Anna and Jackson

How We Met

Jackson and I met on the set of a TV show back in October of 2015… it was a murder reenactment show, and we got cast as a couple who was stargazing, kissing in their car by the lake, and then they both get shot… So, our first kiss was scripted and on camera, just hours after meeting for the first time – and in our first picture together, we both have fake bullet wounds and we’re covered in fake blood. (Yes the picture will totally be framed at the wedding!)

After filming the TV show, Jackson tried to keep in touch with me… but I wasn’t very nice, and I pretty much ignored him.

Fast forward two years – it was the last week of December 2017, and I got a random text from Jackson, who I hadn’t seen since filming, and he asked me if I wanted to hang out on New Year’s Eve… and I said no.

But he didn’t give up!

Even though I did turn him down on the 31st, his charm and sense of humor finally got the best of me, and we continued to text and talk on the phone, and we became fast friends… and then started dating by Valentine’s Day.

How They Asked

It was our “year and a half of dating” anniversary, which fell on a Wednesday, so Jackson told me that he was gonna fake being sick and call out of work so that we could have a Date Day… I thought he was a total weirdo to do that, but I didn’t complain because I thought to play hooky sounded fun! (And I was totally convinced that he was going to propose to me on my birthday in three weeks, so a surprise proposal was completely off my radar!)

The first thing we did was go get Reflexology Massages, which was absolutely heavenly and so relaxing… then to throw me off and to keep things casual and “normal” we went to Sonic (a fast food place) for lunch and indulged in their 50¢ Corn Dog Day. Very casually as we were eating corn dogs, Jackson told me, “Hey we have to leave at 2:00 to go somewhere.”

So at 2 o’clock, we got into the car, and he drove me to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville. I had never been there in the daytime, but it was a favorite place of ours because we had a really fun date night there one time when the whole place was covered in Holiday lights! So I was very excited to walk around and see the beautiful gardens in the daytime!

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville TN

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville TN

Proposal Ideas Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville TN

At one point while we were walking, we passed this one arbor that had been blocked off the last time we were there, so I said to Jackson, “Ooo! This is the place we couldn’t go into last time! Let’s go up there!” (Little did I know, he was actually leading me to that exact spot on purpose… But I totally thought it was “my” idea!)

So we walked up the beautiful stone stairs, next to this beautiful old fountain, and we found ourselves under this shaded arbor with the best view in the whole garden… I was completely in awe of the view, when Jackson said to me, “You know that dream you told me about… where I gave you three-ring boxes and told you to choose one?…”

And right at THAT moment… I knew what was happening! I had previously told Jackson about a dream I had one night, where he presented me with several ring boxes of different colors, and he told me to choose one, and in the dream, I chose the cobalt blue box…

So here we are in real life, standing in this beautiful garden… and he reminds me of this dream while he walks over to the place where he had hidden a small bag…

He reached into the bag, and pulled out three ring boxes – one black, one red, and one cobalt blue… and he told me to choose one!
With shaking hands, I reached out and picked up the blue box, opening it to find a small picture of a cartoon diamond ring… right as Jackson got down on one knee, pulled the real ring out of his pocket and said, “I’ll trade you for this one!”

I barely even remember his words when he was asking me to marry him because I was SO shocked and excited, and everything became a blur! I don’t remember saying “Yes!” to his proposal… all I know is the ring was so exquisite as he slipped it onto my finger, jokingly telling me, “I hope this fits!”

After a few seconds of totally freaking out, Jackson told me that I still had two ring boxes to open! I didn’t even know what to think… but I reached out for the black box, and slowly opened it… to find a small picture of a star!
Jackson then told me that he had named a star after my soon to be married name “Anna Grace Dale”! We have a history with the constellation Orion, because in the script of that TV show when we first met, one of Jackson’s lines as he pointed to the sky through the green screen moon-roof was, “You can see Orion from here you know!”… so my star is IN the Orion constellation!

The third and final box revealed a picture of a hot air balloon, and that represented the fact that we were gonna go on a hot air balloon ride for my birthday in a few short weeks!

I was truly stunned… I thought there was some unspoken rule that proposals had to happen at night, and most likely on a weekend or holiday… I didn’t think it could happen at 3 o’clock on a Wednesday!

When Jackson was down on one knee, that’s when I noticed the hidden photographer that he had hired… (and I really was completely in shock that he had a photographer there!) She was so wonderful, and she made our whole proposal experience even better!

After Cheekwood we continued on to an incredible dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House… and I spent the whole evening floating on air and falling more and more in love with this amazing man who I get to marry!

Special Thanks

Jiana Taylor
 | Photographer