How We Met
Our story began on the beach in Jacksonville, Florida, when I asked Garrett to join my volleyball game. Once we started talking there was instant chemistry! We both attended the Church of Eleven 22, loved sports, and had a few mutual friends. I was hoping Garrett would ask for my number at the end of the day and he did! We went out with a group of friends the next weekend, had a great time and the next day Garrett asked me on a date!. And well.. the rest is history! Now for the story you really want to hear…
how they asked
It was Saturday, December 3rd, and Garrett told me we were going Christmas shopping and later driving straight to a friend’s work-related Christmas luncheon, so I needed to be dressed and ready to go for that. He asked me to meet him at Hobby Lobby which is right next door to our church. Just as I arrived and was walking in the door of Hobby Lobby, he suddenly texted me, “Hey! Come down to the church really quick! Come check this out!” As confused as I was, and a little annoyed, I headed down the sidewalk toward the church’s front door. Walking up, Garrett was nowhere to be seen, but standing there to my total shock with a video camera was my mom who lives in Louisiana! What in the world was she doing here?! Bewildered and surprised, I stammered asking my mom what was going on. Without speaking she simply smiled and handed me a letter.
The letter read: Catherine, I’m guessing you’re wondering why your mom is standing in front of you right now. Today is the day. Today is the day I show you how much you mean to me. Today is the day I show you how much I love you. Take a trip with me through our relationship and follow the clues to every place I felt myself fall more in love with you. Each place I realized that you are the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. The places I realized you are my best friend, my standard of beauty, and the love of my life. You are the one I want to hold forever and never let go. Put them together (the puzzle pieces) to find me. Today is about you, Catherine. Today is an adventure. Today you are the most important girl in the world and I am the luckiest man on earth. I love you, Garrett I began to cry as I realized he chose to start this scavenger hunt at our church. He knew that would mean a lot to me. After I finished reading the letter my mom handed me a blue puzzle piece with the first clue. I LOVED puzzles and I LOVED scavenger hunts, so this was PERFECT!
I was so ecstatic to have my mom there with me as I read the first clue: Good food here is not something they lack, The service is terrible but we always go back, I was so nervous, I later forgot to buy you a drink, This first one’s easy so you wouldn’t have to think.
I immediately knew that this clue was to a restaurant where he first met my parents and where we went out with our group of friends before he asked me on a date. For some reason, he never bought me a drink that night, so I was confused if he had actually been interested in me or not. For months after that when we had started dating, I have given him a hard time. “Don’t you know you’re supposed to buy a girl a drink if you like her?” He claims he was nervous and forgot his manners. Men… My mom hugged me as I laughed and cried and we hopped in my car and took off for the restaurant.
When I arrived, the hostess already knew I was coming and led me to a booth Garrett had reserved ahead of time. It was the same booth where he met my parents! When I walked around the corner, I screamed! There waiting for me was my Aunt Tina and best friend Kristin who had driven all the way up from Miami! Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized Garrett had organized with my loved ones to be a part of our special day. I sat down with my mom, aunt, and best friend to have lunch but before even have a chance to order, the waitress came and delivered my favorite meal.
Garrett had pre-ordered my meal, a cheeseburger with fries!! The next thing I knew, she was handing me a hand-written letter on a napkin from Garrett that read: Enjoy lunch on me baby.
By the way, this isn’t our first time out together at Kickbacks so you can have more than one bite of your cheeseburger. The jigs up, I know how much you eat. I just won’t be there to swap plates with you so the waiter doesn’t know. But I can’t wait to be there every day the rest of your life to cover for you. I love you. Love, Garrett
I began to laugh as I explained to everyone at the table that the first time Garrett and I had come to eat there, I ordered a cheeseburger and only had a few bites because I didn’t want to look like a pig in front of him. But now, he knows the truth about me, I LOVE food! One time I ate more than him and made him swap plates with me so the waitress wouldn’t think I ate more than a man! After we finished eating, Kristin handed me my next puzzle piece with another clue: Our first date led us here at the end of the day The city lights shined and a dolphin did play You looked so beautiful in the light of the stars and the moon We talked for hours and I knew my heart would be yours soon.
My heart skipped a beat as I remembered back to our first date that ended on the Jacksonville boardwalk. We had sat on the ferry dock and talked for hours getting to know each other, and we could tell the chemistry was great. Later that night we were surprised when several dolphins surfaced nearby to add to the romance. It was the best first date I had ever been on! From the restaurant, the four of us piled in the car and headed to the boardwalk. After parking, I led them towards the dock where Garrett and I sat that first night. There standing at the end of the dock was my brother from Tallahassee!
I felt a knot form in my throat making me cry again as he hugged me, grinned and handed me the next piece to the puzzle: Under Thursday night lights you cheered on your man. The hottest girl on the sidelines, you’re my number one fan There’s a challenge you must complete Bring your game face, it’s time to compete. This puzzle piece was leading us to the Intramural fields at Garrett’s college where I used to watch him play flag football! My brother squeezed into the car with us as we raced to the field. I was overwhelmed with joy that my brother had driven hours to be a part of this special day. As we pulled into the parking lot next to the field, I noticed one of Garrett’s best friends, Wade, parked in his truck. Right next to him was a set of corn-hole boards set up and ready to play!
I began to giggle as I exclaimed, “Do I get to play corn-hole?!” Garrett and I love playing corn-hole and, most importantly, love to compete in just about anything! We climbed out of the car and I hugged our friend. He smiled and handed me another letter that said: Catherine, So you want to be a Johns huh? Well, you know how competitive we are. Especially me. You didn’t think a pretty smile and an adorable personality were enough did you? If you want to be partners for life, I need to know I can count on my teammate to carry us when I’m down and she can keep us up. The Johns team is having tryouts and there’s an opening! The test is on! I hope you brought your “A” game. Beat Wade in corn hole, one-on-one, and earn your next puzzle piece! -G “Oh my gosh! How fun!” were the first words to blurt out of my mouth, We began playing, tossing the bags. I struggled a little in the beginning, but in the end emerged victorious! I mean, I was playing for the love of my life!
After winning, Wade handed the next puzzle piece and I read it aloud: Here we are regulars every Sunday To watch the Jaguars? Haha! No way! Who else would we watch other than the Saints that day? Although I’m not sure I’d get a say in it either way. No Way! We were going to a bar and grill where Garrett and I watched the New Orleans Saints play every Sunday. Growing up in Louisiana, I was a die-hard Saints fan, and over time Garrett had learned to cheer for them too. Again, we all loaded up in the car and headed to the restaurant. When I walked in I shrieked with delight! My good friend from Atlanta, my uncle, my cousin from Texas, my best friend’s mother who I’m close with, and Garrett’s parents and sister were all sitting at a big table in the middle of the restaurant!
Garrett, of course had already been there and had pre-ordered for me my favorite drink. When I sat down, the waitress handed me it with another napkin note! It read: You must be thirsty after today. I knew I had to buy you a drink today so you would know I am interested. Hopefully you can tell. Now you know how I hate it when I buy you a drink and you don’t finish it. Finish this one to get your next piece. Love, Garrett I smiled and drank my drink while enjoying being with my friends and family, but I was desperate by this point to see Garrett.
Once I finished my drink, Garrett’s mom handed me the next puzzle piece: The entire day we searched all over town Somehow I had to turn that frown upside down At the very last second I thought of this park We had a picnic and played games nearly till dark This clue was leading me to a park next to the beach where Garrett and I had enjoyed a picnic. One weekend we had searched all over town looking for a place to have a picnic, but a storm had just come through, and every park we attempted to stop at had been closed. I was sad and upset, but at the last minute Garrett had remembered a park on the beach that he knew we could use, and it turned into a great day! My brother, mom, and I got in the car and drove to the park. When I climbed out of the car, I saw my dad was sitting at the table where Garrett and I had our picnic! I took off running and ran into my daddy’s arms as I saw him blinking back tears in his eyes. My dad smiled and handed the last puzzle piece. It was so romantic.
Garrett had set it up to where it would be only my family at this spot, and my dad gave me the final puzzle piece that told me where to find my future husband. I loved it because it symbolized my dad giving me to Garrett. The last clue read: Where it all began Near where you met your man There you will find m Waiting for you on bended knee Hot tears filled my eyes as I realized I was finally going to see the man who had stolen my heart and given me the best day of my life! My family hugged me and cried tears of joy as we walked back to the car. My family climbed in the care and drove toward the beach where I had first met Garrett. During our drive Garrett had asked Kyle, my brother, to play a song called “On My Way” by Boyce Avenue; a song about a man singing to his future wife, saying that he is on his way to find her. The last line says, “I’ll be there the moment you come out in white, because I’m on my way.” I could not stop crying the entire time. As we pulled into the parking lot next to the beach, I could hardly contain myself! I walked to the edge of the sand, and once I saw Garrett standing out near the water, I burst into more tears and began to run to him.
He stood there looking amazing in a blazer, white shirt and jeans with the biggest smile on his face! I ran right into his arms and he lifted me up and kissed me. When I finally let go of him, he reached in his back pocket and pulled out a small box and I began to cry again. He got down on one knee, looked at me with tears in his eyes and said “ Catherine, you’re my best friend, my standard of beauty, and I want to pursue you for the rest of my life. Will you marry me?”
I jumped into his arms before he could even open the box holding the ring and yelled, “YES!!” Behind us, all our loved ones involved in the scavenger hunt were standing there watching the whole proposal. It was simply perfect! After we had hugged everyone and pictures were taken, we all climbed in our cars and drove to an engagement party that Garrett had organized in St. Augustine where more family and close friends were waiting to help us celebrate. It was an absolutely perfect day, a gift from Garrett that I will cherish forever. I could not have dreamed of a better proposal.
Thank you to our friend Alyssa Hart for capturing this special day!!