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photo | Justine Russo


[From the perspective of the groom]

I knew well before the day came that I would propose to Elizabeth. After more than five years of friendship, falling in love, many unforgettable adventures and designing the perfect ring [note from the bride: He had five diamonds put into the band on each side to represent the five years we’ve been together, consequently melting my heart completely], the time had finally come. She had been in Dallas for graduate school the past two years while I was working south of Houston, so I asked her if I could come up and see her for one last visit in Dallas before her graduation. On that Saturday afternoon in April, I casually mentioned, “We should do something to celebrate Earth Day tomorrow,” and I pretended to search for options, ultimately suggesting brunch at the Dallas Arboretum. This was one of her favorite (and one of the most beautiful) places in Dallas and a very special spot for us as we had been multiple times when I came for visits during our years of long distance, including to picnic on our anniversary. She tried to talk me out of it, not wanting me to spend too much money on her (would it even be a proposal if the bride-to-be didn’t accidentally try to thwart the plan somehow? Ha!), but I insisted we go to support them on Earth Day and because “There’s a bee exhibit that sounds cool, and their brunch sounds FANTASTIC!”  

She acquiesced (I feigned some real excitement about those bees), and on the morning of April 22nd, we set out for “just a walk in the park and brunch.” The weather was beautiful, we ate a great brunch, and then headed for the pre-planned location I had carefully selected with Elizabeth’s friend hiding in the bushes to take a picture of the moment that would change both of our lives forever. As we moved under the canopy of trees, I started to say “I’ve been thinking Elizabeth… I love you.” Her response was the usual: “Aww I love you too Dillon.” “No, I LOVE you babe.” I stopped walking and began to get down on one knee as she exclaimed, “Wait… what are you doing?!” her eyes filling with tears. I answered, “Elizabeth, will you marry me?” Both of us had visible tears now as she nodded and said, “YES, yes I will.” Amanda, who would shortly become one of our bridesmaids, was hiding in the bushes the whole time snapping photos. After celebrating briefly with her, we walked around a little more just the two of us before heading back to her place where I had orchestrated another surprise for Elizabeth. Our close friends and family had traveled from all over to be there for a surprise engagement party, and she was absolutely shocked. It was a great ending to the perfect day, both of use blown away by the love we have been blessed with. I was excited then, and I grow more excited every day that before long, I will get to marry the love of my life!  

On February 12th, we will celebrate our 6th dating anniversary for the last time before gaining a new date to celebrate: March 16th, the day of our wedding. With our work schedules completely opposing and me on 12 hour night shifts leading right up until the wedding, we have barely seen each other, and I cannot think of a more perfect way to celebrate the anniversary of the date that started it all than a special night out. Thank you to Brides of Houston for all the help you have provided to us throughout this planning process!