Janeé and Matt's Proposal in Destin, Florida
How we met: Janeé and I met through a mutual friend. The first night we met, we were introduced briefly and then dragged in opposite directions. The second time we met, we were out with the same group of people, but she was also on a blind date at the time, so there wasn’t much communication between us, aside from the friendly “hello” and exchanging of eye contact throughout the night. It wasn’t until the third night we met, that I wanted to make something more of our friendship.
She had shown up alone, but to meet up with friends. We were all hanging out as a group at a country bar with a large dance floor. We casually spoke, but it wasn’t until I had asked her to two-step, that she caught me off guard by saying “I don’t dance.” I figured she was playing hard-to-get, so I decided to play along. My persistence paid off, and by the fourth or fifth time asking, I had worn her down. She caved in and agreed to a dance. After the dance, we spent the rest of the evening getting to know each other.
Janeé went out of town for a week for business, but over that time I had invited her to a friend’s Halloween party. She agreed and met me there with our mutual friend. It was that night that we got to spend some real time together. I even got her to fix my face paint, since I played the “I’m not an artist” card, although I feel I’m qualified to color within the lines if you give me a crayon. It was that night that we took our first picture together, and although it was early, I knew Janeé was the woman I wanted to spend my life with. There’s a lot of truth in the statement, “when you know, you know.”
Our first date didn’t start off as planned. I made a dinner reservation at a nice restaurant before we were going to see the Elf musical at the Orpheum theatre in Omaha. Time wasn’t exactly working in our favor, and we missed our reservation, but we were able to get a quick seat at the Zin Room, a nice restaurant across the street from the theater. We ordered dinner and shared a bottle of wine, and after that, enjoyed the show. It worked out well, because during dinner and after the show, we spent more time getting to know each other, and the more we talked, the more I knew she was “the one”. From then on, it was just a matter of time before I popped the question.
How he asked: We were only dating a few months before I was sent to Mississippi for military training. I would be stuck there over half a year, but Janeé and I stayed in contact each and every day. She came to visit me, and I traveled back to visit her. Seeing each other in person made it so much easier to bear the time apart. For her second time coming to visit me, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to propose to her on one of the most secluded beaches in Destin, Florida.
After I picked her up from the airport, we grabbed a bite to eat at a nice restaurant in the Destin Harbor, and then ventured back to our hotel, the Henderson Park Inn Bed and Breakfast. The following day we spent relaxing on the beach and enjoying the weather. I had booked a professional photographer in advance to capture a few photos of us on the beach (since we didn’t really have any nice photos together). I also had purchased a hand-made treasure chest ring box to go along with the beach proposal theme. For my plan, the treasure chest would be buried in the sand, and would be empty except for a bed of fake green moss to act as a pillow for the ring. As Janeé was inside getting ready to take photos, I snuck outside and buried it in the sand. The photographer was entrusted with the actual ring.
As the sun was beginning to set, we began taking photos on the beach. It was truly a picture perfect evening aside from the wind. Poor Janeé was getting so frustrated because her hair was going in all directions, but I did my best to assure her that the pictures would turn out. As soon as the photography session was coming to an end, we started walking back towards the place where we were staying.
While we walked over the place I had buried the box, I used my foot to uncover the miniature chest. I guess you could say I acted like I tripped. I surely didn’t deserve an Oscar for my performance, but my plan worked and I unearthed the box and handed it to Janeé. She opened it, looked at me confused as there wasn’t a ring inside, and started yanking out the fake moss that was inside the chest. Since it was windy, I just saw green pieces of moss flying in all directions as she was determined the box contained something else. I made a joking statement of “someday, I’ll buy you a box that has something in it other than fake moss.” She looked so disappointed, it was hard not to laugh since I knew what was about to happen.
I walked over to the photographer who was still taking pictures, and he handed me the box that contained the ring. I took the treasure chest out of Janee’s hands and placed it in the sand. As I got down on one knee, I looked up to make eye contact with her.
Of course I had a great speech planned out and practiced, but when it came to actually saying my lines, something else came out, but thankfully I got the point across. That she’s amazing in every way, that she means the world to me, that I love her with all my heart, and that I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I finished my lines with, “Will you marry me?” And she made me one very happy man when she said “Yes”.
Later, once we saw the pictures that were taken, we were so happy that our photographer was able to capture the moment.
Photography by Dave Davis of Old Man and the Sea Photography