Emily and James

Image 1 of Emily and James

How We Met

THE BEGINNING: A Pre-Destined Meeting.

It was summer of 2014. I had a casual Tinder date scheduled with this guy named James that I was really excited about. He looked handsome and fun! We were set to meet at Cafe Intermezzo in Midtown that night for coffee. After work that day, I went straight from the office to Fado Irish Pub where I caught up with an old friend and got a bite to eat before heading out to meet James. (NOTE: Throughout the long day of work and the happy hour snack, my phone started to die and I had no charger with me.)

I left Fado and headed towards Cafe Intermezzo, and my phone battery got closer and closer to dead. About 5 minutes away from meeting, it totally died. And as I drove up to where Cafe Intermezzo should have been on Peachtree, I suddenly realized that it wasn’t there anymore! It must have been a long time since I was there last, because they moved locations. And here I told this poor guy to meet me at a place that didn’t even exist anymore, and my phone was dead, so I couldn’t even call him to change our meeting place last minute! I felt terrible.

So, I drove around the back of the building that used to be Cafe Intermezzo and went into the parking lot to pull a u-turn. As I am pulling in, I see a black SUV that looks similar to mine pulling out. In it is a handsome guy with dark hair, kind eyes and great smile. His window is down and he’s staring at me. It’s James!! I roll my window down and pull up next to his car. We introduced ourselves briefly through the window, he playfully said that he thought I was playing a weird trick on him by sending him to some non-existent coffee shop, and then we decided to hop across the street for margaritas at Uncle Julio’s instead. That night we talked about our work, our families, our lives and our beliefs. We got pretty deep for a first date.

What’s crazy to me is that we so easily could have passed each other by. A difference of ten seconds would have caused our cars to miss each other, but we didn’t. We drove by at the exact same time – both smiling and excited. We were meant to meet that day, and I’m so eternally grateful that we did. :)

– Emily

how they asked

A Magical Day Blessed by God Himself.

Emily and I decided to spend our Labor Day weekend this year on the beach in Destin, FL at her mom’s beach house that has a deck right out to the sand (it’s awesome!). We headed down Wednesday and spent one day hanging with her mom (who was also in Destin for that week, but she “left” the next day to give us the house for the weekend), and my hope was to have an evening planned for Thursday that she would never forget. I did my due diligence on preparing everything and had it all figured out in my head. If only things in life would go as planned!

Image 2 of Emily and James

For those who don’t already know, there happened to be a hurricane mowing through the Gulf that same week, and we were right on the cusp of the storm. Thursday was an anxious day for me – I was constantly checking the Doppler radar and pacing around the beach house. For the most part, the weather seemed to be holding up… just a bit gloomy, but no major rain. Emily was excited about the dinner reservations (read: romantic evening) that I had planned for us. The reservations weren’t until 8:00pm, so I suggested to Emily that we get ready a little early and have a glass of wine on the beach while watching the sun set before dinner (assuming the hurricane grey clouds would allow the sun set to peak through a bit). She took the bait and had no clue what was about to happen.

The time finally arrived when we were both ready for dinner, so we grabbed our wine and headed down to the beach. At this point, the weather was still holding up – grey skies but no rain, I’ll take it. I asked Emily to go down and grab a small table to put our wine glasses on, and she unknowingly obliged (while I sneakily stayed behind, made sure I had the ring, let her mom back into the house where she was hiding and got the secret photographer all setup and ready!). Just a minute or so later, I follow Emily down to the beach, trying not to show the bulgy ring box in my back left pocket. The sun peaked out from the clouds just slightly.

Image 3 of Emily and James

We’re standing on the beach, set up with a little table and two wine glasses, and nothing but the sound and view of the rough waves that were coming in from the storm. We stood there taking in the beauty and the breeze. Emily is trying to put her arm around me to lean in on me, but I was nervous that she would feel the ring box in my pocket so I kept leaning away (to which Emily kept saying, “what’s wrong with you, I just want to hug you!” haha little did she know). I was pretty nervous at this point, especially since the hidden photographer on the deck was causing our dogs to bark, and I was afraid Emily would turn around and see the photographer and her mom hiding and know what was going on.

She didn’t, thankfully. But I did casually turn around to see if everyone was in place before I made my move. At this point, my nerves really took over. How do you open this conversation, let alone put the love that I feel for Emily into words? I slowly opened the dialogue, expressing how the past couple of years have been amazing “doing life” together. Then, I looked into her eyes and dropped into the most humbling position any man could be in – to my knee.

Image 4 of Emily and James

This is how I had scripted it: “I love you. And, over the last 2 years, we have experienced a lot together. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, for you to join me on this journey of life and commit to me everyday as I will commit to you. There will be good times and bad times, and we must rely on God as our rock and foundation. Will you marry me?” Let me remind you that my nerves were involved, so I highly doubt it came out that way, but I’m sure it was pretty close… Of course, by now Emily realized all that was happening and she had the largest smile on her face, tears in her eyes, and so much excitement that she was jumping/running in place as I knelled in front of her and held her hands (she couldn’t keep her legs still!!).

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Image 6 of Emily and James

She said YES and kissed me (and we heard screams of happiness from her mom up from the deck). I had to remind her that I also had a ring for her (haha!).

Image 7 of Emily and James

I opened the ring box to showcase something that I knew held a very special spot in her heart. She teared up (with joy) again. The ring I chose for her is her Grandy’s, who had passed away exactly 10 years prior to our engagement day. Grandy (her mom’s mom) was a woman who Emily adored growing up, and it was awesome to have her share this moment with us.

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By now, the photographer, who had been previously capturing the moment from afar, was much closer to us and a snafu of hugging, laughter and picture-taking ensued. All the while, the rain held out for us, and amazingly, the grey skies had magically turned into the most beautiful array of colors and light beams with the sun setting over the ocean.

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I truly believe that God (and Emily’s Grandy!) was with us on this evening, blessing our relationship and our future marriage. He even sent us an awesome rainbow (a sign of God’s promise) as the sun fell over the horizon. :)

– Jimmy

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Special Thanks

Headstrong Studios
 | Photography