Swiping left or right has become a way of life for some singles, a way to fill their calendars with a stream of dates that provide endless fodder for post-mortems for their groups of friends. And while Stephanie Clark might never have considered her swiping habit to be anything more than an entertaining way to while the hours after a long shift at work, when the assistant nurse manager at Nashville General Hospital’s Emergency Department finally swiped right instead of left, she met the Prince Charming she never knew she’d always wanted. Lucky for Damon Prince, he turned out to be that very prince, and after one week of messaging through the very dating app that had matched them up, the pair started talking on the phone. Two weeks later, they met for their first date at Blackhorse Pub and Brewery. But their first moments face-to-face were certainly not without their fair share of heart-pounding excitement…at least, in Damon’s case. For as he leaned up against the brick façade of the restaurant to wait for his date to make her appearance, he looked away long enough for her to approach without his notice…and it proved to have a startling effect. “He wasn’t looking, so I walked up and just said, ‘Hey,’” Stephanie recalls with a laugh. “You would have thought I attacked him, he jumped so high!” Two months into dating, Stephanie knew that she had found The One. But rather than pronouncing her feelings to Damon, she waited him out, and that patience paid off on Veteran’s Day 2015 when he danced with her outside and told her as the song he had playing from their phone ended that he loved her. The kiss he immediately planted on her stalled her reply, but it quickly came just as he would have hoped, and she finally could say the words she had been holding in for several weeks.
One year later to the day, Damon took Stephanie to lunch at the very place where they’d had their first date. And while her usually vivacious and talkative boyfriend sat quietly through lunch, Stephanie could only wonder at what had him acting so out of character. A walk around downtown still didn’t shake it out of him, but when they came back to the brick façade where they’d first laid eyes on one another, Damon broke out of his shell to ask several passersby to take their picture with his phone. With the camera rolling on video mode, he took her hands in his and began a speech declaring his love and desire for her to marry him. “Of course, I said yes! People were yelling and honking their car horns as they passed by. If it weren’t for the fact that it was all being recorded on video, I wouldn’t even remember the actual proposal, it was all such a blur of excitement!” says Stephanie. In keeping with their tradition of taking big steps on Veteran’s Day, it was on November 11, 2017 that Stephanie took big steps toward her future when she wore a gorgeous Maggie Sottero ball gown with plunging deep V-neckline ornamented with Swarovski crystals and embroidered lace and an embellished illusion back with delicate jeweled spaghetti straps. Sparkling like a jewel, she met Damon at the altar on the charming and majestic farmlands at Gunn Farm while Blane Howard’s, “I promise to love her” played softly. Having been proclaimed man and wife, Damon happily whooped out an enthusiastic, “Heck, yeah!” and kissed his new missus, patting her on the behind before releasing her. “He just had to find some way to embarrass me!,” Stephanie said laughingly. Later joining their friends and family at the farm’s newly built Ruby Cora reception space, Mr. and Mrs. Prince dined on a catered feast of good old Southern barbecue classics and danced their first dance as John Michael Montgomery crooned the words of “I Can Love You Like That.” Feeling like the Cinderella in the song who had finally been rescued by her Prince Charming, Stephanie’s new name proved to be quite fitting as she danced in the arms of her beloved and her loved ones looked on. After the eating and the dancing, the newly joined Princes shared quick bites of a three-tiered vanilla wedding cake topped with real raw Southern cotton—a touch incorporated throughout the venue for their day in honor of the cotton farm in Georgia where Stephanie had spent so much time with her grandparents as a child. “I used to love visiting them at the farm, and driving down the dirt roads next to the cotton fields was just beautiful! I thought that using it in the wedding would be a sweet way to remember that time.” Finishing off their sweet day, the couple made their escape and headed off two days later for a long honeymoon in Florida. Now back at the home they share in Pleasant View, the Princes have Happily Ever After well within in their sights.