Finding the perfect tear-shaped diamond was more difficult than Dickenson thought
It has been celebrity engagement extravaganza over the past two weeks. So many stars made it official over the holidays and have been sharing snaps of their brand new sparkling rings on social meida. From Paris Hilton, who wears special gloves to show off her $2 million sparkler to Caitriona Balfe who debuted her new ring on the Golden Globes red carpet, engagement news continues to boom in 2018. And now, we have an exclusive first look at model Afiya Bennett’s gorgeous engagement ring.
Bennett, who you may remember as Naomi Campbell’s protégé on the modeling competition series, The Face, or seen in recent ads for Fenty Beauty and Levi’s, got engaged to her model/actor boyfriend Lloyd Dickenson during the holidays while on a family trip to Stone Mountain Park in Georgia.
After a year and a half of dating (they met on the set of a Nike campaign), Dickenson popped the question with a tear-shaped diamond set on a double-strand diamond band.
“When I first saw the ring in the box when Lloyd was down on one knee, my first initial reaction was – ‘OMG that ring! It’s incredible,'” Bennett tells PEOPLE exclusively. “It finally hit me that I was going to be engaged and then someday married; everything was perfect.”
To find that “incredible” ring, Dickenson spent a lot of time picking out the perfect one.
“At first, I thought it was going to be easy and I had it under control, but boy was I wrong,” Dickenson explains the ring purchasing process. “I knew she wanted a marquee style diamond but when I saw the tear drop style I knew that was the one. I visited quite a few stores looking for the perfect one, and it wasn’t until I met Catherine at Lauren B Jewelry in N.Y.C. that I found the winner. She was patient and very knowledgeable, and I could tell she had lots of experience so it made the process easier and less stressful.”
But for Dickenson, finding a ring was only half the battle — he also had to nail the delivery. “I was Mr. Cool up until 15 minutes before the proposal,” he confesses. “Then I couldn’t think straight and felt anxious. My nerves took over. Not nervous about my decision but it really set in that I was about to ask the woman of my dreams and reality for her hand in marriage.”
But all went well in the end thanks to a little liquid courage. “Having both our families there with us made it really special,” Dickenson says. “I had conversations with my dad and my mom which was soothing but then [Bennett’s] dad gave me a tequila shot and that really calmed me down. Once I got started it just flowed and before I knew it I was on my knees and the she said ‘yes'”
Bennett was tricked into thinking their families were going to a big dinner party, but when no one was getting a move on to get to the restaurant, she got frustrated, especially when her dad insisted on take a big family photo on the deck before dinner.
“Little did I know that there were never any dinner reservations, the family photo was just a way to get us all on the deck to lead Lloyd into his proposal,” she shares. “Next thing I know Lloyd is on his knees in front of all of our family. I said yes with nothing but excitement in my heart and my eyes. As fireworks started to go off after the proposal, all I could think is that things couldn’t be more perfect.”
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The couple was so excited after their engagement, that they started wedding planning the following day. “We know how much planning goes into a wedding so we figured that it’s probably a good idea to start as soon as possible,”Bennett, who is a global brand ambassador for Fiji water, says. “We are working on our wedding list and location at the moment.”
And of course, she’s already envisioning her dress design. “I think it is best to keep it classic and probably go with a designer like Vera Wang,” she shares. “I’ve been looking at different styles but we have few stylist friends on speed dial that are sure to help me through this process.”