I wasn't looking for love or even a relationship. Focused on my career—and casually dating a lot—there was plenty of time for that…later. Then I opened up Tinder and swiped right on the man I had no idea would be the love of my life. Here is (my version of!) our story:
Tinder and the Start of It All
Justin messaged me a few times (the exact number is still up for debate) on Tinder, flirting and complimenting me. When I finally answered, this is all I said:
Shoot me a text. Let's plan.
Not very encouraging, but it was my typical response to date requests. My life is crazy busy and while I dated a lot, the dates tended to be scheduled well in advance and fit within small blocks of available time.
In Justin's case, I told him I didn't have time for dinner, but I did have about an hour on February 3, between classes and call time for Mary Poppins. He proposed that we meet at BYU's Museum of Art (the building right next to the Harris Fine Arts Center, where I was performing) and walk around the gallery.
When the day for the date arrived, I was exhausted. It was the third to last show. I was in school full time, fitting filming around everything else. I'd had a lunch date already that day. I didn't see the point of going on such a short date with someone I didn't even know.
My mother, in her wisdom, told me there was no way I was going to postpone that date after all that had gone on. “It's one hour. It's not going to kill you. You are going.”
I stalled getting ready. Since I was spending the night after the show with two of my best friends and cast members, my mom drove me to the MOA and literally nudged me out the door…20 minutes late.
When I finally walked in, I couldn't see him. I went into the bathroom and when I came out I still couldn't locate him so started to walk outside to look for him, when he saw me and called out to me.
We walked around and talked for the short 30 minutes that were left. Mostly laughed. He was so easy to talk to, we clicked right away. Sadly we don't have a picture of us together for that first date, but we do have this amazing drawing I created on our short tour. Plus, I signed it.
Later that night Justin texted me to ask me on a second date for the next night. I turned him down. The next day was filled to the brim with a matinee and night show—along with both a breakfast and lunch date. And after the final show we would be striking the set. Too late to do anything and I just wanted to sleep.
Instead he proposed a Sunday night date. He gave me three options. When I didn't respond, he texted back with different options, assuming I hadn't liked any of his offers. Really, though, it was just my typical lack of attention to texts. I knew I was terrible at texting, but now I know I'm even worse than I imagined.
I agreed to go on a walk at Bridal Veil Falls. (No foreshadowing there!) When we arrived, it was still closed for the winter, so we went to downtown Provo and walked back and forth and talked and laughed for over six hours.
After date number two, he asked to see me the next day. Again, my schedule was full with school, a musical review rehearsal, and a night date. So he asked me to walk around the Botany Pond with him between classes and rehearsal. The more I was around him, the better it got.
Our fourth date included roller skating, watching a movie, and more walking and talking. And our first kiss.
Patience is a Virtue
Before I go on you should know that, up to this point in my life, I had never had an official boyfriend. I loved dating and meeting people, but saw no point in being exclusive with anyone, when I knew I wanted to wait a number of years to have a serious relationship. As more than one guy told me, “You don't have time for a relationship.” True!
I also found that while guys were attracted to my ambition, they really didn't like when it interfered with dating time. Finding a guy who supported me—and hopefully had equal ambitions of his own—was going to take time. And I was content with that.
When Justin first broached the subject of becoming a couple, I just wasn't ready. When I told him so, he didn't get annoyed nor did he tell me my priorities were messed up or any of the other things I'd heard in the past. He just smiled, kissed me, and gave me as much time as I needed. I surprised even myself by falling in love with him. But how could I do anything else? I never made the proverbial “what I want in a husband” list, but if I had he would have far exceeded it. Justin is more than I could ever hope for. He is:
- Loving and affectionate
- Good and faithful
- Honest and open
- Positive and happy
- Supportive and encouraging
- Romantic and sentimental
- Patient and selfless
- Fun, funny, and as weird as I am
- Understanding and caring
- Smart and thoughtful
- Ambitious and hardworking
- Physically fit and health-conscious
- Sooo sooo handsome…
We are impossibly perfectly matched puzzle pieces. I love him so much!
First Boyfriend – First Love – First & Only
On March 17, 2017—right before he came as my plus one to a social media influencer meetup—I took him back to the place we had our first kiss, sang him a vintage love song, and asked him if he would re-ask me to be his girlfriend. He did and I said yes! Then, for the first time in my life, I told a boy that I loved him.
The more time we spent together, the more I knew him, the more I loved him. There is no one I'd rather spend time with or share my adventures with. There's no one I'd rather plan and dream with. We can talk for hours and never run out of things to say. We smile and laugh, even when we kiss. We hate to be apart, but support each other in our endeavors. I want to share every moment of my life with this amazing man!
The Secret Wedding Planner
While I do have a great decorated cake Pinterest board, I wasn't the girl who sat around doodling her dream wedding dress or choosing baby names. For someone who had never spent much time thinking or planning out wedding details, however, I had a fairly specific list of things I thought would make a an incredible proposal. I didn't tell these things to Justin, but I told them to my mom. When Justin asked her privately what I would really love, she shared my list. Here is what I told her and what she told him:
I hoped my marriage proposal would be:
- Epic (whatever that means!)
- Made when I was dressed up and looking nice (not right after a workout…)
- Would be on film (so I could watch it a billion times over)
- Would be a surprise without being a surprise (meaning that once we were both in agreement about getting married, the proposal itself would be a surprise)
In hindsight I realize that accommodating all four of these things—particularly the element of surprise—required an enormous amount of planning. It was really just my fairy tale wish list. But Justin was ready to do anything to have all the elements I had hoped for. He wanted to propose on August 3, 2017—exactly six months after our first date. He also added a requirement of his own: he didn’t want me to know it was a proposal until the moment he actually went down on one knee to ask me to be his wife!
It's All Part of the Plan
Because I model part time, photo shoots are part of a typical week. Since our relationship became public, I've been asked a number of times to bring along my “cute boyfriend” and we've done the shoots together. We love doing it—and actually already had a couple more couple shoots set up—so it would seem totally natural.
First, Justin arranged to have me booked for a photo/videography shoot with two of my favorite professionals, Rebecca Hoffman as the photographer and Luke Porter as the videographer, for a special couple project. The project, titled the For Keeps Project, was presented to me complete with a fake website to make it legitimate.
Next, Justin scouted out an incredibly gorgeous spot in the mountains up Provo Canyon. Their is a wide open green meadow with a view of the valley, Timpanogos, trees, and mountain cliffs. Several trips to the location allowed him to determine the perfect spot with an epic view and where we could dance to his selected playlist. He learned the exact moment when the sun would rise over the mountain peak and hit the the place he had chosen. He did a walk through—at sunrise—with the photographer, so she would know what would happen and understand how she could seem to be directing us there and through the process.
This ruse disguised all sorts of things he wanted to include. The project required a photographer and videographer on set, to capture all the feels. The “docudrama” nature of the project required us to wear mic packs so that the interview footage could be captured. Justin wanted to use the drive up to the location to be spent with us reminiscing about our courtship. And he wanted the actual proposal to be clearly heard on film. Luke told me that he had asked Justin for a playlist of songs and asked me to bring my speakers. (He filmed my music video, Something Just Like This, and we used mood music to set the scene. So…just another thing that seemed completely normal.)
Once Rebecca contacted me about the project, I asked Justin if he could be part of the special project that required a real, young couple for a sunrise shoot. He told me he had to see if he could get off work and later confirmed he could attend. Then, to ensure that I never did suspect August 3rd as they date, he asked me out well in advance to a special dinner date after August 3rd. Mentally, I pushed the proposal beyond the photoshoot and never looked back.
Mom, I'm going to know when he proposes. It's too hard to make it a surprise. I know he's going to do it on Monday at the “dinner date.” But I'm going to act surprised. It's so nice that he's trying so hard!
There were so many details perfectly executed. The shoot had a wardrobe budget, so I picked out a new dress for me and a coordinating shirt for him. Rebecca brought on a wonderful HMU (Sarah Lewis) to do my hair. My makeup was ready. Justin arrived and changed. Luke miked us up and we headed to the mountain site.
We arrived at the location Justin had chosen—Buffalo Peak—we had precisely enough time to walk in to his spot (our spot!), get direction from the photogs, and start the playlist he had prepared.
With filming and photographing underway, Justin and I did what we always do. We talked and laughed and kissed. We danced through the first two favorite songs: Shape of You by Ed Sheeran and Everything Has Changed by Taylor Swift. Then our song, Perfect for Me by Ron Pope, began to play. With Luke's (preplanned) direction, Justin sang it to me while we slow danced. It was incredibly beautiful and emotional. I was sure the footage was wonderful and we were being perfect models for the project!
Just as the song ended, Justin stepped back, knelt down on one knee, and asked me to be his wife. I have never been hit with such a wave of emotion in my entire life. It was the most precious moment I've ever experienced.
Justin's proposal was more than I ever dreamed of. It was perfect. He is perfect for me.
It was the best day of my life! And his. I can't wait to marry him! Let eternity begin!
Yes! Although I typically hire actors for my music videos, Justin has appeared in two of them so far—both filmed after we were an official couple. He's definitely the cutest “boyfriend” I will ever have on film!
No! We don't have a date set yet. But watch for the festivities to be held in early 2018!