Justina and Jesse
How We Met
July 4th, 2005 – that’s when this whole thing started. Pike Co. fairgrounds, fireworks, one skinny cute girl, and one red faced pudgy boy.
Fast-forward eleven and a half years – December 17, 2016.
God I love this girl. I’ve been thinking about this night for years and planning it for months. While planning this night I knew a couple things – 1.) She deserved more than a basic night out with a proposal over some mediocre dinner. 2.) Wherever this happened, public wasn’t a good idea; I know her and I knew there might be some serious tears.
How He Asked
After much thought, I decided on a weekend in Kentucky. Now she’s not the partying type, so a proposal in a noisy restaurant, loud bar, or busy venue wasn’t going to work. After a couple bourbons one night, the details started to unravel. Christmas is coming up and I know enough to know that Kentucky has more than enough small towns beautifully decorated with enough eclectic charm around Christmas that I might find one to fit the mold. After some intense Google research, I decided that the town to pop this question would be Bardstown, Kentucky. I would present the idea to her a month in advance that a weekend getaway in Bardstown would be a perfect Christmas gift to each other.
Bardstown is ranked as one of the best small towns to visit in America. It has more than enough small shops for her to waste money in, a nice small town “feel”, and nationally recognized Christmas decorations; on top of that, it’s also considered “the bourbon capital of the world”, which is more than enough diversion to ensure she thinks nothing is up and we are only here for me to taste as many whiskeys as I possibly can in one weekend. We would stay at a highly rated bed and breakfast and I would work with the owner to ensure everything was perfect. I led her to believe we would spend a couple nights at the B&B, hit a couple shops, restaurants, then head home on Monday; a very low-key, low excitement weekend – just a getaway for us to disconnect from everyone for a couple days.
The real plan was a little different. Fortunately, the plan and what actually happened went perfectly well together. We did visit a few of the shops and obviously hit a distillery, but beyond that, things went a little differently than she had thought.
From the time we left the house in the morning, I had the ring on me in case an opportune moment presented itself at any point of the day (I must have checked my pocket a hundred times throughout the day). And in the case that the opportunity didn’t happen, there was a Plan B for the end of the night. The most important piece of this whole thing to me was that this had to be a surprise. Justina has put up with my crap for over 11 years – for this night not to be anything but perfect would be a fail. I took every step possible to ensure that she was surprised when the question was asked – all the way from making sure the Inn Keeper knew the exact time we were leaving for dinner, to making sure the receptionist did not accidentally say we were only staying for one night.
After hitting a couple of the stores and checking out one of the many local distilleries, we checked into the B&B. This was definitely a little different than checking into a hotel; you are essentially sharing a house with several strangers. Fortunately, the room I had booked was on it’s own wing of the B&B so we had plenty of privacy. After checking in we changed and got prepared to go out to dinner. Before dinner we had a couple drinks at the bar that was part of the B&B. We had reservations at a local restaurant that used to serve as a bourbon barrel aging facility. This restaurant has since been transformed and now serves as a steak house style restaurant and is almost totally lit by candles. We had a fantastic meal followed by a few drinks at a nearby bar.
After drinks, we headed back to the inn for the night. Up to this point, no opportunity had presented itself that fit for what I thought the proposal deserved. As we walked up our private staircase, she caught sight of the bedroom, which was completely covered in rose petals, roses, and candles. As she was gathering herself and trying to understand what was going on, I got down on one knee and said: “Justina, I’ve spent almost half my life with you, and I don’t want anything more in this world than to spend the rest of it with you, will you please marry me?”
After a few hysterical tears, she said yes – and by a few, I mean 20 minutes of convulsive crying, which may or may not have been mixed with a few of my tears in there.
After the yes, I filled her in on the plans for the rest of weekend which consisted of not staying at the B&B for two nights, but heading to downtown Louisville the next morning to celebrate, staying at a nice hotel, and having dinner at one of the best restaurants in Louisville. She was totally surprised, she said yes, and now I get to marry the most selfless, loving, beautiful, and perfected inside and out person in this world.