When a couple is brought together by their friends simply knowing what’s best for them, paired with a little bit of fate, the result is Natalie & Jack. I love this engagement shoot by Dennis Ho because it truly captures the essence of Natalie and Jack’s common interest and their love for each other. Music is a pretty big deal in their relationship, it’s what brought them together and what continues to build their bond stronger year after year.
I can’t wait to see what kind of memories their wedding day brings.
Wishing you both a lifetime of love, music, and happiness.
Engaged Since: September 6, 2013
How did you two meet?
We were set up by mutual friends. We had both heard about each other for the better part of a year, actually. When we finally met, we both tried to stay cool and aloof — but it was pretty clear from the start that our friends were right about our compatibility.
How long have you two been together, at the time of engagement?
We had been together for just under four-and-a-half years when he proposed. The first few years of our relationship were spent long-distance. About four months before the proposal, Jack moved to Atlanta, where I had recently relocated for a new job. Once we were in the same city, our relationship took on a new dimension; suddenly, we weren’t just sharing a home. We were building a life together.
How did he propose?
Very spontaneously! As I understand it, Jack had planned to propose on September 8 at a concert in Nashville. We were headed to Music City to see The National at the famous Ryman Auditorium. (This band has always held a special place in our relationship; the first time that I heard their music was in Jack’s car when he gave me a ride back to my friend’s apartment on the night we met.) Anyway, I guess the ring was burning a hole in his pocket — rather than waiting, he decided to pop the question after we wrapped up dinner with two of my girlfriends at Six Feet Under, one of our favorite restaurants in Atlanta. The restaurant is a little kitschy; it’s located right across from Oakland Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in the South. But the food there is fantastic, and it quickly became one of our go-to spots during the summer of 2013. We had just walked my friend Mackenzie to her car. Jack became very romantic, talking about how he fell in love with me the night we met, and how all of the years spent living apart were worth it now that we were together in the same city. At one point in the conversation, he actually stopped and looked at me, took a deep breath, and then shook his head and said, “Never mind.” I couldn’t figure out his behavior! He took another deep breath and went into a brief monologue about how moved he was by 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (the famous “Love is patient…” Bible verse), which was used in the wedding ceremony of one of my dear friends from college. He finished by saying, “Love may be patient, but I’m not.” That was when he dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes, and soon we were both laughing and fighting back tears. Side note: If you ask Jack, he’ll say that he proposed in front of a cemetery to represent the death of his youth. Not the case.
Tell us about the RING!
I absolutely love my ring. It’s a princess cut stone, flanked by two smaller princess cut diamonds with smaller ones embedded into the band. It has a modern vintage aesthetic, which I love. When the sun catches it just right, the light plays off of it in such a beautiful way.
Have you set a wedding date? Location?
Yes! We’re getting married on November 8 in Jacksonville, where we live now. The date was a bit of a compromise; Jack is a huge Gator football fan, and really wanted us to avoid having the ceremony on a game day. Fall is a tricky season, though, especially since there are a few other weddings already happening in my family in September and October. We settled on (or, more accurately, I chose) November 8 since the Gators play Vanderbilt that day, and it’s not as large of a rivalry as, say, Florida State or Georgia. I’m sure there will be people checking the score, but hopefully it won’t be too big of an issue (and hopefully we won’t be blacklisted by the Gator fans on our invitation list). As for the ceremony location, we chose Memorial Park in Riverside. We walked around the park after our first date in Jacksonville, and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve visited the park since then. It’s just one of those places that instantly lifts your spirit. And early November is such a gorgeous time to be outside in Northeast Florida, I simply couldn’t imagine any other outdoor location for our ceremony.
Can you tell us a little bit about your wedding plans so far?
We’re still finalizing a lot of the details of our wedding, but the overarching goal for both of us is to keep the wedding reflective of our story. Music has always been the common thread of our relationship — Jack used to work in the music industry, and we are constantly picking up new vinyl records for our collection or driving to nearby cities to see our favorite performers (most recently, we drove to Atlanta to see The Replacements, one of Jack’s favorite bands). Since we have a lot of framed concert posters on display at home, we’re going to replace the traditional guest book with a poster that our guests can sign, that way we can frame it and keep it as a memento of our wedding day. We’re also planning the music for our wedding so we can incorporate our favorite songs and requests from our guests into the soundtrack of the day. I used to edit a local bridal magazine, and too often I heard stories of brides who let the day get away from them, from having an impossibly large guest list to gaudy and over-the-top décor. When people look back on our wedding, I want them to remember a great meal, memorable conversations with new friends, and a sense of connection to where they fit in our story. And, hopefully, a day filled with a lot of laughter and good music.