When true love is meant to be, nothing stands in its way.
Just ask Shelton and Dustin. Shelton is in specialty toy sales, and Dustin is a manager for an infrastructure pipeline facility. Three years ago, Shelton, Dustin — and Cupid — met in Boone, NC.
Dustin had agreed to go inner-tubing down the Watauga River with some friends, but he got a little bit more than he bargained for.
“Little did we know that this tubing adventure would consist of us ‘floating’ down the river through Class 3 and 4 rapids, many of which avid kayakers find challenging,” Dustin said.
“After hours of getting thrown all over the river, basically fighting for our lives, we were exhausted, ready to relax, and do nothing for the rest of the evening.”
Fortunately, one of Dustin’s female friends had other plans that night. She insisted that all of the guys meet a group of her friends at a local restaurant.
“Reluctantly, I said I would go,” Dustin said. “Looking back on it now, I’m so glad I did.”
Shelton was waiting with her friends at the restaurant. She had no idea her life was about to change forever.
The moment Dustin walked in the door, Shelton noticed him.
“I need to meet that guy!” she whispered to her friend, having no idea that Dustin’s group would be sitting at her table within seconds.
Not wishing to appear too eager, she leaned over and whispered to her friend, “Don’t repeat anything I said!”
The attraction on both sides was immediate, but Dustin and Shelton both played it cool. Erica, however, a mutual friend of both, detected that sparks were beginning to fly. She happily suspected she might have become a matchmaker for two of her friends.
“After Shelton and her friends had left, Erica could tell ‘I was a little sweet’ on Shelton,” Dustin acknowledged.
Erica began to mercilessly tease Dustin, barraging him with questions about Shelton.
Dustin retained a gentlemanly reserve. To every question, he simply replied, “I’m just saying if you wanted to invite her again, I wouldn’t object.”
Dustin then began to tease Erica over the next few days, aggravating her by plying her incessantly with questions about Shelton – “Do you think she liked me?” “Did she say anything?” “When is she coming over again?” “Do you think I should call her?”
Just to be safe, Erica double-checked with Shelton, who said it was OK to give Dustin her phone number.
“After staring at my phone for a couple of hours, trying to gather the courage to call her, I finally did,” Dustin said.
Two days later, they went on their first date in Blowing Rock.
Fast forward, to this year.
Dustin and Shelton are deeply in love, and very much a couple. Dustin knows Shelton is the love of his life. So how did he ask Shelton to become his wife? Here’s the whole story, in his own words.
“I had been thinking about popping the question for a while, I just didn’t know how or when I was going too,” Dustin said. “I also knew that anything I did out of the ordinary would arouse her suspicion, so that presented another challenge. After debating over several different ideas, I finally came to a decision. From that point, I asked her father for her hand in marriage and put my plan in motion.
“During the fall of our engagement in 2011, one thing was certain every Friday. Each and every Friday we made the trek to Surry County to watch my brother’s high school team play football. That helped me decide the day — Friday, October 14th.
“When traveling from Charlotte to Mount Airy together numerous times over the course of our relationship, Shelton always noticed Shelton Vineyards in Dobson. For obvious reasons, she had always wanted to stop there, but the opportunity had never really presented itself. Along with this, I had one of my friends in Charlotte ask me (within earshot of Shelton) if I would stop by Shelton Vineyards and get a wedding gift for an upcoming wedding he was attending. With the normal Friday football routine and a reason to stop by Shelton Vineyards in place, all I had to do was get on one knee.”
Here’s how the day went down: “Just another normal Friday,” Dustin said. “We were leaving Charlotte in the morning to make the trip north to Mount Airy to watch my brother play. She knew we had to stop by the vineyard to get the gift, so we ‘mutually’ decided that we might as well eat lunch at the vineyard’s restaurant. After lunch, we had a little time to kill, so we took a nice stroll around the vineyard. Earlier in the week, I had arranged for a photographer to be there to capture the moment, and I was to give a ‘signal’ that I was getting ready to ask. I had planned to walk around the vineyard, eventually making our way to the foot-bridge and island at the pond.
“This is where it gets a little complicated. As we’re walking past this bridge, I casually suggest that we should go over the bridge, to which Shelton replied, ‘I don’t want too, the ground is mushy!’ (It had rained the day before). I didn’t want her to be suspicious of anything, so we kept walking, walking right past our photographer, (that Shelton didn’t know was there for us).
“After stopping to talk for a while, I finally managed to talk her into going over the bridge. Shelton didn’t have any idea that I was asking her to marry me that day. She thought she knew that it was going to be a while before I actually asked her; and to be honest, she was a little down about it.
“Once we were over the bridge, we started talking about marriage, and I continued to tell her that time will fly by and I’ll be asking her soon, and telling her to ‘try not to think about it, it is going to happen in the next couple months.’ Shortly after this, I gave the ‘signal,’ and took her by the hand. I told her again, ‘It is going to happen soon, sweetheart, I promise.’ To which she replied, ‘I know, but I just want it to happen now.’ I looked at her and said, “What if it happened in the next 30 seconds?” then got on my knee and finally asked her, ‘Will you marry me?’
“She said ‘YES!’”
Shelton loves to reminisce about the couple’s beautiful ceremony at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church – and their good fortune despite the weather. While the couple’s hearts go out to every family frightened and devastated by Hurricane Sandy, especially to those who lost loved ones, fortune was kind to Dustin and Shelton on their wedding day: Oct. 27th, 2012.
“The best thing about our wedding day, was that regardless of the timing of Hurricane Sandy, everything, and I mean everything, was perfect!” Shelton said.
“The morning of our wedding, with Hurricane Sandy battering the eastern shoreline of North Carolina, we awoke to find the skies overcast and showers looming,” she said. But another issue arose that day, Shelton said.
“As the day progressed, with the winds blowing in downtown Charlotte, there was another storm brewing: a huge ACC football game was underway between the bridegroom’s university (UNC) and the brother of the bride’s, who is an NC State alumnus!”
So, as the bride worried about the skies, the guys were all sequestered in their respective hotel rooms watching the game. Dustin prepared for the most important moment in his life as he kept one eye on the game. UNC took an early lead and then lost that lead to NC State. Just moments before Dustin and his soon-to-be brother-in-law entered the limo, UNC took the lead and won the game!
“So Dustin had a little extra pep in his step as he entered St Peter’s Episcopal,” Shelton said. “So did my father, as he had a new hip! When Dustin and I became engaged, Dad decided it was time to schedule his much-needed hip replacement. So in late April of 2012, he underwent total hip replacement.
“My dad told me he wanted to be able to walk his only daughter down the aisle and enjoy the father/daughter dance at our reception!”
As the time for the ceremony approached, the weather become lovely.
“We were so relieved as the rain held off and the wind calmed and left behind a peaceful bliss for our marriage and the incredibly awesome reception at Roof With A View. We celebrated our first toast with wine from Shelton’s Vineyard (Dustin’s idea.)
Dustin amazes me daily with his sensitive and caring ways. Quite the romantic at heart!” said a blissful Shelton.
Dustin is also a man of great loyalty. All of his groomsmen have been his friends since grammar school, and some were even roommates in college.
But meanwhile, after the wedding: Sandy was finally beginning to cast a pall over a time precious to the couple: their honeymoon. Dustin had planned the honeymoon to be a complete surprise for Shelton. He had originally planned to reveal their secret destination to his wife at the airport the day after their wedding. There was only one small hitch: Hurricane Sandy.
“We were scheduled to depart Charlotte and fly to New York then onto St. Lucia the morning Hurricane Sandy was making landfall in New York,” Shelton said. “Our flight was canceled the day after our wedding, so Dustin ended up spending quite a bit of time that morning trying to reschedule our flight and our reservations.”
By the end of the day, after he saved their honeymoon, he decided to give her the whole evening to look forward to their dream trip.
“He wrapped up our Sandals Resort information, and hid it in our pile of wedding gifts,” Shelton said. “We were unwrapping our gifts while we were waiting out the storm. When I opened that gift, I was so surprised and excited!
Shelton never doubts she picked the perfect man, a generous and loving husband.
“He continues to surprise me daily with his ability to always know what I want,” Shelton said.
Cake: Mandie Miller at GOT WHAT IT CAKES (Mandie also an Appalachian State grad was recently featured on the Katie Couric show)
Flowers: Lily Greenthumb
Gown and Veil:: New York Bride and Groom Designer: Maggie Sottero
Shoes: Etsy Designer: Tess Harriss of Everlasting Life Fashion in the United Kingdom
Shelton sent in photos of her dress and the shoes were designed to match the details of her wedding dress! Quite stunning flats.
Bridesmaids’ dresses: New York Bride and Groom Designer: Bill Levkoff
Tuxedos: Men’s Warehouse Designer: Calvin Klein
Wedding and Engagement rings: Diamonds Direct
Hairstylist and Make-up: Cathy McNeish, Natural Bride
Invitations/Stationery: Red Stone Press
Music/Entertainment/Booking Agency: The Dicken’s, Sam Hill Entertainment The Dickens are from Greensboro, NC
Cinematography: Shamus Coney
Clergy: Kevin Harris (Groom’s 2nd cousin)
Ceremony location: St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Caterers: Delectable’s by Holly
Reception location: Roof With a View
Rehearsal dinner: Maggiano’s at Southpark
Rental providers (tents, linens, tables, chairs, photo booth, etc.): Linens, Chairs, Tables provided by Party Reflections.
Photo booth: Shutterbooth
Wedding night hotel/inn: Westin in Downtown Charlotte
Bridesmaid luncheon location: Beautiful Lake Wylie home of Becky Morrison owner of Carolina Marketing, a long time friend of the bride’s mother
Specialty gifts/favors: Bridesmaids received black canvas bags monogrammed in gold lettering filled with, jewelry for the wedding day, a pair of Reef sandals to dance the night away, and many everyday and emergency necessities.
Transportation provider: Silver Fox Limo
Wedding consultants/planners: Harwick House owned and operated by Leah Perkins
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