Aryn and Austin

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How We Met

Austin and I met the summer before we started freshman year of college at Stetson University. In the midst of panic of not finding friends, I looked on all of the facebook groups where eager students just like me were looking to make friends before move-in day. Austin and I started messaging over a mutual interest in Jack Johnson’s music, and it quickly escalated to a long-distance friendship. At that time, I was living up in New Jersey, and he was living in Pensacola, Florida.

We started talking in April, 2013, and by June we decided we couldn’t wait until starting school to meet in person. My family was in the middle of a move to Florida, and during a weekend there, Austin and I took a leap of faith and each drove over 3 hours to spend the day together in Tallahassee. It was a truly magical day, spent walking in the park, going on our first sushi date together, and watching Austin hesitantly try frozen yogurt for the first time. (See our first date selfie below!)

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In July, Austin flew up to see my family and me. He fit in perfectly with my family. I was hooked, and even at that time I knew that this love would last a lifetime. On his final night in New Jersey, Austin gave me a necklace with a Jewish star and an engraving saying “L’Chaim” (meaning “To Life” in Hebrew). He had acquired it as a kid and held on to it for years, saying he was never quite sure why until he met me. I wore that necklace until he proposed.

We moved in together in the middle of freshmen year of college, and everyone told us we were crazy and would never last. We proved them all wrong, and our relationship not only survived but thrived. We gradually expanded our family and welcomed 4 rescue pets, 3 kitties an 10 year old Boxer dog named Reilly, who became our world. The rest is history!

How He Asked

All of my childhood summers were spent playing on the beach in Margate, New Jersey. It truly is my favorite place, and special to us because that is where Austin first came to visit and meet my family. This June, Austin randomly asked if we could go on a roadtrip up to visit my sister, Karen, in Philadelphia. He was adamant about bringing Reilly, which was unusual considering there wasn’t much adventuring that we could do with a 10 year old dog. I was super excited to bring him with!

The weekend before we left, my sister and mom randomly called and asked if we could go get manicures. I was instantly suspicious, as I told Austin pretty soon after we started dating that I had to have my nails done when he popped the question, but they hid the secret well. My sister, Heather, told me Austin hadn’t said anything to her about a supposed proposal, and said she’d be devastated and hurt if he didn’t ask her and get her input beforehand. I decided there was no way he would do that to her, and believed her. (As you can guess, my entire family was in on it, and YES, he asked my parents and siblings before anything). On top of that, Austin told me a million times that he wasn’t ready to propose yet. He said he was waiting for the right time and place, and this “just wasn’t it for now”. I believed him and knew he’d ask when the moment was right.

While packing, Austin told me that he had a surprise and to pack some nice clothes. I pestered him and drove him nuts until he finally caved and told me that he got a photographer for a family photo shoot. I had been asking him for professional photos for months, and he finally had listened. Then he told me he got the photographer to come to Margate, and I instantly started crying. I was beyond excited to take our dog to my favorite place, and make some memories there with my little family.

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The day finally came, and while we were getting dressed and ready, Austin pulled out a brand new bow tie and put it on Reilly. We met the photographer and hit up all of my favorite spots. I was totally unsuspecting of a proposal at that point and completely in the moment.

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Halfway through the photo shoot, Austin asked the photographer if we could head out to the point. This is a beautiful spot where the bay meets the ocean. The waves were crazy, the rocks were slippery, but the view was beautiful. The photographer, Khoa, asked me to strike a pose, and told Austin to stand in back of me and stare at me longingly. His exact words were, “Austin, look at her and make a face like, dang that girl is awesome!” We did just that, and when I felt a tap on my shoulder I turned around and Austin was on his knee.

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I was completely speechless, but there was no hesitation and I immediately said yes to marrying my best friend.

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The photographer captured that moment, and I am so grateful to have those pictures forever.

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