Grand Prize Winners Story





The story of our love began in 2010, in Gainesville, Fl. Ken and I met through a mutual friend named Trey. He knew the two of us as individuals, and knew that our personalities would click. Shortly after hearing about Ken he reached out to me and we exchanged phone numbers. A week later Ken and I went out on our first date. We went to the movies, and Ken was a gentleman. When he came to pick me up for our first date, he opened and closed doors which was flattering. On our way to the movies, we talked about our future plans and what was happening in our everyday lives. Overall our first date was amazing. Ken was playing baseball for Santa Fe College around the time we met, so his mom decided to come visit him during the season. Ken explained to me how he wanted me to meet his mom. He told me such great things about her and her cooking skills, so I was excited to meet her. She was very welcoming and treated me as if I was family. Her food was amazing. She cooked fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and collard greens. I had never tried collard greens, so I was nervous to try them. Ken’s mom was very surprised by that and said “if you’re going to try them, you have to eat it right with hot sauce on top of them.” Come to find out I really like them, so now I’ve been hooked on her collard greens.

A few weeks later my mom came into town and cooked dinner for the three of us. Prior to this visit, I had mentioned to my mom how I met a guy and his name was Ken. My mom and Ken had a great conversation because they both enjoyed baseball. Later that night, Ken pulled me aside and ask me to be his girl and of course I said yes! February 11th of 2010 is when I officially became Ken’s girlfriend, and I was really excited to see where this relationship would take us. I delivered the news to my mom and she was really excited, because she really liked Ken.

I thank God for truly bringing Ken into my life. He’s my best friend, my soul mate and my true love. Ken decided to take a lead of faith and ask me to marry him on September 13, 2014 and of course I said yes! As we immediate began to start our wedding planning, I started to look up venues in Buford, Georgia and I came across the Gwinnett Environmental Heritage center. I immediately contacted Lisa to arrange a day to come see the venue. As Lisa began to show us around I immediately fell in love with this venue. It was perfect for us. Lisa explained to us how the GEHC was having a Bridal Expo coming up and if we booked the venue the day of the Bridal Expo we would save 10% off, so my fiancé at the time, his mom and my mom attended the bridal expo.

During the Expo, we were able to meet a lot of vendors which we actually used for our wedding. Later in the evening, we booked the venue, however thirty minutes before the Expo was over they were doing a couple of drawings. Lisa got on the microphone and said this drawing is for a couple who is getting married in 2016. I immediately got hopeful. They called my fiancé Ken’s name. We were filled with so much joy. I was crying and so was my mom. I was in complete shock, but I was so thankful because Ken and I are college students, so money was a little tight on our end.

We were both excited to have our friends and family by our side as we exchanged vows and expressed the love we have for one another. Leading up to the wedding, Lisa and the GEHC staff were very helpful and understanding. Lisa was always there to answer my questions and help me make decisions I was unsure about.

On August 6th, 2016, I was filled with so many emotions. As a little girl, I always dreamed of getting married one day, but I didn’t think it would actually happen. I was so happy to marry my best friend. The moment I saw Ken down at the altar, I was so happy. It felt so good to express my love to him during the ceremony as we read our vows. Once the ceremony was over and the DJ announced us as Mr.  & Mrs. Wise, it was like my fairy tale came true. I found my prince charming and my forever love. I never wanted this day to end and I wanted it to last forever.

~ Melissa Wise