Hannah and Justin

Image 1 of Hannah and Justin

How We Met

Justin and I met when we were 20 in our cinema class during April of 2013. We had just come back from spring break and were halfway through the semester. I remembered always seeing him sit in the same spot every week and thinking he was super cute. So I decided why not sit near him this week! I found a chair and sat down when he came to the row, looked at me, hesitated for a second, and then came and sat next to me. I could not believe my plan had actually worked! We sat in silence and I thought about ways I could try to make conversation with him. We ended up talking about homework and I complimented his Sperry’s and awkwardly pointed out how our outfits were matching. I was wearing maroon pants, brown boots, and a jean shirt. He was brown pants, brown shoes, and a maroon striped tee. I will never forget that! After my failed attempts to spark conversation I had given up hope. But then he noticed I was wearing a bracelet from Hume Lake Christian Camps and asked me about it. I lit up at the thought of him possibly having been there and being a Christian. We ended up connecting over our mutual love for Jr.High ministry and summer camps. I took a mental note of his name from his homework so I could find him on Facebook later. After class was over we walked back to our cars together. We talked about our ideas on marriage and how I love country music and he hates it! That was a bummer haha.

Image 2 of Hannah and Justin

When I got home I stalked his Facebook and we didn’t talk again until the following week of class. After that we started talking more frequently on Facebook. As weeks went by he had yet to ask for my number and I grew really impatient. So after class, I was walking through the parking lot alone and I noticed his truck. Without thinking, I ripped out a piece of paper and grabbed a pen to leave my number on his truck. Since that day he invited me to hang out with him outside of class. Our feelings grew for one another and since we had so many unknown mutual friends, people were getting suspicious. One day while we were hanging out at his house watching Lord Of the Rings, he asked me if I would go on a date with him. A couple weeks later, on May 17th, he surprised me with dinner at Miceli’s in Universal City and a date at the Griffith Observatory. I’m talking La La Land status! It was perfect and we made our relationship official on May 19th.

Image 3 of Hannah and Justin

how they asked

On January 28th, Justin and I had a planned photo shoot in Malibu with my best friend Katie. Before we even began to take pictures she scheduled another shoot with us for February 19th in Ventura, Ca. All day we made jokes about how we were basically taking engagement photos, except that we weren’t engaged. I thought it was hilarious and comical because all of our friends would be fooled when we posted pictures! Little did I know most of them already knew Justin was going to propose a few weeks later. During that month in between Katie told me I should buy a dress I would want to wear for when I got engaged. So I thought, sure why not be extra prepared! I bought a dress that was intended to be kept in her closet for what I thought would be months to break out whenever Justin proposed. I was 100% convinced that Justin would not propose until around our 4-year anniversary.

He had just purchased a car, one of his goals before we got engaged. Justin and Katie also made comments on a regular basis that misguided me into thinking it would not happen for a while! On Valentine’s Day, Justin and I continued our favorite tradition of getting tacos from Snapper Jack’s and eating them on the beach at Ventura Harbor while watching the sunset. I was scouting areas we could shoot the following week with Katie and found a cool spot that I took a mental note of. February 19th rolls around and Justin and I are sitting in church together. Our pastor makes an announcement about a retreat for engaged and married couples in March, so I leaned over to Justin and whispered, “expect for Justin and Hannah” as a joke because we couldn’t attend since we weren’t engaged! After church, I went home and started getting ready for the photo shoot.

Katie came over shortly after to get ready with me. She told me she needed to take my dress to her car and I said “okay, but Justin had no idea it exists so you need to make sure he doesn’t see it!” He knew. And she also wasn’t sneaking it to her car, she was sneaking it to his. We made our way to Ventura Harbor and walked to that spot I had found on Valentine’s Day. Katie began setting up her camera and told Justin and I to face each other. A couple minutes later he started getting very affectionate, more than normal. Then I heard him say my name and when I looked at him he began to get down on one knee. In that split second I went into panic mode and once I saw him pull out a box from his back pocket it I was in complete shock!

Image 4 of Hannah and Justin

I immediately looked to Katie to make sure this was actually happening and she said to me “this is real Hannah”.

Image 5 of Hannah and Justin

I looked back to Justin while he told me he loved me and I started yelling, “OH MY GOD THIS ISN’T REAL OH MY GOD THIS IS NOT HAPPENING NO NO NO” for about a minute straight! The tears began pouring down my face, I couldn’t control my emotions! Sweet Justin had to stand back up and console me with a hug before getting back down on his knee and asking me to marry him. I eventually said yes after he told me he needed to hear me say it even though he already knew the answer.

Image 6 of Hannah and Justin

We hugged and kissed and I was an emotional wreck! It made sense now why Katie asked me if I was wearing waterproof mascara before we left! Once I calmed down a bit I looked at Katie and said, “you brought the dress didn’t you?” That’s when I changed and we took our engagement photos moments after the proposal. We had previously planned to eat at Snapper Jack’s after the shoot and after Justin had seen the way I reacted to the proposal he thought he should tell me that “some” people would be there waiting for us. When we walked into Snapper Jack’s, all of our close family and friends began to cheer!

Image 7 of Hannah and Justin

I stopped in my tracks and again the tears came flooding in. My mom immediately ran over to me with flowers and gave me a hug. There were over 25 people there ready to celebrate with us! I was so overwhelmed by all the support and love we were receiving from everyone. Then, as if I could handle any more surprises, Justin took me by one of my close friend’s houses on the way home because she could not be there! It was the cherry on top of the night to be able to have some peace and quiet while we ate cake, popped some champagne, and shared the story with close friends of ours. This is a day I will never forget.

Image 8 of Hannah and Justin

Special Thanks

Katie Ruther
 | Photography & proposal plan