From The Bride:
Jarrod was stationed in Kings Bay, Georgia, about an hour from the University of North Florida, where Brianna went to school. One of Jarrod’s fellow officers mentioned that he was going to a sorority semi-formal dance at UNF, and asked Jarrod if he’d be willing to be set up as a date for one of the sisters. After a moment of consideration which would change his entire life, Jarrod agreed, half expecting nothing to come of it.
Meanwhile, Brianna was looking forward to going to the dance with a fun group of sisters, no date in hand. Her sorority sister had other plans, and constantly brought up the “eager” naval officer that “really wanted to go” to the dance. Brianna thought long and hard, and finally decided maybe a date wouldn’t be so bad.
A couple of weeks later, with the help of Facebook, we arranged our first meeting the night before the semi-formal. Brianna got a purple flower and a ride in Jarrod’s big Texas truck, and Jarrod got his first glimpse of his future wife.
In March of 2015, Jarrod had decided he officially wanted to make Brianna his bride, and as he lay awake far away from her in Texas on a visit with his family, he hatched his plan to ask her. He knew it would be a challenge, and he knew that the hardest part would be keeping it all a secret from her, but he filed the mental blueprint away and perfected it over the next eight months.
That time encompassed designing and receiving the perfect ring, asking her father, conspiring with her dad and her best friend, Corey, to get all the needed supplies to Mexico Beach (where the sun sets over the water like it’s supposed to), and frantically e-mailing Brianna’s supervisor to get her off of work that weekend at the last minute.
When the day finally arrived, Jarrod and Brianna woke up early at her parents’ home, and Jarrod excused himself from breakfast, feigning stomach problems (desperate times call for desperate measures). A few minutes later, Jarrod had disappeared and Corey walked in unexpected and refused to answer any questions, but insisted that Brianna get ready for a fun day.
Once she was ready, Corey stole Brianna for the day and the two went to Panama City where Jarrod had set up a day full of surprises. The girls stopped for coffee and were then treated to mani-pedis, a nice brunch, and a spa facial. At each of their three stops, Brianna received a sweet (or funny) letter from each of her three brothers. When the girls arrived back home, Corey disappeared and Brianna’s parents took over. They informed her she had half an hour to dress up and get ready to be whisked away again.
Her parents then drove her to the scene. On the way there, she read a heartfelt letter from her dad, holding back tears the whole time (her mom can’t say the same). When they arrived, she saw that same Texas truck waiting for her with that same purple flower waiting in the seat with one more letter. She read it as music played from the truck’s speakers, and the last sentence said, “Come to the beach, Sweetheart. I have a question for you.”
She walked across a boardwalk, following a path of roses, to a blanket laid out on the beach with the sun falling slowly over the gulf. Standing on that blanket was Jarrod in his summer whites uniform. “You’ve got a lot of questions to answer, Mister,” she said to him.
“You first,” he replied, before taking a deep breath and taking a minute to tell her how much she meant to him. Finally, he pulled a ring box out of his pocket and opened it on the way down to his knee.
Her answer came immediately.