Colin and Ava met at a game night hosted by one of their mutual friends during the summer of 2009. Although they had both attended Florida A&M University ( Ava had already graduated and Colin was still a student) they had never crossed paths before and that night he caught her eye!
“We didn’t interact much that night other than a few glances. About six weeks later the same mutual friend invited us both out for happy hour and we connected immediately. Several of us ended up hanging out as a group that night and the two of us shamelessly flirted for the rest of the evening.” Ava said.
The same group grabbed lunch together the next day and the two still had a strong connection. They exchanged information and have been together ever since!
We got a chance to get a few details about this amazing couple from the bride herself, during their engagement session. Learn more about these love birds below!

Q: What makes your relationship special? Tell us some things that you both value in your time together. 

Ava: One of the many things that I love about Colin is that he truly brings out the best in me. When we began dating we experienced many firsts together and enjoyed going on new adventures with each other.I have found that my favorite moments are when we are spending time alone, enjoying each other’s company and Colin creates his own playlist of his favorite ballads and love songs for us. This is what makes our wedding hashtag – #TheDillardDuet – perfect for us!

Q: How did you know your partner was the one? When did you first know this in your relationship? 

Ava: I absolutely love Colin’s sense of loyalty. It was one of the first character traits that drew me to him once we started getting to know one another. When I first met Colin I was in my mid-20s and still healing from the sudden passing of my mother. I was just beginning to truly discover myself and my likes and dislike.   As amazing as we like to think we are, as humans, we carry many flaws and mine began to shine brightly early on in our relationship.  Colin showed me what encompasses unconditional love and has stood my my side when I was at my worst.  Ironically, I realized he was one after we had a huge fight and he was still there by my side. A lesser man would not have stayed around to get to know the real me and he showed me I could always count on him. I could not have asked for a better partner.

Q: Give us all the details about the proposal. How and where did it happen? Was it a surprise? What was the planning process?

Ava: Christmas of 2016 was the first Christmas since the passing of my father earlier that year. Colin and I made plans to spend the holiday with his family in Chicago.  I had visited his home many times before, but never at Christmas. As excited as I was, I was filled with mixed emotions and felt sad as well since this would be my first Christmas since both of my parents has passed away.We flew into Chicago the morning of Christmas Eve and his mother picked us up to drive us to their home. She told us she needed to run some errands Downtown and I thought nothing of it. The parking deck we used was right across the street from the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and she asked had I ever been and was if I up to visit. I was excited to act like a tourist for the morning and Colin told me he hadn’t been since he was in grade school. We ventured to the 103rd floor to the Sky Deck and viewed the city and beyond, as far as the eye could see. Before we left, he suggested we stop at The Ledge – a 4 foot glass box that juts out on the side of the building, 1,353 in the air. As I gathered my nerves and stepped out on the platform I hurriedly tried to takeaway few pictures and failed to notice Colin was down on one knee behind me.  Before I knew it, he was proposing to me and asked me to share the rest of my life with him as his wife.I was shocked and in complete awe; I always assumed I would know when he was going to pop the question. Although we had been together for 7 years and had discussed marriage and getting engaged – the proposal itself was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise.

Q: We’re all about the bling… Tell us all about that ring!

Ava: I LOVE my ring,  I named her Rose! She’s a single, flawless, Brilliant Cut solitaire. The band is encrusted with tiny diamonds and is a beautiful rose gold. She is classic, unique, understated and timeless – just like me!

Q: Are you excited to start planning your wedding day? Do you have any ideas in mind yet?

Ava: I am so excited about our wedding day, it’s just about 3 months away! We are having a Spring wedding on a farm outside of Atlanta. My colors are Blush and Champagne, and the venue is a gorgeous estate overlooking a lake. The reception area features floor to ceiling windows to let in abundant sunlight and views of the surrounding woods. There are elegant details throughout such antique chandeliers, gold chiavarri chairs, a baby grand piano and a stone fireplace – think Southern Chic!
Check out the awesome images from Ava and Colins engagement session captured by the talented Aline Marin Photography below:
Vendor Collaboration

Photographer:  Aline Marin Photography
Submitted via Two Bright Lights