Danielle and Evan met on April 11, 2014 in New York City. Danielle had recently relocated to NYC from Chicago to start her career as a Public Defender and had gone out with her friends to an annual party called "Grits & Biscuits" at Irving Plaza. The place was extremely packed and at some point, during the night Danielle saw Evan across the hallway. She tapped one of her friends and jokingly said, "hey, that guy looks a little like J. Cole!" They both started laughing and Danielle decided to yell "Jermaine" (J. Cole's first name) a few times across the hall to see if she could get his attention. However, the music was so loud that he did not hear her. Danielle kept trying to make eye contact with him, but he never looked directly into her path. Eventually, he left the hallway with his friends, so she decided to keep her eyes on him. Evan walked back into the crowd and Danielle followed slightly behind him. He stopped at some point and started dancing. Danielle figured it was the perfect opportunity to walk by and "slightly" bump him. He looked back and Danielle said "excuse me" innocently and tried to walk away. Evan quickly grabbed Danielle's hand and asked where she was going. They ended up dancing the night away and have been the joy in each other's lives ever since. They have been dating for approximately three years now and will be officially hitched in 2018. Check out their lovely engagement shoot, captured by Eric Vitale Photography.
Bride: Danielle L. Jones, 30, Attorney
Groom: Evan L. Jackson, 30, Network Security Consultant
Place of residence: Harlem, New York
Engagement Shoot Location: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, New York
Wedding date: April 14, 2018
My sister Dominique was Miss Illinois United States 2016, and in September 2016, she told me that PBS was honoring her as one of Chicago's "Most Influential Young Professionals" and would be sponsoring a banquet for the award. It sounded legit so I told Evan that we had to fly to Chicago in December for her event. Little did I know that this was going to be my surprise engagement party. On December 17, 2016, we went to the "event" and my sister told me that a PBS rep was going to tape an interview with her first then interview some of her family and friends. The venue had Miss Illinois paraphernalia all around the restaurant so I had no reason to believe anything else was going on. I entered a private room and there were cameras set up and a woman with a PBS shirt was setting things up. Everything look pretty legit. My family was seated around the room at multiple tables. The interview started and everything still seemed quite normal.
Once it was over, the "PBS rep" went to the front of the room and started asking people to come to the front to say a few words for my sister. She eventually got to the table where Evan and I were sitting and asked Evan to come up to the microphone. So, he walked up and grabbed the microphone and started nervously speaking about my sister. I thought that it was a bit odd for him to be speaking about her since he had only known for about one year. I was recording him with my phone and then at some point he stopped talking about her. Evan and my sister both looked at each other with smiles and told the family and I that we were being punk'd. Everyone was very confused and started looking around. My mother started clapping very loudly and laughing and then I heard the back door open. Suddenly all of my closest friends and Evan's family came walking through the back with gold balloons that spelled out "Marry Me." I dropped my phone in shock and started to cry. The rest of my family was also kept in the dark about the proposal so they were in shock as well. Once I was finally able to stand, I walked to the front where Evan was standing. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes! The most memorable moment of the proposal was the very moment I saw his parents and my friends and finally put two and two together. No one has ever been able to surprise me and this was the ultimate surprise.
For the Groom: Walk us through the behind the scenes of creating this special day:
Operation: Make Her Cry started in the summer of 2016. I reached out to Danielle's sister and told her that I wanted to buy a ring and that I needed her help. So around October of 2016, I bought the ring with the help of FaceTime. Danielle is very hard to surprise so I knew that I wanted to plan something grand that involved her family. I reached out to her sister and mom to see if they could help me stage an event to get everyone together. Together we came up with an idea to trick Danielle and all of the guests to believe that Danielle's sister, who was Miss Illinois United States at the time, was being honored by PBS. We didn't tell anyone in the family about the proposal because Danielle is super inquisitive and likes to cross-examine everyone to get information. I could not afford for someone to fall for her antics and tell her something was up. We made sure we got all of her closest friends and family in Chicago to come and my friends and family came as well. Our plan actually worked and I still can't believe she didn't find out.
What makes your love special?
We seriously bring out the best in one another. We are very opinionated and usually have long deep debates about what's going on in the world around us. We help each other see things in different perspectives and genuinely care about each other's personal growth. Even with our strong opinions, we know how to compromise. We are always trying to find new ways to make our bond stronger. We love to travel and explore new things together.
What was the theme of your shoot?
We intended on going for a GQ-ish editorial theme, but also wanted have some casual shots as well. However, the pictures were coming out so great in the formal wear that we decided just to stick with that. When our friends saw the pictures they made jokes saying that we looked like we were shooting promo ads for "Real Housewives of Harlem"
Were there any memorable moments during the shoot?
Brooklyn Bridge Park is actually where we spent most of our first date so it felt great to be back there three years later as an engaged couple.
What are you most looking forward to about your wedding?
We are really excited to see the blending of both of our silly families. Both sides really know how to have a good time and I know that it will truly be a night we will never forget.
Have you started planning your wedding?
Surprisingly, we are more than halfway done with planning our wedding. We thought that it would be a very hard task but it hasn't been that bad for us.
Congratulations to the happy couple! We wish you many years of wedded bliss.