Let us start from the beginning...
JEN: To be completely honest, I wasn't really looking for anyone. I was content with my life in Nashville, working hard, enjoying my friends, and dealing with a cat who ate everything in sight. Life, as a whole, was pretty good.
DAVE: After a year of couch surfing and road trips, I had settled into my life in Kent, Ohio, living with my brother and his amazing dog Henry. I was having fun, living life, and preparing for starting Graduate School the next year. Meeting "the girl" wasn't on my radar.
JEN: So I had this family friend, Andrew, who was like my little brother. Ever since I had moved to Nashville a few years before, Andrew kept promising to come visit me. But every time he planned a trip, without fail, he would cancel at the last minute. That's why when he decided to come visit me in the summer of 2009, I didn't think much of it. But, at long last, Andrew showed up at my door. So there we were, having dinner at one of my favorite Nashville spots, when all of a sudden Andrew had a lightbulb moment...
DAVE: So I get this text out of nowhere from my new friend Andrew. "Dude, you need to call this girl. I think she's your soulmate. TRUST me." I was a bit confused by the whole thing, but thought, what the heck...
JEN: So we get back to my house after dinner and I get this random text from a random number I didn't recognize. As I go to read it, I see Andrew smirking at me from across the room. Confused, I read the following: "Hello. Strangest thing. Andrew said I should text you. My name is Dave...um this is strange. Yet interesting. lol. May I ask your name?"
DAVE: So I gathered the nerve to text her. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I thought, hey, I like people. Maybe she'll be a cool person to talk to. I was about to head out the door to see a movie with my brother, but she quickly wrote back and told me her name was Jen, and said she'd be interested in talking on the phone the next night.
JEN: I was intrigued by this random guy who decided to text me out of the blue. But after talking for four hours that next night, I knew there was something special about him.
DAVE: She had the most beautiful voice. The first time we talked on the phone it was like a breath of fresh air...so new and exciting. I couldn't get enough! We talked every night on the phone that week and finally I decided I needed to see her in person.
JEN: It wasn't long before we had plans for a visit. I was so nervous the day Dave drove down to see me in Nashville. I woke up early, straightened my hair (an endeavor in the hot, humid Nashville summer), and decided I would ride the bus to work so Dave could pick me up that evening. Little did I know my bus would break down, causing me to be stuck in the hot humidity for over an hour. That was clearly the end of my pretty straightened hair.
DAVE: I was so nervous as I called to let her know I was waiting for her outside. But when I saw her walk down the steps of her building, I couldn't help but be taken aback by a "wow" moment.
JEN: I had been worried that it would be awkward when we finally met in person, but as soon as I saw him in that plaid shirt and cute little hat I knew I was smitten. We had the best weekend...pizza, movies, and a trip to Arrington winery, where a nice photographer accidentally mistook us for an engaged couple and insisted in taking our picture...
DAVE: Great weekend....I even sang Disney songs to her as we sat on a hill overlooking the city...
So that's where it all started....Dave in Ohio, Jen in Tennessee....with 8 hours in between.
JEN: SO let me tell you about Skype....it sucks.
DAVE: A year of skype dating and regular monthly visits made me realize I needed to be with Jen. But I was about to be starting grad school, and it became clear to me that I had a choice to make. As Robin Williams said in Good Will Hunting, "I had to go see about a girl."
JEN: When Dave moved to Nashville, it was so much better than I could have imagined. I fell more in love with him every day, and felt so blessed to be able to share my daily life with my best friend.
DAVE: It wasn't long before I realized I couldn't live without her. After driving to Ohio alone to visit her parents and ask permission to marry her, I proposed on February 26, 2011 at Arrington Winery, where a year and a half earlier a woman had seen us (on our first date) and thought we were engaged.
JEN: Arrington was always so special to us, so when Dave told me he wanted to take me there one gorgeous Saturday morning, I was so excited. As he pushed me on a swing and we overlooked the vineyards, I remember him saying he needed to ask me a question.
DAVE: I was pushing her on our favorite swing and said, "Jen, I want to ask you a question...will you marry me? I adore you and you're my best friend. I want to spend the rest of my life serving you."
Jen: I was so happy and excited that I didn't even notice the insanely beautiful ring he was holding out in front of me. After a few minutes of "Are you serious?? Really?" I said yes, to my best friend and the love of my life.
So that's our story...the first chapter. And now, as we prepare for our wedding, we look forward to the chapters yet to come.