How We Met: We met at Kent State University in beautiful Kent, OH. We were both taking the course Health and Learning Strategies, a requirement toward our education degrees. On the first day of class, our professor told us she had the highest percent of students meeting in her class and then getting married. We were paired up the first day and I (Justin) knew from the start I was in trouble. I remember lying in bed, knowing Cassie was the one, and I was right five years ago. Cassie knew as well. While I kept my feelings to myself, she broadcasted her feelings the minute she got home from class to all of her friends.
We made sure we worked on every project together. We wrote raps, worked at each other’s places, and shared books. I would rap on her front porch all night after we finished our work. She also taught me how to drive stick shift when taking me home from class. I finally asked her out in the car by playing an original song (her friend, Ally, was also in the car with us- she’s in the video with her).
Six months later Cassie went to study in Australia. I sent her a package with a letter for every day she was away. She came back after 10 weeks and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
how they asked: I made sure to ask all the right people for permission. I asked her mom, stepdad, stepmom, and dad. I asked her two stepbrothers and her older brother Nick. Being an older brother, I knew how important it would be to get his permission. Unfortunately, 11 years ago Nick passed from a terrible car accident, which is why I went to his resting place to ask him.
My original idea was for Cassie to come home from the store with her parents, arriving to rose petals and candles leading her to the music studio of our recently purchased home. I would be out on the balcony, with friends and family waiting with Chinese lanterns to set off. She and her friend Ally would be watching the music video I put together, then she would step outside onto the balcony and I’d ask.
However, Cassie was being a little brat. It was her birthday, something we take very seriously. She was upset when I was unable to fund her “gift-week” leading up to her birthday. Usually we get each other a little something each day. She was upset and thought I did not care as much about the little things anymore. Her tears prevented me from finishing my video until three hours before I could ask. Friends entertained her while I worked upstairs.
I went to “baseball practice” the day before to record the song at my parents’ house. I coach JV baseball and in Ohio, the season is so unpredictable. I used it as my escape route to buy a ring and set up a plan. I was supposed to be at “practice” when her and her family went to the store. But, being that it was her birthday,
Cassie wouldn’t go to the store without me. So, I had to put faith in my family and friends to set everything up while we were away.
When Cassie entered the house, Fernando Lopez from Cleveland, OH, had the camera on her. Fernando is hands-down the best talent I have ever seen or met. He thought I should see Cassie’s reaction to the whole thing, and I couldn’t be happier with that idea from my friend and filmmaker. He decided to piece together a day we would never forget, which is our video on YouTube.
Thanks to our family and friends, rose petals and candles led her upstairs. Ally was there to set up the video and watch with her. Fernando kept the camera on her as she watched a music video I made. The chorus of the song was some family and friends who couldn’t be there with us saying, “Say yes,” including our professor. The video showed me asking her brothers and parents for permission. It also highlighted our memories we’ve shared over the last five years. Once the video was over, she stepped outside. Our family and friends, who were hiding in the garage, came out to watch me ask. Cassie is a math teacher and I teach language arts. I wrote a Piku (like Haiku, but syllables 3-1-4 for Pi Day). Once Cassie said yes and stopped crying, people set off the lanterns and we celebrated our engagement. We have set a date for April 2015!
P.S. Our video has been doing well on YouTube! We were also featured on the television show ‘RightThisMinute.’
Video by: Fernando Lopez
Photos courtesy of: Justin Montello