Andrea and Aaron

How We Met

Although Aaron and I first met in high school, it was quite a few years later before we started dating. I was a cheerleader and Aaron was part of the JROTC so we spent many a Friday nights together out on the football field. He claims to have had a crush on me back then, but could never get up the courage to tell me. We shared an occasional conversation here and there as the years passed, but as graduation came and went, our lives lead us down different paths. Aaron went to college on a military scholarship and then on to basic training for the Navy, all while I was working on my bachelor’s degree. Aaron eventually made his way to the same university I was attending, and it just so happened we bumped into each other one day and had a great time catching up.

Andrea's Proposal in Clearwater Beach, FL

But yet again, he said he still couldn’t build up the courage to ask me out! I graduated a couple years before him, so while he was finishing up his degree, I took a position working in the Tampa area. Once he had graduated, he ended up accepting a position in Houston, TX. His new job was sending him to Europe to do some training so he took to Facebook to get some advice on things to do and places to stay while he was out there. Having done a study abroad program during my time in college, I was eager to help out! I think I did everything short of plan some of his vacation days for him.

Andrea and Aaron's Engagement in Clearwater Beach, FL

From that day on, we never stopped talking! We reminisced about our high school days, and how ironic it was that we didn’t run into each other more in college. He talked to me the entire time he was in Europe, and even cut his trip short to fly to Florida and take me on a date. I joke with him constantly saying if he had just had the courage to ask me out in high school, I could avoided some pretty terrible dates. In reality, I’m so grateful for all the previous heartaches I endured and the time I spent waiting for Aaron, because it’s the reason our relationship is so perfect.

How He Asked

For our very first date, Aaron took me out to Clear-water Beach where had a delicious seafood dinner and shared our first kiss as we walked along the pier. We talked about the difficulty of a long distance relationship, but we were crazy about each other. We knew we had to try. Fast forward a little over a year later, and here I was moving my life to Texas to be with him. Of course, after that I really started probing him for some bling. Little did I know, he had been working on our engagement for months already! It was my mom’s 50th birthday in early February, so I made a trip to Florida a couple weeks prior to celebrate with her convincing her I would be unable to make it for the actual date. I so had her fooled, or at least I thought I had her fooled. Aaron and I already had tickets to fly down to Florida for her birthday weekend, so I couldn’t contain my excitement once that weekend finally arrived. My brother picked us up from the airport, and drove us down to Clear-water Beach where (I thought) we were surprising my mom and dad on their date night.

My dad had texted me letting me know to walk a little ways down the pier where he was keeping her distracted by some local shopping vendors. It took everything in me not to run down the pier because I am an absolute sucker for surprises and I thought I was pulling off the surprise of the century. As I approached my parents, my mother turns around with her phone in her hand and a HUGE grin on her face. Honestly, I was confused. I think I actually yelled, “what are you doing” to her! Next thing I know, Aaron turns me around and leads me to a beautiful table decorated with photos of us and adorable trinkets collected throughout our relationship. I know for sure at that point I screamed “are you serious?!”, then immediately started crying.

Thank God Aaron wrote down what he said because I was just relishing in a state of euphoria until he dropped to his knee and pulled out the most beautiful ring I have ever seen. I felt like I just couldn’t say yes enough! A group of people had gathered around us at this point so there was clapping and cheering.

It was like a movie, a movie where I got my happily ever after. It is hands down the best day of my life so far, and it makes me so excited to have more of the “best days of my life” with Aaron.

Special Thanks

Christian Shackton
Photographer