Eugene and Marisa’s relationship was built on the foundation of not only love but one of community service. The two East Coast transplants to Pittsburgh met while serving on the executive board for the Urban League Young Professionals of Greater Pittsburgh. Each fulfilled leadership capacities on boards dedicated to their specific areas of passion – Marisa was the Vice President, while Eugene served as the Treasurer. This beautiful pair site that while they push each other to be their best selves, they equally share a love for giving back to under privileged youth. And within their 4 year relationship, serving their community has been a constant.
The couple wed in the spring of 2015 at The Pittsburgh Opera House and while most couples share a simple “first dance” – Eugene and Marisa decided to amp things up a bit! This fun-loving duo took it to the top by performing a choreographed dance to a mashup of Michael Jackson hits – and it’s a must see! Check out their epic husband/wife first dance video, captured by coterie member Benjamin Davis of Yamean Studios Films! Also, read on for more of their love story and details on their stellar dance moves!
Bride: Marisa C. Bartley
Groom: Eugene D. Williams III
Occupations: Bride: Executive Director, Greater Pittsburgh YMCA | Groom: Sr. Clinical Specialist, Medtronic
Wedding date: 4/24/2015
Wedding location: Pittsburgh Opera House in Pittsburgh, PA
Tell Us About the Proposal!
From the Bride’s Point-of-View: Christmas Eve was a busy day. Eugene’s parents had already been with us for 4 days and I was preparing for my parents to arrive later that evening. I started my day running errands; the gym, grocery shopping, etc. My family arrived and everyone prepared to eat dinner. Eugene wanted to make a toast, which I thought would be normal, as this was the first time our parents were meeting. What felt like 5 minutes into the toast, Gene turned and said he wanted to toast the lady of the house, and Tyrese’s song, Sweet Lady came on. I looked at him, like what’s going on? He asked me to come to the front of the room, and said “There’s only 1 thing left to do!” He pulled the eggshell colored box out of his pocket (Yes – he went to Jared!)
I walked away, balling trying to get myself together – I was completely blindsided. His dad says, “Marisa, please come back, we have limited battery life in this camera”. Then it happened, all I remember was him saying, Marisa Catherine Bartley, will you marry me? I shook my head up and down feverishly and eventually eeked out a “YES!” It was by far one of THE MOST cherished and special moments of my life to date!
From the Groom’s Point-of-view: I wanted to make the engagement special for Marisa by including our families, because I know how important family is to both of us. Prior to the special day, I called her father to ask for his blessing; then I went a step further, and called both of her brothers as well. I have a little sister and I thought that was important to do. On Christmas Eve everyone but Marisa knew what was going to take place. I asked my sister to capture the moment with my iPhone. Before the family sat down to dinner, I made a toast to thank both families for traveling to spend Christmas in snowy Pittsburgh.
During the toast I took a moment to thank Marisa for making the past 6 months that we have been living together special. At that point, I took a few moments to explain how you know you’ve met “The One”. “You know you’ve met the one, when everything you have and everything you are, you want to share with that person.” I raised my glass and turned to Marisa and said; “Babe, everything I have and everything I am I want to share with you”.
I called her up to the front of the room, to have her stand next to me. I used my remote to turn on the stereo, and while our song “Sweet Lady” played in the background I said, “There’s only one thing left to do”. I reached in my pocket, pulled out the ring, got down on one knee and asked her to marry me.
Who’s idea was the dance and why?
Eugene: We both wanted to do something different for our first dance. Being that I am the music guy in the family and my favorite artist of all time is Michael Jackson I thought it would be awesome to pay tribute to him at our wedding. The three songs I chose truly expressed the way I felt about my wife. We both thought it would be great to take elements of each of the music videos for the songs and perform them center stage!
How long did it take to nail it?
We practiced every Wednesday at my wife’s YMCA for about 2 months!
What was your experience learning it?
Eugene: My wife use to dance as a little girl all the way through college so picking up the moves for her wasn’t too hard. I love to dance free style but choreographed moves can be challenging for me at times. Luckily one of the my wife’s employees was also a choreographer and great teacher. It was super fun to play Michael Jackson and my wife be the hot video girl just like in The Way You Make Me Feel” music video! What made it even better is that on the night of the wedding my wife did those dance moves from “Remember The Time” being 4 months pregnant!!
Bridal Salon: One Enchanted Evening (Maggie Sotero gown)
Hair & Makeup: Kristen Walker & Shayla Calvert, The Emerald Room
Caterer: JCP Catering & Events
Event Planner: Phionix Premier Events
Decor: Events by Andrea
Florist: Ann Conlin, Petals of Pittsburgh
Photographer: Mecca Gamble Photography
Videography: Yamean Studios Films
Music (Band): The Brydge & Gene Stovall
Cake: Sweets by Design, Theresa Evans Wooten