Jillian & John’s elegant engagement session on the Marietta Square was so much fun to capture! I first met Jillian when I photographed her sister Emily’s wedding a few years ago, and I’ve loved staying in touch with the girls and their family ever since! Jillian is fun & enthusiastic and can always make John laugh! And, John’s support and calm help bring a sense of peace when Jillian needs it the most! And together, the pair has supported each other through school and are about to start their next chapter in Nebraska! I’m so glad we were able to meet up before the big move to capture engagement photos, and I can’t wait to capture their wedding next May! Today the cuties are sharing their engagement story, so read on!
Tell us the story of how you guys met & felt in love – “We grew up less than 10 minutes from each other, but we didn’t meet until the summer after our first year of college, in May 2011, when we went to a Braves game with mutual friends. We talked for a whopping five minutes the whole night, but that was all it took to spark some interest. We didn’t get a chance to hang out before John went back to school in Tennessee in the fall, so we did the next best thing and became friends on Facebook. We didn’t talk until Jillian left him a “happy birthday” comment on his wall that October, though! He messaged Jillian shortly after and asked her to grab some pizza when he came home for Thanksgiving break (how could she say no to pizza?). We exchanged numbers and immediately spent nearly every night on the phone for hours until he finally came back to Georgia a few weeks later. We had a really unique connection, and we just understood each other in a way neither of us had experienced with anyone else.”
“Unfortunately, our schools were six hours apart and he played college baseball, which made for numerous weekends spent in the car, months without seeing each other, and more texts and phone calls than we could keep up with. The first few years of our relationship were tough, but we worked through the stress of long distance and grew closer together. After graduating from college, we were finally able to be together for a little while before John started law school at UGA and Jillian started nursing school at Kennesaw State. We both graduated in May, and we are looking forward to moving to Omaha, Nebraska in August!”
Jillian, what is it about John that you love the most? – “John is extremely dedicated to everyone in his life and to everything he does. Having been together for almost eight years, I’ve watched him grow a lot, and his dedication has always stood out to me. Whether he’s devoting countless hours to studying or driving two hours just to bring me a home-cooked meal amidst my own studying, John’s loyalty shows through in everything he does, and he constantly inspires me.”
John, what is it about Jillian that you love the most? – “Jillian has a really lively spirit that brings joy to everyone in her life. Whether she’s making a joke or simply smiling, she has a warmth about her that makes the people around her feel welcomed and loved. Her compassion and patience are also what I love about her, which reflects how she cares for her patients as a nurse. She has a way of connecting with people that never ceases amazes me.”
Tell us about the proposal – “Jillian was originally planning on dog sitting the weekend of John’s birthday in October, but her plans changed shortly beforehand, so she told John she’d be able to spend time with him in Athens. A day or so later, he told Jillian his parents were hosting a business dinner at Château Élan that Friday and they wanted us to join. (This wasn’t unusual because his parents visit the resort often, and we’ve gone there with them before). She thought nothing of it and was looking forward to getting her nails done the day before with his mom and meeting his dad’s business partners.”
“Jillian headed to Athens on Friday a little later than planned, giving her only about an hour to do her hair and makeup once she got there. John kept asking her if she was going to be ready on time (such little faith, ha!) because we had to “meet someone to set up a wine tasting for everyone.” We arrived at Château Élan only a few minutes late and walked into the winery, heading straight upstairs for the balcony. When we walked outside, there was a table set up with rose petals and champagne. John reminisced on how he asked her to be his girlfriend almost six years ago in the same spot, and he got down on one knee and asked Jillian to be his wife. John still makes fun of Jillian because she cried and sealed it with a kiss instead of actually answering his question! John put so much effort into making it personal and keeping the proposal a surprise (the only person who knew about it beforehand was his mom). He did such a good job at throwing Jillian off the scent that even after the proposal, she thought they were still meeting his parents for the business dinner!”
Proposal (cont.) – “The ring was another sweet surprise! During high school and college, Jillian worked in a small jewelry store, where the owners became family. About a year before John and Jillian met, a gorgeous ring came into the store that she immediately fell in love with. It’s always been her favorite ring, and it somehow stayed in the jewelry case all those years waiting to become a part of their story.”
So excited for you guys, Jillian & John! Can’t wait for your wedding next May!