Jessalin and Austin

Image 1 of Jessalin and Austin

How We Met

Austin and I both grew up in Birmingham, AL, thirty minutes apart actually. Our football teams played each other in high school, and he even attended my Junior homecoming, with another girl of course! We had a lot of mutual friends, but oddly enough, that is not how we met.

Image 2 of Jessalin and Austin

If you ask Austin, he will say we met at Panera Bread during the Summer of 2013. Really, we met 8 months earlier… on Facebook. Austin Facebook stalked me and added me after he saw my name pop up under the “People You May Know” section because he claims he thought I was gorgeous. I had just started college 2 weeks earlier at the University of Chicago, and he was in school at Auburn University at the time.

Image 3 of Jessalin and Austin

It took Austin 3 months to get my phone number and another 5 months to convince me to meet up with him in person. I finally agreed to meet up with him at Panera Bread when I got home from college for the summer. While I was waiting to get my food, I saw my dream guy walk through the door: tall, blonde, blue eyes, and with a deep voice! After talking for a couple of hours, I pretty much knew right there that I was in trouble because I wasn’t going to be able to keep myself from falling for this guy!

Image 4 of Jessalin and Austin



3 days later, we had our first date (and kiss) at the movies. We hung out for the rest of the summer until he had to go back to Auburn for football Fall Camp. I went to visit him every week until I had to go back to Chicago for school. We did the long distance thing for the rest of that entire school year, with me flying back to Birmingham every 3 weeks to see him. After the school year ended, I transferred to Auburn to be with him for his last semester there. Auburn was a state school, which I swore I would never attend. I am also a life-long Alabama fan (rivals), so it was a hard decision for me to make, but I did it for him.

Image 5 of Jessalin and Austin

After one semester together, he graduated in December 2014 and moved back to Birmingham (a 2 hour drive), so we were back to long distance for a whole year until I graduated a semester early in December 2015. During our 3 1/2 year relationship thus far, we have probably spent less than a year’s time actually living in the same city. I am now in Law School at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa (an hour drive from Birmingham), and he is coaching football at the University of Alabama at Birmingham or UAB. He is also a personal trainer on the side! (hunk!) He still lives in Birmingham, and I have a house in Tuscaloosa where I live with our new puppy, Tiye!


Image 6 of Jessalin and Austin

how they asked

Austin and I take bi-annual trips to Chicago every year. The day after I finished my first semester of law school finals, we took a much needed road trip up there to relax and enjoy ourselves for a week. Austin kept insisting that we go to Adler Planetarium to take a picture in front of the Chicago skyline like we always did, even though it was below freezing, which it never has been before when we’ve gone. (See photo above). Adler is far out on the lake and is my favorite spot in the entire city, but it is also one of the windiest spots in the city, which makes cold feel even colder.

The first few days that we were there, Austin was acting very strange. Every time his phone would light up with a text, he would snatch his phone up so I couldn’t see it. He even changed his pass code on his phone. He kept running off to make phone calls that I wasn’t allow to hear. He was communicating with the company that he hired for the proposal and didn’t want me to know. Things got even weirder when he told me we should go take pics at Adler “around 2:00” on Saturday. Austin never plans anything and never insists on a precise time for anything. I told him all of the reasons why we shouldn’t go, like how it was going to be -17 windchill, how the snow was so built up that we wouldn’t be able to get down by the water like we usually did, how no one would be out there to take our picture, and how we had left the camera at home, but he still insisted.

That day, I got ready early, so around 1:05, I told him we could get going. After all, it was just taking a picture! He didn’t want to give anything away by telling me we had to wait, so he agreed. We wrapped ourselves up in our 5 layers and headed downstairs. When we got to the hotel lobby, he asked me if I had gotten his gloves. When I said no, he immediately turned around, without even asking me if I wanted to join him, and headed back up to the room to get them. He really went back up there to get the ring. Austin is very forgetful, and he used that to his advantage in this case. In fact, he had already lost his gloves once that trip, and it wasn’t like he could get by without them.

When he got back down, I asked if he was ready to go, and he told me we should get some hot chocolate first. I interrogated him because that didn’t make sense, but he said he knew I loved hot chocolate, and I couldn’t argue with that. Things got really odd when he refused to go to the Starbucks in our hotel lobby, but wanted to walk to the one down the street instead because “a walk would be nice.” Again, it was -17 outside! I wasn’t happy about it, but I agreed to it. When we got to Starbucks, he wanted to drink our drinks IN the store with our 5 layers on. I lasted as long as I could without getting heatstroke before I insisted we leave already. He could tell I was getting agitated, so he agreed. The whole time he had been trying to stall to give the company he hired time to get there and get everything set up.

We finally got moving and actually arrived at the planetarium around 2:20, so his stalling did pay off. As we were walking over to the edge of the planetarium, I noticed a drone flying overhead. I had mentioned to Austin at one point that a drone would make an awesome proposal video, so when I saw it, I immediately thought “what is THAT drone for??”

We didn’t have much time to waste, because every minute was one minute closer to frostbite. We got to the spot to take the picture, and Austin almost immediately ran over to this group of people to ask them to take our picture. He ended up handing his iPhone to a teenage girl who was with her family. She began taking photos of us, but she was taking a REALLY long time. I even asked Austin at one point “Is she even taking a picture?”

After that, he asked me if I knew why he had brought me there. It immediately crossed my mind that he might propose, but I didn’t want to say that, so I just said “uhhhh…. not really.”

Image 7 of Jessalin and Austin

It was at that moment that he got down on one knee. Here is where my memory is foggy. I started balling my eyes out and threw my hands over my face before he had even gotten completely on his knee. I don’t even remember him asking me “Will you marry me?”

Image 8 of Jessalin and Austin

He swears he did though, and I’ll take his word for it. I just kept asking “Are you serious? Are you serious?” over and over again. I didn’t even get a good look at the ring.

Image 9 of Jessalin and Austin

He had to ask me if I was going to take my glove off. Even though I don’t remember doing so, I guess I did because the next thing I knew, he was slipping the ring onto my finger. But then, he paused to ask “Are you going to say yes?” I had completely forgotten all about that part because I was in complete shock!

Image 10 of Jessalin and Austin

I was somehow able to muster up the ability to say “yes” through my sobs. He slid the ring all the way onto my finger, then got up and started kissing me. While we were kissing, I pulled away to make sure he got my dad’s permission, and it turns out, he did!

Image 11 of Jessalin and Austin

He then pointed to the drone that he hired to video the whole thing to let me know it was for us. (Check of the video link to see for yourself! The drone guy didn’t get the angle Austin wanted, so it isn’t the best video, but it is better than nothing. Austin edited the video himself. Our song, the song that was playing when he asked me to be his girlfriend, is playing in the background!)

Image 12 of Jessalin and Austin

The next thing I know, some guy with a professional camera comes running towards us and starts taking our pictures. This was the photographer that Austin ALSO hired! We took as many photos as we could without freezing to death. When we couldn’t stand the cold anymore, we ran inside Adler. My hand was SO cold because I had to have my glove off for pics.

Image 13 of Jessalin and Austin

Everything about the proposal was perfect! (except for the sub-zero temperatures and the extremely strong wind!) I had told my dad before I even met Austin that I wanted to be proposed to at Adler. Austin planned it without even knowing that. He got a video AND pictures of the proposal, just as I had requested. He also kept it a secret from our families like I requested because I wanted to be the one to tell them. After 3 1/2 years of waiting, I finally get to marry the man of my dreams! I am one lucky girl!

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Our Video

Special Thanks

 | Photographer and drone videographer