Elizabeth and Dustin

How We Met

Elizabeth and I met in college at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2010. She was a cheerleader at the time and I was your average student working full-time to put myself through college and with that said, a buddy of mine and I were always trying to find new side jobs on the weekends in order to make some extra money. One day, I ran into a husband and a wife that mentioned they were looking for people to help do maintenance for the townhomes that they owned right across from where I lived. Little did I know, Elizabeth was a resident at one of the townhomes. One day, my buddy and I were asked to perform some maintenance duties inside her townhome and when I went into the room to do my job, I couldn’t help but notice her pictures that were scattered around her room. Needless to say, I thought she was absolutely gorgeous!

Fast forward to a few weeks later, my friends and I were at a bar on the strip when I noticed Elizabeth walk in with some of her friends. After a few drinks on both of our ends, I couldn’t stop staring at her as creepy as that sounds. I thought she was amazing and wanted to talk to her, but didn’t want to interrupt the night she had going with her friends. Naturally, she sees me staring at her and being as strong and independent as she is, she walks up to me and says, “If you’re going to stare at me, why don’t you just ask for my phone number”.

I asked for her phone number and was successful. At the time, we were both dating other people so I never called her to follow up on the night. Fast forward 6 years later, we both had moved to Nashville, TN where we already had a mutual friend that Elizabeth cheered with at Tennessee. One night while I was at our mutual friend’s house, she mentioned Elizabeth’s name and of course, I was highly interested in trying to go on a date to get to know her. We set up a double date and had our first date at Bar Louie in the Gulch a few days later.

At the end of the date, I told Elizabeth the story of how I had met her so many years ago and how she had asked for my phone number (she didn’t remember :)) When I began typing in her number, her name popped up as it was still in my phone after all those years. We shared a good laugh and continued to hang out after that night, both in group and individual settings.

How He Asked

In January of 2018, I traveled to Knoxville, TN, her hometown, to purchase her custom ring. It took about 3 weeks to get the ring in and I proposed on March 16th, 2018.

I reached out to an event planner in Nashville and mentioned that I wanted to propose in downtown Nashville close to the bridge because the view was probably the best I had ever seen in Nashville. When we were discussing my options, I mentioned that I didn’t want it to be on the actual bridge due to the popularity of that place both during the day and at night. Because of this, I asked if it was possible to project an image on the support beam of the bridge and they mentioned they could help me out with projecting a proposal on the bridge. Once we finalized the details and a payment was issued, I set the date (same date that her friend was visiting from Philadelphia).

On the day of the proposal, her friend called and said she had missed her flight due to a work event that got out late and she would have to come the following morning. I casually asked her to dinner at a nice restaurant in Nashville and just asked that she dress for the occasion. After dinner, I asked to go for a walk downtown because I wanted to show her a potential rehearsal dinner spot (Once it got very serious with her, I was always very open in telling her I wanted to marry her, but when I felt that I was ready) We walked downtown under the bridge building, went inside to check out the venue where I had setup a “fake” tour of the venue and asked a ton of questions so she wouldn’t know what was really going on. Once we walked back outside like we were going to leave the venue, I asked to take a picture together because the view was so nice. When she had her back to me, I gave a hand signal to the lady that was controlling the projector, and she flipped a switch that projected “Elizabeth, will you marry me?” on the bridge support beam. When Elizabeth turned around, I was on one knee with the ring in hand. And she said yes!!

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Bridge Building - Nashville, TN

Elizabeth and Dustin's Engagement in Bridge Building - Nashville, TN

Special Thanks

Kristin Vanzant
Photographer