How We Met
We met in a class at the University of Memphis where we were both graduate students in the Psychology Department. Jessa was in the school psychology program (she graduated this past May with her Education Specialist degree), and I was/am in the experimental psychology program (I graduate next May with my PhD). We were both assigned to the same discussion group, so we got to know each other a bit throughout the semester.
We started to talk outside of class later on after I commented on a Pokémon Go video she shared on her Facebook page. She commented back saying we should go Pokémon Go hunting together. We never did, but that got us talking more, and I invited her to come out with me and a group of my friends who were planning on going to Zoo Brew. Zoo Brew is an event that the Memphis Zoo holds where attendees get to walk around the zoo for the evening and sample different beers. This was our first date, so the event of course now holds a special place in our hearts.
How They Asked
When the next year rolled around, Jessa and I kept our eyes out for another Zoo Brew, but for some reason the zoo decided not to hold it that year. When finally, two years after our first date at Zoo Brew, the Memphis Zoo announced the return of the event, I knew immediately that that was where I wanted to propose to her. Jessa was the one who first saw that it was happening again, so she said we should go, which was great because I needed it to be her idea so that she didn’t get suspicious. We promptly alerted the same group of friends (plus a few new ones) who went to that first Zoo Brew with us so that they could come to this one as well.
I spent the next two or so weeks planning how it would all go down with one of my best friends, Erica (she was going to Zoo Brew with us). I wanted to catch it on video, but I knew it would tip Jessa off if someone randomly started filming us, so we planned for Erica to pretend to be taking a picture but actually be taking a video. Erica also carried the ring for me in her purse so that Jessa wouldn’t see it in my pocket on the way to the zoo. We were pretty comical practicing the secret ring handoff a few days before the proposal took place. I was also plotting how to get Jessa to invite her best friend Chelse to the event (again, if it was my idea she would’ve been suspicious). Fortunately for me, she actually did decided on her own to invite Chelse. Everything was working out perfectly!
Once at the zoo, we set up to take the “picture” out front. I turned to Jessa, saying how the first time we went to Zoo Brew, she was going as the cute girl who I had a huge crush on and had been flirting with. Then I asked her if this time she would go as my fiancé. Before I even finished the first sentence, I could see the realization on her face. I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She started to cry with the overwhelming surprise and happiness, which I had imagined would probably happen.
But then, something I had never pictured in the countless times I played through the proposal in my head, instead of coming toward me so I could give her the ring, she started moving away from me. I was laughing at how surprised she was, but underneath I was confused about what she was doing. She was starting to make me nervous. You can imagine my surprise (and relief) when she grabbed her purse and pulled out the engagement ring that she was planning to give me! I later found out that it wasn’t until that morning that she’d thought of proposing to me (can you tell she’s the spontaneous one and I’m the planner?).
That’s where our first date was, many of our friends were going to be there, and I love beer, so she figured it was perfect! She put the ring in her purse, unsure of exactly when that night she was going to propose, but she knew that she would know when the moment was right.
Obviously the moment was right! She had planned on pulling Erica aside later on that evening to let her in on the secret, but she hadn’t had an opportunity to get her alone, so nobody knew that she was planning to propose that night. Later on in the evening, I also gave Jessa a journal that I had been keeping for the past year. Each entry was a reason why I wanted to marry her with a corresponding anecdote from our life together.