Two days after Allie Mendez Mitchell and Kyle Joseph Carlock went on their first date, Mr. Carlock received a call from one of his best friends growing up: “I heard you went on a date with Allie,” he said. The friend’s mother was a close friend of Ms. Mitchell’s mother. Baton Rouge, La., where the majority of both couple’s families live, may be a city, Mr. Carlock explained, but it operates like a small town.
Ms. Mitchell and Mr. Carlock matched on the dating app Bumble on Aug. 2, 2021. On their first date, at DiGiulio Brothers Italian Cafe one week later, they discovered that although they had never met in person before, they certainly were not strangers.
“There were multiple times growing up that we were at the same house or the same function, and we just never knew each other,” Ms. Mitchell said. “When our parents finally met, our moms were like, ‘I’ve seen you before.’”
As soon as Ms. Mitchell got back in her car, she called her mother, Jackie Mendez Mitchell, and sister, Anna Mitchell Jordan, to share her excitement (and the commonalities). “I never do that — I didn’t even put the car in reverse,” Ms. Mitchell said. There was something else she didn’t normally do that she had done that week: book dates two nights in a row with two different men.
But after her evening with Mr. Carlock, “I told the other guy the next morning I couldn’t make it and good luck.”
Three weeks and six dates later, “out of nowhere, he said, ‘Will you be my girlfriend?’” Ms. Mitchell recalled. “That was the first time anyone has ever asked me that.”
“I just had that wave of emotion that went through me,” Mr. Carlock said. “I like this girl and I want her to be mine.”
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A month later, at a football game at Louisiana State University, Mr. Carlock became the first romantic interest to whom she said “I love you.” “I had dated but never had that feeling,” Ms. Mitchell said. “I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to.”
Ms. Mitchell, 29, teaches math at St. Joseph’s Academy in Baton Rouge. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sports administration and a master’s in curriculum and instruction, specializing in mathematics education, both from L.S.U.
Mr. Carlock, 28, holds a bachelor’s from L.S.U. in turf and landscape management and is now a horticulturist at the university. Both he and Ms. Mitchell are from Baton Rouge, where they currently live.
The two are big L.S.U. football fans. So Mr. Carlock arranged for Ms. Mitchell’s sister and her brother-in-law to take a tour of Tiger Stadium on July 13, 2022. “When we got to the top of the stadium, he somehow got us alone for a second,” Ms. Mitchell said. “When I turned around, he was on his knee telling me how much he loved me and asking me the best question he has ever asked me.”
Ms. Mitchell’s maternal grandparents, Francisco Mendez and Reina Mendez, originally from Cuba, came to the United States in 1962. They lost everything, including Ms. Mendez’s wedding ring. Mr. Mendez replaced it with a simple band and later with a diamond ring. Mr. Carlock proposed with that ring.
“Wearing it makes me feel like I always have them with me no matter what,” Ms. Mitchell said. “Kyle unfortunately was never able to meet them. It makes me feel like they are still connected.”
The two were wed before 99 guests on April 15 at Casa Marina Resort in Key West, Fla., by the bride’s paternal uncle, Wade Wallace, the pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Henning, Tenn. “Key West is 90 miles from Cuba,” Ms. Mitchell said. “I immediately fell in love with the idea of getting married in a beautiful place where my grandparents can be represented.”
Guests were served a traditional Cuban meal, including roasted pig, white rice, sweet plantains and Cuba libre cocktails with miniature Cuban flags.
“My heart felt like it was coming out of my chest,” Mr. Carlock said. “I told my mom ‘I’m done’ and I just started crying.”
Ms. Mitchell added, “Later he told me, ‘I have never felt this much emotion in one day.’ I said, ‘Welcome to being a girl.’”
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