In 2016, when she moved back home after graduation, he stayed there too until he found a room in a house nearby a couple of months later.
“My family loved, loved him,” she said.
By the end of 2017 he bought a fixer-upper house, doing most of the renovations himself. She moved in that spring. He cheered her on as she competed in bikini bodybuilding competitions, and by 2019 she received an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness professional card.
In August 2021, they moved to a townhouse in Smyrna, Ga., and rented out the other house.
On Dec. 15, 2021, their anniversary, he took her to dinner at Marcel steakhouse in Atlanta, and afterward led her to a rooftop area where he got down on one knee as family and friends stood by to celebrate.
That April they learned she was pregnant, and a few months later they traveled to the Dominican Republic to plan their destination wedding.
“It wasn’t the most traditional route,” he said, with a laugh.
On May 30, Judge Donald Hicks officiated at their legal ceremony at Cobb County Magistrate Court in a Marietta, Ga., and after last-minute passport issues at the airport, they arrived a day late, but a day before their ceremony in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
“I love the way that he handles things,” said Ms. Marcelin, who is taking the groom’s name. “He’s very loving, calm and very kind.”