Jillian and John

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How We Met

John and I grew up less than 10 minutes from each other, but we didn’t meet until the summer after our first year of college, in May 2011, when we went to a Braves game with mutual friends. We didn’t get a chance to hang out before he went back to school in Tennessee in the fall, so we did the next best thing and became friends on Facebook but didn’t talk until I left him a “happy birthday” comment on his wall that October. He messaged me shortly after and asked me to grab some pizza when he came home for Thanksgiving break (how could I say no to pizza?). We exchanged numbers and immediately spent nearly every night on the phone for hours until he finally came back to Georgia a few weeks later. We had a really unique connection, and we just understood each other in a way neither of us had experienced with anyone else.

Unfortunately, our schools were six hours apart and he played college baseball, which made for numerous weekends spent in the car, months without seeing each other, and more texts and phone calls than we could keep up with. The first few years of our relationship were tough, but we worked through the stress of long distance and grew closer together (communication is key, for real). After graduating college, we were finally able to be together for a while before John started law school at UGA last fall, and before I started working towards my BSN at Kennesaw State. Luckily, the distance is far less than it once was, and we are much better at handling it!

We’ve been through a lot over these (almost) six years together that most couples haven’t gone through, but I couldn’t imagine having anyone else by my side.

how they asked

I was originally planning on dogsitting the weekend of John’s birthday in October but plans changed shortly beforehand, so I told him I’d be able to come spend time with him in Athens. A day or so later, he told me his parents were hosting a business dinner at Château Élan that Friday and wanted us to join. (This wasn’t unusual because his parents visit the resort often, and we’ve gone there with them before). I thought nothing of it and was looking forward to getting my nails done the day before with his mom and to meeting his dad’s business partners.

I headed to Athens on Friday a little later than I thought I would, giving me only about an hour to do my hair and makeup once I got there. John kept asking me if I was going to be ready on time (such little faith, ha!) because we had to “meet someone to set up a wine tasting for everyone.” We arrived at Château Élan only a few minutes late and walked into the winery, heading straight upstairs for the balcony.

When we walked outside, there was a table set up with rose petals and champagne, and I immediately realized what was happening. I teared up while he reminisced on how they asked me to be his girlfriend almost six years ago in the same spot and while he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife! I can’t remember if I actually ever said “yes” through the tears or if I just sealed it with a kiss. I was so in shock and over the moon!

The ring was another sweet surprise! During high school and college, I worked in a small jewelry store, where we all became family. About a year before John and I met, a gorgeous ring came into the store that I immediately fell in love with. It’s always been my favorite ring and it, somehow, never sold. I made sure everyone, including John, knew which one it was, and I would always kid that it was that ring or nothin’! (Even though I’d honestly be fine with a RingPop). It’s so special that he was able to get this ring for me!

John put so much effort into making it personal and keeping the proposal a surprise! I’m still in awe, and I’m beyond excited to marry such an incredible man!

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