[Written by Brittany]
“I'm persistent...and that may be an understatement. So Collin & I met through my cousin, Cameron. Collin was in Cameron's company at the Citadel. A group of guys would often come home with Cameron on the weekends. Collin was one of them. Our friendship started off pretty slow if I remember correctly. Collin was quiet and I was the one who was loud & outgoing. Needless to say, it took him a little bit to warm up to me. Once he warmed up to me, I told him I was sick of calling him by his last name so I called him, ‘Spon.’ Then, our friendship flourished. I enjoyed his presence. I would plan my weekends to hangout with him. Then, I found myself visiting him during the week at the Citadel library.
Next, prom was around the corner and I wanted to have a fun & reliable date for my senior prom. At that time, Collin and I were spending every weekend hanging out with a group of friends, but more importantly, each other. I knew his goals for his future in the Army and he knew mine with nursing. We had many conversations about how his goals left little room for a relationship. I can say at that time he was the closest guy friend that I had. I knew Hannah (one of my bridesmaids) needed someone to go to prom with her if her original date couldn't make it. She asked Collin if he could ‘fill in’ as her date if she needed him to. Knowing that he was Hannah's backup date didn't stop me. Deep down I felt like a horrible friend, but I WANTED HIM TO BE MY DATE SO BAD! So, I asked him to go to prom with me (and then I found Hannah a different ‘backup date’).
Our friends were questioning if we had something going on between us. We denied that anything was going on and promised everyone that we were ‘just friends’ (although our flirting suggested otherwise). To make matters more believable, he told everyone I was like his ‘little sister.’ He almost had everyone fooled, including me. That didn't stop my weekend plans or visits to the Citadel library. Then one night after visiting him at the Citadel library, Collin told me that he loved me (WHERE DID THIS COME FROM? YESTERDAY I WAS ‘LITTLE SISTER?’) . I was speechless and more than confused. I think I responded ‘no you don't, don't tell me that.’ I expected him to back pedal and take it back, but he didn't. To make matters even more confusing he was still referring to me as ‘little sister.’ That alone drove me crazy. Weekends felt so different after the ‘I love you’ situation. I overanalyze everything at that point. I was leaving for college soon and he was going back home. We were such great friends, but I REALLY LIKED HIM. I knew this was more than friends (no matter how many times he referred to me as his ‘little sister’). I didn't give up on him. Then a few weeks later, there we were at prom. We were dancing and he looked at me and said, ‘What are we doing? I go home in a few weeks. I either leave with us as friends or we try this.’ I had the biggest smile on my face. I honestly don't know what I said back. But here we are 6 years later."
[Written by Collin]
“You guys read that? Brittany acting like it’s all MY fault that we were ‘just friends’ for so long. Yes that story with the ‘little sister’ is like 80% true, but let me tell you how it really went. So sit down, grab a box of tissues, and prepare to be blown away by the story of what some people are calling ‘The next best thing since The Notebook’...
So there I was, alone and afraid at The Citadel, freshman year. Times were tough back then, constantly getting harassed and beat down for every mistake you made, having your eyebrows shaved off because upperclassmen thought they were ‘too big.’ But there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. The weekend. And wouldn't you know it, sickly, eyebrow-less knobby Collin was taken in by two of the most generous people on James Island, Carrie and Curtis Hackett, who's son, Cameron, was in my Company. Yes, these two God sent let approximately 13 bald 18 to 19 year old boys run loose in their house every weekend. So needless to say their fridge, laundry, and toilets were nearly destroyed EVERY weekend. But I digress...
One weekend in particular, Cameron's friends who were still in high school came over to hang out with us. But these weren't just any friends, they were GIRLS! So needless to say, going to a school that is 90% male, just the sight of a girl your age was enough to distract you from any other task at hand. And that, ladies and gentlemen is when I first laid eyes upon her, the gorgeous Brittany Jackson, Cameron's cousin. She was a year younger than me and her and all her friends just HAPPENED to come by and visit her aunt and uncle on the weekends when all the boys were over...funny how that worked out, huh?
So the day goes on and I am working up the courage to introduce myself to her. ‘How am I going to stand out from ALL these other boys here and show her that I AM the one she should be talking to?’ I thought. ‘I know! I’ll tell her I'm from NY, she'll love that.’
She, in fact, would not ‘love that’.
I believe the words that came out of my mouth weren't English and her response was, ‘Ummm okay, great.’ So that, ladies and gentlemen, is how we first met. Magical isn't it?
As time went on, the regular group of girls (who happen to all be Brittany's Bridesmaids) continually showed up every weekend to hang out with sausage fest going on at the Hackett's. And that’s where we really started to see personalities show. How did Brittany put it? She was ‘loud & outgoing.’ Oh yeah, she definitely was. Not that I didn't enjoy partying and having fun on the weekend, but getting your eyebrows shaved off your nasty face was a significant emotional event for me back then. So I spent a lot of my time sleeping in an actual bed, recharging from the week. But it was wasn't long until Britt would just come in, turn the lights on, and say ‘wake up, I'm here, and I'm 'loud & outgoing'. Lets party.’ So I would roll out of the bed and the night would commence. I mean let’s be honest, I was the real life of the party; not her.
So fast forward a few months, and this is a pretty normal occurrence every weekend. I would say at this point we're all pretty much good friends. All the girls get along with the guys and vice versa. Brittany and I had become good friends, but so had I with all her other friends. In fact I believe Brittany visited me in the library but sometimes there were guys (like Andrew and Mike) that would come along and sometimes there were girls that came along (well, really just Emily). Now I know what you're thinking, ‘would you just get to the part where you date?’ Well guess what? No.
So Prom rolls around, and the ladies need some dates. Now sure they have their pickings from some strapping young men, but let's cut to the chase. I was clearly the smartest, most handsome, and funniest out of all of them. That's why I ended up going with HANNAH! (bet you did not see that coming!) Well, that’s how it originally was supposed to be. Brittany still needed a date, and by God she was not going to settle for anyone but the best! So she did what any good friend does and STOLE ME FROM HANNAH (THAT'S RIGHT, TOTALLY LEFT HANNAH OUT TO DRY)! So it was done, I was going with Brittany to her prom and I was excited!
Brittany and I continued to meet at the library, but now it was for ‘Prom Stuff’ so we could be alone. After a few of those times when we met up during the week, I found myself thinking about Brittany more and more. Honestly I was thinking about her EVERYDAY and how much I really liked her. The more and more I thought about it, I really loved everything about her. She was smart, funny, and best of all ‘loud & outgoing!’ But how did I know she felt the same way about me? Should I tell her how I feel? What if I scare her away and then we aren't friends anymore?
So I did what any 19 year old kid would do. I friend-zoned her ass. That's right, that’s where ‘little sister’ comes in, and let me tell you it drove Brittany crazy. She was so mad that I did that to her and she still gives me crap to this day about it. But let me tell you this, if there is any single, young men reading and thinking, ‘Hey, is this really a good idea?’ ABSOLUTELY. You should 100% friend zone a girl you want to date! I mean look at me 6 years later and I am the happiest I've ever been and about to spend the rest of my life Brittany. I am so excited. So YES, absolutely friend zone that girl!
So it was a few weeks later that I tried to tell Brittany that I really loved her and I cared about her. But like she said, her response was ‘no you don't, don't tell me that’, so back to the ‘little sister’ she went! (See what I am talking about guys).
The night of Prom finally was upon us, April 28th, 2012 and so far it has been one of the best nights of my life. I finally put all the cards on the table and asked Brittany out, and I guess the rest is history...
Wow, if you aren't standing and applauding at that master piece I am not sure whats wrong with you. I mean, that puts Romeo and Juliet to shame.”
We went to Burlington, Vermont for the first time in 2015 and fell in love with the culture. It became one of our FAVORITE places ever. We always talked about how great of a time we had. So, we finally decided to plan another trip on a long weekend in September 2017 to go back to Burlington, Vermont. We also love being outdoors and hiking so we decided to stop on our drive up to Burlington in Stowe, Vermont to hike. Little did I know Collin had bigger plans than just sightseeing on our hike. He got down on one knee and popped the question on our hike. IT WAS AWESOME. We spent the weekend in Burlington celebrating.
Everything leading up to the wedding
Everything went as smooth as it could planning from states away. Collin was deployed for a little bit and came back a little more than two months prior to the wedding. I actually wrote his letter to read on the day of our wedding while he was deployed. It was an emotional rollercoaster with him being deployed right before the wedding, but it made our wedding day that much more special.
What we wanted from our wedding
For us, our main focus was the ceremony. We wanted to get married at The Summerall Chapel at the Citadel. The Summerall Chapel is basically part of our history as a couple. Right outside the chapel steps was where Collin told me he loved me for the first time seven years ago. We wanted the ceremony service to be centered around what marriage really is all about; our commitment to each other, and more importantly, to God. It definitely lived up to our dreams. For our reception, it was all about our guests. We really wanted somewhere that was rustic, but also had the Lowcountry feel so we went with the Rice Mill. The Rice Mill is absolutely beautiful. It was the perfect place. We wanted a memorable day with family and friends and it was so much more than that.
Girls Hotel: John Rutlege House Inn
Guys Hotel: Courtyard Marriott Waterfront
Ceremony Venue: Summerall Chapel
Reception Venue: Historic Rice Mill
Hair: Largo Salon (Ethan Ginn)
Makeup: Corrine Diane
Wedding Gown: Gown Boutique of Charleston (Essense of Australia)
Rings: Kay Jewelers
Flowers: Branch Design Studio
Food: Good Food Catering
Cake: Baker & The Farmer
Transportation: Absolutely Charleston
Band: Dallas Baker & Friends
DJ: Sound Decision (Sean Whitlock)
Photography: William Martin Weddings
Second Shooter: Sara Bee Photography