Bride of the Week: Dawnyale Foster Hill

Dawnyale Foster Hill said "I Do" to her best friend in a seaside ceremony, dressed in a strapless chiffon J. Crew gown.
Photo by Neil Thurston

It is hard to beat the first impression Dawnyale Foster made on her future husband. That’s because Dawnyale met Frederick Hill some thirty years ago on the opening day of kindergarten in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Fred says now that he knew Dawnyale was The One even back then.

It took three decades of friendship for this bride-to-be to come to the same realization. “He attempted a few times to date me over the years but I always shied away from it and said ‘But you are such a good friend,’” recalls Dawnyale, laughing. The couple remained pals throughout school, including college, and kept in touch over the years as they moved out of state to build their careers.

Fred arranged an unforgettable proposal that rated an A+ in the romance department. Last September, he asked Dawnyale for her hand in marriage at the very place where they first met—in their old kindergarten classroom.

When Dawnyale moved to Florida to work as a speech pathologist and professional NFL cheerleader for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Fred continued to be a part of her life by staying friends with her sister who lived near him in Atlanta. “I had him at arm’s length for a long time,” adds Dawnyale.

But in 2010 when Dawnyale moved back to their hometown, she felt her feelings shift toward her old school chum. “Once I moved out of the NFL world and back to Fayetteville, I reevaluated a lot of things in my life, including Fred.” This time around, she made a move, calling Fred in Atlanta to tell him that, at long last, she’d been thinking about him, too. “I did say, ‘Let’s work on our friendship first and see where that goes.’ Well, that lasted all of two weeks!”

After a whirlwind long-distance courtship that included lots of time with both of their families who still live in Fayetteville, Fred arranged an unforgettable proposal that rated an A+ in the romance department. Last September, he asked Dawnyale for her hand in marriage at the very place where they first met—in their old kindergarten classroom (it helped that his dad was the former principal at the school).

On Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012, Dawnyale married her childhood friend at the Sanderling Resort and Spa in the picturesque Outer Banks of North Carolina, a 200-mile swathe of barrier islands in their home state. There, dressed in one of the two J.Crew gowns the bride wore that day, the former NFL cheerleader married the man who knew her just about as long as anyone in her life on the beach with 34 members of their family present.

In fact, both close-knit families had rented vacation houses on the property in preparation of the wedding. “We always wanted to do a destination wedding but with our grandparents at an age where they don’t travel so well, we instantly knew we wanted to stay close to home.” Naturally.

--Erinn Bucklan

 
 
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