Longtime Columbia, South Carolina, sweethearts were cozying up together at the start of the New Year on the porch when, to Kiaya’s surprise, Aaron got down on one knee with a stunning custom, hidden halo, aquamarine ring with a rose gold band. Growing up, Kiaya paid frequent visits to the Lowcountry and moved to Charleston after undergrad so an engagement session in the Holy City with Sacia Matthews was far from shocking … it just made sense. We talked with Kiaya to gain some behind-the-scenes insight into their engagement and their Big Day plans. Bonus? Our girl also shared some pro-tips that will surely help other newly-engaged couples.
The Wedding Row: How did the two of you meet? How long did you all date before getting engaged?
Kiaya: Aaron and I dated for about 4.5 years before we got engaged but it feels like we dated for forever. My friend and Aaron’s older cousin, Kristen, introduced us to one another at a varsity basketball game in 2005 when were 7th graders. Kristen and I were talking when Aaron walked up. She mentioned he was her cousin who went to our rival school, and he joined in on the conversation. I noticed he was snacking on some Skittles and despite the fact that we had only just met, I asked him for some. Much to my surprise, he asked me what my favorite color was, which was green at the time. For the rest of the conversation he gave me the green skittles. Aaron says we were in a “flirtationship” the whole time before we started dating. I moved to Charleston after graduation and we still remained friends. When I moved to Columbia we were sparking up the relationship and remained exclusive until we officially started dating in November 2015.
The Wedding Row: Any details locked down yet for the Big Day?
Kiaya: Thanks to our amazing wedding planner, Melanie Murphy with By Invitation Only, we have so many details locked down about the big day. The wedding will be in late March 2020 at Central Energy in Columbia. We’ll tie in some chic, geometric, modern, contemporary, and maybe even boho elements. Our color palette is very similar to the dress I wore in our session. We basically have all of our vendors and only have decor left. It’s so exciting. My dog, Bentley played a big role in our relationship because she easily became a reason for us to remain close during the year I lived in Charleston and Aaron automatically named her his god puppy when I told him about her. Even though I bought her on my own, she’s always been our dog and she utterly adores Aaron. Since I got her while I lived in Charleston, she had to be a part of our mini session. Aaron and I haven’t decided if she’ll be in the wedding, but in my opinion, she’s too cute to not be there.
The Wedding Row: Any advice for other couples planning a charleston engagement session?
Kiaya: As the couple, you’re the main attraction for the photos, but you’ll want a location that matches the vibe y’all give off. I think it’s a necessity to have a photographer that can pick out where in Charleston you’ll shine as a couple; which requires a photographer that is willing to get to know you as a couple.
Images by Sacia Matthews