Jackie and Dan
How We Met
Living in Atlanta, there’s a summer tradition lovingly named “Shoot the Hooch” that entails floating down the Chattahoochee River with a group of friends, a few coolers, and lots of sunshine. (Best tradition ever? Yes!) On August 23, 2014, my group of friends and I went tubing down the river, and at the end of the journey we stayed out on the river for a while. It was then that I noticed this handsome guy wearing orange swim trunks with another group. In total school-girl fashion, I said something about him to my friend, Heather, and she immediately yells out, “Boy in the orange shorts, my friend thinks you’re cute!” Cringe. Oh my gosh, did she just do that? Yes, yes she did. Talk about embarrassing.
Anyway, that got Dan’s attention, and we started talking and laughing about what just happened. We exchanged phone numbers, went on our first date about a week later, and have been inseparable ever since! Our friends actually still call him “Orange Shorts” from time-to-time, and I am so thrilled that I get to be Mrs. Orange Shorts.
How He Asked
As someone who had never been to the Pacific Northwest, I was thrilled when Dan suggested we take a trip to visit Portland, Oregon this summer. We planned the trip a few months back, and we heard over and over that Willamette Valley is a must-visit winery region outside of Portland. Think Napa or Sonoma, but with smaller wineries that specialize in Pinot Noir. Good wine, beautiful scenery, and the man of my dreams? Count me in.
Fast forward a few months, and we are pulling up to our first winery of the day, Soter Vineyards in Willamette Valley. We were greeted in the driveway by our personal wine specialist with two glasses of wine, and she led us across the grounds to start our own private wine tasting in one of the beautiful cabins on their property. The winery is made up of 3 buildings- the main tasting room and two cabins that are down a hill with breathtaking views of the valley. On our way down to our cabin, we passed a huge field of wildflowers, endless vines, and a woman on a picnic blanket reading a book with a glass of wine in-hand. (Confession: I totally wanted to be her best friend- best day ever, right?) Other than that, the grounds felt completely empty and it seemed like we had the whole place to ourselves. Most romantic setting ever? Check.
The tasting was extremely informative (not to mention delicious), and the private setting in our cabin was so intimate and sweet. At this point, I still had no idea what Dan had planned for later, but was soaking up every second of this unbelievable winery experience. After we tasted their lineup of wines, we ordered a bottle for the two of us, and our hostess went up to the main winery to get it for us… or so I thought. When she left, Dan asked if I wanted to go out on our cabin’s patio to take in the beautiful view. Who would say no to that?
Once we got outside, we were looking out over the valley when Dan took me in his arms and started talking about how lucky we are (and I’m all like ‘Um, yeah! We’re at a winery in the most beautiful place on earth together, I’d say that qualifies as lucky’), but he was thinking a little more big picture.
Then he started saying some of the sweetest words I’ve ever heard, got down on one knee, and asked me to be his wife! I was so shocked and emotional that I don’t even remember saying yes, but it was the easiest question I’ve ever had to answer.
From there, it was a complete whirlwind of laughing, crying, squealing, a lot of shaking, and excitement.
After about 5 minutes of savoring the moment together, Dan told me to look up the hill. Sure enough, Ms. Reading-With-Wine-In-Hand wasn’t just on the grounds for a picnic… she was our photographer. (Her camera was in her cooler, say it with me… genius!) Anyway, once I realized she was there, the Soter staff came down to congratulate us with a bouquet of fresh cut blooms from their garden (such a sweet, personal touch!), and our next bottle of wine. Then, we walked around the grounds taking photos for what seemed like 10 minutes. (In reality, it was about an hour. Time flies when you’re… shaking/ecstatic/emotional/in shock. That’s the phrase, right?)
After our photo session, Dan and I just got to enjoy some wine in our private cabin to savor the moment and celebrate together. The rest of the day was spent visiting a few other wineries in the area and enjoying the BEST day together. Dan thought of EVERY last detail of our proposal to make it the most amazing day of my life. He is the most thoughtful, caring and loving man on the planet, and I am SO EXCITED to be Mrs. Ziznewski! Y’all, here come the #ziznewlyweds!