Many couples have met on dating apps such as Match.com and even Tinder, but we’ve never heard of Tumblr connection until now.
Kayana was browsing the Tumblr app when she came across Jimalion’s (Shari) writing. She shares, “I grew intrigued and curious, so I went to her site to read more. Needless to say, I decided to follow her. I started ‘liking’ her posts, and maybe about a day or so later, she followed me back. Shortly after that, I received a private message from her.” After some slightly awkward flirting, they exchanged numbers and soon became insperable.
They managed a long-distance relationship for 20 months, visiting each other every three months until Kayana took a job in North Carolina, relocating to be closer to Shari. They knew they wanted to get married, and after six months of living together, they went and designed their wedding rings.
Read more about their love story and wedding plans, and see their charming engagement session in on the UNC Chapel Hill campus below.
- Full names of couple: Jimalion Shari McCalla-Perry & Kayana Jahmilla McCalla-Perry
- Occupations: Jimalion – Emergency Management FIR Analyst & Kayana – Emergency Management Planner – eLearning/Virtual Training
- Wedding date: August 7th, 2021
- Wedding location: Charlotte, NC – Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
- Location of Engagement shoot: UNC-Chapel Hill Campus
How did you meet?
We met on the online blog, Tumblr. At the time, I lived in Connecticut and Shari lived in North Carolina. Her writing showed up on my dashboard a few times. I grew intrigued and curious, so I went to her site to read more. Needless to say, I decided to follow her. I started “liking” her posts, and maybe about a day or so later, she followed me back. Shortly after that, I received a private message from her – she mentioned my smile, which made me smile. And my response, although simple – “Thanks, you too” – I thought was clever. Apparently, I’m not very good at flirting. The next thing I knew, she gave me her number! I don’t think a full hour pass by before I sent her our first text. The rest is history!
Tell us your proposal story.
We lived long distance for 20 months, visiting each other every 3 months until I took a job in NC and relocated. Long before that, I think we both knew that marriage was the next step for us. Six months after living together, we went and designed our rings. Kay was very set on the shape diamond she wanted – everything else was left up to me. She told me if I were to ever propose, she did not want something big and over the top. So, when her ring came in, I picked it up from Jared’s and went and got her favorite cupcake. When she got home from work, she was excited because she thought her ring would be ready. But little did she know I had something up my sleeve. I told her that it was not, and we had to wait a few more days. She gave me the biggest pout and when she had her back turned to me, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. Spoiler alert – she said yes!
When did you know she was “the one”?
Jimalion – When we exchanged numbers and started talking, I knew she was different. There was not a moment I did not want to talk to her. Where I would normally be hesitant to share myself with others, with her I wanted her to know everything about me. About a month after we started dating, I went through one of the toughest moments of my life. She booked a flight, and when I picked her up at the airport, just seeing her outside of Skype or Facetime for the first time, I knew there wasn’t another person in the world for me than her.
Kayana – For me, the pivotal moment for me was when I came to North Carolina for the first time and met her mother and grandmother. There was just an instinctual feeling that I belonged, and this was it.
Describe your engagement session.
We wanted our engagement session to be really special – very different than your average session. We LOVE all things museums, so we really wanted to incorporate a very grown, sexy, and chic look, all the while being relaxed. We tossed around the idea of visiting several local museums and even a few in the DC area, but with the travel uncertainty and pandemic, we decided safety was far more important. In passing through, we’d always expressed our love for UNC’s campus and its grounds, and Shari has history there, having had her fair share of wild undergrad parties there. So, it seemed to be a natural fit.
In going with the “grown and sexy” theme, we wanted our looks to be expressive of our individual fashion sense, so we played to the chicness of all-black looks – which just so happens to be our wedding colors too. I did our makeup and my hair, and Robyn Mitch Studio’s did Shari’s. And, for the piece de resistance – I brought out my coveted Jimmy Choo’s! I had never worn them before, so I was excited. I hope the photos don’t show how uncomfortable it was to walk after just an hour! The day turned out to be beautiful – fall foliage all around, seasonally warm, no rain or gray clouds in the sky! Radhika and Ian made us so comfortable. Their expertise and ideas are untouched – they were fantastic at thinking outside the box and finding the perfect lighting for our photos! And because we’ve done this before, we had a general idea of what to expect.
What did you do on your first date?
It was Shari’s first visit to CT since we began dating. I decided to take her to my undergraduate alma mater in Danbury, CT. I wanted to introduce her to my old stomping grounds. While we were there, we went to my dorms and ate the best pizza and ice cream in town. It was magical – it began snowing on our way back home. Knowing Shari loved Mexican food, as a surprise, I made reservations at the newest Mexican fine restaurant in town, Besito, where we enjoyed a lovely dinner and dessert.
What’s your favorite thing to do as a couple?
Without a doubt, our most favorite thing to do together is brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and then visit local museums. We did a great deal of museum hopping when we first met, and it’s been pretty consistent throughout our relationship. We can bond immensely over shopping for home goods, board games (we’re both very competitive) – and trying a new restaurant.
How has wedding planning been so far?
Wedding planning has been a long road! We began the process in 2017 when we officially got engaged. So many life things have occurred which required us to move the wedding date. And due to COVID we once again had to make the decision to change our date. The silver lining – we went ahead and made our union legal back in June. Despite all of these changes, our wedding planner, Elana Walker Events has worked tirelessly by our side to make our vision happen, and our excitement has not changed.
Tell us what you’re looking forward to most on the wedding day.
First and foremost, I am looking forward to seeing Shari walk down the aisle. I’ve always imagined her on our wedding date and I truly can’t wait for that moment. I’ll remember it forever. Other than that moment, we are most looking forward to the food and the fashion. And of course, sharing the day with family.