Fellow track-mates from ULM celebrate their love in a sultry and sophisticated engagement session in downtown Dallas.
Nikki and Mark’s love story began while running track at the The University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). After building a steady foundation of friendship and faith, their relationship eventually bloomed into love. After 3.5 years together, the couple parted ways for a year, but soon rekindled their romance in 2019. They haven’t looked back since!
Set in The Statler hotel and Klyde Warren park in downtown Dallas, Texas, Camera Magic by Devore captured Nikki and Mark’s love in a sensual and elevated e-session that’s sure to inspire your own photo-shoot.
For more on their story and photos from their sultry and sophisticated engagement session, keep reading below!
- Couple: Mark Demus Jr. & Alexis Morton (Nikki)
- Occupations: Nikki is an Occupational Therapist and Mark is a Software developer and Realtor.
- How they met: While running track for ULM
- Engagement session location: The Statler hotel and Klyde Warren park in downtown Dallas, Texas
- Date of e-session: October 24th, 2020
- Wedding date: April 3, 2021
- Wedding location: Texas Discovery Gardens
- Location of Engagement shoot: Klyde Warren Park and The Statler hotel in Dallas, Tx
- Engagement shoot theme: Sultry & Sophisticated engagement session
How they met…
The couple met while attending the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). Both of them were also a part of their universities track and field team, which is how they crossed paths for the first time. However, as fate would have it, they had already been floating in the same circles for years!
Mark recalls, “Ironically, we are both from Dallas and ran track in high school in the same region and attended multiple track meets together over a 3 year span, yet we had never seen each other before!”
On the moment they first met, it was actually Nikki’s first night on campus. She and her dorm suitemates decided to go check out their school’s REC center before classes started.
“While in the REC we actually met about half of the men’s track and field team, including Mark. After shooting around in the basketball gym, Mark and I casually chatted about our respective events and where we were from.”
From that first meeting, Mark adds, “…we went from being just friends to becoming best friends after a year and a half, which developed into a great romantic relationship with true friendship being our foundation.”
Their first date…
For Mark, their first date was at a Buffalo Wild Wings. For Nikki, she considers their first official date in 2019 at a Mexican restaurant.
It’s hard for them to pinpoint exactly when their first date really was because the first time it came about so naturally (without Mark even asking her out officially) and the second time, because they’d broken up for about a year, was a new beginning for their relationship.
In Marks version, “[They] went to Buffalo Wild Wings and were there for 3 hours… watching a boxing fight.” He adds, “To me it’s hard to say which one because the relationship came about naturally, since I hadn’t officially asked her. I do know for a fact that our first date after breaking up for a year (after 3.5 years) was at mexican restaurant named Mi Cocina in Frisco, Texas after a FC Dallas soccer game in 2019.”
Nikki adds: “It was at that point that we reconnected and I would say would be our first official date.”
When you knew they were “the one”…
Mark knew Nikki was the one when he realized how much they “had in common on a mental aspect of things and spiritually.”
He adds, “…along with her character, ambition, and trustworthiness, she is the only one that gets me and at the same time allows me to be myself and supports my endeavors.”
For Nikki, she had been in previous relationships before where she thought she was in love. But being with Mark was different.
“It wasn’t until I was with Mark that this extremely comfortable, peaceful and euphoria-like feeling would never escape me. Even now! For a while, I was trying to make sure I wasn’t just caught up in the newness of the relationship or the “honeymoon phase”, but it didn’t change. That’s how I truly knew, that was just our connection.”
She had prayed for God to send her a man “that was kind, trustworthy, honorable, ambitious, and consistent.” Lucky for her, God gave her everything she asked for and more!
“Mark’s spirit is unmatched,” Nikki says. “This will sound cliche but we connect emotionally, spiritually, and mentally on so many levels and I never imagined being this in-tune with someone. It’s hard to explain.”
Their proposal story…
Mark wanted his proposal to be meaningful and a surprise she wouldn’t expect.
At the time, Niki was taking graduation photos since she had just finished her masters in Occupational Therapy. Graduating in the middle of quarantine made things difficult. Her graduation was cancelled and she had just passed her National Board Exam. With all of these major accomplishments, she wanted to celebrate with at least graduation photos.
So, she enlisted the help of her best friend, who happens to be a photographer, and another close friend to capture these milestones in a photo-shoot. They started out taking photos at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas for her dressier photos and then headed over to Klyde Warren park for her casual ones.
For her casual photos, Nikki remembers thinking her “newly coveted “Black Occupational Therapist Matter” shirt would make for good photos.”
Now, looking back, she wonders “if that was all a part of the plan they came up with to help Mark.”
As their photo shoot ensued on the lawn of the park, Nikki started noticing Mark’s friends and family gathering in the distance. Mark casually assured her that “his family was here to support [her] since they weren’t able to be there for [her] graduation festivities.”
Initially, Nikki didn’t think too much about it. But then she noticed Mark’s cousin, who she didn’t see often.
“I was starting to get suspicious,” she says. “I ended the photoshoot by taking some casual photos with my puppy behind a mirrored building next to [the park]. My best friend told me to place Nova (my puppy) on my shoulder and to smile while facing her. After about 10 shots, she told me to turn around… and there was Mark!”
Down on one knee, more of their friends and family were standing behind him. Nikki was so happy.
She says, ” I just remember ugly crying and saying yes. What he said exactly is a bit of a blur, but I do remember it being really sweet and him referencing our time and experiences spent together from college up until now.”
Mark reveals, “I actually had bought the ring and asked her dad for her hand 2 months prior. The rest of the planning was dependent on her photography date, plus I wanted to wait after she passed her National Board Exam.”
The engagement session & theme…
With their original location unavailable, the pair reached out to their photographer, Camera Magic by Devore, and asked her if there was anywhere she’d been dying to shoot. She mentioned she’d been wanting to do some historic hotels in the Dallas area. The couple jumped on the idea!
Together they decided on the Statler hotel. Mark says, “Usually [there are] classic cars out in front of the Staler, but they weren’t there that day, so we decided to just flow along and take photos in the lobby and on the rooftop.”
With an overall sultry and sophisticated engagement session theme, Nikki adds that the shoot had an “elegant feel with a touch of modern hollywood glam.”
Favorite thing to do as a couple…
Spending lots of quality time together and enjoying new food has been a constant for these lovebirds!
“We love to spend time together which has been a consistent theme in our relationship -and eating!” Nikki says, “We enjoy trying new restaurants everywhere we go and especially when traveling to new places. We swear we’re food connoisseurs! We also enjoy doing outdoor activities together.”
Mark agrees completely, adding, “We have aspirations of traveling more as well in [the] future and of course tying food into that equation.”
Wedding planning so far…
So far, wedding planning has been pretty smooth for these two.
“We planned quite a bit right after we got engaged and took a little break, then went back to planning for these last 5 months. We were able to decide on the theme, colors, venue, layout, and vendors fairly quickly.”
Now, they just have “the little details to plan moving forward.”
Setting the date…
For their special day, the couple set the date for April 3, 2021.
Nikki notes the date “is actually the same day as Mark’s mother’s birthday.”
Mark adds, “Given the dates available at our venue and within the time frame we wanted to get married, the perfect date fell on her birthday.”
Of course, the couple wanted to be respectful of Mark’s mom’s special day. They asked her if she would mind, but luckily “she happily agreed.”
The couple decided to tie-the-knot at the Texas Discovery Gardens in South Dallas, Texas.
“It’s a hidden gem on historic Fair Park grounds,” Mark says. “You wouldn’t be able to see if you were attending the fair or from the road while passing through, only if you knew about it previously.”
Nikki adds, “It also has a huge fountain at the end of the lawn and multiple themed gardens surrounding it, including a butterfly garden.”
What they’re looking forward to most on their wedding day…
Overall, the Nikki says they are “…looking forward to seeing [their] vision come together and celebrating [their] love and new union with [their] friends and family.”
Mark adds, “And of course building together in all areas of life including: spirituality, investing, and family.”
Looking for more sultry & sophisticated engagement session inspiration?
- Photographer: Obi Devore of Camera Magic by Devore
- Wedding Planner: Jessica Holmes
- Engagement Venue: The Statler hotel & Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Texas
- MUA: Alexis Morton (the bride)
- Barber: BFresh of BFreshLounge
- Hair Stylist: Alexis Morton (the bride-to-be herself!)
- Wedding Location: Texas Discovery Gardens