Arron & Lisette Hastings
Saturday May 12th, 2012
Charlotte, North Carolina
Sometimes high school has a larger role in our fates than some people can imagine. Brought together by a randomly selected school schedule, Lisette Sutton and Aaron Hastings were scheduled to attend the same art class at Charlotte Latin School their junior and senior years. Both aspiring students found the other to be quite the challenge for the title of best in the class. "We both wanted to be the best" says Aaron, "so we started to sit together in class and talk to each other more. You know, to check out the competition" laughs the groom.
What started off to an amicable start at best, slowly blossomed into an inseparable bond between friends. "We came to class each day itching to one up the other!" exclaimed the bride. "We used to compete by who got the better grade. Our art teacher began to realize that if we got the same grade we would bombard him with questions about who's piece was actually better. We drove him crazy!", laughs Lisette. "But like all good things, high school came to an end. We ended up actually going to the same university together but the school was so big we never saw one another."
Keeping in touch once in a while by email, Lisette and Aaron became engulfed in college life and began to drift apart. Although the rift had grown over time, fate was not yet done with the two. Chance once again brought them together at the school's annual Halloween night bash.
"Me and my buddies decided it would be a great gag costume idea to dress up as old lunch ladies for Halloween. We wanted to enter the costume contest and win first prize for funniest costume", laughed the groom. "We went all out! Gray haired wigs, panty hose, white support shoes, gaudy make up, coke bottle glasses, blue dresses with aprons, a hunch, and a bucket of instant mashed potatoes with a ladle and gravy we dyed green! The judges were in tears from laughing so hard! Needless to say, we won first place! We stuck around though to watch the other competitions before they called us up to hand out prizes. I'll never forget the sexiest costume winner that year! This girl was dressed in a black leather suit, cat mask, claw gloves, and heels just like Catwoman. It was an awesome costume."
After the winners were called up for their prizes, the media approached the four total winners for some pictures and a quick interview. They just made one fatal mistake, asking who they thought had the best costume of them all. True to nature, the lunch lady stepped up to take the spotlight only to be over shadowed by a confident catwoman. "Of course I couldn't just let the spotlight be taken away. We picked on one another for a while, one thing led to another and then there we were sharing a pizza at Brixx." says Aaron. "As we were eating I realized that I still didn't know who she was other than catwoman. To my surprise, when I asked she took off her mask I realized it was Lisette! We hadn't seen each other in about three years and all of a sudden there we were eating pizza together at random!"
"I was blown away" says the bride, "I didn't even recognize Aaron dressed up like an old lady. I thought he sounded familiar but didn't want to say anything because I didn't want to be that person who swears they know you when they don't. Turns out I should've!" With their competitive spark and long lost friendship re-ignited, the pair soon began seeing each other on a regular basis. Casual dinners and random outings gradually blossomed into something more than just friendship.
"We both started to realize that there was more to us than friends pretty quickly," says Lisette, "it's funny how something so blatantly obvious to everyone else never hits you until later." With that fateful Halloween night behind them , years passing, and graduation day approaching, Aaron began planning a special surprise for Lisette. "We had been dating for five years during school doing our undergrad, then our masters at the same university. Through the ups and downs, competitions, and shenanigans, she was always there for me. I knew that she was definitely the one for me. No one drives me nuts like she does!", says the groom.
Ring in tow, Aaron led his unsuspecting bride to be out for a day on the paintball field. With a few friends in tow to make up the paintball teams, they broke off into their groups and set out for an all out guys on girls match. "Us ladies we kicking some serious butt that day!", laughs the bride, "when it came down to the last two people it was just me and Aaron. I saw him from a distance and popped him right in the back with a hot pink paintball to take home the game! He fell flat on his face! He scared me though because he wasn't getting up, so I ran over to him thinking he might've gotten hurt. Instead when I got there he rolled over on his back holding a little velvet box splattered with flecks of paint from the game. He rolled up on one knee, opened the box and asked me if I would keep him on his toes, at the top of his game, and devotedly in love for the rest of our lives. I was so shocked, but happy, somehow I managed a squeak of a yes!", said the bride.
With the proposal out in the open and all of their friends celebrating with them, the couple spent months planning and preparing for their union. When said and done, the bride and groom found themselves at the altar of a local church in front of 67 friends and family. The bride wore a strapless A line gown with lace overlay and flower belt. The bridal party helped set a festive fall season mood by wearing dark navy blue dresses with green silk shawls. Their bouquets also accented the season by incorporating a field flower style bouquet with their initial monogrammed on their stem wraps. The groom chose a casual style with a hint of flair, wearing a white button up, brown blazer, black pants, and bright red shoes.
With the ceremony at an end, guests left the quaint church to join the newlywed Mr. and Mrs. Hastings at the Design Center for their reception. Gusts were treated to a fondue cocktail hour with signature Corzo Ruby Red cocktails made from cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, grapefruit, and tequila to get guests all warmed up for the upcoming festivities.
Buzzed and ready to party, guests entered the reception hall to find a spotlight dance floor, an energetic DJ, and steaming hot meal waiting at their tables. Small centerpieces made from a slice of a tree, three tiered candles with a dark purple chrysanthemum weighted to the bottom of the glass and floating candle on top illuminated each guest's table. Dinner included the guest's choice of broiled cod with chive butter and side of asparagus, freshly baked quiche florentine with a buttered honey croissant, or chicken marsala with grilled zucchini.
Dinner proved to be a great success with both the guests and the couple. "We were afraid we would have terrible wedding food," says the bride, "we definitely took our time deciding our caterer and baker so that we would have good food. It was well worth the time". After a succulent dinner, the couple made their way to the wedding cake for the cutting ceremony. The DJ directed everyone's attention to the couple standing by the cake as they took the first slices from the three tiered white chocolate raspberry cake. "We hadn't talked about what we wanted to do at the cutting ceremony," says the groom, "so I just grabbed my piece and shoved it in her face as she took a bite. It was hysterical! Of course she had to one up me, so as I took my bite she smushed it in my face, shoved it up my nose and drew on my face in icing! It was a mess but it was a gut buster!"
After a break for a thorough icing clean up, the couple reemerged to toss the bouquet and the garter into the crowd. The couple then had all eyes on them as they took their first dance as man and wife to the song "Brighter than Sunshine", by Aqualung. "The lyrics from the song have always stuck with me," said Lisette, "especially the verseLove will remain a mystery, but give me your hand and you will see, your heart is keeping time with me.Aaron and I felt like those words are timeless and a perfect way to describe our love for one another. You never really know why you choose to love someone, but as soon as you accept each other's love, it's like you become whole knowing the other person is always there for you. The love we share is like a force of nature, it gives us both strength and the will to press on, no matter what.", explained the bride with tears in her eyes.
The touching first dance gave way to a full dance floor and a line to the bar, raising glasses to celebrate the new couple's union. The DJ kept the party going until 2am by playing popular songs, Aaron and Lisette's requested songs, guest requests, as well as custom scratching. Guests left with smiles on their faces and tired feet with party favors and shoes in each hand.
Looking back on their big day, Aaron held his bride in arm proudly with an inexplicable smile on his face. "Who would've thought an on and off friendship from high school would ever turn into husband and wife? It's almost surreal! I just feel like I'm the luckiest man on earth right now." When asked what she hoped for the future, the bride simply chuckled and said, "I want what every bride wants! I want a long and happy marriage. I want to inspire brides of the next generation with a good example, and most importantly I want to be that happy old couple walking through the park still holding hands like newlyweds 50 years later."
With a smile and a kiss, the happy couple hopped in their getaway car and excitedly waved goodbye to their guests out the windows as they whisked away to their next destination; their honeymoon.