Nicole and Shamar met in Shamar's classroom. Nicole had just been offered a spot in the 2012 Teach For America Charlotte Corps and they invited her to come see a teacher in action. "Someone from the office set up communication between myself and an 8th grade English teacher named Shamar Knight-Justice. Once receiving the teacher's name...I Googled him. It was then I figured out how cute he was," recalled Nicole. Nicole came to Charlotte and observed two of his class periods. Before she left Shamar stopped her and gave her his personal phone number. "I text him that night thanking him for letting me into his classroom and asking about recommendations for apartments since I had never been to North Carolina, let alone Charlotte. Not only did he give me a list of recommendations, he offered to show me around Charlotte the next night," said Nicole. Shamr picked me up Nicole and showed her the entire city. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, that would later blossom into a full blown romance. Check out Nicole and Shamar's special day, captured by Natarsha Wright Photography!
Bride: Nicole John Knight-Justice, 26, 4th grade English teacher
Groom: Shamar Knight-Justice, 28, 3rd grade math teacher
Wedding date: 7/26/15
Wedding location: George Peabody Library
Wedding theme: Classic and timeless + black and white
Honeymoon Destination: Montego Bay, Jamaica Sandals St. James
The proposal was a 7-month process. I proposed in July, but by the December before, I knew that I wanted to ask. I just needed a few things to line up:
1) To get a summer gig as a School Director with Teach For America
2) For Nicole to also get a summer position with Teach For America
3) To not get on Nicole's nerves too much before the summer, so that we would still be together by July.
I was offered the position in January, and everything else started to fall into place. The summer job paid well enough for me to purchase the ring, and it also opened a unique opportunity to propose in a city where we had first started to spend time together: Tulsa, Oklahoma. By my first work conference in Houston, I knew where and when I wanted to propose. Houston was the location for the first TFA Institute leadership conference of the year. School directors were there, but so was the coordinator for Special Events. I told her my plans, and she ecstatically agreed. Summer Institute is a grueling, 6-week process, that pushes and works educators to their breaking points. At the end, the staff has a closing dinner, where we celebrate each other, enjoy laughs, and eat delicious food. This is where I proposed. There was so much nervousness and excitement building up within me the entire summer, and it was the big secret that everyone, except Nicole, knew about. I arranged for one of our favorite songs to be the cue for when I was to get up and make my speech. The song played, and she didn't even realize what was going on until I stood up and started speaking. As I started talking, she unsuccessfully tried to hold back an ugly-cry, and I got on one knee. "Nicole John, will you marry me?"
From the Bride:
For the most part my wedding experience was peaceful. I had a phenomenal wedding planner who is now a dear friend, Geomyra Lewis, and she handled everything about our wedding so we could work on our marriage. We had an amazing team of vendors—many of whom are also dear friends now—and they made our planning process seamless. My bridesmaids are like my sisters and they were just as supportive during our wedding planning process as they have been our entire friendship. The day of my wedding was just like most of the planning process peaceful. I took a nap in the middle of all the hair and make up prep! I got in the chair and my make up artist said she had never seen a bride sleep on her wedding day. I knew I was marrying God’s best for my life so I was calm. I was around my parents and my best friends and we laughed and ate and danced all before we ever made it to the ceremony.
From the Groom:
The wedding was absolutely amazing. It is an incredible feeling to have family and friends from across the country, and from different times of my life, convene for an evening to celebrate such a special event. Up until the start of the service I was nervous, but as soon as I saw Nicole in her dress I felt peace. I felt sure of myself as I read my vows. I was at ease. The rest of the night was filled with jubilance with non-stop laughter and tears and hugs.
Your most memorable moment:
Our most memorable moment was when we had the opportunity to exchange our vows. We both pride ourselves on being able to communicate our thoughts, especially when we are communicating our love for each other. Our vowels were a covenant with God. We proudly spoke with passion about how we would apologetically commit to God, each other, and the establishment of marriage. It was our public declaration. We understand that people will view our marriage, and make judgements about what being married means, and we feel that that is a privilege, and not a burden.
Foot Washing Ceremony:
To express our unconditional and unapologetic love, we washed each other’s feet at our wedding ceremony. This was a powerful component of our wedding. A foot washing ceremony is a sacred moment shared between a couple, and is an act of God’s love through both service and humility. We both washed each feet as a symbol of our Christ-filled love, and it was a deeply intimate experience that we were able to share with our guests.
What makes your love special?
Our love is special because we work to love each other like Jesus loves us. Our love is special because of the effort we put into it and the choices we make. We choose to talk through it when it’s uncomfortable, comfort each other when it’s hard, and serve each other when we might not feel like it. I choose to laugh at Shamar’s jokes…even the corny ones. He chooses to watch me dance around our living room…even if there is no music. We laugh all of the time. Our conversations range from social injustice to trap music and back again. We are apologetically ourselves while pushing each other everyday to get better.
Anthony Hamilton’s “The Point of it All” was our wedding song. We absolutely love nearly all of his music. Shamar proposed to Anthony Hamilton’s “Ready” and it made perfect sense for him to be the song our first dance. Anthony Hamilton has served as the theme music of our relationship.
Favorite wedding detail:
The food at our wedding was delicious but everyone raved over the cake. We had an incredible red velvet cake and just about every guest was trying to find a way to have a second piece. It was delicious and we can’t wait to eat some more on our one year anniversary.
What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?
We are most looking forward to doing life together: serving God, traveling, buying our first home, expanding our family, continuing to make impact for kids of color through education.
Advice for a Bride/Groom on their wedding day:
Someone told us to just spend ten minute together on the day of our wedding. Ask your planner or day of coordinator to schedule ten minutes of alone time with one another to soak in the fact that you have just become one. So many people will be—lovingly—pulling you both in so many directions that those ten minutes will reground you in the true reason of your wedding day.
Congrats to newlyweds Nicole and Shamar! We wish you many more years of wedded bliss.
Photographer: Natarsha Wright Photography
Ceremony & Reception location: George Peabody Library
Gown: Augusta Jones
Boutique: Elegance by Roya
Bridesmaid Dresses: Alfred Sung purchased at Weddington Way
Groom’s tux: Black by Vera Wang
Cake & Caterer: The Classic Catering People
Favors: Red Eye Photo Booths
Wedding planner: Geomyra Lewis Weddings and Events
Music: DJ Tye Wade
Make Up: Shaune Hayes
Hair: Shaun Jenkins
Flowers: Bella Fiori Flowers