Jillian and Dax

How We Met

My friends had a show they did every Tuesday in the Gaslamp at a club called Atomic. Jill was a bartender there and I occasionally DJ’d, though I went almost every Tuesday just for fun. Jill had been eyeballing me for months, but I was too shy to say anything. I knew she was young and I didn’t want to be that “creepy old guy”. One night in early December 2016, Jill got off early and we found ourselves sitting next to each other amongst friends. She said, “So, are you ever going to talk to me?” And, so it began.

We went out the next week and had our first official date: a road trip to LA to see a show at Avalon where a friend of mine was playing. The chemistry was obvious and we had our first kiss, our first walk holding hands, and our first hot dogs at Pink’s. I knew I didn’t want to let her go so I told her to take NYE weekend off as I was booked to play in TJ and had a hotel already reserved for the weekend. She said yes and that is still one of the best weekends of my life. Our chemistry and bond have always been indescribable, tough to put into words. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to get to this point. We knew we were both hot-headed and that if we could make it to 12/31/17 we’d get engaged.

Through many ups and downs, we fought and our love became unbreakable. As the day was approaching I knew I was going to ask her to marry me, I just didn’t know how. I knew she was hoping I would and I knew she saw the date coming, but she stopped asking about it for fear of putting pressure on me. I know she didn’t want to get her hopes up, but little did she know I was already plotting. After I had run through countless scenarios and consulted many of my friends, I decided on a plan. The problem was it was December 29th which gave me less than 48 hours to pull it off. We were going to be separated on NYE: she was working VIP at AC Lounge in North Park and I was DJ’ing at The Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp. So I knew I had to do it early in the day.

How He Asked

The Air-Conditioned Lounge had become a new home for Jill and for me. The owner, Gary, is amazing and one of the most genuinely good humans out there. That’s why I chose to ask Jill to marry me at their newly renovated Glampisphere surrounded by our closest friends, people I knew she loved and appreciated and that watched our love grow from the beginning. I managed to steal Gary’s number from Jill’s phone while she was sleeping and when I told him the plan he was all in, no hesitation.

With less than 24 hours to go, I had to get everybody ready and try and pull this off without her knowing. Not an easy task.Fortunately, NYE was on a Sunday and she already had brunch plans with her two girlfriends, Sydney and Hayley. They were in on it and made Jill do her makeup and hair because they were going to do a mini NYE photo shoot, so that worked out perfect. Now, brunch was only going to be at 1 pm and only be an hour or so, but I had everything set up for around 3 pm.

Another fortunate piece of the puzzle was that her work bestie, Emily, and she were going to try on outfits for work at around that time. That gave me time to get everything ready while she was gone. During her brunch, I had Gary text Jill and Emily to come to work early around 3:30 to help do prep work for the evening. Since they were going to be at our place and it’s right behind AC Lounge this worked perfectly. I kept texting Emily to make sure she kept Jill in her outfit so she’d be cute. (She’d kill me if I didn’t make sure she was cute.) The time had come. All of our friends that could be there were there and ready. Our best friend, Leigha, had laid out a pathway of roses that ended in a heart-shaped array in front of the mini waterfall while I hid behind it.

When she arrived, Gary told her to go out back (to the Glampisphere) and get some things. When she opened the door, I heard her gasp. Leigha started playing our song on the little boombox she brought, “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur. Jill was shocked and I heard everybody tell her to walk (down the path of roses). When I walked out from behind the waterfall I saw the woman I am going to marry. Just as beautiful as ever. I could barely talk. She was nodding her head, but I haven’t even asked yet. She said, “Are you serious?” I think I just smiled and said “Yeah”, but my heart was racing so I don’t remember exactly. I fumbled for the ring as I got down on one knee and asked her, “Will you marry me?” She said, “Yes!”

Special Thanks

Paul Douda Photography
Photographer