How We Met
I met Jake in 7th grade when we both had Industrial Tech class together. One of our assignments was to design a mousepad and being the Twilight-obsessed tween I was, mine was Jacob Black themed. Our only interaction was when Jake came up and asked “so, Team Edward or Team Jacob?” And I said, “uh, Team Jacob because werewolves are hotter” and walked away (cringe).
Throughout the rest of middle school and high school, we didn’t interact much. We weren’t in the same circles and only had one other class together. The only other memories I have were when I pelted Jake with a dodgeball in gym class junior year and saw him walk home from school at the end of the day when I was driving home. I wasn’t really looking to date until something changed right before high school graduation; I saw him with fresh eyes.
I saw Jake in the cafeteria and realized how attractive and handsome he was. I then proceeded to walk past his lunch table every day trying to get him to notice me. My friend gave him my number at his locker 2 days before we graduated, we started talking, then going out on dates, and from there we were inseparable.
We officially started dating right before I won my first pageant title in 2014. Since then, Jake has been by my side through it all. He would be the first one to ask me what I need and figure out what would make me feel better when battling my health struggles (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome). The first to tell me that he believed in me when I wanted to start my own business (and then be coerced into learning how to work a professional camera to become the official Wight Elephant Boutique photographer). He’s been to every single pageant competition and believed I would/should win every single one, even when I didn’t. He’s my biggest supporter in life, he keeps me grounded, he makes me laugh until my stomach hurts, and he makes me feel the most loved I’ve ever felt. I’m truly blessed to be his one and only love and have the opportunity to love him forever.
How They Asked
Jake and I knew pretty early on in our relationship that we were meant for each other and would get married. But, we were both newly 18 years old when we started dating and knew that time wouldn’t come till after college. When I turned 22, I decided I wanted to compete for Miss Pennsylvania USA. I planned to give myself two years to compete and if I didn’t win after my second attempt, then we would get engaged and married. In December of 2018, I competed for the first time and placed 2nd runner up. November 2019, I competed for my second and final time and ended up winning. Our engagement plan had to change and be postponed till after I competed for Miss USA in November 2020. Miss USA came and went, I didn’t win, and I ended up coming back home to my loving boyfriend and family.
The weekend before Christmas, Jake asked me if we could go on a date the weekend after Christmas. I smiled knowing whatever that date would be, that’s when he would propose. He had promised we’d be engaged by the end of the year. I said “sure, but where are we going to go? Everything is shut down till Jan. 4 because of Covid.” He said, “I was thinking we could go to Ligonier and walk around, maybe get take out and have a Covid car date.” I said “sounds good” and immediately texted his mom for an emergency nail appointment.
During the week, he kept saying that he wished he had a nice jacket for our date. It was going to be around 45 degrees and he “didn’t have a nice jacket to wear for that kind of weather.” If it was a normal date, I knew he wouldn’t care so much about having a nice jacket just to walk around Ligonier. The only way he would care is if he would be in photos.
The day after Christmas (the day before our date), I woke up with the worst migraine of my entire life, probably from all the sugar I ate the day prior. I was bedridden the entire day. I knew he was probably planning to propose tomorrow, so I was praying I would be better in the morning, and I know he was too.
The next day, I had a small headache but was much better. When I was doing my makeup, he came in wearing a beige sweater and he looked really nice. I asked where he got that sweater because I didn’t really recognize it, and he said “it’s your Uncle Mark’s….” My Uncle Mark had passed away the year prior. I got emotional and I knew then that he was going to propose. I was trying to decide what to wear and he told me to wear the neutral sweater dress because we’ll match… Jake never wants us to match unless it’s for a photo where it’ll look good. Then when I came downstairs after getting ready, he smiled and said “you look beautiful. Ready?” And took my hand.
When driving to Ligonier, a text popped up on his dash that said “London Kate”. I was genuinely confused and said out loud “who’s London Kate?” Once I said it, I knew it was Londynn Kate Photography and that I was absolutely about to get engaged. He said “oh she’s from work. She works with Rick.” Then he promptly grabbed his phone, changed her name to “Rick Work”, and then when he got another text from her he said, “See, now Rick is texting me.” I just smiled and said, “ah, right.”
When we got to Ligonier, we parked and got out of the car to start walking around. He kept saying about how many people were there, which I knew was making him nervous because proposing in front of other people is probably the last thing he would want to do. Since there was a family taking photos at the gazebo, he suggested we take a lap around and then asked if I wanted to take a picture by the gazebo with the Christmas decorations… he never asks if I want to take a photo.
When we got to the gazebo, I played along and started to pull out my phone, but he stopped me with a hug. When he hugged me, he said “Victoria….” and I knew. I said “oh no.” He said “Victoria I love you more than anything. You are my family, my home, and my best friend. I’m so excited to finally do this and to tell you all of the secrets I’ve had to hold from you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” He got on a knee, pulled out a beautiful beige velvet ring box with the most beautiful diamond ring inside. As soon as I saw the ring, I burst into tears and nodded my head yes. Kate popped out from behind the wall and started taking photos as he was proposing.
Before Jake got up from kneeling, we heard people saying “fire!” and it turns out a bush 10 ft from us caught on fire from all of the electrical chords from the Christmas lights & decorations. Sirens started going off as we were taking engagement photos and fire trucks, police officers, and the police chief in his PJs and house slippers came to put out the smoking bush. Those decorations have been there since the beginning of November, there’s no reason that bush should have caught on fire as soon as Jake got on one knee… we said it was God approving our engagement by sending a biblical burning bush lol!
Afterward, we walked to the local cafe, both got chai tea lattes, walked back to the diamond, and sat on a bench to talk. We sat for about 30 mins and Jake told me all of the things he’s been hiding from me and wanting to tell me for months about my ring and our engagement. We went to the local creamery, got ice cream, and basked in the joy of newly engaged bliss. It was a perfect day and one I will never forget.