We were two kids setting out for college and met by the pool during a summer orientation event. Erica was in the pool and texting with her phone. DJ was sitting on the edge, insisting her phone would get ruined by the water, despite the waterproof case. Turns out he wasn’t THAT concerned and it was all to get her attention. She thought he was funny, but who starts dating before even the first day of class? We exchanged phone numbers and stayed close throughout the first semester.
After a semester full of flirting and a few sorority formals, we decided it was time for our first date. DJ decided to take Erica out to one of his favorite hibachi restaurants. We had a great time and the food was good, as hibachi always is. The next morning, Erica woke up sick! It must have been the salad (often the culprit of food poisoning) that she ate and DJ skipped. She spent the whole day sick with DJ taking care of her. It was definitely a first date that could not be forgotten! Despite the unfortunate turn of events, we had a connection and continued dating throughout college.
When it was time to graduate, Erica was headed to Massachusetts for graduate school and DJ left for California. We would be on literal opposite ends of the continental US and thousands of miles apart. It was hard, but we were determined to make it work! We texted, FaceTimed, and traveled together whenever we could. Once Erica finished graduate school, she decided she NEVER wanted to experience another winter and got a job in California. Finally we could be back in the same city!
Over the following 2 years, we experienced California together from Orange County to Los Angeles. We navigated the 2020 shutdown, new jobs, exciting trips, and some classic LA experiences. We’d been discussing marriage, but Erica knew a proposal was coming when during a trip to Peru, DJ kept saying he'd propose. We went to look at rings when we got back to the US, on our usual tour between Memphis, TN and Birmingham, AL for the holidays. But, Erica still wasn’t sure if it’d happen sooner or later. We were with Erica’s family at her parent’s house and DJ started to seem awkward. People were getting ready to leave, then he shouted for everyone’s attention. He got down on one knee and Erica of course said yes! Between our engagement, Gabriela & Jose’s wedding, Luca’s baptism, Andrea’s pregnancy announcement, Terri & Mary’s birthday, and Christmas, it was an exciting few weeks for both of our families.
During October we enjoyed a 3-week adventure in Europe! We started in Spain, visiting Madrid and Barcelona before heading to Athens, Greece. We then traveled to Santorini for our wedding and exchanged vows during a small ceremony overlooking the water on October 16th. We danced, laughed, and had a great time with our guests before continuing our journey through Greece, stopping on the islands of Paros and Mykonos. We then moved on to Italy for the last leg of our trip, visiting Rome, Venice, and Milan, and eating pasta every day!