Astrid and AJ
How We Met
A.J. and I met in February 2013 when we both worked at Ruby Tuesday. I wouldn’t say it was “love” at first sight, simply because love is more than attraction, but I definitely thought A.J. was the most attractive guy – EVER. But of course, so did every other girl at that restaurant and I thought – why in a million years would this super cute guy who could pretty much get ANY girl that he wanted, want to date me? I even made my sister come to Ruby Tuesday one time when she was visiting from Miami just so she could see the “hot guy I work with”! A.J. and I didn’t get to talk much at work because he only worked weekends – not to mention that I got super nervous around him. Whenever I liked a guy, I would always look not just at the way that they would treat me, but the way they treated others. I just thought that showed so much more of who they truly were.
Even though I didn’t want to admit it, the more I saw who AJ truly was, the more my attraction for him started turning into real feelings. Little by little, I started noticing that AJ had one of the most beautiful souls I’d ever met. He was so kind, selfless, hard working, genuine, positive, and most of all: he had a huge heart for helping people. He was definitely different from everyone and every guy I had met. When January 2014 came around, we started talking more outside of work through Facebook (thanks, Mark Zuckerberg). One night, AJ took the plunge and told me how he felt in a Facebook message. I could barely breathe after I read the words, “… that’s why I get so nervous around you”. At that point my heart felt like it was going to explode and I was in disbelief that this was all really happening! That night AJ told me he thought that I would never be interested in him and because of that, he asked God a few months back to send him a woman just like me – by far the best compliment I’ve ever gotten. We went on our first date the following night, and it was perfect. I had never felt such a strong connection with anyone else before.
That night, he looked me in the eyes and told me he didn’t want to just date me – he wanted to intentionally date me because he thought I was the kind of woman he wanted to marry. I couldn’t sleep at all for the next couple of days and my excitement gave me more of a rush than 10 of my favorite lattes ever could!!For the longest time, I thought that I was being way too picky when it came to dating and that my standards were unrealistically high. I never thought I would be able to find someone with it all – attractive, loves Jesus, bold, loving, fun, smart, and selfless as AJ is. But man, am I glad I waited. He is what I was looking for and way more. It’s been more than 2 years since we’ve been together, and I’m still in awe that this is OUR story, that HE is mine, and that I truly fall more in love with him each week that goes by!
How He Asked
April was a CRAZY month for me. Since I was so busy, I told AJ on a Monday that we should have a date that upcoming Sunday where we could just disconnect and spend some quality time together. I missed him so much and I wanted a whole day just with my favorite person! We ended up going to the St. Louis Zoo, and then roaming the city. However, later that week, AJ said that he wanted to take me on a surprise date that night after we got back from zoo. I absolutely love surprises and AJ often planned these for me, so I didn’t think anything of it. Little did I know, it would be his biggest surprise yet. Since it was MY idea that we have a date on Sunday, I didn’t even think twice about it. When we were headed back from the zoo on Sunday, I noticed AJ was looking at his phone constantly. This was unusual of him, so when I asked him if everything was okay, he played it off cool talking about how it was just his brother texting him. I totally fell for it. Next thing I know, we pull up to AJ’s parents’ property. After hanging out there for a while, AJ turned to me and said, “Are you ready to go on our date?!”
Then, we get on the ranger and I immediately knew that we were headed to the sand bar – a spot on their property that I had ALWAYS wanted a date on! On our way there, a bug flew into my eye and it started stinging. Yes, you read that right. I’m freaking out and I start yelling, “Stop the ranger! IT BURNS! My eye BURNS!” AJ was nervous because he thought I was going to make him turn around, which I was. After lots of tears flooded down my face, thankfully the bug was out and we were en route to our “date”. When we got there, I was completely SPEECHLESS. My heart started racing super fast, and after I laid my things down on the cute black table. I turned around, looked up, there he was – on (two) knees, teary-eyed, giving me the biggest heart eyes in the world.
At this point, my heart felt like it was going to EXPLODE, and I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening. We both lost it at that point. I have never been SO beautifully overwhelmed with emotions as I did in that moment when the man of my dreams was asking ME to spend the rest of my life by his side! We were so wrapped up in the moment that it took us a couple of minutes to realize he hadn’t even asked me to marry him yet! AJ officially proposed, and I said the best yes of my life!Not even in my wildest dreams could I have dreamt of such a thoughtful, perfect proposal filled with so many details.
I simply remember that night and never, ever wanting to leave that moment with the love of my life and the beautiful set up he spent hours on just for me. He remembered my love of Christmas trees, and cut a bunch of them to make my own Christmas tree farm! He remembered my obsession with Christmas lights, and lit up the middle of the woods with them. He remembered how much I love photography, and hired the amazing Wright Photographs duo. He remembered how I always wanted a date in this spot because, as a Miami girl, I’m impressed by the beauty of the woods. He even remembered that I told him I have always wanted a date with fire and blankets on the beach.
When I lived in Miami, this was not possible because of all the crazy permits you have to get from the fire department! Most of all, he remembered how much I love surprises. He did everything in his power to make sure I was completely clueless, and he somehow managed to keep a straight face through it all. Even though I was sweaty from spending the day at the zoo, nails not even close to being done, barely any makeup on, and got attacked by a bug on the way there; this was by far the best surprise and date AJ’s ever pulled off!
After we had a fun photo session with our photographers, AJ and I stayed out there until nighttime soaking in the moment. I was so incredibly happy and excited that my cheeks hurt by the end of the night from smiling so much. We were both in awe that we were not only getting MARRIED, but that we were each marrying our dream person! Our hearts were overwhelmed with thankfulness to God for bringing us together, for teaching us how to continuously love each other so fiercely and selflessly, and for all the beautiful adventures that were to come. Love is truly the best gift we’ve ever been given, and here’s to a whole lifetime of it!