Ok, we pretty much fell in love with these two during their session... but after reading their answers to our blog post questionnaire, we're sold! They are so awesome and just perfect for each other! Be sure to stop and read as you scroll. Jamie & Erika, you're good people and we're so excited to be your photographers. Enjoy!
When and how did you meet?
We met in a co-ed service fraternity at the University of Florida when I was a freshman and Jamie a Junior. Go Gators! We were just friends at first, but when we came back to school the next year we started hanging out more and more and eventually began dating in November 2010. It was a big surprise to everyone in our fraternity when we announced we were together! We had lots of friends that were "rooting" for the romance though, they were so happy to see us each find someone so perfect. We even made the end of the year fraternity skits, where they teased Jamie about finally finding someone to settle him down! The year after that we were long-distance as Jamie had graduated and gone to Pensacola while I was studying abroad in Paris. We knew then that we couldn't ever be without each other again, and Jamie moved back to Gainesville for my senior year.
When & how did you get engaged?
We got engaged March 7th of 2015. Jamie wanted us to go up to Gainesville for the weekend to see some friends. I thought it was a little odd since it was Spring Break week and the campus was empty, but he convinced me to go. He woke me up on Saturday morning and told me to get dressed, he had a surprise for me. He drove me to campus and asked if I recognized where we were. I said yes, this was the place where we first had spent time alone together, sitting in his truck and talking for hours, sort of our "first date". He then got down on one knee and presented me with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen. (Fun fact: the ring came in a white box, but he had always pictured presenting me with a black box, so he switched it!) I said yes, and looked up and saw a little group of people who popped out of the bushes and started walking toward us. They pulled out instruments and began to sing out the Avett Brothers song "January Wedding". It was a band made up of members of our service fraternity who had come back early from their spring break just for this. After that we walked around campus calling our friends and family, most of who already knew the proposal was coming. Jamie was so excited he couldn't keep it to himself!
When and where is your wedding?
Our wedding is in February 2017 at the IMG Academy Golf Club. It has a beautiful view of Sarasota Bay. We both love to be on the water, and felt this was the perfect spot to get the "Florida Experience" for our guests. Jamie also is a huge football fan as a former player and coach, and the venue is part of a big sports academy where lots of elite athletes have trained.
Jamie as explained by Erika:
Jamie is the best guy I know. Always smiling, always welcoming, never impatient with anyone. He makes a big impression on everyone he meets, you can't help but love him. I always tell him when we started going out it was like dating someone famous! Our life together has always been his number one priority. With him, I am so valued and appreciated, he's my biggest fan and celebrates my accomplishments as much as his own. He's always doing sweet things for me like bringing me flowers or sending me songs "just because". We have so much fun together, seeing movies, listening to live music, trying new beers, I never get tired of being with him. Through our almost 6 years as a couple we've grown together and we're our best selves together. We've been through a lot and there's no one else I would want by my side for the rest of my life.
Erika as explained by Jamie:
Erika is my comfort. To be overly dramatic, when I met her, I was a broken man. We met in college shortly after I had endured a hard breakup and after a series of deaths in my family. I had lost 3 grandparents, an aunt, two friends from high school, and the most painful loss of all, my dad. Most of the time, I was just numb. Not really capable of feeling much of anything. When I did feel something, it was usually just pain or fear. Then, I met Erika. Being used as an instrument of God’s grace, she made life exciting again. She made me believe in myself and made me feel again. She is my greatest encouragement. She believes in me and supports me. I know how to project confidence in public, but behind closed doors, I can be very self-doubting. She is always there to help me believe in myself. I just need to hear her say its ok, and then I can believe anything is possible. It has been said that a man is only as good as the women behind him. Well, then I’m going to be ok. Erika, is beautiful, smart, caring, and devoted. She truly is my other half. We aren’t the same. We compromise and we work together which makes us even stronger. She is my team. I worry about the big picture, sometime so much so that I lose sight of the details in front of my face. Erika worries about the now. Together, we complement each other. I love her with my entire heart and she is the “only shotgun rider, I want beside me, singing to the radio”. I cannot wait to tackle life with her.