how we met
JB and I met in college at the University of Richmond, but the story is vastly different depending on who tells it…
Orientation Fall 2010 (1 Week Before Freshman Year)
Erin and JB meet for the first time, but only one remembers…
JB: Towards the end of freshman orientation, the entire incoming freshman class at the University of Richmond gathers for one final event in the basketball arena. It was one of those forced fun events where participants play a series of icebreakers and games intended to help you make friends before the first week of school. One of the games was rock, paper, scissors. We were instructed to make eye contact with a stranger, introduce yourself, and play one game. The winner would advance, and the loser would become a supporter of the winner. Well, I locked eyes with Erin and never forgot her name after she introduced herself, thus starting an infatuation crush that continues today.
Fall 2010 (Freshman Year) – Spring 2013 (Junior Year)
JB continues to admire from a distance
ERIN: After attending orientation, I started classes, joined a sorority, made the cheerleading team and began making memories for the best 4 years of my life…
JB: I arrived at the University of Richmond as well, but likely had less of a focus on academics than Erin. I started baseball practice and classes and was excited for an uncertain future. Throughout my time at Richmond, my crush on Erin was no secret. I fawned over her on a regular basis and all of my teammates knew it. When we attended football games and I was caught watching Erin flying high in her cheerleading uniform, I was nudged in the ribs. Erin walked by our table in the dining hall and I would say nothing, another nudge. This went on and on, but she was out of me league. What was I supposed to do?
Fall 2013 (Senior Year)
JB finally makes a move
ERIN: My best friend and roommate at the time, Keiko, and I went into UR’s business school to prepare for a big presentation we had together that week. Keiko and I had gone to Starbucks to further delay our schoolwork and got our favorite drinks. We always used fake names at Starbucks – Keiko was ALWAYS “Susie” and I was always “Gertrude” – and these names were clearly written on our cups. While carrying Susie’s and Gertrude’s drinks through the Business School to find a study room, we saw another group from our class and chatted with them about the presentation for a bit.
JB: It was the end of the first semester of senior year. I knew that if I just tried one time to get Erin’s attention, I could sleep a little better at night. The opportunity presented itself while working on a group project late one night in the business school. Erin walked up and made small talk with my group, and I couldn’t help but notice the wrong name on her Starbucks cup. I decided to throw a Hail Mary and send a tweet Erin’s way. I’m not known for being smooth.
ERIN: After ending the conversation and finally finding a room to work in, my phone went off. Someone tweeted at me.
@JBGadd tweeted: Wondering why @ErinMay’s Starbucks cup says “Gertrude”?? #What??
I never use twitter and immediately showed Keiko and said, “Keiko! Who is this and how does he know that my cup says that??”
She says, “Erin, we just talked to him a few minutes ago. He is in our class…”
“I have no idea who this is… am I an idiot?”
To which Keiko replies, “Erin! He is obviously trying to hit on you…. and he’s actually really cute”.
Feeling flattered, I chuckled a bit. Without skipping a beat we continue working on the project for the rest of the night and unfortunately I keep to myself the rest of the semester…
Spring 2014 (Senior Year)
Worlds collide at a baseball game…
ERIN: It was Saturday in February and the first nice day of spring during my senior year at the University of Richmond. I was looking for something to do to enjoy the weather and my really good friend, Matt, suggested going to the UR baseball game. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day so I agreed to go with him. Matt was a huge baseball fan and attended most games so he was a familiar face in the stands. As a result, Matt knew most of the players and they knew him. We were casually watching the game, until my world stopped when I saw JB on the field. I saw him stand up from catching behind home plate and lift up his mask. After only getting a short glimpse of his profile as he walked to the dugout, I mildly freaked out and frantically said to Matt while grabbing his arm, “OMG, MATT! Who is number 6? Check the roster. I need to know who he is. I am in love! I am going to marry that guy!”
Without checking the roster, Matt laughs and says, “Erin. Calm down. That’s JB Gadd. He’s our year and he’s from Dallas, TX. Really nice guy. I like him a lot.” I stared at JB for the rest of the game, falling for him more and more every second.
JB: A few innings into one of the first games of the spring, I noticed a routine spectator sitting in the first few rows of the home stands, Matt, but what shocked me was the girl sitting next to him. It was an all-too-familiar face from freshman orientation. As I jogged off the field one inning, I did my best to confirm that it was Erin, and I was right. The usual jabs from teammates continued through the afternoon, and I joked back and forth as well.
At one point while standing by the railing in the dugout, I turned to an assistant coach and said, “See the beautiful redhead sitting in the front row? I’m in love with her, and she doesn’t know it yet. We are going to get married.” Never in a million years would I have known just how right I was.
ERIN: After the game was over, I got home to my apartment and ran upstairs looking for Keiko while yelling, “Keiko! Keiko! I’m in love! I fell in love at the baseball game!”
She rolled her eyes. She’s used to me being somewhat boy-crazy and pretty dramatic. She said, “Oh, Really? Who is it?”
“Do you know who JB Gadd is?”
Remembering the tweet from last semester, Keiko started dying of laugher! “Erin! He literally tweeted at you last semester! He was in our class! Do you not remember that?!?”
Clearly, I didn’t and I felt really bad about it but couldn’t stop talking about him. I started to irritate Keiko with my slight obsession with JB and she decided to put an end to it. “Erin, you need to either SHUT UP about JB or do something about it.” I decided to do something about it. It was senior year with only a few months left. I had nothing to lose. With Keiko’s help we get his phone number from a mutual friend.
JB: Later that afternoon after the game, I received a text message from one of my teammates, who was a mutual friend of Erin and I. It read, “Hey big guy. Keiko just reached out to me for your phone number because she her friend is interested. I’m pulling for you.” I knew it had to be Erin. I thought it was one big joke, but for the next few hours, I frantically checked my phone every time it rang hoping to hear from Erin.
ERIN: Once I had his phone number I decided to wait for a while until I decided what to text him first. All night, through dinner, post-dinner drinks, and our walk to a bar, I kept brainstorming with my friends what I should say. I must have been driving people crazy because when I wasn’t looking a friend-of-a-friend, who I didn’t know but came out with us that night, took my phone and texted JB, “Hey. I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately…”
Realizing what this stranger did, I was mortified and practically started bawling at the bar, “What are we in middle school!? I can’t respond and say, ‘OOPs, sorry! My friend stole my phone…’. Are you kidding me?!”
But guess what I did? About 15 minutes later, I said to JB, “I’m so sorry! My friend stole my phone!” Smooth…
JB: While checking my phone all night, I finally received a message from an unknown number that read, “Hey…I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.”
I paused. I started to respond. I stopped. I did this about 5 times. I eventually put my phone away because I had no idea what to say. Then the phone buzzed again, “I’m so sorry! My friend stole my phone and texted you!” To which I replied, “Erin. If that was a failed pickup line, say it was a failed pickup line.”
ERIN: JB could not have had a better response to my text. With a playful jab at my attempt to talk to him, JB responded with, “Erin. If that was a failed pickup like, just admit it was a failed pick up line.”
After reading that, I threw my head back in laughter and he stole another piece of my heart with his humor and charm. Witty comments like those continue to make me laugh today. Soon after, we went on our first date. I was so smitten by JB that I distinctly remember telling him, “I don’t care what happens with us after graduation. I like you so much and I want to spend every day I with you at least until then…” Every minute from then on we spent together. The rest is history!
how they asked
It was Memorial Day weekend and JB and I had just returned from Austin, TX on Saturday night. Two of my best friends were in town for what I thought were completely unrelated reasons. However, I later found out that it was all completely planned. We “decided” to enjoy Memorial Day by heading out to some wineries outside of D.C. near Middleburg, VA. It’s absolutely beautiful out there and seemed like a great way to enjoy the day off. Lo May, Cthrn May, Morgan Kilper, Keiko Hoen, Kristen Bailey and I spent the afternoon hopping from vineyard to vineyard snacking on cheese and bread and tasting wine.
All day, a little part of me was hoping for a proposal and I was hoping that with each vineyard we went to, perhaps JB would be there. That never happened. 6pm rolls around and we are all talking about heading home – it was getting late and we all had work the next day. My friends are great liars and convinced me at our final winery that we would leave, stop by the grocery store to get food, and have a BBQ at JB’s house. At this point I knew that the day was over and there was no chance that today was the day.
I had given up all hope as we left that vineyard and in a complete, saddened haze I walked right by a driver that was waiting for me. After my friends + sisters redirected me back to the car that was waiting for me and once the driver handed me a letter with JB’s handwriting, I knew exactly what was going on and started sobbing.
I got in the car, enjoyed the ride, and read the letter from JB. The letter prepared me for what was about to happen and also provided some instructions. I was to enjoy the ride and the staff at the next location would be waiting for me. After about 15 minutes, the car pulled up the long driveway to the Salamander Resort & Spa. If you ever ever been here, you know how beautiful it is pulling up. I knew the resort as I had been there before and LOVED it. Actually, Rob May was the first person to ever take me there. It meant a lot to be there and I felt as if Rob was there for this moment. We all miss him so much.
I got out of the car, was greeted by the resort staff, and subsequently led to my room. In the room, I found a second note from JB as well as Henry’s (our French Bulldog) wiggling butt! On the second note were more instructions, “Welcome. There are dresses in the closet, additional clothes in the dresser, and your makeup is in the bathroom. Arrive in the lobby no earlier than 7:20 to meet your escort. I love you. P.s.- Say hello to Henry.”
So there I was. I had no clue what to do with myself. I was pacing the room, excited and nervous. I had more than an hour before I was allowed to leave the room. I selected a new dress and tried to calm my nerves by talking with Henry (classic, none of my friends were answering my texts). 2 days later (read: 25 minutes), the time had come. I kissed Henry goodbye and made my way from the room to the main lobby of the resort.
I stepped off of the elevator and rounded the corner to the long hallway that leads to the center of the lobby. I passed a few smiling members of the resort staff, looked up, and saw JB standing alone. I eagerly walked towards him and gave him a big hug. He then grabbed my hand and began to lead me through the lobby and towards the back lawn.
We passed a few couples finishing dinner on the patio and tried our hardest to make small talk as we meandered through the lawn on our way to the Stallion Barn that overlooked a small pond. I think this was the only time JB and I were incredibly awkward together due to the anticipation and nerves. We reached the small porch of the barn and JB guided me to stand with my back to the sun and we held hands with white knuckles. JB spoke for a few minutes (and you’ll have to ask him what he said, because I have NO recollection). JB’s voice shook and I was on the verge of tears as he reached for his back pocket, kneeled, and asked me to marry him.
Before I answered, I bent down and kissed him on the forehead to which he responded, “So…is that a yes?” I confirmed, excitedly. Then JB slipped the ring on my finger before standing up and embracing me with a hug and a kiss. We turned around to face the photographer, Coleen Hauth Photography, snapping away and then took a few additional pictures.
After the photos were taken, we walked hand-in-hand through the back lawn and into the main building where JB led me to a private dining room. We swung the doors open and were greeted by 15 of our closest family and friends for a dinner filled with toasts, tears and laughter. With stomachs full, we made our way to the firepit situated on the back lawn where the girls enjoyed glasses of wine and the guys celebrated with cigars. We laughed and drank through the night before all returned to their rooms, only to meet for brunch the following morning. Thank you so much for everyone who was involved with the planning and/or made their way to DC to celebrate. We are SO excited to be engaged and to be married!