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Inspiration » Proposal Story » Joy Proposal Story: Jessica & Austin

Joy Proposal Story: Jessica & Austin

by Cali Pitchel

Jessica and Austin met while students at Notre Dame. Although they had been in several classes together since freshman year and shared many of the same friends, they didn’t really meet until spring semester of junior year. They were in the same Engineering Business class and were assigned to a team for a semester long group project. Austin recognized Jessica’s name as “the girl who sat in front of him in heat transfer,” and Jessica recognized Austin’s name as “the guy who had been lab partners with some of her friends.”

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Katie Whitcomb

They became great friends working on the project together which led to becoming running buddies, ice skating together, playing volleyball, and even joining an interhall softball team together. Austin finally asked Jessica out to dinner and a movie senior year. They watched one of Jessica’s favorites, Dan in Real Life, and had a great time. As Austin walked Jessica back to her dorm, he stopped on God Quad in front of the Dome and asked her to be his girlfriend.

Who proposed?

Austin did—and he managed to cover all 6 requests I had given him:

  1. Ask for my parents’ blessing. (Check!)
  2. Use my full name. (Check!)
  3. Get down on one knee. (Check!)
  4. Make it a complete surprise. (The manicure made me a little suspicious throughout the trip, but I was still surprised the moment it happened.)
  5. Make sure someone photographs it. (He invited some of our friends and had them secretly capture the moment.)
  6. Make sure my nails are done. (As a Valentine’s Day gift, he prepaid and set up a manicure for me at a local nail salon.)
    1. Propose before “Basilica Monday.”

Give us the details! When? Where? How?

As a Christmas present in 2015, Austin gave Jessica a trip back to Notre Dame the end of February to watch a lacrosse game. Jessica was excited to go back to visit Notre Dame. We got in late Friday night and drove straight to campus where Jessica immediately ran through the snow and took a picture of the dome.

We spent Saturday walking around campus and saw lots of our favorite spots. It was a beautiful day with sunshine and blue skies and the campus still blanketed in snow. We went to the lacrosse game and after the game, as we walked back across campus, Austin insisted we walk across south quad and then up God Quad.

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Katie Whitcomb

As we started walking up God Quad towards the dome Austin stopped Jessica where he had first asked her to be his girlfriend, got down on one knee, and asked Jessica to marry him. Jessica started saying “YES!” before he could even finish. Austin popped up, gave her a huge hug and kiss, and put the ring on her finger.

To me joy is all the little moments that you have in life that make you smile – simple things that make each other laugh, the memories you share, all the little things you do to show you care.

Several of our friends, who had been hiding and secretly taking photos, came over to congratulate us. We took some photos went out for drinks, and celebrated at dinner with our friends. We ended the night with a walk across campus (stopping in the last bit of snow so Jessica could make a snow angel) and lighting a candle together at the Grotto.

What has been your favorite experience planning the wedding?

I think what we both enjoyed the most was our engagement photo session with our amazing photographer Katie Whitcomb. We were laughing and joking the whole time. We almost forgot it was a photoshoot and the photos are amazing.

I personally have also enjoyed looking back at family wedding pictures. When I went dress shopping, the first time I asked each of the women that came who were married (mom, grandmas, aunts, future mother-in-law etc.) to bring a picture of herself in her wedding dress. We all had fun looking at all the different styles and hearing the stories of how they each found their own dress.

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Katie Whitcomb

How do you stay sane under the pressures of wedding planning?

It might sound counterintuitive but lots of pre-planning. I stepped back and put all the big milestones on a calendar and then based on that planned out what to focus on each month. Then each week I focus on a single task and just work on that project or making that decision. Focusing on one thing at time makes it much less overwhelming.

What is your favorite part of using Joy for your wedding?

I love working with all the wonderful people at Joy. Everyone is so very friendly and helpful anytime I have a question. They make it feel just like I’m talking to my friend and are just as interested in making our website perfect as we are. The website is very user friendly and Joy has really allowed us to customize the website to fit our needs. Plus, I think it looks gorgeous.


What piece of advice would you give couples to ensure that they use Joy to its fullest potential?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re trying to make something happen and there’s a way someone at Joy is more than willing to walk you through how to do it. If it’s not currently a feature Joy is always looking for feedback and may be able to make it happen in the future. Chances are someone else may be hoping for the same thing too or even Joy is already working on making it happen.

At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you?

To me joy is all the little moments that you have in life that make you smile – simple things that make each other laugh, the memories you share, all the little things you do to show you care, etc. The wedding day will be filled with many of these little moments – celebrating your family and friends, seeing each other as you walk down the aisle to be married, sharing your vows to one another, etc. – but it doesn’t end here.

For the rest of your life, not only will you continue to have joy from the memories of these little moments, but you will create new joy in the new little moments you have together to add to it.

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Katie Whitcomb


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