Justin and Wade
On this day in 2015 after months of planning and a lifetime of dreaming, I mustered up the courage to ask someone very special to me to share life’s journey as one. Our adventure started over two years earlier when we met as performers for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Being a singer myself and Justin a dancer it seems traveling has been a way of not only our career but also our lives as when we are not on tour together, we live 9,900 miles apart with Justin being from Brisbane, Australia and myself from a small town in Georgia. I never particularly believed in fate however, I am left to no other conclusion as to how our very different lives have been inevitably fused into memories that span from a first date at in Copenhagen, Denmark to an enchanting proposal in Venice, Italy just 365 days ago.
There has always been a part of me that excitingly awaited the moment I would begin planning our proposal. Our current contract at the time had a home port of Barcelona, Spain and cruised around the Mediterranean stopping in Rome, Santorini and among others, Venice, Italy. From an early age I have always had an avant-garde approach to reality. I took advantage of the traveling aspect of our job and chose the ‘city of love’ as the perfect backdrop to get on bended knee in front of my best friend. While still getting familiar with the way of gondolas and pizza, I sought the professional expertise of wedding and proposal professional, Ema Giangreco at Venice Gay Weddings to ensure it was executed impeccably.
Months of emails and brain storming came to fruition as Ema walked me through the lavishly historic garden of the historic Palazzo explaining how our previous emails would be brought to life.
Dance is Justin’s passion and considering how important the arts are to both of us, our beautiful friend and cast mate Jennifer Essick agreed to perform a lyrical venetian dance accompanied by a violinist playing our favorite song as Justin entered. The butterflies in my stomach felt more like dinosaurs as she showed us the upper balcony leading out to breathtaking views of the Grand Canal. Before the day was over we also visited esteemed Italian jeweler Maurizio De Marchi who, like magic, sketched my ideal engagement ring in front of my eyes to be hand delivered on the day of our proposal.
June third was upon us before we knew it and we once again found ourselves with an overnight stop on Venice. I had arranged for fake couples massage with the spa department onboard and snuck off the ship leaving a freshly pressed outfit in our room with a note saying “Be ready at 7pm”. Justin was met at the door by two friends who escorted him to a personal boat where he met, for the first time, Ema. She greeted him kindly and started showing him a video I had compiled of all our adventures over the years. He said he knew at this point what was happening but knowing me, knew it could entail anything from an orchestra to an elephant. Ema gave me the sign to let me know he would be there soon and everything suddenly fell silently. With these moment to myself I thought of what a beautiful example of undying love I was brought up with by my parents. I also wondered how I was going to be able to speak considering I could barely breathe.
He rode through the canal on a luxury gondola where he arrived to the front of the palace and followed a long corridor led by roses and candles as he entered under the twisted branches revealing the garden.
As he approached the cobblestone path I could see tears streaming down his face. ”Keep it together..damn he looks beautiful…don’t cry…” were all fleeting fragments of thought that raced through my head as my hand trembled holding the ring. As he stood before me I took a moment to once more, get lost in his eyes. I knew that this was a moment of pure love that I wanted to remember for as long as I lived. Through bated breath I scrambled to find the indescribable words of our love. As sun set, I ask Justin Azzarello to become my today, tomorrow and forever. My husband. My Everything and he said Yes.
Applause and cheers roared from behind us as our closest cast mates and friends watched as I became the happiness man alive. The next ten minutes are somewhat of a blur filled with hazy delusions of euphoria. As we toasted champagne with friends, I squeezed his hand with a twinkle in his eye as I had one more surprise in store. Continuing the excitement, everyone enjoyed together for a private three course dinner where I had a a video to share with Justin. Even though our families could not be there in person due to our career, I felt it important for them to be included. I compiled sentimental video messages from our parents, families and friends overseas congratulating our union. Knowing Justin, he absolutely loves YouTube and through that we became fans of successful bloggers Mark Miller and Ethan Heathcote who inspired us to document our travels and upload them to our own YouTube channel. I reached out to couple months prior and asked for their involvement and they we completely onboard. I will never forget the look of pure shock and amazement when Justin watched the congratulation video they sent. I will never be able to thank them enough for making me out to be the most badass Fiance. You guys rock.
You might be asking why I decided to wait a whole year to submit to “how they asked”. Shortly after our magical night Justin wanted me to utilize my decoration of words to be share our love story and I would always tell him I was working on it, knowing it would make a wonderful gift for our one year anniversary. He is my absolute in a world of friction. I am Thankful for his companionship and understanding as we grow together down the road towards forever. We are currently preparing to go back out on tour with Royal Caribbean in August of 2016 and finish in April 2017 traveling to twenty-three new destinations. #LiveLoudly