how we met
Our story goes back to February 2019, the first time I, Justin, tried to catch Mason’s attention on an online dating site. After a few days of intermittent messages, Mason was not impressed. Six months later, Mason popped up again. He was traveling from Waco to Austin to spend the night with friends and go out. I messaged him, and we began casually talking and making small talk. As Mason started to socialize with his friends, he said, “want to facetime?” I gladly accepted, thanking the liquor that helped Mason ask, and we spoke on the phone for about 45 minutes.
On his way home the next day, Mason asked if I wanted to hang out, and I, again, gladly accepted. He showed up, 4 hours later than he said he would, to my house and grabbed some food. We were having a great conversation and a great time, so I asked if he wanted to grab a drink. I felt no shame in showing where I like to hide out as I took him to my favorite local watering hole, Sean’s Pub. Sean’s is a 5-star dive bar filled with loud karaoke, a constant haze of cigarette smoke, and some fantastic long island iced teas.
The night wrapped up, and we both knew it wouldn’t be the last time we saw each other. From that incredible August night, things have only gotten better.
how they asked
COVID-19 made this proposal nothing but chaotic, but it was worth it. In March, Mason and I planned to take a trip to Grand Cayman Island with my parents, and that is when the thoughts started building about a proposal. Long story short, COVID ruined those plans, and the next four dates, I thought I would be proposing. Finally, we got the OK to move from Texas to Alabama with work. The plans I originally had hashed out were all squashed since Florida had re-opened.
I needed to start throwing deflections. I planned a Labor Day family gathering for both sides in Florida. For me, this would be an immediate family “engagement party,” but, for Mason, he thought this was a proposal in the making. (SCORE!) Then, he had told my sister, “you don’t need to tell me when or how your brother is proposing, just make sure my eyebrows are fresh.” Say less. The day before moving, I told him to book us a spa day, who wouldn’t want to take a break from running nonstop to relax before a 12-hour drive? Now he had his facial done, spa day, eyebrows are done, and a new outfit.
As we drove to Pensacola Beach, Florida, I told him we had plans to go over a family friend’s house for some wine, and that’s where it all started. We got out of the car as live piano melodies drifted over the home “what is that music,” he asked. I told him to just come on! We made it to the back of the yard, where the immaculately landscaped yard featured candles and intimate seating. It was perfect. It took some time, then it set in as Mason goes, “Wait, what is this?” He read the letter I wrote to him as I snuck a ring out and got down (almost all the way down, I was wearing white linen pants) on a knee. The night continued to be more magical as there was a small twist at every point.
After music, champagne, and cheese and fruit, we went to the hotel. At the hotel, we were greeted with stemless wine glasses and more champagne as we headed to the beach for pictures. Pictures strategically led us up the beach to an incredible surf and turf dinner on the beach. Following dinner, we made our way back to the hotel room. Mason was talking about the perfect evening. We had already been to the hotel room, so it was safe…or was it? We rounded the corner for the suite, and there was a giant champagne balloon tied to the door. “Oh lord, now what could you have?” Mason opens the door to find the bedroom, hallway, and dining room table to be lined in votive candles. We found the dining room table where there were chocolate-covered strawberries, one last bottle of champagne, and life (the board game) to relax before the night concluded.