In 2013, Macklemore, known for hits “Can’t Hold Us,” “Thrift Shop,” and “Downtown,” performed at Pier 36 in Manhattan, New York, for a YouTube promotional event. Two of the rapper’s biggest superfans — Carey, originally from Montgomery, N.J., and Ammar, from Mclean, Va. — applied to dance onstage through a Facebook post. And, as fate would have it, both made the cut and met outside the venue while corralled in a holding area.
Ammar, who had thrown himself a Macklemore-themed 29th birthday party just a few weeks before the concert, dressed for the occasion. “My roommates and I saw this guy in this cheetah onesie and I just remember thinking that guy is totally crazy and I think I’m a little bit afraid of him,” Carey said of her first impression of Ammar.
However, because of his jumpsuit, Ammar and his roommate were approached by producers to get a prime spot onstage. Since Carey and her friends, all physical therapy students at Columbia University, just wore “normal” clothes, the groups were separated.
While Ammar thought that was going to be the last time he’d see Carey and her friends, Cupid intervened. As Carey was walking toward the subway station, she heard someone call out, “Yo PTs!” — as in “physical therapists” — and “we turned around and lo and behold: Cheetah Onesie Guy,” she recalled.
The group went to the bar Schiller’s together, and as they were wrapping up, Ammar realized he wanted to stay in touch with his new friends — Carey in particular. “I didn’t want to make it awkward, there were five of us, and I just said, ‘Hey, you guys seem pretty awesome, and I don’t want to make this weird but can I get one of your numbers?’” he explained. “And at that point, her roommate actually pulled out her phone and gave me her number.”
But that exchange didn’t deter Carey from reaching out to Ammar over Facebook shortly thereafter, writing that she was out with a few of her friends and he and his roommate should come hang out.
“I showed up and she was talking to some other guy!” Ammar remembered.
Once Carey was done with that conversation she turned to Ammar, and from there they hit it off.
Ammar, who was moving to Washington, D.C., for a few months, asked Carey to accompany him on a road trip for their first date. “And I said absolutely not because why would any sane person go on a road trip with a guy they just met?!” she said of her response. But then she had a change of heart. “My mom made me send pictures of his license plate and made me text her like every hour to make sure I was OK,” she said.
And that she was. “I don’t know what I was thinking, but it was kind of love from there on,” Carey explained. Two years later, Ammar took Carey back to the bar Schiller’s and proposed. “She said yes — thankfully,” Ammar joked.
For their wedding, Macklemore, who brought the couple together, played a major part. Carey walked down the aisle to a piano version of “Same Love.” For their first dance, they had to “really step it up a notch” so they choreographed a dance-off to, fittingly enough, Macklemore’s “Dance Off.”
“It was kind of cool bringing Macklemore back to our wedding, kind of full circle,” Carey said. “Meeting Ammar dancing onstage and then starting this new chapter of our life together again dancing to Macklemore in front of all of our favorite people.”
But if it wasn’t for Macklemore, Ammar believes their paths would’ve crossed anyway. “I just think the universe had it out for us to meet each other.”
And for the couple to meet Macklemore too. While visiting D.C. recently for an event, the musician, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, walked into the restaurant Bus Boys & Poets, where Carey, who’s pregnant with her first child, and Ammar were eating. “It was completely surreal but at the same time, we had so much to thank him for. So we walked up to him and thanked him for his music and for helping guide us to find each other,” Ammar said.
“Ben was incredible, he was completely engaged, and chatted with us for about 15 minutes. He asked to see our first dance wedding video and was more than happy to take photos with us,” he added. “It was really a dream encounter with someone who has had such an impact on our relationship.”