Jessica and David

How We Met

David and I met at the University of Tampa when we were freshman, however, It wasn’t until two years later that we started “talking.” We would meet each other in Plant Park on campus and sit by the most beautiful tree to have lunch and talk between classes. This spot under the twisty tree became our spot to drop all the college stress going on at the time and just be with each other. We told each other EVERYTHING and I was shocked to see him at my dorm room picking me up for our first date with fresh carnations, a flower I told him was my favorite one day at “our spot.” He ordered the flowers a day before at a local florist, which I thought was even sweeter.

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A lot went into the first date because we both didn’t have cars and he had the perfect restaurant picked out that ended up being 30 minutes away. He borrowed a friends car, again pre-planned, and we drove off into the sunset, literally, as we went across the Howard Frankland bridge into downtown St. Petersburg. The restaurant was as beautiful as our conversation that night and later before driving home, we shared our first kiss.

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Little did I know this night 6 years ago would be the one to start the rest of our lives together!

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How They Asked

Over the past 6 years David has become more than just my boyfriend – he’s my best friend, my other half, my sane when things seem “crazy,” and my everything. We are insperable and I’m so thankful to have some around that makes even the most daunting tasks, like food shopping and laundry, seem fun.

I had a few weeks where I was getting stressed out with work so David mentioned he wanted to take me out for a drink during the sunset later in that week. The place was new and overlooked the water and the University of Tampa’s Plant Park faced it on the other side. I said of course and got excited for our night.

That night also happened to be National Margarita Day, and since we both love tequila, I started texting all our friends to meet us out for a margarita. When no one really answered I didn’t even get suspicious because I was about to have a beautiful night with David. I also wasn’t suspicious that my sister “took the day off from work” and when her and my mother told me to “keep the gel polish on my nails” because I work around people who see my hands often. I guess it paid off for David that I didn’t pick up on ANY signs that a proposal may be coming!

When we finally got an Uber to the bar, it started going through campus which I thought was a bit odd since we were supposed to be going to a bar. David, however, reassured me that it would be faster to walk across the river to the bar from campus because there was so much traffic downtown. Again, head-in-the-clouds me didn’t pick up on that sign either!

I was rushing through campus because I knew he wanted to catch the sunset and he pulled me back as we walked through Plant Hall, adjacent to “our spot” in the park, and slowed me down. When he stopped on the edge of the building, he took my hands and told me about our love story, from the experience we had meeting each other to becoming best friends there at that very spot. I knew at this point something was coming and was right to see him get down on one knee where I agreed to be his forever!

After I said yes, my sister and his friend Dave who is a photograph came running out from behind the bushes to congratulate us. Still thinking we’d be grabbing a drink, I figured us four would walk over to the bar. Once we got there, all of our friends, from college and new ones, were there in a private section waiting for us. I was on cloud 9 when I realized he had all of this planned! And also happy to realize my friends didn’t answer about the margaritas because they were nervous to spoil this surprise.

After a night of celebrating with my fiancé and closest friends, David and I came home and there on the counter was the most gorgeous 3 feet flower display of roses and banana leaves. It was the most stunning floral bouquet I ever saw and contained the sweetest love note from David on it. To my surprise, it was from the same floral shop he got my first date carnations at years ago. Yes – he had that planned, too! I still am on cloud 9 living the dream that I get to marry my best friend.

Special Thanks

 | Planning
Dave Pavlina
 | Photographer