Yolonda Faulkner has gone from wedding planner to bride after the man of her dreams, Eric Addison, surprised her with a sweet proposal for her birthday this year!
Yolonda, the Managing Director and CEO of Details Consulting, has never been afraid to chase her dreams and make amazing things happen. As career-driven as she is, though, she has always been a romantic at heart. That’s why she makes time in her busy schedule of creating events for clients like the NFL, Google, and The Congressional Black Caucus to help brides plan their big day.
As dedicated as she is to her job, though, Yolonda still dreamed of finding the right man for her. It just so happens that she stumbled across him online.
The happy couple met after Yolonda spotted her hubby-to-be on Match.com. Looking at Eric’s profile, he had a few things going for him: he was tall, committed to his faith, and he lived nearby.
“Anything after that was just bonus,” Yolonda told HelloBeautiful.com. Despite her optimism about Eric, she still had to vet him first. His stats looked great onscreen, but was he really all that he claimed to be online?
Seeing that he was a sports lover like herself, she decided to use that as an ice breaker. “I messaged him first, which he loves. He always says that I found him. “I sent him a message about football that kind of got his attention,” Yolonda recalls.
“She sent a very in-depth football question to me, which sparked my curiosity,” Eric told us, stating that he was impressed by who Yolonda was as a person beyond being a sports fan. “That kind of got my attention. After that she talked about her background–how she was raised and how family oriented she was. She also is a believer, which is really important to me too.”
He added, “It was just a match made in Heaven, really.”
They vibed immediately and conversation came easy for them. “Before our first date, we actually talked on the phone for about five hours,” Yolonda recalled. “It was very, very real and honest.”
They chatted so much before meeting in person that she was actually a little worried that they wouldn’t have anything left to talk about. On top of that, Yolonda had had a very long day at work before she met Eric. She was over the day as a whole. All of that would usually spell disaster for the first date, but Eric was able to put her at ease.
“Before the entrée even came, I was comfortable,” Yolonda remembers. “I was in it, and I was there. But before I got there, I was just like, ‘Lord Jesus, just get me through this.”
The shift in her mood had lot to do with the fact that she immediately let Eric know that she needed some time to pray, so they prayed together. That confirmed to her, that he was the man of faith he said he is.
“When I first saw her, I knew who she was. Everything just fell in line.” Eric told us, adding that Yolonda was also a delight to his eyes. “The dress she had on for our first date–that was it!”
And Yolonda calls Eric “the most gorgeous man I have ever met in my whole life.” They’re smitten to say the least!
After that first date, things moved quickly because they fit so well together. Not only did they hit it off, but they formed a very strong bond. By the end of the first date they even had inside jokes. Won’t He do it?!
“He just immediately was my best friend on date two,” Yolonda shared. They both knew that it was love very early on. She told her girls that she was having a hard time not telling him “I love you,” but she resolved that she wouldn’t be the one to say it first.
“That was maybe two weeks [after we started dating]. He told me he loved me first probably a week after that,” Yolonda remembers.
Eric was having just as tough a time keeping those three little words to himself, too! “I was trying to hold off on telling her until Valentine’s Day to actually tell her that, but I couldn’t hold it in,” he admitted.
While most people would be pressed for a ring after such a whirlwind romance, Yolonda was way more zen. Although her friends wanted to know when they were going to tie the knot, she wasn’t anxious about when he would propose to her. She just knew that he would do it in his own time, and in his own way. In the meantime, she would continue to enjoy their amazing relationship.
“I told them, ‘Honestly, I’m not worried about it. I’m not worried about when it comes. It will come when he thinks we’re ready,’” She recounted. “‘It’s on him and his timing because I know he’s talking to Jesus about it.’”
That piece of mind came from them being on the same page from day one. One the first date they both spoke on their desire to get married and have a family. That might be heavy first date material for some people, but for them it was perfect.
“I’ve never been more comfortable in a relationship in my entire life. I feel totally protected. I knew I’m not going to be taken for granted,” Yolonda said. “I knew I was not going to be taken advantage of. I knew my time wasn’t going to be wasted.”
Her friends were astonished over how laid back she was. “I’m a very aggressive person by nature. I own a business, and you have to be,” Yolonda explained. “So, for me to be very go-with-the-flow, very chill, very trusting of somebody else, my girlfriends were like, ‘He has to be special.’”
For his part Eric remembers the moment he knew when he wanted to marry Yolonda. It happened while they were having a disagreement. “I couldn’t put my finger what caught my attention. I think it’s just her as whole. Just how family oriented she is. How caring she is,” Eric said before revealing that they weren’t always completely in sync.
“We were on different terms, and it was a weird time in our relationship. I didn’t really know where to go with it,” he continued. “We were on two different ends of the spectrum. She came up to me, and she said, ‘What are we going to do?’ I said we were going to work through it.”
It was that question sealed the deal for Eric. “It caught my attention because she was like, ‘You’re the leader of this relationship.’ That’s what I needed.”
Over the course of their relationship, Eric has proven himself to be a thoughtful, old school gentleman. He never lets Yolonda carry her own bags if he can help it. And he’s even pulled some amazing surprises on her.
But the biggest surprise of all was the day Eric popped the question. Eric admits that he’s never been much of a planner. That’s Yolonda’s lane, but he knew that he wanted to do something special for her when he asked her to marry him.
“I was kind of trying to figure out how to mask the proposal,” said Eric, who thought her birthday would be the best time to surprise her with a proposal. “She’s going to expect something [on her birthday]. If I just took her somewhere at some random moment, she’s going to see it coming.”
Knowing that he wanted to do something romantic, Eric took Yolonda to a Virgina winery for a tour of vineyard. While Eric was waiting to get to the area he had set up for them, Yolonda was taking everything in and making note of things her clients might enjoy. That wasn’t the only thing she had on her mind, the couple also had plans to meet up with a bunch of their friends for a special birthday lunch.
However, Yolonda wasn’t so preoccupied that she didn’t notice the gift bag that Eric had been carrying the whole time. When they got to the tasting table at a beautiful gazebo in the vineyard she began to wonder what it was that he had. To her shock, it was empty. As Eric began to look around for the present he dropped to one knee and presented her with a ring.
Pictures of the engagement (Eric had a photographer waiting in the wings to capture everything!), show Yolonda utterly speechless and astonished. They’re really sweet! What they didn’t show you was her immediate reaction to his proposal. Let’s just say, she was overwhelmed.
“He stood up and he was patting around his pockets, and he got down on one knee. And I bolted! Like I got up and ran in the opposite direction because I needed a second to compose myself,” she shared with a laugh. “It’s one thing to want it and to want him to do all of that. But it’s another thing entirely for the man of your dreams to get down on his knee after planning all of this stuff.”
After she said yes, Yolonda couldn’t wait to start planning her wedding, but Eric was determined to hold her to one of her rules for brides: Wait a month after you get engaged before you start planning your wedding. It drove her nuts.
Once she finally was able to it took Yolonda no time at all to plan their May 2017 nuptials. Being the pro that she is, the color palette, the vendor, her wedding party–all planned out in about two weeks. She’s a busy lady after all.
“It’s much easier than any wedding I’ve ever done because his whole thing is, ‘I just want you to be happy and have everything that you want.’” Yolonda explained, noting that she had a very specific vision for her day and she knows how to bring it all together. “I’ve done so many weddings before. I’ve done big church weddings; I’ve done destination weddings; I’ve done small, intimate weddings. I’ve done it all.”
With that in mind, planning her wedding has been a breeze, and she’s got all the time in the world to continue enjoying her engagement to Eric while remaining on her grind. We offer our very best wishes to the very happy couple!
We know that there are tons more great love stories out there just waiting to be told, and HelloBeautiful.com would love to share them. If you (or anyone you know) would be a good fit for Put A Ring On It, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.