In youth group at the Central Church of God in Charlotte, which both their families attended. "It's funny, our parents used to make jokes about how cute we were together, but we didn't know," Stephen says. Ayesha remembers when she found out she and Stephen had both lived in Toronto and loved the same Canadian candy. "I got him some fuzzy peaches, but I was so shy I didn't say anything. I just handed them to him and walked off," she laughs. Stephen admits to being equally shy, but he says he was always aware when Ayesha was around.After high school, Ayesha moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. While Stephen was in L.A. for basketball camp, he sent her a Facebook message asking her to hang out. "She tried to play me off, saying we could hang out another time if I was ever back in town," Stephen says. "She didn't know I was coming back the next week." The two Charlotteans spent their first date running around Hollywood, drinking chai tea lattes and taking pictures with fake Marilyn Monroes. Once Ayesha moved home to Charlotte, the two officially started dating. Stephen was still attending Davidson College, and Ayesha continued her acting career – including a role on the series "Whittaker Bay" and a spot on "Hannah Montana." In 2009, a year after the legendary "Elite 8" season with the Wildcats, Stephen decided to make the move to the NBA. "I thought I was going to New York," Stephen admits. "They had the 8th pick, but I went 7th to the Golden State Warriors. I don't know what would have happened if I'd gone to New York. It was nice to have that decision made for us."The two had been dating for a couple of years when Stephen started to plan his proposal. On that day, Ayesha was planning to have a housewarming party at her new apartment in Charlotte. "We were going to go to his sister's volleyball game and then come back here. He showed up dressed really nice, with a fresh haircut and cool sunglasses; I was like, 'Wow, look at you!'" she says.After the game, they stopped at Stephen's parents' house to grab the board game Pokeno. As they were walking up the driveway, Stephen stopped. "He asked me if I knew where we were standing.It was the spot where we had our first kiss," she says. "He pulled me close and started saying all these sweet things and then dropped down on one knee. I was in a state of shock.""She looked at the ring and asked if it was real," Stephen laughs. "The next thing I knew, people were screaming from
inside the house. All of our family was inside waiting, it was awesome!"Both Ayesha and Stephen wanted a traditional wedding in the church in which they grew up, and they needed a venue to hold the 420 family and friends on the guest list. Through the help of their wedding planner, Tiffany Ratliff at Weddings in the City, they found their venue. Tiffany and Ayesha's mom helped the couple find Kristin Vining Photography. "She captures something special," Ayesha says. "We simply had to have her." The couple also had engagement photos taken with Kristin at gardens in Dilworth near Queens College.On the big day, the bride wore a taffeta, drop-waist Amsale gown with a long, custom-made veil. Her bouquet from The Place for Flowers was comprised of white peonies, roses and stephanotis flowers to honor her groom, Stephen. To complete her elegant ensemble, Ayesha's future brother-in-law Seth delivered a pair of earrings from Stephen. "They were perfect," she says. "Even better than the ones I was going to wear. His mom also gave me a handkerchief with a 'C' on it that I ended up using during the ceremony." When it came time to walk down the aisle, Ayesha grabbed her dad's hand to help steady herself. "During the rehearsal, I kept telling him, 'You're not supposed to hold my hand,' but as soon as I saw Stephen I was like, 'Can I please hold your hand?!'"When the doors to the church opened, Stephen was overwhelmed at the sight of his bride. "Our pastor told me to look at him if I started tearing up, but he was already way past my tear level," Stephen says. "That was the best part of the ceremony, though. I still have that picture of her in my head." The grand ballroom of the hotel was covered in beautiful gray and white décor from Classic Party Rentals, and floating tea candles created a romantic atmosphere. Guests enjoyed a sit-down dinner, and the band Cheap Thrills kept the party going with a mix of old-school and slow jams. Special moments of the reception included the first dance ("Lucky" by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat) and the father/daughter and mother/son dances, provided by Split Second Sound, who also kept everyone on the dance floor. The couple soaked up a 10-day honeymoon in Bora Bora before returning home to hit the books. Ayesha is finishing up her business degree online and has plans to open her own business, possibly in Myers Park, Ballantyne or SouthPark. Stephen spent a semester at Davidson College continuing work for his degree in sociology during the NBA lockout, and is now back in business as the starting guard for the Warriors.