From their first date through their honeymoon and beyond, this Charlotte couple’s life has been filled with surprises.
Bride: Jalitha Jarrett, 41, Uptown Community Manager – Charlotte Center City Partners, native of Spartanburg, South Carolina
Groom: Lawrence Jarrett, 44, project manager – Bank of America, native of Jersey City, New Jersey
Current Residence: Charlotte, North Carolina
Get the latest news and trends impacting Charlotte’s Black-owned businesses
Wedding Date: January 22, 2022
Venue: Founders Hall – Charlotte, North Carolina
(Lawrence) I moved to Charlotte to be closer with family. I was new to town and looking to date when I met Jalitha on a dating app. When I initially saw her profile, she had pictures in different environments. In a gown, she looked remarkable. At a sporting event, she had this big, beautiful smile. She was very attractive, and to use a cliché, from what I saw and read, she was my type. We just chatted on the phone for a bit, then I got busy with my new job, moving and everything. Then my mother and brother were very sick, and we kind of lost contact.
Six months later, my life had slowed down and I said, “Hey, I’ve got some time. Let me log back on and go on a couple of dates.” When I logged in again, I saw she was still on the app. We regained contact and when we started chatting, I said, “I think we’ve spoken before. In fact, I think I still have your number.” She said, “Well, prove it.” I called her, and it was off to the races. We scheduled our first meeting.
(Jalitha) When I saw his profile, my first reaction was, “Oh, he’s cute. He looks like he likes to have fun.” From his pictures, you could tell that he was well traveled and had one of those personalities that was infectious. He seemed interesting.
(Lawrence) We met for the first time at Nuvole Rooftop Twenty-Two, a rooftop bar in the Epicenter. She was coming from Diner en Blanc and explained that she would be wearing all white. I don’t know what made me do it, but I had to wear all black.
(Jalitha) I was so nervous. I didn’t want to meet him by myself, so I had some of my friends that I had gone to Diner en Blanc with go with me. They were important people in my life, so, I told them, “Y’all have to come with me. No, if, ands, or buts about it.” I kind of wanted to check his temperature and see how he acted around my friends. I remember seeing him walking in. I told them, “Oh my God, that’s him. He would be so bold as to wear all black and we all have on all white.” He came in with his Jersey swag and really won over my friends. I was intrigued by the conversation that we had. I knew I want to hear more from him.
(Lawrence) I had known after about a year of dating that she was the one for me. I just felt it. But I was a bachelor by nature. I was 37 and had spent a lot of time by myself. I didn’t see myself getting into something serious unless everything was superb. It was a big deal.
I am also a man of faith. I remember one day when she was at my house, I was just sitting on the counter, and she came around the corner. Christians would say God spoke to me, I just felt this unction saying, “This is your wife.” I could no longer fight it. At that moment, I was utterly convinced that she was the one, and from that moment I started planning the engagement in my head.
(Jalitha) I think I was trying to fight it too. I was intrigued by him and wanted to date him. I was sure he was interesting, handsome and I loved talking and spending time with him. But those thoughts sometimes go through your head.
I think it was when I left Charlotte and went back home to Spartanburg that I knew he was the one. I was sitting on my bed after we had texted and I said my prayers. It was almost like a whisper. God said, “This is your husband.” I was like, “Whoa, pump the brakes, God. We’re still getting to know each other.” But he kept whispering to me, “This is what you’ve been praying for.” After praying and spending more time with Lawrence, I realized I didn’t want to spend my life with anybody else but him.
(Lawrence) A funny thing happened before the proposal. I knew I had to talk to her mother and ask for Jalitha’s hand in marriage. I met her mom at a restaurant in Spartanburg and told her that God had spoken to me and said Jalitha is your wife. Her mother seemed unimpressed. She asked me how I knew it was God and if I was really sure he had told me that. Eventually, she said, “If you marry my daughter, I’ll definitely take you in as a son.”
When the check for our meal came, I was preparing to get my card out and her mother began searching her purse for money to pay her portion. I assured her that I would take care of everything, but she continued to search her purse. I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but as she was searching in her purse, she takes out a gun and puts it on the table. Maybe I was overreacting, but I was like, “Whoa.” I haven’t made fun of her about that yet, but I’ll do that soon.
After getting her mother’s approval, I got busy planning the proposal. A surprise 40th birthday party had been already arranged for Jalitha. With the help of her nephew and friends, I decided to add my own surprise. The plan was to have the lights go out while everyone was singing happy birthday to her. When they came on again, I would be on my knees, ready to propose. To say that she was surprised is an understatement. You have to see her response for yourself.
(Jalitha) I was completely surprised. He did a very good job. I was happy about a surprise 40th birthday party and happy to see my friends. When the lights came on, I was completely shocked.
(Jalitha) Wedding Planning itself was very peaceful. We entered planning saying that we didn’t want to go into any debt. Anything that we couldn’t pay for, we really didn’t need. By God’s grace, we were able to afford the wedding of our dreams. We also decided this is going to be a peaceful process. We’re not going to be at each other’s neck about this wedding. Whatever comes, it comes; and whatever happens, it happens. We’re going to be at peace, because at the end of the day, we’re married one way or the other.
(Jalitha) We had some concerns in the days leading up to the wedding because snow had been predicted, and we weren’t sure if our guests would show up. Thankfully, the morning of our wedding was clear and we were surprised by the number of guests who attended.
Our wedding was very traditional and simple. We wrote our own vows but didn’t have a lot of the rituals performed like in most weddings. One of the moments I will never forget was walking in. As I got closer to Lawrence, I saw that he was crying, and I started to cry. When we finally got to the alter, we were both still sniffling. Then I felt my nephew who walked me down the aisle, and his shoulder started shaking. I realized he was crying too. It was a very special moment that we all shared.
(Lawrence) I would have been satisfied just going down to the courthouse. As long as I was going to marry this wonderful woman, I would have been happy. Then I started thinking about the people that had invested in us for all these years and wished us well. We just wanted it to be a special day for them. Founders Hall was magical, with the art on the ceiling and marble floors. The staff was also great.
During the cocktail hour our guest played a musical game of North vs South. There were two special moments for me. One was when we put the rings on and they said Mr. And Mrs. Jarrett. The second was when I thought I had lost the wedding band. I thought I had given it to the wedding planner but later realized I had left it at my mom’s house for safe keeping.
(Jalitha) We left for Punta Cana, Dominican Republic after taking one day off to rest. The first couple of days we relaxed, just walking around the resort, talking and enjoying the sun. The resort was beautiful. The sand, waves and everything was wonderful. After a few days we left the resort and did some excursions, like driving ATVs through the villages.
(Lawrence) We also rented a scooter. It was supposed to be really romantic, having my sweetheart on my back and me trying to act like I had driven a scooter before. We got on the highway, and I discovered that people there drive with a sense of urgency that I had never seen. They disobey their own traffic laws and drive about 100 mph. I thought it was going to be the most romantic, sweetest thing, but I ended up driving on the shoulder of the road, because these people drive crazy out there.
(Jalithia) The honeymoon has continued, even since we returned home. I can’t stop bragging on my husband. He’s a wonderful person. I had been telling Lawrence that I wanted some clam chowder. My birthday was March 2nd and he surprised me. We were both working from home that day when he said, “You have an hour to get ready, or we’re going to miss our flight.” By that evening, we were in Boston, eating clam chowder and lobster rolls.
(Lawrence) I am starting a chapter in life with the woman I love, and we are happy to be in Charlotte. My grandparents met and fell in love in the old Brooklyn neighborhood of Charlotte. We are anxious to get involved and give back to the community. It’s like coming home.
(Jalitha) Think about it in a peaceful way in spite of all of the planning, headaches that you may have, all of the family, friends and other people that are offering their advice. Just know that you know what you want. Be intentional about your guests list. Invite people that support you and are going to support you in your marriage for years and years to come.
Note: Are you recently (one year or less) engaged, married, celebrating an anniversary or renewing your vows and would like to share your story? Click here to begin.
Photographer: Jeremiah’s Photography
Venue: Bank of America Founder’s Hall
Wedding Planner: Elienne Anorsicat
Day of Coordinator: Lucika Suarez
Event Décor: Creatively Designed Events LLC
DJ and Emcee: DJ MillerTyme
Band: Soulified 7 Band
PhotoBooth: Rotating Memories 360 Experience
Rehearsal Dinner: Chef Omar Alexander- Boast Catering
Caterer: Best Impressions Catering
Cake: Jenauri Vegan Bakery
Bride’s Dress: Anjolique Bridal