Jessica and Russell

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How We Met

Russell and I met in Las Vegas two summers ago when I was on a girls trip and he was on a guys trip. Our paths crossed at Encore Beach Club, where our two groups of friends hit it off! Russell and I initially bonded by talking trash about each other’s football teams. We were inseparable the rest of the day and met up again at night, and the following night before saying out goodbyes. He invited me to the Bears vs. Panthers in North Carolina, but part of me wondered if I would ever see him again. I kept thinking what are the chances you meet the love of your life in “Sin City” but knew there was something different about Russell. We kept in touch after our flights home and that next month he flew out to Chicago to visit me! It was the absolute best weekend and I flew out to visit him in  North Carolina the following month. We ended up going to that Bears vs. Panthers game too! I knew I cared about him when I didn’t care if my team won or lost, I just wanted him to have a good time.

Our two groups

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Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field in September.

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At the Bears vs. Panthers game in North Carolina, in October.

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How He Asked

In May 2015 I move to North Carolina to be closer to Russell. Things had gone seamlessly with my move and in July we brought home our boxer puppy, Rocky. Rocky immediately became a member of our little family and the center of my world! To say that I am an obsessed dog lady is an understatement!

In March, Russell got me a trip to Charleston. I was so excited because I had never been before. As we were there exploring the town we kept seeing dogs and it made me miss Rocky so much. We kept pointing out all the dogs we were seeing. After our brunch on Saturday, Russell wanted to walk down to the Waterfront Park to see the ocean. It had been raining nonstop but I really wanted to go too. He was leading me over to the iconic pineapple fountain and I spotted a boxer puppy from a far.

I pointed it out to Russell and said “theres a boxer puppy just like Rocky!” As we got closer, I commented how similar that dog looked to Rocky. As we walked even closer I started to freak out because Rocky has very distinct markings on his chest. He has the shapes of two hearts and this dog appeared to have the same! Rocky started to howl as we got closer and I said “that IS ROCKY!” Russell told me to read his collar which read “WILL YOU MARRY HIM?” and the next thing I knew he was down on one knee! I could not think of a better way to ask me and will always cherish how he incorporated our sweet baby boy into his proposal.

I spotted the puppy!

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Shocked/concerned that the pup looks so much like Rocky with similar markings on his chest

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Genuinely shocked!

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Rocky did such a great job! I’m probably asking Russell how he pulled off this surprise!

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Realizing it was Russell’s cousin sitting on the bench with Rocky! I didn’t recognize her with her hair dyed, big sunglasses & umbrella! His mom and sister were hiding not far away to snap all the pictures! They drove 3 1/2 hours to deliver Rocky and pull off the surprise proposal!

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Soaking wet but so excited! Our little family!

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Special Thanks

Kelsey Smith | 
Photographer