Gillian and Will

Gillian's Proposal in Jacksonville Beach, Florida

How We Met

Will and I both went to Florida State University, and met at one of my friends’ birthday parties. Will was fairly new to FSU, since he transferred from another school, and didn’t know many people. His roommate happened to be dating my friend Maria (who was roommates with the birthday boy), so they convinced Will to come out to the party and have a good time. As he tells the story, he walked into the party and his eyes immediately turned to me in my red dress on the dance floor. He even felt so compelled as to update his Facebook status to “Wow, you are beautiful” (which I later found out was about me). At one point during the party, Maria came over to me and exclaimed, “You have to meet Will; he’s perfect!” I chuckled to myself a bit and followed her over, thinking that it was just going to be more party chatter. Will and I got to talking, and we found out that we were both from the same hometown, and we went to rival high schools.

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He even knew who a bunch of my high school friends were, and I knew a few of his as well…he even went to go see a play I was in during my 9th grade year, yet the two of us had never heard of each other until that night. We talked and laughed the night away, astounded that we had so much in common and that our paths had crossed in so many ways before finally meeting one another. As the night drew to a close, Will’s roommate started to boast about how great of a cook Will was. Most guys I knew in college called a gourmet dinner a bowl of Easy Mac and a Bud Light, so this certainly peaked my interest, and I told him he had to prove it to me. A few days later, we had our first double date where Will cooked his roommates and I a delicious meal, followed by a movie (or a ‘cinematic adventure’, as we like to call outings to the movies.) I’m not one to say it was “love at first date”, but I definitely decided to keep him around for a while. ;) I was also in the circus at FSU, and Will came to every one of my shows, even before we were officially dating. I even convinced him to try out the next year and he made the troupe!

Where to Propose in Jacksonville Beach, Florida

how they asked

The first day that Will called himself my boyfriend was when we drove to Jacksonville Beach to see one of my favorite bands perform at a venue called Freebird Live. That day has been so special in our history, and we refer to it often as the start of everything good. This Christmas season, my mom (who is a professional photographer) decided that she wanted new pictures of couples for her portfolio, and that Will and I would be her next guinea pigs. We did a photo-shoot with her in the past, so I didn’t think anything of it. Two weeks before the shoot date, Will said to me, “why don’t we do the photo-shoot at Jacksonville Beach?” to which I replied, “Oh, maybe we can go to Freebird Live while we are there!”. I still had no inkling of a proposal at this point; I was just excited for another photo-shoot with the man I love, at a place we both love. We got there and started taking photos, and I looked across the street and my heart sank a little: Freebird Live was closed for good, and was being renovated into another venue.

Gillian and Will's Engagement in Jacksonville Beach, Florida

As we walked by though, I saw the cutest nook area, complete with a white fence-type backdrop, foliage everywhere, and twinkly string lights. I exclaimed how perfect that area was, and said that we had to take pictures there, while I pulled Will in to start dancing with me. After a short moment, he stopped me and said, “I have something for you”, and pulled out a note. He turned me around while I read the note, and about halfway through I could feel something happening behind me. Quickly, I turned around and gasped as Will was on one knee with the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen in a light-box and a tear in his eye.

After exclaiming, “is this really happening?!” I said “YES! A thousand times yes!”

Special Thanks

Vicki DiAddezio
Robert DiAddezio