Lauren and Joseph

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How We Met

In August 2008, JoJo transferred to Southern Miss where I was beginning my sophomore year of college. From what I can remember, we met in the first few weeks of school through friends, likely at a Sigma Chi rush event where I was doing my Sigma Chi Little Sis duty of convincing all the new guys to “Rush ΣΧ.” We became friends with a lot of the same people and quickly started running in the same circles, taking group trips to away football games and spring break. Over the next several years of college, we remained friends, mostly in group settings, but led our own lives, dated other people, and grew apart after college. Fast forward several years to summer 2014, and I had just moved back to Hattiesburg after being away for 3 years traveling for my sorority and going to grad school at Florida State. JoJo was living in Greenville, Mississippi at the time and visiting friends in Hattiesburg almost every weekend. On June 21, 2014, our friends Claire and Kyle Williams got married and JoJo and I were both in the bridal party. We reconnected at the wedding and coincidentally got paired together during the bridal party line dance, and I guess you could say the rest is history! We talked on and off after the wedding and finally started dating later that fall when JoJo moved back to Hattiesburg.

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JoJo and I hanging out in college – circa 2009!

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JoJo and I dancing at our friends’ wedding the night we reconnected! Shout out to April + Paul for capturing this moment!

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Dating more than a year and enjoying life together in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the same city we met in more than 7 years earlier.

how they asked

On March 17, 2017 I woke up to what I thought was just a normal Friday. I went to work at my job at The University of Southern Mississippi (where JoJo and I both graduated from college) and we made plans to go on a double date with some of our couple friends after work. JoJo got off work early that day, so he went for a bike ride around campus and stopped by my office on his bike (I know this sounds odd, but it was perfectly normal for him to ride his bike around campus). I came out from my office and we talked for a few minutes and then he went on with his bike ride and I went back to work.

Later that evening, JoJo came to pick me up and we headed to what I thought was our dinner date. While we were en route, he mentioned that he thought he left his brand new bluetooth headphones on a bench on campus where he stopped for a phone call after leaving my office. I actually encouraged him to stop on the way to dinner to see if the headphones were still there, not suspecting anything out of the ordinary. When we arrived near “the bench” JoJo pulled into a parking spot and asked if I was going to get out. Thinking he was just running up to look for his headphones, I said I would just wait in the car. After he asked me a 3rd time to get out and had opened my door, reaching for my hand, I finally started to realize that maybe I should get out of the car.

At that moment I started to get suspicious, but the next moments happened so quickly I didn’t even have time to think! JoJo pulled me into the brick pathway at one of the prettiest spots on campus, reminded me that the USM campus is where we first met 9 years before, said many sweet words that I’ll cherish forever, and got down on one knee! I quickly said yes and had no idea that our friend Derek was waiting not too far away and taking the most perfect pictures for us.

After we had our own little celebration, JoJo told me that our families were waiting for us at a nearby restaurant. I was so excited and we talked the whole way to the restaurant to meet our parents and siblings. When we arrived I was so shocked and excited to discover that not only our families were waiting, but all of our best friends, some that had even traveled across the country and flown in town to be there! We spent the evening celebrating with all of our closest friends, most of whom are now our bridal party and it was truly the best ending to the very best surprise!

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The moment it happened! I didn’t even notice there was a ring until later!

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Our Video

Special Thanks

Derek Bedwell
 | Photographer