With our wedding anniversary right around the corner, I thought this would be a good time to share a little bit about Branden and I’s love story! This isn’t really the story of how we met, but rather the story of how we went from friends to dating. When you meet in high school, there’s not usually a fun ‘how we met’ story behind it! No romantic story of the stars aligning and fate bringing us together. It’s basically that we met at a pool party during the summer, then saw each other in the halls all the time after that! So romantic, right?! But the story of how we went from friends to dating is a little bit more entertaining, and actually quite embarrassing on my end. Branden just loves to tell this story and you’ll see why.
So let me back up to when we met. It was the summer before I started 9th grade at a new school. I had attended private school up until 8th grade, then made the switch to public for high school. My best friend growing up, Melissa, was pretty much the only person I knew at Tabb. I also joined the cheerleading squad and since the tryouts and practices happen in August before school starts, I got to meet a lot of people that way too. So it was a few weeks before school started and one of the cheer girls had a big pool party. All the cheerleaders and football players were there. That was where I officially met Branden. I think we actually met because he liked my friend, Melissa. He denies it to this day, but I still think that was the case! So we didn’t talk much after that, but by the power of some chatting on AIM we got to know each other and decided to be “Boyfriend and Girlfriend”. Now we were 14 and 15 at the time. No car, no license, no cell phones. So after 3 weeks of that, we called it what it was and decided to just be friends. We stayed friends and saw each other occasionally at group outings. It wasn’t until a few years later that we hit things off again at a trip with friends to Busch Gardens.
So here’s how that story goes. We went with a group of about a dozen friends to Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens. When you grow up on the Peninsula, you and all your friends have season passes and go all the time! I loved it! So we go on this particular night and Branden and I chat casually a little bit. This is where it gets a little embarrassing for me. So there’s nothing a girl, especially a teenage girl, loves more than being pursued by a guy. I was kind of thinking that Branden would try to pursue me during this outing since we hadn’t seen each other in a long time and we had some history. And anyone that grew up going to Busch with friends knows that Howl-O-Scream is where a lot of young romances start! Something about the darkness and spookiness is kind of romantic! So when Branden didn’t really seem that interested in me, I sort of made it my mission for him to notice me and take the bait, so to speak. I don’t think it was necessarily because I liked him at that point, I just wanted him to like me, I guess. Oy, so embarrassing. So I started casually pretending to just always pop up next to him or act all cute and interesting. Oh my gosh I can’t believe I’m typing this. My efforts didn’t seem to be working because he just wasn’t latching on. Then we were in line for the bumper cars. There were about a dozen of us that had come together and we were both towards the back of our group. Then Branden started making his way to the front of our group, so I naturally tried to casually follow about two people behind him up to the front. Once I got up to the front, he turned to me and said ‘Are you following me?’. OMG most embarrassing moment of my life. So I said no and gave him a scoff as I made my way back. Kill me please. Branden actually told me later down the road that he had done that on purpose to test if I was actually following him. I guess I fell for the trap! Who was the bait now?! So that basically confirmed his suspicion that I was indeed following him and making an effort to be near him. But I guess I actually ended up getting what I wanted because after that the tables were turned and he started pursuing me. So we spent the rest of the night flirting and even had an ‘accidental’ hand holding incident in one of the haunted houses. At the end of the night he gave me the typical ‘So do you want to go to a movie sometime?’ line and the rest was history! So now you can see why Branden loves to tell this story!
At this point I was a junior and he was a senior. After he graduated, I finished my senior year of high school while he went off to college at JMU. After I graduated, I followed him to JMU. Branden ended up doing a 5th year at JMU when he changed his major, so we graduated together in May of 2012. Two months after graduation we got married and moved to Norfolk. He started medical school and I started my full-time software engineering job. Six months later we got Henry, then a few months after that, I started my photography business! Two years after that and here we are! So there’s a little sneak peek into our love story! Now let’s travel through time with a few throwback pics!
Wow, talk about a throwback! Our first dance together- Homecoming 2006! My hair was still in it’s Shirley Temple curls from a cheer competition earlier that day!
Graduating JMU in 2012
2015 Anniversary pictures