Lucky I'm in Love with My Best Friend


Carlos Howington and Michelle McDonnell from New Windsor, NY are high school sweethearts and best friends. Their slow-and-steady love story 9 years in the making will culminate in September with a walk down a beachy aisle. Carlos—a class of 2002 NFA graduate— and Michelle —NFA Class of 2003— frequented the same social circles and were introduced by mutual friends.  They started officially dating on New Years Eve in 2002 - Carlos' senior year.

I love everything about Carlos, but mostly that we are on the same page. We just get each other. I'm not sure if it's because we've been together for so long and we have grown up together, but we have the same ideals, beliefs, and love of life. Carlos is very considerate, caring, nurturing, understanding. He definitely knows how to take care of me, and sometimes I think he knows me better than I know myself.Carlos and Michelle at a friend's wedding in 2012.

Marriage was in the bag for this couple - literally.

It was Easter Sunday morning in 2011 when Carlos surprised Michelle with a giant gift bag  "just because".

"Strange," thought Michelle - as she began to peel back layers of wrapping -  the couple had never exchanged Easter gifts before. Michelle - confused and excited tore into the package to find a gorgeous vanilla leather Michael Kors handbag.  "This is crazy! Why did you buy this?"

Carlos just stood there, nervous and speechless as Michelle jumped around with excitement and kept telling Carlos how crazy she thought he was. This reaction is sort of typical between Carlos and Michelle. Michelle is easily excited, and Carlos is pretty quiet, so Michelle didn't really think anything of it.

"Look inside," he told her.  Expecting to see the matching wallet, she reached her hand into the bag where she discovered a box. Fingering the case with excited hands she pulled it from the leather pocket.

She turned to Carlos, "What is this? What is this? Oh my God, What is this?"

Carlos was still speechless, nervous, and replied with a cool, "Well what do you think it is?"

Michelle said, "Well if it is what I think it is, you better get down on one knee and ask me!"

So he did! The ring turned out to be Michelle's grandmother's center stone reset in a white gold band with a diamond band. Carlos knew Michelle wanted the stone from her grandmothers ring, as it is a true testament of love, since her grandparents have been married for 50+ years.

I love Michelle's smile and laugh. It is contagious, she's a very happy person to be around.

The couple vacationing in Cancun in 2009

The couple will be setting off for Cancun, Mexico in September for a beach wedding - the perfect backdrop to their fun-loving personalities. The crystal blue water will provide a brightly shining reflection of their love as they exchange vows during an intimate ceremony with 35 of their closest friends and family.

"We feel like everything happens for a reason, and what's meant to be will be. Do we want to buy a house and have children and further our careers? Yes. We know all of these things will happen in time. Right now we just want to enjoy each other, our families. The rest will fall into place and we'll see where life takes us." - Carlos and Michelle