In this edition of our She Said Yes series, here’s a love story so undeniably heartwarming that we couldn’t help but share it on the Day of Love itself! Told by our sweet friend and the talented owner of Empress Stationery, Jessica Stalnaker, this love story is sure to make you smile this Valentines Day.
How did you meet?
We swiped right! For real. So we were both on Tinder. Tyler had his birthday two months before and was just barely in my age bracket (I had it set to 28+. He just made the cut!) He messaged me first, we talked back and forth for a little while that Sunday night, and then met at Jack Browns Burgers a few nights later for our first date! Our first two dates were there, each lasting about four to five hours. We had our first kiss in the parking lot after date two, and the rest is history! We haven’t been apart since!
Tell us your proposal story.
We have season tickets to the Auburn home football games. We decided that we wanted to get in town early Friday before the Ole Miss game to eat lunch in Auburn. So we had a few beers and queso at one of the downtown restaurants, and then Tyler said, “Do you want to walk around campus?” It was really hot that day and I thought that was TOTALLY out of character for him, but I was like, “Aw Boo, that’s sweet! Let’s go for a walk on campus!” Thought nothing else of it.
We walk across to campus and when we got to Samford Hall he said, “Go ahead, do your insta-story.” So I get my phone out and start taking pics of Samford for my insta-story. I turned around to ask him a question, and he is on one knee with the most GORGEOUS gold band diamond ring. He asked me to marry him and I said, “YESSSSS!!!” He had someone taking pictures of it too so there were definite bonus points for him. AND we made the Auburn snapchat stories for the day because of all the students that were sitting on Samford Lawn on that sunny day.
He told me we were going to walk across the street to Moes BBQ and Facetime my family. He said they wanted to come down but my dad and sisters couldn’t get off work. We walk into Moes, and my family is waiting there! So I cried my eyes out in front of all the college kids that were there hanging out haha! It was a PERFECT proposal in one of our most favorite places that means the world to both of us. Auburn is such a HUGE part of our story.
Jess, tell us what you love about Tyler.
Oh my gosh. So one of the first things I noticed about Tyler was how easy it was for me to talk to him. Not just talk, but have really, REALLY interesting conversations with him. That’s why our first two dates lasted so long. We talked about everything from the Civil War, to politics, to travel, etc. And the talking and easy conversations never stopped. They still haven’t. We always have so much to say to each other. Now, we are literally reading each others minds all the time and we catch each other doing it. I’ll say something and he’ll say, “I’m getting creeped out because I was just thinking that.” I think our minds (and hearts!) just know how to talk to each other. I’ve never felt that type of connection with anyone else in my life. Tyler is also the most handsome man I’ve ever met. Just putting that out there.
Tyler, tell us what you love about Jess.
I love Jessica because I genuinely believe that we were made specifically for each other. I did not believe in love at first sight until the moment I laid eyes on her. We read each other’s minds and finish each other’s sentences, and we both push each other to follow our dreams wherever they may take us. Jess inspires and encourages me every day, and I truly would not want to spend my life with anyone else by my side. I love her heart, and I love her mind. Most of all, I love that she agreed to go get a burger with some guy she’d never met on a Wednesday night, and the rest is history.
What’s interesting about your relationship that we may not know?
We both have equal passion for my company, Empress Stationery. Tyler is an attorney here in Birmingham and loves practicing intellectual property and creative law. After helping me get my trademark last year, and just watching me do client work at home sometimes, he got to see how my business runs and hear about my hopes and dreams for it. He is now helping me manage, as well as giving me some ideas I never would have had on my own. He is literally an idea machine when it comes to new products and new processes. We are hoping that Empress will become our family business, with all hands on deck!
We also just got back from a trip to Colorado a few weeks ago for Tyler’s 30th birthday. We had lunch at a restaurant that was tucked inside a canyon, and we were overlooking a frozen river while we ate. My uncle was telling us about the summer time there, and how people come out to fly fish. So now we are wanting to find a special hobby the two of us can do together. We are wanting to learn how to fly fish!
Thank you Jessica and Tyler for sharing your especially beautiful story with us this Valentines Day! We are so happy for you both!
**Photography courtesy of Mary Margaret Smith Photography