I met Larnell Brown in 2008 when we were both participating in a summer mentor program in Washington DC.. He reached out to me and the #GoodPeopleProject looking for help. He’s an engineering intern, fresh out of school and is getting ready to marry his college sweetheart. But while this pair is long in love they’re short in cash. When it comes to their dream wedding, how are these recent college grads going to pay for it?
Larnell Brown, 23, is pretty sure his fiancée Darnetta Diggs, 24, always wanted him. He’s confident in that fact. He repeats steadily, even though their relationship started with a pop tart and stolen (or borrowed, it depends on who you ask) oil sheen.
“The first time we remember meeting was when I was hungry at FAMU, and asked for a pop tart,” Larnell said. “I told her, you give me a part tart. I’ll give you a whole box. Of course later on she stole my oil sheen.”
“No, I did not steal,” Darnetta retorted.
“She said she was taking it,” he replied.
Larnell and Darnetta, who met in 2008 and started out as close friends who, this year, became engaged to be married. They’re hoping for a summer 2014 wedding even though there are concerns their budget won’t allow for the dream wedding. They need $8,000 and are worried about going into debt as they’ve only been out of school working for a year.
“I work days and she works nights. I’m in Michigan and she’s in Maryland. We still make it work. I gave her my spare iPhone so that we could Skype in the mornings and at home. It has been an experience to say the least, but love has seen us through,” Larnell wrote to the #GoodPeopleProject. “We have been in the workforce for less than a year each and I think the worst thing we could do is go into this marriage with big debt from a wedding, yet me being me, I want to give her the wedding of her dreams next summer.”
Their romantic path didn’t start out as an obvious one. At least not for Darnetta, who initially saw Larnell as friend material.
But the pop tarts and oil sheen? As far as Darnetta’s concerned it was all part of Larnell’s “master plan” to get her to be his girl even though she initially only wanted to be friends. (This is up for debate also, of course, as Larnell insists “Man, she wanted me from the beginning.”)
“You had a master plan on how you were trying to get me,” she said. “He was just doing little things. Coming up to my job. He was from the same areas I was from. He was bringing me McDonalds. He would walk up to my job just to talk to me”
Darnetta was a resident assistant at a dorm at the time. Jokingly, I asked if Larnell’s stalking technique worked for him.
“My defense, I do live in the dorm,” Larnell said. “I’m out and about to get some food. I know that you’re at work, you can’t just leave job to get food. That’s fine. You can call stalking. We were STBBFF – soon to be best friends.“
The soon-to-be-best-friends spent three of the five years they’ve known each other just being friends until Larnell came up with yet another plan for Darnetta. They were supposed to have Thanksgiving with Darnetta’s family as Thanksgiving fell on Darnetta’s birthday (November 24) that year, but Larnell told her he wasn’t going “because he was going to a cousin’s friend’s house,” Darnetta recalled. “I was very disturbed.”
But that’s when Larnell surprised her by showing up after all with a dozen, roses. This, of course, shocked her family who wondered just who this young man was and what on earth he was doing, but on her birthday, Larnell asked Darnetta to be his girlfriend and she accepted.
“Larnell is a very nice person. He’s really, really sweet. Really giving. He would give the shirt off his back for somebody,” Darnetta said. “He’s really smart. Also he’s confident. And there’s the other c word I like to call him.”
The other c-word, unsurprisingly is “cocky.”
“He’s very confident. And he knows me very well. He knows something before I’m even about to say it,” Darnetta said.
Along with being Mr. Confident, Larnell loves surprises. “Surprises are what keeps life interesting,” he said.
He’s the type of guy where alleged trips to feed the homeless turned into horseback riding excursions. So naturally, the proposal was also a surprise. After graduation from FAMU, on May 4th this year Larnell surprised her by proposing at his college graduation party.
“It was at her grandparents’ house. They let me have my graduation celebration there. Some of her family was there and my family was there and perfect mix of people to ask in front of. It was a whole loving environment,” he said.
They were all celebrating when Larnell decided to make an announcement, proposing to Darnetta in front of everyone … when she had a mouthful of food.
“So I knew he was going, because they asked me to stand up,” she said. “I was eating. I was still chewing a piece of food. I took my earrings off, all my jewelry off. I’m thinking ‘Oh, he’s not going to do this. Oh, he’s doing it.’ I break out crying. I’m trying to hurry up and chew the food in my mouth.”
Despite living in the age of cell phone cameras, no one managed to think to photograph or videotape it until after the fact when they wanted a redo, but that was a no go. The only thing going was Larnell and Darnetta to the alter next year.
Both are pretty crazy about each other.
“She’s beautiful. She’s caring. Intelligent sweet. Very caring. Very giving. She’s talking about me bing giving, but she’s always concerned about someone, especially family members. She makes sure everyone’s OK. Very loving. A great mate. Where do I stop?”
While Larnell and Darnetta are younger than the national average of when American couples get married they’re not deterred by anyone who might think they’re a little “young-ish” for settling down.
“I just feel like when you know who’s the right one for you time is of the essence,” Darnetta said.
“She’s right because if you wait for age to do anything you’ll be waiting your whole life,” Larnell said. “It’s always going to be not the right time. You’re going to be too young. You’re going to be too old.”
Right now, Larnell is living in Michigan working as an intern for Chrysler. He’s an electronic engineer. Darnetta, who is currently in Maryland, received her Bachelors of Science in nursing and is working at a local hospital. The pair want a huge wedding, but aren’t quite sure how to meet their $8,000 budget.
“I want everyone to be there because I have a huge family and he has a huge family. Friends. Our budget won’t allow us to have what we really want,” Darnetta said, adding she wanted a wedding that was either overlooking water or amongst “very pretty scenery,” like a botanical garden.
“I know it’s a lot,” she said of the budget. “But I feel like we can make it work. And having it on video would be really important to me.”
But both have hope that they will have the wedding of their dreams. After all, these two former friends, now engaged and marrying their dream-mates.
“She’s a beautiful person,” Larnell said. “That’s coming from the inside first. I just knew I had to be with her. I was always thinking about her. She’s just so caring and giving and caring for the world. I wanted to take care of her even though she didn’t need me to.”
“He was so considerate of everything,” Darnetta said. “He loves me. He’s seen me at my worst and seen me at my best and my past relationships were never like this. That’s why I know. He’s the one.”
If you’d like to help Larnell and Darnetta have their dream wedding you can donate to them via PayPal by clicking the button below or contact them via Mr.MrsBrown0504@gmail.com to offer services.
Posted on: Sep 20, 2013
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