Victoria and Austin

Image 1 of Victoria and Austin

How We Met

Austin and I met on Bumble a couple years ago. We both knew what we were looking for in a life partner and found it in each other.

As an example, I had a longstanding tradition of watching the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie with a different friend each Valentine’s Day. When Austin entered the picture, I warned him of my tradition. That first Valentine’s Day, he surprised me by dressing up in full Mr. Darcy attire.

Our years together have brought their challenges, including new jobs, new homes, catching COVID-19, and losing Austin’s father and grandfather and my great-grandmother, but we’ve supported each other through it all.

Image 2 of Victoria and Austin

How They Asked

Over Memorial Weekend, Austin planned a Pride-and-Prejudice-themed picnic and proposal on the grounds of a local museum where I spent my summers growing up and volunteered in college.

We’d been discussing taking the next step together for over a year, and I’d made it known that I wanted a photographer present. My family moved out of state years ago, but I knew they’d want to be able to see images of our special moment.

Image 3 of Victoria and Austin

Austin made an excuse about meeting up with a friend that evening, but I was suspicious for several reasons; he was strangely vocal about how I had to do laundry that day (apparently a reason to get me downstairs so he could sneak his change of clothes out), and he was insistent that I turn my phone sound on while he was with his friend. Both were out-of-character.

With suspicions raised, I went into my bedroom after he left and noticed a new dress hanging in the closet–a replica of my favorite dress from the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film.

Folks, I had not showered, put on makeup, or looked anywhere near ready for a special event.

I shot some panicked texts to my best friend, flew to the shower, and cleaned myself up. By the time I emerged, I’d received encouraging messages from my friend and a prompt to check the closet from Austin. He’d attached a message to the dress, asking me to meet him at the museum at 7pm. I checked the clock–I had an hour.

I was ten minutes late. I forgot to leave myself enough time to select shoes. But I said yes.

Image 4 of Victoria and Austin

Austin proposed by reciting the lines spoken by Mr. Darcy in the film: “I have to tell you, you have bewitched me body and soul and I love and love and love you. And never wish to be parted from you from this day on.”

He dropped to a knee and opened an editionPride and Prejudice that he’d held. He had written “Will you marry me” inside–right underneath the novel’s famous first lines: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” A ring was inside.

Just like that, I forgot all the lines from my favorite movie. He took my breath away, but I was able to say yes.

Image 5 of Victoria and Austin

Since I’d seen this coming, I brought his ring with me. Our hands shook during the ring exchange. We’d selected meaningful rings a while back, and we’d decided to both wear our rings during our engagement. Mine is a floral design in honor of my middle name, and his is carbon with a cherry wood liner in honor of his hometown, Traverse City, Michigan.

We went on an engagement photo shoot around the property before settling back down for a picnic at one of our early date spots.

Image 6 of Victoria and Austin

Image 7 of Victoria and Austin

The picnic was fun. Austin made sure all the foods were able to last at room temperature, so we had peanut butter and banana sandwiches, fruit salad, pretzels, Pringles, and drinks from Cherry Republic–another nod to Austin’s hometown. After the photographer left, we ate a bit, enjoyed a private moment, then called our parents.

My mom’s first question? “Do you have pictures?”

Image 8 of Victoria and Austin

Image 9 of Victoria and Austin

Image 10 of Victoria and Austin

Special Thanks

Janelle Turnas
 | Photographer
Nicole Rabes
 | designed the dress