Kristin and Travis

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How He Asked – by Kristin: I love telling this story because each time it makes me laugh at how oblivious I was that Travis was proposing. For those of you who don’t know, each year for as long as he can remember Travis has spent Fourth of July down on Treasure Island with his friends and adopted family. I was lucky enough to join in the tradition in 2010 and we look forward to it each year. Little did I know, this year was going to be very special. The 3rd of July is usually spent enjoying many cold libations, swimming in the ocean and enjoying vacation.
This 3rd of July however, Travis was not acting like himself. By mid afternoon, we hadn’t had one cold beer and Travis was in and out of our hotel room, not feeling well, and being quite reserved. After much persistence, I convinced him it was time to pack a cooler and enjoy our vacation!! He finally agreed, so I happily started back to our room to pack our cooler… but Travis began walking down the beach to the water. Quite confused on why he was headed down to the beach when our room was the other way, I shrugged my shoulders and followed. He said he wanted to take the scenic route. I was just relieved he must have finally began feeling better and we could start celebrating being on vacation so I followed.

As we strolled down on our scenic route, I all of a sudden noticed that he was no longer in my periphery and it looked like he stepped on a seashell.

At this point, I turned around and I was in that moment that every girl dreads… When she sees her boyfriend, on what looks like he is down on one knee and you think this is it, this is the moment he is going to propose, your heart stops, your mind goes quiet, you take a deep breath….. but then you realize he really did step on something or he is picking up a seashell, he gets up and you continue your walk to your hotel room. That scene played in my head about 10 times in a few milliseconds… but he didn’t get up.

He grabbed my hands and in shock and confusion, I kept asking him what he was doing and telling him to get up. While the details of what was said is all a blur, I remember the most important part and was as happy (and surprised) as I have ever been said “yes”.

Still trembling, my mind started slowing down as I began putting things together. I realized we were not the only ones there and looked up the beach to see our friends cheering. I realized that Sean did not have his camera out because he missed Florida Sunsets and wanted to get a few good shots (come on Kristin!). I realized that nervousness makes for a non-party Travis. And I realized that this was the most amazing day of my life, everything I had ever dreamed of and I couldn’tve been more excited and happy to marry my best friend.

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How We Met – by Travis: It was twenty two years in the making… Just a mere twenty two years to finally bring us together. See, in a way we grew up together but didn’t really realize it. We grew up blocks from each other, went to the same elementary, middle and high school but never had a conversation. Surely we saw each other at get togethers, church, school etc. but never were given the opportunity to officially meet. We knew of each other but I always thought she was out of my league being a grade above me. We went along with our lives and education not knowing that one day we would one day fall in love with that person in the shadow of our past.

Kristin was accepted to UCF right out of high school while I attended a local college in hopes of finding my niche. It took a couple more years and some growing up until the stars began to align. Timing is everything. I guess somebody upstairs knew it wasn’t quite time yet.

Kristin’s best friend Kayla happened to be dating my best friend Sean and both knowing us very well thought we would make a great couple. Both tried very hard to get us together. After many failed attempts due to busy schedules (mostly hers) she was talked in to taking a couple days off to go on a cruise with a big group of friends.

Finally! I get to meet this girl and she can’t run away being on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean. We board the ship, get settled, grab a drink and not long after that we are walking to the safety briefing together. Not in the assigned area I may add. I didn’t want to leave her!

Thinking back I couldn’t remember how many days the cruise was but it was plenty of time to realize I would love to keep seeing her when we got off. We were pretty much inseparable the whole trip. Kristin always tells me now that she knew after that trip that I was “the one”.

Unfortunately the cruise was over and the reality of getting back to the normal routine was upon us. She went back to Orlando and me, to west Florida. We continued seeing each other and making the seemingly long trips back and forth to Orlando.

Each day our relationship grew stronger and was able to successfully do what most couples cannot. We did the long distance thing for about three years as I finished EMT school and the fire academy. We talked about where we were going to be and if we were going to be able to close the gap between Orlando and Palm Harbor. It seemed nearly impossible with the opportunities she worked so hard for in her job and my unwillingness to leave the gulf coast. It wasn’t until I was perusing fire department jobs and saw that there were openings at a central Florida fire department. I applied and the waiting began. I tested and continued to wait to hear anything. I finally made the decision to take the leap and make the move to Orlando not knowing what would happen with my career. I knew it would be worth it to be closer to her and see if she could deal with me full time. Not long after taking that leap did I receive a phone call from the department offering me a job. It was a sign, a sign that we were truly meant to be together.

How He Asked: Another year went by as we grew even more in love and realized that she could actually deal with me for the long haul. We started looking for houses, planning our lives and I knew it was time. I snuck back to the west coast to have my dad show me the ropes of purchasing the perfect ring.

On our traditional vacation back to Treasure Island for the Fourth of July with friends and family, I finally got the courage to ask the big question. I awkwardly asked her to take the scenic trip along the beach back to the hotel and waited until Sean was in position to take a picture from behind the sea oats. I suddenly stopped, pretending I had stepped on a broken shell and fell to one knee. I couldn’t tell you what I nervously rambled about but the end result was her saying yes in complete shock and surprise! We met family at a nearby restaurant and celebrated. So far it was the best day of my life.

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Photography by Jake and Dannie