Stephanie and Dustin

Image 1 of Stephanie and Dustin

How We Met

Steph: I met Dustin at our old church in FXBG, VA. He came into summer small group in gym clothes and I thought “wow… the nerve of people coming to church dressed like that,” and then proceeded to ask my pastor for this kid’s name. I added him on Facebook and we talked for a week or two before we started dating. After a month, we split up. It just was not the right time, neither of us were in a good place for a relationship. I took the opportunity to immerse myself in God’s word and really get myself on a good path.

Image 2 of Stephanie and Dustin

Then, in February of 2013 (the day before Valentines day), we got back together/started over. Both of us were in much better places mentally, physically, spiritually, and maturity wise. We have both gone through job changes, health issues, and we both graduated from UMW with our Bachelors of Science degrees, his in biology and mine in psychology. The past few years have been a whirlwind, and yet have felt like no time at all. I’m absolutely blessed to be his.

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Dustin: I remember first meeting Stephanie at the College Youth Ministry at Spotswood Baptist Church back in 2012. We immediately hit it off after first meeting but then split apart for a time due to so personal difference at the time, though still maintaining a positive friendship. Skip forward to the next year and I decided that I wanted to give it another go. I asked her to be my valentine February 13, 2013 at a Chipotle and now we are engaged three and a half years later!

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how they asked

Steph: I 100% knew it was going to happen in Disney. We’d planned since before graduation to go to WDW as my college graduation present (with my family). I had no idea when or where it would happen though. Our first day in Florida, we went to Disney Springs (downtown Disney); no proposal. Our second day in Florida, and our first day at the parks, was spent at Magic Kingdom. First order of business was to get my best friend her Christmas gift: an Alex and Ani bracelet from WDW. Second, I needed (NEEDED) Christmas “ears.” We were told there were a few pairs left in the Christmas store near Adventure Land, so there we went. They had none left but, unbeknownst to me, my dad was chatting with the caricature artist right outside the shop. Dustin wanted to get one done, but his stand was just starting to be set up. We headed to Big Thunder Mountain and, afterwards, I stopped at a merchandise stand to find none other than the second-to-last pair of my coveted Christmas ears (of course I bought them).

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We then headed to get our caricature done. I was given strict instructions not to look till the artist was done, however I suspected nothing. The longer I sat, the more I thought to something Dustin had told me before we left for the trip: “Don’t worry, there will be a picture (of the proposal).” I waved that thought aside though, there’s no way Dustin came up with this elaborate plan. When the artist was done, he flipped the canvas around and I turned to see my love down on one knee (with a view of the Castle right behind him). I was totally shocked. I said yes (of course) and then WDW’s cast came out of the shadows. A manager came up with a Photopass member to get some shots of us in front of the Castle & with the artist, the Christmas shop cast members hand-painted an ornament for us, the bakery cast members brought us a waffle. (Later in the day, the gentleman at the package pick-up gave us a voucher for free bride and groom ears; WIN!). Totally overwhelming and unbelievable; I still burst into a giant smile as I reminisce on those few minutes that felt like an eternity. I am deeply, ridiculously in love with him & above anything else, I just want to be with him forever. Dustin, I love you and I like you.

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Dustin: I proposed to Stephanie at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World on Christmas Eve. I strive to maintain a theme for performing memorable events on memorable dates, it makes it easy to plan for them each year. Funny thing is, I didn’t think I was actually going to be able to propose the way that I did. I remember not having anywhere to hide the ring except in my pants pocket and having to conceal my one side of my leg from her as to keep her from seeing the square bulge. When we reached the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, we had to go through a security check, which required me emptying my pockets. I thank the Lord that I was in line behind Stephanie going through the check and that she didn’t turn her back to look at the velvet-lined box sitting in plain sight!

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I brought her to a caricature artist, telling her that we had to have one done together as a souvenir. I had Stephanie’s parents coordinate with the artist to enact what I had planned. The artist had his easel set-up in a small space which meant that he could only draw us sitting one at a time. So I calmly told Stephanie that the other wasn’t allowed to look at the caricature while the other was sitting so that it would be a joint surprise. She agreed, though she knew something was up. I made sure that I went first, so that if she did decide to peek she still wouldn’t know what I had asked the artist to draw.

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I sat for only 10 minutes but it felt like an hour holding the biggest and unnatural grin I could manage, all the while I praying that Stephanie doesn’t look on the other side of the easel. Luckily, she went with it all the way through and still had no clue what I was doing. When it came to the big unveiling, I made sure to be there right beside her to watch as the artist flipped his easel to reveal a caricature of me proposing to her. She turned to look at me and I was already on my knee with the box in hand. I proposed and she, slightly teary-eyed, said yes. I don’t think I could have been any happier.

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