Jackie and Andres

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How We Met

Andres and I met in May of 2007 through Music Showcase Community Theatre group in Brandon, Florida. We were working on Les Mis at the time — I was Assistant Director and Andres was an ensemble member. I was 16 at the time and he was 15; we had just finished up our Sophomore year of high school, attending rival schools. Andres and I had a mutual friend together in the theatre group, who was the person that convinced Andres to join the musical.

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It was pretty much love at first site. Andres and I had spoken a few times throughout the weekend rehearsals, but it was the weekend of performances that we really began chatting and flirting with one another. During the daytime performance, I collected cell phones during the performance to stop “microphone interference” (imagine that…) to which Andres flirtly protested and joked around with me (also imagine that…). Upon returning the cell phone, Andres continued to joke with me and so I gave him a hug in return for cooperation. That’s where the spark really began. There was a cast dinner at Chili’s shortly after, and both Andres and I did our best to get seats by one another without being seemingly obvious. Friends that carpooled with me later reminded me that the entire way there I was apparently freaking out about “how cute he was,” etc. We were not able to get seats next to each other, but no worries, there was a cast lock-in after dinner.

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The lock-in was a tradition that Music Showcase held after every musical, in which the entire cast and crew stayed up all night and watched videos of the show, talked, bonded, and celebrated the entire of the show. I had arrived a few minutes late to the lock-in and everyone had started viewing a slideshow of pictures from the weekend’s show. I really wanted a good spot for viewing, but also thought this was a perfect opportunity to try and sit next to Andres. I walked up to him and asked if I could sit next to him in which he (very) happily replied “yes, of course!” After the slideshow was over, Andres and I did not get up from our spots — we laid on the floor and talked about random things and got to know each other for hours. We took a few goofy pictures, talked about music (like his ringtone — “Alive With the Glory of Love” by Say Anything), and exchanged numbers. I put my number in Andres’ phone as “JackJack My Love” and his number in my phone as “Andres My Love” (which it still is today). Andres was originally not going to stay the night — his parents were going to pick him up later, but Andres called his mom and convinced her to let him stay because he had “met a girl.”

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A little while later in the evening, me, my best friend (even to this day) Brittany, Andres, and a few others decided to build a “fort” out of a bunch of stacked chairs that were in the facility. Once the fort was built, people came in and out to chat and hang out for the remainder of the night. Andres and I stayed there the entire evening, chatting and further getting to know one another. I had a migraine (as per usual…) and Andres attempted to pinch the nerve on the inside of my hand to comfort me (aka an excuse to hold my hand — I didn’t mind). We laughed a lot and spoke in funny accents all night — truly being the weirdos that we are. We fell asleep holding hands and cuddled up to one another — nose to nose (very out-of-character for us). Andres’ dad and sister picked him up the next day and we promised to text one another soon.

A week passed with some text messages here and there, and then Andres and I decided to meet up at a Look Mexico (local band) concert. We met up and the chemistry was even stronger than before. We sat by each other, held hands, and laughed throughout the entire concert — Andres calling the band’s guitar a “rocket ship” along with other typical Andres banter, etc. :) Afterwards the group went to dinner where Andres and I took some of our first photos (that we still have) together, as seen in the photo below.

After that day, Andres and I were inseparable. We would stay up until 4:00 to 6:00 A.M. every night chatting on the phone, getting to know each other on a deep level. Every day we would hang out for hours with our theatre friend group. It was a truly a magical summer of teenage love. We started “officially” dating on June 12th, 2007. We began saying “I love you” from the very start, as goofy teens casually do — but that’s how they asked me out! One day he said “I love you,” but this time it was really serious; I replied “I love you, too, but what are we?” in which he asked me out (fo real). I always knew I loved him, but on July 4th, 2007 I said “I love you” for the first time and felt it with all of my being. He was just laying on the couch watching an animal show on tv not even realizing I was watching him, and I just looked at him, and I just knew this was it. For the long haul.

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In Fall, Junior year of high school started, and we remained as strong as ever. There were many afternoons of baking and cooking at my house, and many weekends of hanging with Andres’ family and friends. We continued to do musical theatre with Music Showcase, as well. We frequented many local concerts (including Andres’ own band, Parkway) and loved attending community events (as we still do to this day). Throughout all of high school, I kept a handwritten journal of all of Andres and I’s love stories and cute moments — many of which I plan to incorporate into my vows. ;)

Four homecoming dances and two proms later, Andres and I graduated high school and continued our journey together at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. We developed a new set of friends and enjoyed our time growing, finding ourselves, learning to live away from home, and exploring Orlando together. We both accepted our first “big kid” jobs — myself at Bing Beverage and Andres at Mitsubishi Power Systems and later Lockheed. We became Disney Annual Passholders and frequented the parks A LOT! This is where our true love for Disney stemmed! In 2013, I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Marketing and Andres with a Bachelors in Industrial Engineering.

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In June of 2013, Andres and I moved into our first apartment together, shortly after celebrating our six year anniversary. I accepted a position at SGM Engineering in Orlando, while Andres went on to receive his Masters degree in Industrial Engineering (graduating with a 4.0). Disney trips continues (sometimes three times per week!!) and we developed our own cute little household. We enjoyed our time together in our new home and began to love Orlando even more as we continue to explore areas outside of the general UCF area.

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In Winter of 2014, Andres and I both accepted new positions in Atlanta — myself with Jordan & Skala Engineers and Andres with AT&T. We researched the heck out of Atlanta, packed up, and said good-bye to our first apartment and home-away-from-home. We quickly settled into our new Atlanta lives and have been loving it ever since! Both Andres and I are absolute city people, so Atlanta was a great, natural fit for both of us. Andres continues to mountain bike every week and I enjoys running my small business when I’m not working at my full-time job or free-lance gig.

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how they asked

On December 12th, 2016 (our 9.5 “monthaversary”), Andres proposed! Andres and I had a crazy busy few months and decided that a spur-the-moment vacation was absolutely needed. We decided on New York City — one of our favorite places, particularly during Christmas. The entire trip was a blast and we explored the majority of the city, packing our days with sight-seeing, Broadway shows, and good eats.

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The last day of the trip, Monday 12/12, we slept in, got breakfast at a local Broadway-area diner, and explored Central Park for awhile. We knew they wanted to go the The Top of The Rock (Rockefellar Center) before the trip was over, so Andres had bought tickets for that afternoon. Prior to going to The Top of the Rock, we got coffee and a snack. While we were there, we began talking about how long we had been together and how amazing the trip was. We calculated out that we had been together 114 months and found out that to be together 1,000 months, we would have to be together until 89 years old. We agreed that was doable so our new “life goal” is to stay alive until 89 so we can reach 1,000 months!

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As we left coffee, we went to the Top of the Rock. The views were absolutely breathtaking and Andres had secured a time during sunset which made for the most amazing lighting, as well. He and I talked, cuddled, and recalled the weekend’s trip and memories for about an hour. It was incredibly romantic and the views were to die for. At this time, Andres mentioned that he had to use the restroom (which is when he secretly called the photographer he had hired!!). When he returned, he said “let’s explore this side [of the Top of the Rock] for a bit,” so we did!

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We were looking over the edge of the building when a photographer stopped us and said “hey, would you guys mind posing for a photo for me?” Andres and I replied “sure, that’s fine” and the photographer took a few casual photos. In order to throw me off of his trail, Andres said “So, what are you planning to do with these pictures? Why are you taking these?” in which the photographer replied “Oh, I’m a photographer and take pictures up here sometimes. I like to take pictures of couples, but I couldn’t get anyone to stand still for two seconds. It’s such a beautiful and romantic spot.” At that moment, Andres and I both looked over the edge and said “Yeah, it really is” when Andres took a deep breath. He looked at me and began to play with my hair. He said, “Love, I have loved these last 114 months with you, and I absolutely can not wait to reach 1,000.” He began to cry and so did I. He said “I have something I want to ask you, and I have something I want to give you….no, it’s not a gameboy (in typical Andres fashion haha!).” I replied “yes!” way too soon — Andres said “I’m going to need you to take your glove off.” He got down and one knee and asked “Will you marry me?”

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— I was in utter joyous shock, and of course said “yes!” and kissed him a million times. Meanwhile the photographer was snapping away taking photos. Andres slid a gorgeous custom-created rose gold flower ring on my left ring finger.

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Andres and I called our parents and family on the Top of the Rock while the photographer continued to take photos. Andres and I were in complete excitement and bliss, and the photographer took a few more pictures down at the bottom of Rockefeller center.

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Shortly after, Andres and I called our friends to announce the news, and followed the evening with a fabulous dinner and champagne to celebrate. We have not been able to stop calling each other “My Fiance” ever since! We feel like two giggly 16 year olds again.

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We plan to get married on September 29th, 2018, which is my parent’s wedding anniversary, as a tribute to my recently-deceased father.

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Special Thanks

Matthew Raney Photography
 | Engagement Photography