invited Emerald on a dinner date. He was curious to see if this woman, who seemed to have great conversation and great looks, would be just as beautiful in person. And that is where our love story begins...
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Our first date started at a small sushi restaurant in DC's busy 14th Street corridor. We talked about our families, our professions, and our mutual love for food and travel. As Tolu talked, Emerald tried to pretend as though she hadn't already thoroughly Googled much about this guy she found so fascinating, and Tolu later admitted to doing the same. From his online search, he'd already known that Emerald used to be a Redskins Cheerleader, but he faked a great amount of shock and admiration when she talked about it on the date.
From Date #1 to Date #101, we continued to make unforgettable memories together. Tolu even took Emerald on a trip to the Caribbean, the bonus she never truly expected to receive. With each date, our friendship grew and naturally so did our love for one another.
Although the fun social moments made their mark, it was the small moments in between that made our friendship more meaningful. Emerald liked the way that Tolu seemed to confidently and easily resolve any challenge that came his way, and Tolu appreciated Emerald's nurturing and unassuming nature. Here are a few of our favorite memories captured (via selfies) along our dating journey.
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After dating for almost a year, our conversations about marriage became more frequent - what we'd seen in our own families, what it meant to us, and what we felt we needed in a lifelong partner. Both being in our early 30's, we had experienced our fair share of disappointments in previous relationships, and we ultimately wanted something that would stand the test of time. Emerald's request to Tolu was simple, "I love you a lot, and I do want to be married someday. Please do not waste my time". Tolu's response was a little less direct but just as simple, "I love you too. And I promise that I won't". As time went on, we continued to build on our relationship, our love, and our faith in God and each other.
On February 18, 2017, Tolu got down on one knee and fulfilled his promise to Emerald. That winter evening, with oddly warm but perfect weather, he surprised Emerald with a beautiful proposal surrounded by close family and friends. He even flew her parents in from Texas without her knowing so that they could be there in support of their love. If you have a few minutes, check out the video below of the proposal moment and all of the arrangements that Tolu made to make sure it was special.