October 3, 2015 12:00 PM EDT

Adrian and Brooke Franklin’s Sept. 19 trip down the aisle of South Gastonia Church of God in North Carolina was certainly different than their first.

Seventeen years ago, the pair, both 5 at the time, walked together as the ring bearer and flower girl at a family friend’s wedding.

“I was devastated. I was like, ‘Tell me I don’t have to walk down the aisle with her!’ ” Adrian told WBTV of his memories of their first big day.

Brooke remembers feeling something quite different when she grabbed her basket of petals and young Adrian’s arm.

“I had a crush on him from the start,” Brooke Franklin said. “He absolutely could not stand me. He said ‘I got on his nerves.’ I’d tried to play with him at school and at church and he just didn’t want much to do with me at all.”

The girl’s will won out, and by high school, Adrian and Brooke were dating. Their relationship survived the tests of youth and soon enough, the pair was ready to walk down the aisle again, this time as bride and groom.

“Every time our paths would go separate ways, we’d reconnect,” Adrian said.

The couple decided to get married at the same church that brought them together, only this time, Adrian was eager to walk to down the aisle.

Photos from both visits to South Gastonia Church of God are now displayed in the Franklin’s home and the pair is excited to tell the story to their future children someday.

Contact us at letters@time.com.

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