Wolfpack fans are sure to recognize today’s QC groom: J.R. Sweezy. The Mooresville native dominated the defensive line while playing football for N.C. State, and is now a starting offensive guard for the Seattle Seahawks.
A record-breaking 2014 Super Bowl victory might be his professional highlight, but this hometown hero isn’t afraid to show a softer side. J.R. and wife Gissell Suarez shared a peek into their Carolina nuptials in February.
Bride & Groom:
Gissell Suarez & J.R. Sweezy
“We’ve known each other for 15 years,” says Gissell. “We met in middle school. We dated briefly in high school and went to prom together. He went to State and I went to Peace College in Raleigh, which is 5 minutes. We would always run into each other, but after 5 years we reconnected back in Mooresville.”
After the 2014 Super Bowl win, the pair went to Maui to celebrate. Three days into the trip, J.R. suggested they go watch the sunrise at Mt. Haleakala. “I looked at him like he was crazy because we needed to wake up at 3 a.m. to drive 2 hours to the mountain…” says Gissell.
“So we went and it was freezing cold, and we waited 30 minutes for the sunrise. As the sun came up he asked the couple beside us to take a picture (J.R. hates pictures), so I started to get nervous. They took the picture and he looked at picture and said can you take one more? That’s when he got down on one knee and proposed. It was so sweet.”
Gissell wanted to celebrate her Colombian heritage, and J.R. wanted to incorporate his Southern roots. The couple chose The Arbors Events in Cleveland, NC, to combine a rustic venue with elegant, romantic décor.
The First Dance:
“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran. “The first time we heard this song we knew it was the one,” says Gissell.
This Magic Moment:
For J.R.? Watching his bride walk down the aisle. She “took his breath away,” and he had to hold back the tears.
Joke’s on Him:
“J.R. likes to play around a lot,” says the bride, “so I knew I was in trouble. He fed me a piece of cake and he didn’t do anything, so I knew it was my chance to get back at him for all the other times he has done something. So I smashed it in his face—and he came back and smashed a huge piece of cake in my face.”
“Life hasn’t really changed—just my last name!” says Gissell. “We love being around each other. We are currently in Pensacola, FL, where J.R. trains during the offseason. It’s just nice to spend time with my husband since football season is so busy.”
Photos by Brian Treffeisen Photography