Jacquelyn and Khuong-Nhi

Image 1 of Jacquelyn and Khuong-Nhi

how we met

I came to Chicago in 2001 to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). I ended up moving here in my third year of college and started a job at Leona’s Restaurant in Little Italy. It was now 2006 and the night before Easter Sunday. My job was having a party at a bar in Boys Town where a co-worker was bartending. I had never been in that area before so after spending some time with my co-workers, I left with my close friends from college to check out the nightlife there.

Our first stop was a club called Spin. My friends and I were having a great time, drinking and dancing. While on the dance floor, someone tapped me on my shoulder. I turned around and there she was, my Jacquelyn. She asked me to dance and I said yes. She bought me drinks, introduced me to her friends and vice versa and we barhopped the rest of the night. I somehow lost my friends and ended up hopping in a car with Jacquelyn and her friends back to their place. The next thing I remember was waking up with a massive headache in someone else’s bedroom other then my own. (Nothing happened, I promise.)

I know, I know. It’s not the most romantic “How we first met” story, but it gets better. It was Easter Sunday and I was at Jacquelyn’s friend’s apartment. Her friend’s whole family was there to have Sunday brunch. She introduced me to them while they cooked this incredible meal. We ate and drank and had a great time.

Afterwards, Jacquelyn started feeling sick because of all the drinking we had done the night before. So we spent the next few hours in bed with me taking care of her, while we watched “Gangs of New York.” She then took me home and we exchanged numbers. She called and asked me out the same night and we had our real “First Date” that Wednesday night. We saw each other again the next day. She ended up staying the night and we have never been apart since. She had told me further on in our relationship that she had fallen in love with me that Easter Sunday while I was taking care of her when she was sick.

Image 2 of Jacquelyn and Khuong-Nhi

How They Asked

It was the morning of July 17th. Is was a Sunday and it was a beautiful day. Jacquelyn had planned the day for us. It was actually day 2 of our Date Weekend. She had surprised me with a day at King Spa the day before for some much needed relaxation. It was a great day date! Onto day 2. She had gotten the car all packed up and ready to go before I got up. She let me sleep in, which is always a plus. I got up and got ready. Our dogs came with us, Nahla and Jetta, both Chihuahuas. I was getting excited. I know it was just another date, but between our two businesses, we rarely have time these days to do anything. So our date nights/days are always very special no matter what we do.

So off we go to my next surprise. I had no idea where we were headed. But I kind of had an idea once we started driving into our old neighborhood. She had planned a picnic in the park for us at Humboldt Park, where we used to live. We would go on picnics there often before life got too busy.

Jacquelyn had the spot picked out already. We laid out the blanket, took out the food and got settled. It was the perfect day. And then another surprise. We had just gotten the new VR Gear Virtual Reality Goggles. Jacquelyn, who is a Cinematographer, created a video for me to watch on YouTube. I didn’t think anything of it since she always does things like that. She got the video all set up and ready to go for me. I put on the goggles and pressed play.

Jacquelyn had made a video of our life together. She lip sang to specific songs while a slideshow played showcasing us throughout the years we had been together. Of course, being the sentimental person that I am, I started to cry. As the songs changed, I listened to words carefully. She was hinting something, but I didn’t want to jump to conclusions. But once I heard “It’s been a long time coming” and “I’m down on bended knee,” I knew what was happening.

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At the end of the video, she wrote, “Well????? What are you waiting for? Take em off!” My heart stopped. I couldn’t breath. As I started to take the goggles off, my heart started to beat faster and faster. Once my eyes adjusted, I saw her. There she was, my Jacquelyn Pillows, on her knee with a box in her hand. And the words, “Will You Marry Me?” came out of her mouth.

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Of course, I started bawling like a big baby! I couldn’t say anything! All I could do was nod my head, YES!!! The ring was absolutely stunning! A black diamond! Apparently I had picked it out myself a few months back, while ring shopping with our cousin and her boyfriend. Such a clever girl that Jacquelyn is. That same cousin helped plan the whole thing and was there with her boyfriend documenting the whole proposal!!! I had no idea they were there until Jacquelyn pointed them out!

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After the proposal, our cousin did a quick little photo shoot of us. It was a very happy and emotional shoot. I still couldn’t believe what was happening. It was an unbelievable day. We finally all sat down and had our picnic in the park. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day then that. Well, until our Wedding Day, that is.

Our Video

Special Thanks

Tony Cornelious
 | videographer
Lyndsay Coleman
 | photographer