Marquez and I met while attending an orientation for a new job. It was only a matter of time before he and I became close friends, going to lunch together, taking walks together downtown on the river and talking for hours on end. Him being from Memphis, and me being from Chattanooga; we would always talk about each other's hometown. I would tell him he grew up dodging bullets and he would tell me I grew up with goats as pets. We would laugh on the phone all night and meet back at work to laugh some more. He truly became my best friend. This all laid the foundation for us to take the next step in our relationship. With him standing at 6'8, to my surprise he was always the gentlest person. In fact, his name in my phone was Gentle Giant the first year of dating. He easily became the right to my left, and the stars in my sky.
I can remember about a year after we officially started dating, I tried to imagine what life would be like without Autumn. That was when I realized there was no way I could go through life without her. I knew it was only a matter of time and preparation. I wanted to give her the ring and proposal she deserved-the absolute best! Surprising someone as smart (and nosey) as Autumn was a difficult task that I didn't exactly know how to pull off. I knew I wanted to catch her off guard though! I collaborated with her twin and maid of honor, Amber, who helped keep Autumn off my tail and help take care of all the behind-the-scenes work. I planned the proposal three times! I knew how important it was for her mom and siblings to be involved so getting everyone together at the right time became tricky. From random snowstorms that paused our travel to Nashville on Christmas, to me being hundreds of miles away during Thanksgiving I was finally able to find a date where we would all be together. We planned a birthday dinner and invited family and friends. The excitement I felt at dinner knowing I was about to propose to the love of my life. Watching her smile and laugh all night not knowing I would ask for her hand shortly after. It was freezing as we were leaving the restaurant and her twin covered her eyes for a "birthday" surprise. It was the best day of my life. On January 8, 2022, the countdown to #ReadySetBurnett began.