Jessica and Derek
How We Met
Instead of ‘love at first sight’, I think a more accurate term would be ‘admiration at first sight’. I met Derek when I was 15 in my grade 12 year of high school. From a distance I knew him, and needless to say I thought he was awesome. He soon became my brother’s best friend, and so I got a chance to hang out with him more. Even to the point where he came to my graduation banquet as my brother’s friend oddly enough [we both still aren’t sure to this day why he was there].
Over the next few years we remained friends, but Derek went to do school at VIU in Nanaimo while I started at UofC. It wasn’t till a couple years later when I was 18 (he was 21) that he came back to do school at UofC and we started spending more time together both at church and at school. I don’t know if I can identify a specific moment where feelings started to change from friendship to something more but lo and behold they did! We wanted to be sure to take our time moving into a relationship for a few different reasons, but mostly cause we valued our friendship deeply and so decided to wait around 4 months till we started officially dating. I would say that having the foundation as being friends first has made dating such an amazing experience for the last 3 years. We are each other’s best friends first, as cheesy as it is to say. He is the man I want to share my deepest fears, desires, victories, defeats, dreams and future with. And we know that we are so lucky to have had so many amazing people come around us during our relationship that have supported, guided, and done life with us. And its only just the beginning.
How He Asked
February 28th @ 5:05 PM I said “Of Course” to the love of my life bended on one knee in Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
I knew we were going to get engaged soon, because well…. our venue was booked so obviously it was coming soon haha. We had decided on a shorter engagement (6 months) so I was getting a little antsy wondering when Derek was going to propose. That same week prior to going on a trip to the Carolina’s, with disappointment Derek approached me saying that the ring he had wanted to get me wasn’t going to be here in time for the weekend. And so, I believed him. And to give him credit he technically wasn’t lying, he just had a prototype built that was identical to the real thing [he’s amazing like that.] So we went ahead on our trip with 2 of our amazing friends Sancia & Mitchell Toth (The Toths Photo & Film), my brother and Derek’s best friend Jason, my best friend and Derek’s sister (Lora Cooper) [we are a tight group] and us two. A little bit of a backstory, we had agreed to do a photoshoot while we were in the beautiful Carolina’s with our friends and had agreed to do it on the Sunday afternoon. Little did I know, that a WHOLE LOT of planning went into secret conversations, who was carrying the ring, planning to be mic’d during the photoshoot, fake phone calls; you know, the basic lying and mischief. During the photoshoot, while Sancia was taking some individual shots of me, Derek was inconspicuously getting himself mic’d. This followed a fake-turned-real phonecall from Sancia’s family to which she was followed by Mitchell [they actually went to go their secret spot to setup], and a little bit of alone time for me and Derek. The whole time I didn’t for a moment even think he was going to propose, which definitely took any pressure off, and made me enjoy it a lot more I think. After walking a little bit into a beautifully sunset-lit pergola, I started to notice Derek walking slowly. Like turtle speed. And upon putting my hand on his chest, felt it beating at approx 175 bpm…. so definitely not resting heart rate. I exclaimed “Why is your heart beating so fast?” to which he replied “Oh look you’re right. Let me show you why.” The rest is a little bit of a blur, but all I can remember is Derek getting down on one knee, me balling and trying not to ugly cry, Sancia and Mitchell emerging from the bushes, and him saying some of the sweetest words of love, commitment, and friendship I have ever heard [the video helps]. After saying of course, we got to celebrate not only with Mitchell and Sancia, but also Jason and Lora who surprised us at the front of the gardens, sharing teary hugs, laughter, and remembering how my face hurt from smiling so much. We even got to FaceTime both of our families to share the good news [they were all in on it] with them. All in all, an unforgettable day finished by going to one of our favourite Southern restaurants in Charlotte, NC called Midnight Diner where we devoured Chicken and Waffles galore. We are so incredibly thankful for the chance to share our story, and begin writing a new story as we take this amazing step together.