Amanda and Jesse

How We Met

Our fairy tale begins in a martial arts studio. It was 2012, Jesse and I were both fifteen, and our lives were so very different. I was a homeschool kid and he went to traditional school. He played football and my sport of choice was fencing. It’s still unbelievable to me that we ever found each other, but the circumstances happened to be just right.

On my first day in class, I was given a white uniform, a white belt and all I could think about were my bare feet. When I first saw Jesse I thought was handsome, but I didn’t have a crush on him at first because I didn’t think I was ready for a relationship. After all, I was only fifteen and how attractive could I possibly be after long workouts in sparring gear! He was a little shy so we didn’t talk much at first, even though were both white belts. However, we soon started talking more after he discovered that I liked Harry Potter. He watched the entire series in one week so that he could text me about the events of each movie. He was my favorite person to talk to about everything and I was excited when he asked to become my very first boyfriend. He was also my very first kiss! I had no idea at that time that my first kiss with Jesse would be my last first kiss ever. 

We were martial arts sweethearts from the very beginning. We always worked together to get better at sparring and board breaking and supported each other when we had trouble with difficult techniques. Around two years after we met as white belts all of our hard work paid off and we stood side by side at a ceremony to receive our black belts together.

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I had never watched a football game before I met Jesse so he enjoyed introducing me to the game and teaching me all the rules. Just last year we went to Tallahassee to watch his favorite team play. Go Noles! I got to teach him a few lessons as well when I introduced him to the world of exotic birds. It didn’t take long for him to become as much of a bird lover as I was and in 2014 we adopted an umbrella cockatoo named Sugar who was in need of a loving home.

I feel so fortunate that we met when we did because we got to grow up together. Some of our favorite memories are of days when we did simple things such as walking through the park at sunset, kayaking in cold rivers on hot days, and laughing as we watched our favorite Disney movies.

Speaking of Disney…the rest of our story is simply magical!

 How He Asked

Jesse and I are always the tallest kids at the movies when the newest Disney film hits theaters. We love Disney, but Jesse had never actually been to Walt Disney World and I was determined to get him there. We worked extra hard to make homemade costumes this past Halloween and ended up winning first place in a costume contest. The prize money was just enough for us to enjoy one day in Disney World. Let the planning begin!

I wanted Jesse’s first Disney experience to be perfect so I got in touch with my creative side and made some themed Minnie Mouse ears for my sister and me, and a one of a kind baseball cap for Jesse. He has always loved classic Disney toons so Steamboat Willie it was!

On April 26th we made the eight hour drive to Orlando. It was the longest road trip we had ever taken together but it was also the greatest. We were all so excited to finally be in the happiest place on earth that we couldn’t wait to get started having fun. We decided to spend that evening in Disney Springs enjoying the sights and having dinner with one of our good friends at the Rainforest Cafe. The next morning we had French toast at our hotel, the Pop Century, and we were off to Hollywood Studios!

We got Jesse a “my first visit” button when we got to the park. He was so full of excitement even though I noticed he was acting a little strangely. He was so nervous. We met Mickey Mouse and rode every ride we could. I was so glad to be there with Jess showing him a whole new world that I couldn’t imagine our day could get any more special. He had other plans!

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The moment we arrived in Magic Kingdom we really felt the magic! We stared down Main Street at Cinderella’s castle and Jesse said it was larger than he thought it would be.We were all smiles as we stood to take our first picture together in front of the castle. I had no idea that my life was about to change. My sister was ready to take a second picture of us but I noticed that Jesse was not looking at the camera. He was looking up toward the top of the castle instead. I looked up too and asked “are you taking it all in?” He immediately looked into my eyes with a smile and said “yes, I’m taking it all in.” That’s when he dropped to one knee.

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At first I didn’t believe what was happening but his eyes were so bright and he was smiling so big. When he opened the ring box I burst into tears. The beautiful ring, the love in his eyes, the sound of his voice when he asked me to marry him, the applause from the crowd. It was the most magical moment of my life. Just after I said yes, the castle show began with a song about celebrating dreams coming true.

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The rest of the day was like a dream and we felt like Disney royalty. We were escorted by cast members to meet the princesses. They were surprised and so happy for us! We watched the fireworks over the castle to end our day.

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I went to Disney with a boyfriend and left with a fiancé. Whatever our future holds, it will be as bright as a wishing star as long he’s by my side. Our adventure is out there! And as Walt Disney himself said, “Dreams are forever.”

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