Tara and Jeffrey
How We Met
Jeff and I first met online in January of 2013 through a gaming website. We chatted back and forth and found we both had an interest in games, RPGs, and other wonderful nerdy subcultures. He was living in Wilmington, Delaware and working on his Computer Security degree, and I was running a full time photography business about an hour west of Savannah, Georgia in a small town called Glennville. We talked over Skype calls for about a year when I finally brought up the idea that the two of us should meet in person. He agreed that it was time, and we made plans to meet up in Atlanta in March of 2014. I, being a perfectionist, arrived a day early to make sure everything was in order, but life had other plans.
On the way to the airport to pick him up, my wonderfully reliable car (for the first time ever) decided to die while driving down I-75 in Atlanta. I called him once my phone altered me he had landed in tears, and he reassured me that he had his book (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and found a place to sit and eat. He kept telling me it wasn’t a huge deal, but I thought this was a bad omen! I was ready to run, and I was sure this was a higher power telling me to flee! I called up a friend, and he thankfully picked me up, drove me to the airport, and helped me find Jeff. I was a hot mess! I had been crying, was super stressed out, and had puffy eyes and running makeup! I was sure it was going to be awful, and I knew I was going to make a terrible first impression. I found Jeff at the food court, reading away and munching on fries, and as I walked up to him he was unsure if it was me or not.
Suddenly, his eye brows perked up, and he put his book down and leaped up for a huge hug, which I simply fell into and began to sob! All of the emotions of meeting him, making it perfect, being stuck in without a car, and feeling like I somehow ruined everything just built up, and suddenly I was in this guy’s arms and melted into a crying puddle. He comforted me, let me cry, wiped me tears and told me it was the best day of his life. After we talked for a few moments and I awkwardly introduced my best friend’s fiance (who rescued me off the side of the road!), we started to walk to the parking lot. He stopped me right next to two Atlanta police officers, grabbed my face and said, “I don’t know how I forgot this,” and then proceed to kiss me. That was when the room started to spin!
We look back and laugh about that moment now. We spent 5 days exploring Atlanta, and really began to fall for one another. At the end of the trip I decide to hire a photographer to capture some professional portraits of us, and to help with the distance ahead of us. Over all, everything went just fine! The trip was absolutely amazing, and we dated long distance for another year, with a handful of fun trips and countless Skype calls , then in February 2015, I moved up to Wilmington and ended the dreaded distance!
How He Asked
Well, first we did pick out the ring together. He made a valid point when he told me he didn’t want to invest that amount of money on something I might only like a “little” when it could be invested into something I picked out and loved. We had talked about getting married for a while, so while it may be unconventional for some, it was perfect for us. This was in February of 2016. I told him I didn’t care where he asked, as long as there was a photographer to capture the moment. We first went to Longwood Gardens for my birthday in September of 2016, and I had stated about a dozen times, “This is gorgeous. I need to use this as a photography location. This would be an absolutely beautiful location for engagement photos!”
He has not asked yet, and I was dropping hints hard, but I had totally fallen in love with the beauty of this spectacular location. In December, he suggested we go back for their Christmas event. I dressed up to the nines thinking this was the moment. He wore a tie, and I KNEW this was the moment. Except, it wasn’t. I was a tiny bit disappointed, but I told myself I needed to be patient. For Christmas his Mom got us a membership to the gardens since we loved going there so much and wanted to attend the events. So, when I got an email saying that the Orchid Extravaganza was running through March, I knew we had to go!
Now, Jeff is not a morning person, at all, but he found out that you could only use flash inside the conservatory from 9 am-12 pm. Well, this meant if I wanted a photographer to be there, we’d have to go early in the morning. We are *not* morning people, and unless we have to be up at 7 am, we are not. So, when Jeff told me casually that he wanted to go to Longwood and be there at 9:30 in the morning on his day off, I KNEW! I went into action mode. I bought a new dress, and he not so bluntly asked me what colors went good with it. The day of, I was super excited, as I had concocted a plan of my own to surprise him! When we got there he told me to sit down and watch an intro video about Longwood. I knew this was code for, “I have to meet the photographer and set up,” and so I watched the 3 minute video about 8 times before he came back to get me.
As we walked through the conservatory I kept wondering where he would propose. Just when I thought he was about to get down on one knee, he’d keep holding my hand and walking. We eventually made it to the back of the large conservatory to a side area we hardly ever went into. I figured it was a by pass to another area, and as soon as I let my guard down he tugged me into place and slipped down onto one knee.
He looked up at me and with a straight face blurted, “Oh no. I’m blanking. I had a speech prepared, and I just forgot it all!” We both laughed as he gathered himself together and said some very sweet personal things, followed by, “Will you be my wife? I instantly said yes, and I heard the click of a camera, but I did my best to stay in the moment.
He stood up and showed me the ring box, and I grabbed him by the hand. “When my parents divorced, my Dad gave me his wedding band with a promise to always love me and protect me, and I always said that I would give it to the man who I wanted to marry.”
I pulled out my Dad’s worn out band that I have worn since I was 12, full of scratches and a million memories and stories, “So, I’m counter proposing.” I said a few other sentiments to him, and I told him I was just as committed to marrying him as he was to marrying me. Yet one more unconventional thing about us, but I think it sets us apart.
Our photographer introduced herself and we used the location to our advantage before it filled up with too many people. We walked hand in hand like love birds. Afterwards we went out to lunch to a small Italian Cafe in Kennett Square, PA. I used this time to call our families and inform them of the good news! We had a terrific lunch, then we went over to Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream, followed by a visit to his Dad’s to celebrate. It was truly a magical day. I look forward to becoming his wife. These past 4 years have been wonderful, and I look forward to each and every one we share together and the journey that is to come.