Eric had promised to give her a cat. So, when they started walking the streets of downtown Charlotte, Tyler was sure someone along the way would have her new kitten. Little did she know, it would be the beginning of a whirlwind.
Bride: Tyler Henderson, 26, Crime Lab Technician, native of Charlotte, North Carolina
Groom: Eric Henderson, 27, Account Manager, native of Charlotte, North Carolina
Wedding Date: September 4, 2021.
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Venue/Location: Mint Museum, Randolph
How They Met
(Tyler) We met in high school at my sweet 16 birthday party. There were a lot of people there, including Eric. He was the only person who came that I didn’t previously know. We had a class together that year at Mallard Creek High School, but we didn’t start dating until the following year when we had a marketing class together. We sat near each other and that’s how we started actually getting to know one other. That led to us going on a date. Then soon after, we started dating.
Their First Date
Our first date was at a very small, old breakfast place called John’s Country Kitchen, in Charlotte. It had been around for about 60 years and only recently closed. We went to get breakfast one day. It was an adorable little place that was classic and sweet. There was nothing fancy about it, but we had the best time. There’s nothing more generic than going to get breakfast. You just had to sit there and get to know one another.
This is “The One”
(Eric) I think we just had a special connection. Even though there were times when we were apart from each other, our relationship stayed strong.
(Tyler) It just felt very casual, like there was a natural bond keeping us together. And when we weren’t together, it felt so weird. We went to college in different places. I went to East Carolina University, and he went to Fayetteville State University. So, we could be away from each other, but still, our communication and our relationship would still go strong.
(Eric) We dated for eight years before we got engaged. We went to McCormick and Schmick in Charlotte. Then I proceeded to take her on a walk throughout downtown. The whole setup was, I told her that I was getting her a cat. I had our friends and family waiting at the corner of Trade and Tryon in a special spot where we couldn’t see them as we were walking up. As we approached the corner, there were balloons everywhere, and everybody was standing there full of excitement. She didn’t know what was going on. She turns around to find me was on my knee. That’s when I proposed.
(Tyler) He was like,” I got you a kitten.” I said, “Oh, that’s so exciting.” The cat had a name and everything. So, when he wanted to go for a walk, I thought, “Someone’s gonna have my kitten, I guess. I don’t know why are we even going on a walk?” I just kind of wanted to go see my cat and that was not what was happening. I already have a cat, too. So on one hand, I was excited, but I was also thinking, “I don’t need more cats.”
I knew we were going to get engaged eventually, but I didn’t know when. I really did not think it was going to be that weekend, especially because my mom played it off so well. When I left the house to go out to lunch with him, she had said she was just going to take a nap. I thought, “Well, it can’t be this weekend, because she would probably be coming.” I was surprised about how well he put it together and when it happened.
I was shocked and started flailing around and whatnot. I was especially surprised that all our family could keep this secret and surprise me. Also, that he could plan something that I would like so much.
(Tyler) We planned our wedding for 10 months. I wanted something that was classic and traditional, but still be modern, youthful and fun because we’re a younger couple. I wanted it to embody that, but also do a lot to highlight Charlotte. We took our engagement pictures uptown and had the skyline and some other parts of Charlotte that are kind of classic as our backdrop.
Covid also made planning a very interesting experience, because we constantly had to think about what could happen. Any day, the rug could be pulled right from underneath us. Things could get shut down again. We started our wedding planning by saying that we were only going to have about 85 people because we felt that was a safe enough number. If Covid restrictions came back, we would have less than 100 people and that would be an easier number to maneuver. So, we kept it smaller.
About two months before the wedding, I made the drastic decision to move everything outside because of the increase in Covid cases which was starting to happen. We still got to stay at the same venue and kept the same date.
(Tyler) Our wedding was fabulous. It was perfect to me. It was an afternoon wedding with the reception stretching into the evening. The grounds of the Mint Museum are really nice. We had a huge tent with a dance floor, and that’s where the reception was held. There were a lot of white flowers and candles. There were lights draped across the top of the tent, so it looked like the night sky when the stars are coming through. It was very romantic and intimate, which I loved.
Our wedding ceremony was a very traditional Christian one. Eric is Panamanian. So, in honor of his culture, we had a black fruit cake normally served at celebratory events in addition to our wedding cake.
(Eric) Hearing our parents’ and friends’ speeches was a very emotional time for us. Hearing their reflections on our relationship, from the start of our relationship until that day, was one of the most special moments for me.
(Tyler) We went to New York for our honeymoon. It is one of our favorite places to go. We got there during New York Fashion Week and left on September 11. There was a lot happening in the city, but it was also a relaxing kind of honeymoon. We went to dinner, to the Museum of Natural History, and took in the sights. It was lots of fun.
Advice to Others
(Tyler) I would say, don’t stress the small things. The whole time, you’re planning and worrying about every little thing. But once the day gets there, there are so many things you won’t even notice. After being fixated and stressed about it for so long, it really won’t matter.
(Eric) Make it everything you want it to be, and just live in the moment. Take it all in and enjoy it. We all plan for this to be our only wedding. We hope to only experience this once in a lifetime. I would also say pick your team of people wisely. They’re going to be a part of the biggest day of your life. You want the people around you to really care about you.
About the Whirlwind
(Tyler) We’re expecting! Yeah, we’re gonna have a baby. We are so excited! So much has happened this year. It’s been a whirlwind.
Photography: Dorn-Long Photography
Wedding Coordinator/Planner: Nicole Galloway and Team
Venue: Mint Museum Randolph
Cinematography: Moving Mountains Studios
Live Stream: Ceasefire Productions
Catering: QC Catering
Cake: Celestial Cakery
Florist: Lily Greenthumb
DJ: DJ JLee
Rentals: CE Rentals
Transportation: SilverFox Chauffeured Transportation
Dress: Fabulous Frock Bridal
Makeup: Enhanced by Mara
Hair Stylist: The Qween Effect