Kayla and Austin

Image 1 of Kayla and Austin

How We Met

This story is a long one, but every detail is worth it. Austin and I met the Summer of 2013 at a faith-based camp in Kona, Hawaii. We were 16 at the time. I remember seeing him around and knew that I just had to get his name. During a scavenger hunt on the second day, I ran into him sitting in the tree house. I couldn’t let the moment pass. “Hi, my name is Kayla!” He replied, “Hi, I’m Austin.” That was all I needed. “Nice to meet you!” And I ran off to ask my friend Christophe everything that he knew about “Austin.” Christophe told me the next day that his name is Austin Kilbride, his birthday is October 29th and he is from Virginia. ERRR. Virginia?? I have lived in California my whole life and I was certain there would be no way Kayla and Virginia boy could ever work out… But surely enough, we ended up talking some more over the course of the 10 day long camp.

My sister was on the island with me and I pointed him out to her and said “Hey Jord, see that guy? I am going to marry him someday.” She punched me so hard in the arm and said “Don’t you dare talk about someone’s future husband like that.” And she was right, but it still didn’t change the fact that I was going to marry him. So I prayed that we would stay friends and maybe one day we would end up together, though the chances were slim… I boarded a plane back to California, he back to Virginia, and we stayed in contact that whole year. Austin became my absolute best friend. We facetimed often, he would send me new worship songs all the time, and I always looked forward to seeing his photo’s pop-up on my instagram feed. A year later we returned to Hawaii again. This time I knew we had to talk. He sat me down and for about 20 minutes and nervously danced around the idea of liking each other. So at one point I paused and asked, “Can I say something?” He nodded. “If you’re saying that you like me, I like you too.” Both of us felt a sense of joy and relief. Finally!

After a year of sweet friendship we were able to admit the feelings that were blooming. However, he was very clear with me that he did not intend on dating me without the intention of marriage. So we agreed that since I was going to be staying on the island for a little while and he was going back to Virginia, that was our sign that it was not time to start dating quite yet. A year went by until he and I both came back to staff at the Summer camp we met at 2 years prior. At the very end while I was finalizing some details of our final event, Austin came to help me put some crafty things together. When we finished the decorations, he asked me if I would like to go on a date with him before he goes back to Virginia for the Summer. By this time, we both had committed to going to the Vanguard University in Southern California, so we felt that it was about the right time to start dating.

He picked me up in our friend’s red Kia Soul, handed me a white rose, and drove me to the sweetest dinner spot in Kona which looks a bit like someone renovated their home into a restaurant. Our server Brian was awesome and so energetic and the food at the Strawberry Patch was incredible. After dinner we drove to the Sheraton Resort where there is an area to look out at Manta Rays (which are basically massive stingrays) but they only come around at night. So we sat on a little sandy beach at the resort and talked for hours. We spent the first month of our relationship long distance but it seems miniscule now in the greater scheme of things and the two years that we have had together at University.

Image 2 of Kayla and Austin

how they asked

Austin got an internship near our University for this Summer but plans didn’t really work for me to stay so I decided to spend a few months back at home. When I told my family that I was coming home for the Summer, my grandpa mentioned that he would be in Hawaii for a few months if I wanted to go with him and invite some friends over. I WAS ECSTATIC. I convince three of my girl friends to get a flight out there with me. We tried to convince Austin on multiple occasions but about 3 weeks before my flight out he said to me, “Kayla, I can’t this Summer… I am saving.” At that moment I knew what he was saving for and it put my heart at ease. My sister, who is a flight attendant and dedicated travel vlogger, got herself and her boyfriend a flight to come hangout with us too.

And since it was two days before mother’s day, my mom told me that she would consider using my sister’s flight benefits to come for two days to have an early-mother’s day with us and then spend the actual day with my other two sisters in California. The whole thing went completely over my head. Plus, Austin was “saving” so there was no way in my mind that he could have had the ring. Little to my knowledge, Austin had arrived the day before I did, ring-and-all! He set alarms to text me at 7 am California time (4am Hawaii time) and later informed me that he was “going to head to bed” because he was “wiped out from [his] surfing trip” and the “workshop” that he was at all day for his internship. I put my phone away and grandpa took us all on a mini sightseeing tour. He told us that we would watch the sunset over at the Sheraton where the Manta Rays are. My little antennae perked up.

The Sheraton?? That’s where Austin and I had our first date! My brain raced a thousand time over. “Could he possibly be here?? No way…he doesn’t even have a ring…he’s saving.” I couldn’t figure it out and I was doing everything to stop myself from getting my hopes up. We walked around the opposite side of the hotel to a different spot than where we had our first date, and sure enough, Austin wasn’t there. I tried to slow my mind and embrace the golden sky when all of the sudden some guy behind us yells, “YO! LOOK AT THOSE DOLPHINS!” Waves of heat shot through my body. I knew that voice.

I turned around to see the love of my life pointing out at the ocean to the most beautiful invisible dolphins I had ever not even looked for because I was so in shock that Austin James was standing in front of me. “What are you doing here??” He hugged me and walked me away from our friends and family. “I think you know what I am doing here.”

Image 3 of Kayla and Austin

After a few minutes of intimate conversation between the two of us, he locked eyes with me and said, “I know what you’re thinking… ‘Austin, if you’re saying that you want to marry me, I want to marry you too.'” I laughed so hard. He used my own words on me! Then he got down on one knee and asked me formally to marry him. And how could I say no? I told Jordan he was the one 4 years prior.

Image 4 of Kayla and Austin

Image 5 of Kayla and Austin

Image 6 of Kayla and Austin

Image 7 of Kayla and Austin

Image 8 of Kayla and Austin

Image 9 of Kayla and Austin

Image 10 of Kayla and Austin

Image 11 of Kayla and Austin

Our Video

Special Thanks

Melody Navarro
 | Photographer
Jordan Stenzel
 | Videographer