Erika and James

How We Met

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James and I met a couple of weeks after I graduated high school in June 2009 through mutual friends. I just so happened to be with my cousin that evening to visit some of her friends (whom I had already met) and James was the new face (at least to me) in the group. We talked casually and I found out that he would eventually be leaving Virginia for a while and also preparing for the navy. I would also be out of town to start college. We later found each other on social media, where he gave me his number, and we continued to talk. That summer he asked if he could take me on a date. I said yes BUT he would have to meet my parents first. By the end of that year we became a couple and here we are, six years, several dates, meals and weekend trips later!

How He Asked

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A few weeks before the engagement, James’ mother told me that she was planning a surprise birthday party for him. (His birthday was on the 13th) I was responsible for giving his friends the details and of course keeping it a secret from the birthday boy. The party would be on Saturday night at one of Richmond’s well known southern restaurants. I wasn’t sure how things would play out since James and I spend every Saturday together. He would suspect something if plans just suddenly changed.

Fast forward to Saturday night as I’m continuously circling the blocks of downtown Richmond to find parking. I arrived at the restaurant where I saw our families and friends waiting for the guest of honor. When James arrives, we all yell “Surprise!” and even though he doesn’t look surprised it seems normal to me because he’s not the most “emotional” guy there is. (Hopefully he’s saving them for the wedding day!)

Time passes and it’s time to bring out the birthday cake…or so I thought. While everyone is singing Happy Birthday, including me, they start clearing the table to make room for the cake. I thought it was odd that they moved my place settings even though James seat was right beside me. They finally put the cake down and I take a glance at it assuming it says “Happy Birthday James” but after I take a second look, I notice it says “Will you marry me?” When I turn back around, James is on one knee and the room is loud with claps yells. It was the most embarrassing yet wonderful moment of my life! (I say embarrassing because I don’t like being the center of attention.) Turns out the whole surprise party was a setup and everyone was in on it!

If I could relive that moment again, I would, but I can’t wait to make more beautiful moments in our future together! #BestSurprisePartyEver

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