Tradition was never her thing. Why start a wedding?

Like so many couples before them, Constance Kelly Daniels and Emir Muhovic met at a bar. But they took very different routes to get there.

Woman. Daniels, who calls himself Kelly, was born and raised in Panama City, Florida.

Mister. Muhovic fled his home in war-torn Bosnia in 1992, aged just 15. After spending some time in Germany, he emigrated to the United States in 2001.

Cut to that fateful night in August 2011 at a bar in Atlanta. Woman. Daniels, now 38, thought Mr. Muhovic, 45, was handsome, so she approached him. “I told her straight out: ‘I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but I have a girlfriend,'” Mr Muhović said.

“When he said that, I just said ‘whatever’ and tried to be cute on the dance floor,” Ms. Daniels said, laughing.

The encounter left an impression on both of them. When they met again later that year, Mr. Muhovic shared that he was now single.

“He remembered me,” Ms. Daniels said. “He asked for my number and I said no this time.” Lord. Muhovic wrote to Ms. directly. Daniels on Facebook a few days later and they started connecting.

On May 4, 2011, they had their first date at a now-closed restaurant called Carpe Diem in Decatur, Georgia. They sat for hours sharing morsels and stories about their lives. They met on a second date a few days later and on a third date the day after. Since then, they have not been apart for more than a few days.

And yet they were hesitant to name their first-year relationship: It wasn’t until they and friends attended a party at Lake Lanier, outside of Atlanta, that things changed when Ms. Daniels heard a rumor circulate.

“My boyfriend came up to me and said, ‘Emir tells everyone how much he loves you.’ So I ran over and yelled ‘I love you’ at him,” Ms. Daniels said. “And the rest is history.”

Woman. Daniels holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. She moved to Atlanta in 2010 for a position at Cooper Carry, an architectural firm with offices in Atlanta. She is now a full-time artist and furniture maker under her own brand, Cosmic Creative.

Mister. Muhovic graduated from Binghamton University in New York with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. He moved to Atlanta in 2004 and has spent his career in healthcare technology working for various start-up companies.

Inspired by Mr. Muhovic’s story as a refugee, Ms. Daniels decided to volunteer as a citizenship teacher for the International Rescue Committee. She is also the author of a textbook on citizen preparation.

“As I was fortunate to be born in Panama City and a country that wasn’t devastated by war, I didn’t know anything about the history of Bosnia,” she said. That changed when she saw Mr. Muhovic. “There is a turning point when you understand that refugees are families like ours,” she said. “It broke my heart. When you know better, it’s hard not to do better.”

She also founded Citizenship Giveback, a charity which supports the IRC’s mission to “help refugees, asylum seekers, victims of human trafficking, torture survivors and other immigrants to thrive in America after fleeing their homes to escape war, religious and political persecution or natural disasters”. it on their website.

Woman. Daniels first traveled with Mr. Muhovic in 2019. “He had never taken a girl home before,” she said. Before her return in 2022, Ms. Daniels took Bosnian lessons via Zoom from a woman in Sarajevo.

“Being able to speak Bosnian with his extended family, sitting at the table in the courtyard of his grandmother’s house where his mother was literally born felt like a big milestone for our relationship,” she said.

Mister. Muhovic was equally determined to support Ms. Daniel’s family: Her father, Dan Daniels, likes cars and Mr. Muhovic was determined to impress him by driving Ms. Daniels’ 1999 Toyota 4Runner. He took the engine out on seven separate occasions before eventually enrolling at the University of the People on YouTube to learn about cars. Eventually he repaired the vehicle and they were able to sell the car for $7,000 with over 330,000 miles on it. “My dad is still beyond impressed,” Ms. Daniels said.

The couple discussed a wedding for a long time.

“I never really wanted a wedding,” Ms. Daniels said. “I thought it would be so romantic to just get married in a courthouse, just the two of us. That was always my plan.”

Earlier this year, the couple drove through the mountains and began having an “active, thoughtful conversation about our future.” said Daniels.

In recent years, the couple had started a tradition of traveling to Art Basel in Miami Beach, Florida. As they chatted on their drive, Ms. Daniels and Mr. Muhovic said they’ve put together their ideal wedding.

In November, they reached out to James Earl Pierce, a Los Angeles graffiti artist known as Jimmy Paintz, on Instagram.

Some of Mr. Pierce’s art was born of loss. “I was experimenting with drawing smiley faces at the time, and my mom wanted me to go to the Philippines with her,” said Mr. Pierce. When she died on the flight when they landed in Hong Kong, he found himself stranded in the city, desperate with grief. So he jumped into action, and this week thousands of graffiti smiley faces popped up across Hong Kong.

“It was my way of hiding my sadness,” he said. “But I realized that when people noticed my art, it helped a lot of other people.”

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Upon returning from Hong Kong, Mr. Pierce began painting his smileys all over Los Angeles. He named the project Seeds of Happiness to reflect his hope of spreading positive bubbles through art.

Woman. Daniels found Seeds of Happiness on Instagram. Mister. Pierce’s art and shared Filipino roots (Ms. Daniels’ mother, Cindy Daniels, is from the Philippines) resonated with her immediately.

When she was about to exhibit Mr. Pierce at Art Basel, the couple reached out and asked Mr. Pierce a question he had never encountered before.

“Will you marry us at Art Basel?”

On Saturday 3/12 at exactly 3:33 p.m., he did just that.

In front of 30 or 40 passers-by, Mr. Pierce, who had been ordained days earlier by American Life Ministries, officiated the marriage of Ms. Daniels and Mr. Muhovic before his Seeds of Happiness on the SCOPE Art Show.

No family or friends were present – that’s how it was with Ms. Daniels and Mr. Muhovic wanted it.

“Most weddings are about friends and family — it really should be about the bride and groom,” she said. “That was perfect for us.”

“There is nothing traditional with us,” said Mr. Muhović. “It suited us very well.”

The couple got ready together at their South Beach Airbnb; Woman. Daniels did her own hair and makeup and wore a nude dress she rented for the occasion along with a see-through beach cover-up. They put on their engagement rings for the first time, drank champagne, nibbled cheese boards and threw a ball for their dog Cosmo.

They arrived at SCOPE just before 3:33pm – and the excitement began to build as viewers began to realize that something special was happening.

“All eyes were on us but I honestly couldn’t hear anything outside of our location,” Mr Muhović said. “It almost felt like an isolated, soundproof area. I was so hyper focused on Kelly. It was such a surreal feeling that even in a large group of people it just felt like me and them for that moment.

“I love the sense of humor, the laughter and your caring manner of my boo,” said Mr. Muhovic reading from his vows. “I promise to love you and to take care of you in good times and bad.”

“I really can’t believe that this life is mine, that I’ve found a partner who’s as kind, dependable, hilarious and protective yet gentle as you are – and handsome as hell,” Ms. Daniels said. “In these almost 12 years you have strengthened me, believed in me and treated me as an equal. I am convinced that there is no better person on earth than you.”

Then Mr. Paintz said, “By authority conferred upon me by a website on the Internet, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride now.” Mr. Muhovic obliges.

When December 3

Where Seeds of Happiness Exhibition, SCOPE Art Show, Art Basel Miami Beach, Florida.

lucky numbers Mister. Muhovic chose 3:33 p.m. as the time of the wedding because he thought three was a lucky number.

Post Bridal Party Woman. Daniels said no friends or family knew about the wedding until a few days before. The couple’s parents were delighted. Two of her closest friends, her unofficial maid of honor, Mary Chamberlain Iocovozzi, and her best man, Vince Velazquez, arrived the next day to celebrate with the couple.

Immortalized on the blockchain The couple “imprinted” their wedding vows, marriage certificate, and key photos from the occasion as non-fungible tokens on the Flow blockchain, along with Mr. Pierce’s work.

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