How We Met
Juelia and I met on a warm, summer night at my brother, Evan Bass’ and Carly Waddell’s wedding in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. Juelia and the happy couple had previously been on The Bachelor/Bachelorette TV shows, as well as Bachelor in Paradise, so ABC was kind enough to fly their close friends and family down for the filming. Juelia and I were both in the wedding party since I was there as family and Juelia was Carly’s best friend, but we had never previously come in contact. We met the first night at the dress rehearsal and connected over the fact that we both have kids. We showed off pics of our children like proud parents do, had deep conversations over wine, and continued to spend time together as the weekend progressed.
The day we left, I escorted my parents and nephews through the airport and Juelia joined right along with us. I remember thinking that she already felt like family, and was determined to see her again. Three weeks after the wedding, I flew out to San Diego. We visited Catalina Island and spent time in Encinitas where she lived at the time, and when it came time for me to leave, we both had a difficult time saying goodbye. I invited her to come spend time with me in Nashville – my home city – and after 8 months of alternating trips and frequent 2 hour FaceTime chats, she and her daughter moved to Nashville. I never imagined that the adorable blonde bridesmaid who was walking behind me in the wedding (and who happened to be the best friend of my brother’s wife) would be the woman that I would end up marrying and blending families with one day.
how they asked
<6 months ago, we planned a week-long getaway in Cancun, Mexico. Being parents of toddlers and both working full-time, we try to jump at any chance we get at time away together. Since most of the photos we post nowadays consist mostly of recruited stranger shots and blurry selfies, we decided to hire a photographer to take some professional photos while we were there.
After our flight, we took a taxi from the airport, and settled into our hotel room to freshen up. Little did Juelia know, I (Aaron) had been secretly emailing the resort concierge for weeks trying to setup the special moment. But Juelia, being the sassy and strong-willed woman that she is, was always going to be difficult to catch off guard.
The plan was that by 2pm, the staff was going to create a path on the beach leading to a huge heart in the sand with the words “Will You Marry Me?” written in rose petals, and follow that up by a celebratory bottle of champagne. Since Juelia has always been a beach girl through and through, proposing near the ocean in the same foreign country that we originally met was the best option by far.
As 2pm approached, I told Juelia that we should go down to the beach to see the water before the photographer got there, and she agreed. But 10 mins before we were planning to go, Juelia had the sudden genius idea of taking a shower and washing her hair, which every taken guy knows has the potential to not be a short process. Trying my best to hide my anxiety, I said it was fine, waited for her to hop in the shower, and urgently sent an email to the concierge with an update. After her shower, I asked if she was ready, to which she replied “I think I’m going to just send a few quick emails for work”. My blood pressure rose further, and I sent another stressful concierge email.
After what felt like 16.7 hours, we finally headed down to the beach. Seeing as how I had never been to the resort we were staying at, I had no idea where anything was other than what they had described in the email. As we made our way down the stairs to the beach, I tried to play it cool while also looking frantically around for the area they mentioned without her noticing. Juelia wanted to go touch the water, so I made up my best excuse as to why we should instead keep walking to a random, deserted area of the beach near some dunes. I could only hope our spot was near there.
As we walked past the cabanas, we saw it in the distance. I tried to play it like I had no idea what it was, and she commented about how nice it would be for someone. I looked at her and said, “Actually, babe. This is for you.” I held her hands and repositioned her to the front of the sand heart, got down on one knee and spilled my heart out. She gasped multiple times and kept saying the thing she always says when she is pleasantly surprised: “are you serious??!!” And it turns out the answer was yes. Yes, I was.