A wedding is full of decision making, but the hardest decision for one couple wasn’t over the flowers or the cake. It was about when to get married.
Alyssa Bernard, who graduated K-State with a degree in business management in December of 2013, and Donte Bernard, who got his degree in psychology from K-State in May 2013, tied the knot this past summer. All their wedding plans were changed when Donte was accepted into a program more than a thousand miles away.
The two met in an English class when they were 17-years-old. While it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, the couple has been together ever since.
“We met in an English class in high school,” Donte said. “I saw her from across the room, and she didn’t acknowledge me at all. I kept asking her when her volleyball games were and she never told me. I switched up my tactics and saw that she needed a pencil sharpened, so I sharpened it for her and that was my way in.”
In Alyssa’s version of the story, she didn’t pay him any attention because she thought he already had a girlfriend. Nevertheless, the couple started dating and continued to date throughout college. In September 2012, Donte proposed while they were both seniors at K-State.
“We were going to Konza Prairie with friends of ours. We got to the top and were just talking and looking around,” Alyssa said. “I turn around and he’s trying to get on one knee, but there was a bee, which he claims he’s allergic to. He started running around like crazy and used me as a shield from the bee.”
After the bee left, Donte got down on one knee to propose to Alyssa. Alyssa graduated a semester before Donte and went back home to Kansas City to begin working while Donte finished his degree. Donte was then accepted into a graduate program at the University of North Carolina. The two decided in the beginning that Alyssa would stay for a year in Kansas while Donte went to North Carolina.
“I already had a job, so we had planned that I would stay in Kansas for a year to get more income for when we got married,” Alyssa said.
However, after some thought and a suggestion from her mother, Alyssa decided that she would rather move with Donte when he went to North Carolina, and they pushed the wedding date forward.
“I think it was the right decision,” Alyssa said. “It was the more difficult one, but I think ultimately it was the best decision for us to start our life together. The experience of finding a new place and paying bills, even though it’s not always the fun stuff, I think its important that we did it together.”
The couple put together a wedding that included just 10 guests. Both couples had their parents and siblings in attendance, as well as a pastor. The pastor happened to be Alyssa’s uncle, who was visiting from Mexico.
“It wasn’t a surprise that they got married [earlier], because they’ve been dating for almost six years,” Christy Segura, Alyssa’s sister and senior in elementary education, said. “But the thing that did shock me was that they decided to move the wedding date so much. They decided to have a small wedding with just 10 people so they wouldn’t be stressed out.”
The couple are now planning a bigger ceremony to include the rest of their family and friends. They will be coming back to Kansas to have the wedding on June 7, a year after they were originally married.
“I just really want it to be a good day for my sister,” Segura said. “I know everyone imagines what that day will be like, and I know that Alyssa didn’t get that the first time. The first ceremony was gorgeous, but it wasn’t quite what she had imagined, so I’m really excited for it to be what she’s been dreaming of.”
Alyssa and Donte are looking forward to the bigger ceremony, as well. They are including the rest of the people they wanted to be there the first time as well as writing their own personal vows.
“I’m most looking forward to seeing her walk down the aisle in the white dress she got a week after we got engaged,” Bernard said. “So I’m very excited to see what it looks like and to see her [in it].”
The couple are currently living in North Carolina and have adjusted to living together.
“It seems like they’re so incredibly opposite, but then when they talk about each other you can hear the love that they have for each other,” Segura said. “When I hear Donte, especially, talk about the love that he has for her, it’s really beautiful.”