Ally and AJ

How We Met

AJ and I unofficially met five years ago during our Freshman Year Fall semester at the University of Florida. The joke always goes that I blew him off multiple times when he tried to get to know me. Although our friends’ group where intertwined we did not get to know each other until after the Spring semester ended and summer officially begun.

I was working at Publix one Thursday afternoon working as a cashier. It was a normal day when two guys came through my line. AJ immediately caught my eye the way he was joking with his friend and being very sociable to me and everyone around him. Although our exchange was short it was memorable, AJ and his friend finished checking out with their Pub Subs and left. A few minutes later AJ was back in my line but this time he was by himself. He had a single item and joked that he forgot something, but he seemed considerably shyer this time. Just before he left again, he slipped me his number and told me to call him. Totally brushing the exchange off since this has happened before but something was different about him.

When I got home after work, I looked AJ up on Facebook and noticed we had mutual friends. I got a hold of one of my very good friends and she said she knew him well and that I should give him a shot. Later that night AJ and I met up for the first time, and from that night on we were inseparable for the next four years. We have truly been through it all and have three adorable dogs together.

How They Asked

AJ and I have been talking about marriage for a while, but I didn’t want to get engaged until he was done with his master’s degree that he is finishing in June. He knows that I absolutely hate surprises, but this is the one thing that absolutely needed to be a surprise. Just a week before the big day I mentioned to AJ we should take a road trip to Nashville during his time off after Christmas. It was a perfect idea since we do not get to spend a lot of time together in Spring since he travels for Track & Field with the University of Florida. Little did I know that my spontaneous getaway played right into his plan that he had been planning for months.

We got to Nashville and had a blast! It came to Saturday the day we had to drive home and we had talked about taking a detour to Atlanta, GA on our way home for the UF vs. Michigan Bowl Game. We woke up super early to start heading to Atlanta. AJ drove all morning while I slept when I woke up and started getting ready but I paid no attention to where we were going. By the time I finished getting ready I realized we were nowhere near Atlanta, but we were in Asheville, NC where the Biltmore Estate is! AJ knew I always wanted to go there especially during Christmas, so I got super excited. I sprinted out of the car hurrying AJ along because all I wanted to do was get inside. Since we left so early, we had to “kill some time” before our scheduled time to enter the house so he mentioned walking around the grounds. We headed up to the top of the esplanade that overlooks the mansion and front lawn. I was so excited about taking pictures and getting AJ to take pictures of me. I turned around for one last picture and when I turned around the man of my dreams was on one knee.

I have no idea what he said at the moment because I was overwhelmed with happiness, but I did remember a lady running over asking for our phones to take our picture mid-proposal. Once I said YES, AJ informed me had set up a photographer to capture the whole moment and had our own private session on the grounds for the next hour. It was the most magical day and I could have not asked for a better place or a better man. I cannot believe I get to spend my life with such a wonderful person!

Special Thanks

Jessica Merithew
 | Photographer