let me sing you a love song
Music has always occupied an important place in the life of this groom. He even made it his job. And when he needed to have the most important talk of his life, he did it with a song.
Bride: Chelsey Rush, 26, Program Coordinator – Kennedy Krieger Institute, from Thomasville, North Carolina
Married: Jonathan Rush, 26 Assistant Conductor – Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, from Windsor, Connecticut
Current residence: Baltimore, Maryland
Wedding date: April 8, 2022
Place/Location: High Point Country Club, High Point, North Carolina.
how they met
(Jonathan) We met about eight years ago at church. Our fathers are bishops of the United Holy Church of America, a national Pentecostal organization. We went to different churches, but they are part of an international branch organization with an annual meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina. All the different churches and all the neighborhoods are there. Chelsey and I met and got to know each other through these meetings. We sang in the choir and were on the worship team together. We often hung out at youth events, but we were just good friends. After about six years, we realized we wanted to be more than friends. We were actually in love with each other.
(Chelsey) I guess I was the first to suggest that we move beyond the friend zone. At the time, I was seeing someone else but started to realize that maybe I was seeing the wrong person.
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Their first date
(Jonathan) Our first date wasn’t a date per se. I had feelings for Chelsea; she probably had feelings for me, but we hadn’t acknowledged it yet. It was late February 2020. I was scheduled to sing with a gospel group at an event in Sanford, NC, and I invited her to come. Throughout this event, when we weren’t singing or worshipping, we spent time together, talking and laughing. We went out for a quick bite after that. So I guess technically that would count as our first date.
I lived with my family in Connecticut and Chelsey was in North Carolina. Because we lived in different cities, it took daily phone calls, FaceTime calls, and texts to get to know each other. The more we talked and learned about each other’s walk with God, their interests and personal habits, the more and more we fell in love. I knew in an instant. I thought to myself, “This is the one I’m going to marry.” I just know it is. We kept talking, and on April 6, 2021, I decided to ask her to be my girlfriend, and she accepted. We spent most of our time in a long distance relationship, but it was a good time.
It’s the good one”
(Jonathan) I think one of the biggest things that let me know that Chelsey was the one for me was the way she loves me. She loves me in a way I’ve never been loved before. What does that mean? She supported me in different ways. She made me want to be a better person. Just seeing her live and walk through life, even within her Christianity, made me want to grow. It made me want to be a better man and to be the best myself, the best person I could be. No one had ever made me feel like this before.
It was also because of who she was. I mean, she’s gorgeous; she is magnificent. And she has such a great personality and sense of humor. She is always joking and smiling. She is a spark of joy. It’s one of the things I identify with and connect with, joy and happiness. They always say I’m a happy person, and I think I’ve met my match or someone even more so. She’s everything I’m not, so she fills in all the blanks. She adapts the piece of the puzzle and picks up where I left off. That’s how I knew I wanted to ask her to marry me.
(Chelsey) He accepted me as I am – past, present and future aspirations. That’s what did this to me. I have never had someone who cared so much about me as a person, my spiritual journey, my mental health and even the way I see myself, from physical appearance to my confidence and my self-esteem. I appreciated that he was so gracious and gentle in loving me. It was hugely meaningful to me because I’ve been through a lot and had a lot of storylines in my life. I was sure it was my husband.
(Jonathan) It took me a long time to figure out when and how I would propose. Chelsea’s very observant guy, so she knew what I was doing even when she was miles away. So I had to be very strategic. I asked her sister and my cousin to help me find the best time and the best way to surprise her. We tried to find different events to plan it, but we could never figure out when. We finally decided to schedule it around Christmas Eve. Her family always gets together on Christmas Eve, so it seemed like the perfect time to propose. Although I was sure she knew, she didn’t suspect a thing.
I went to North Carolina just before the holidays. My family usually stays in Connecticut for Christmas, but I took them on trips there too. Chelsey had to work during the day on Christmas Eve, but I had the ring and everything fell into place. I had it set up for my family to turn out like Christmas carolers when I got to their family’s house. Christmas carolers were the last thing Chelsey expected to see during the pandemic. When she opened the door and my family came in singing, it caught her off guard, but I think she started to get a sense of what was about to happen.
The first carol my family sang was “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Then they started singing a version of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey. They sang, “I don’t want much for Christmas. There’s only one thing I need. Then I sang, “So tonight I have a question. Chelsea, will you marry me? I had all of her friends and other people on Zoom so they were all able to attend this beautiful and fun event. She said yes.
(Chelsey) I had no idea what he was planning. I remember he was on his phone a lot that day. That should have been the first clue, but I thought he might be very busy. He didn’t seem nervous or anything. When I saw his family, I knew it was that time because there was no other reason for them to come here. I was shocked. I didn’t know whether to cry, smile or scream.
(Chelsey) Overall the wedding planning was a very smooth and easy process. It was a bit hectic as we got closer to the wedding date as we were making last minute payments and things of that nature. We had decided to move to Baltimore, and planning a wedding in another state was difficult. We had a wedding planner, and she did a lot of the work in North Carolina and made sure everything was set in stone and as it should be.
(Chelsey) We had planned our wedding date for April 8, 2022, but ended up getting married a little early. We got married on December 13, 2021, in Baltimore, at the justice of the peace. It was a small, intimate ceremony with our parents, marriage counselors, siblings, and pastors. We are Christians and try to honor God in everything we do. When we moved to Maryland, we lived with our family for a while. When we decided it was time to find our own space, we wanted to make sure it honored God and our covenant. We wanted to get married. Our official wedding took place as planned on April 8, 2022.
(Jonathan) We had about 200 guests. There was so much going on that day; it was non-stop until after the ceremony. Our guests didn’t know we were married, so it was a big shock to them when our officiant announced it during the ceremony. It was different from what we were doing with the justice of the peace. It was always magical, like we were entering something new. It felt like our wedding day, and I was still screaming my eyes out. We were both still nervous even though we were already married.
(Chelsey) We wrote our vows and took communion. Our two fathers, who are pastors, prayed for us. Having them pray for us was a very special moment. The other memorable moment was walking in and seeing my husband.
(Jonathan) For me, seeing Chelsey walk down the aisle was my most memorable moment. I don’t remember anyone else who was there. It was like I had tunnel vision. I have never seen someone so beautiful in my life. I was crying, but I remember seeing how gracefully she descended; I still can’t get it out of my head. It was just a fun time with friends and family.
(Jonathan) We both have a lot to do with work. We are also now parents to a golden doodle puppy named Miko. Things tend to clear up around mid-August, so we’ll be taking our honeymoon then.
advice to others
(jonathan) The best advice I can give to someone planning a wedding is to trust the process. We often think that we have to control everything, otherwise everything will fall apart. We have found that on the day of the wedding, everything falls into place. Not everything will be perfect, but it’s not meant to be perfect. It will always be one of the greatest days ever. Just trust the process and let things flow. Also, trust the people around you. We were extremely intentional in choosing our wedding party. If you make the right decision with this, you will have nothing to worry about. Ours were absolutely phenomenal.
(Chelsey) Stay open-minded and confident, no matter what. Everything happens for a reason, and your day will be as you planned, if not better.
Venue: High Point Country Club
Planning: Kristen Pinkney Events
Floral art: Drawings by Devereux
Wedding photography: Morgan Crutchfield Photography
Engagement photographer: Photograph by Kiara Harris
Videography: AJ Elliot
Cake designer: It’s sweet – Charlotte
Rentals: Pomp Posh Event Rentals
UAM: Bella beauty bar
Groom and groomsmen attire: Paul Andre Shop
Bridal outfit: New York Newlyweds
Bridesmaid outfit: Bella bridesmaids – Charlotte
Celebrants: Pastors Kendall and Quierra McDowell