Would you like to be featured as a JLM Couture Real Bride?
Kristen and Dustin
It all started with a Facebook friend request my mom peer pressured me into. Our parents were good friends and my mom had met Dustin a few times and thought we would be a good match (she is always right) so she convinced me to add him as a friend on Facebook. He accepted, we started talking and basically this was an arranged marriage. After a few months we decided we were going to meet in person for the first time at the Michigan State University vs the Eastern Michigan University football game. I graduated from Michigan State and Dustin was coaching the Eastern Michigan football team so it worked out that we happened to be playing each other that year. The nerves started to hit me as my parents and I drove to East Lansing to tailgate: my dad oohing and ahhhing "are you excited to meet Dustin?!?!" which was definitely not helping. After a little liquid courage, I went to meet D as the team was getting ready to walk on the field. He looked even more handsome in person and I remember him making some sort of a smart comment about how I was wearing the wrong team shirt. He bent down and NERVOUSLY pulled out an Eastern T-shirt from his bag, hands shaking and all (he will deny this part but that's the truth)! We ended up hanging out after the game and stayed up all night talking, laughing and getting to know each other. He came to visit me the very next weekend in Chicago and all of my friends could tell this guy was the real deal. I tell a lot of people how immediate our connection was and how insanely fast I fell in love with him. We had so much in common and shared the same values it all instantly clicked. After hours on the phone every night he quickly became my best friend and the person I wanted to spend every free minute with. I can't imagine sharing my life with anyone else in the world, even if I may need to make him root for the Spartans every so often.
It all starts with our families...I actually met Kristen's parents before I met Kristen (or K-Wat, as I call her). K-Wat's parents, Jay and Marybeth, were good friends with my parents, Jon and Diane. Jay and my father worked together and would spend the occasional weekend golfing, cooking out, and spending time in the Watson's basement, famously named "The Lair," by my dad because once Jay got you down there, you weren't walking out of there coherently. Anyway, I first met Jay and Marybeth in January of 2014. My parents and I along with a few of my groomsmen (Alex Gillett and Trey Hunter) went to a Detroit Red Wings hockey game one night. After the game we all spent too much time at the bar inside of the MGM Grand in downtown Detroit. At one point I see my mom and Marybeth over in the corner by themselves staring at me. They both had very "guilty" looks on their faces, so I walked over to them to see what was going on. I then proceed to find out that Marybeth decided that I needed to meet her daughter, Kristen. Unfortunately at that time, the timing was not right for us to meet or enter into a relationship.
Fast forward eight months later to August of that year. I was working as a graduate assistant football coach at Eastern Michigan University, when one day I check my Facebook and see that I have a friend request out of the blue from a "Kristen Watson." I immediately accept and fire off a message to her that read, "I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that your parents put you up to friend requesting me." Long story short, after a lot of hard work on my end, we eventually end up meeting in September at the Eastern Michigan vs Michigan State football game. I was coaching down on the field while Kristen and both our families sat in the stands. We spent more time together that night after the game and the following week while Eastern had a bye. We then started dating soon after.
Flash to 2016 now, we had been dating long distance for over a year when I decided to take a job as the head football coach of a professional football team (yes football, not soccer) in Germany. That obviously made our long distance relationship even longer. Kristen though, thankfully, was able to come visit me in Europe four different times. But her first visit is the most memorable of them all: Kristen and I and the two other Americans whom I was with in Germany, my best man, Alex Gillett, who was playing Wide Receiver for me, and Brady Huber, who was our quarterback, took a trip to Dublin, Ireland for St. Patrick's Day week. Kristen, did a fantastic job planning most, if not all of that trip. We spent five full days in Dublin and had a blast. On Wednesday March 16, 2016 she had a day trip planned to head to the Cliffs of Moher. That morning we woke up at dawn and headed out on our adventure. We were part of a tour group that had a guide who drove us the two hours to our destination while making a few stops along the way. The tour guide was a funny Irish man who was singing songs and telling us facts about Ireland on the way there. As we got closer he made a comment about making sure nobody on the bus was going to propose. He joked that in Irish tradition if a man proposes to a woman on the Cliffs and she says no, he has to jump off the cliffs into the sea below. Right as that comment was being made, Alex, who was sitting in the seat behind me, started to kick the back of my seat. Thankfully K-Wat didn't notice that! Once we got to the Cliffs of Moher, we started on our walk along the coast line. It was an unseasonably warm 52 degrees Fahrenheit that day with almost no wind at all. After about 15 minutes of walking we came to a spot that "just felt right" and I proceeded to signal Alex and Brady what I was about to do. Before this trip I had talked to both of them about my plans and we came up with the code phrase, "I think it's time to jump," so that they could each start filming and taking pictures for me. Kristen, had her back to me as I got down on one knee, as she turned around she saw me and she immediately put her hands to her face and said "Oh my God!" In fact, those were the only words she said for the next 30 seconds. She just kept repeating that phrase over and over. Finally, I had to interrupt her and ask if that meant yes. Looking back on that wonderful day and trip, I still joke with her to this day that planned her entire proposal and didn't realize it. All I had to do was show up and get down on a knee. That week and specifically that day, will be something that the two of us will never forget!