A couple that has overcome a period of dating from different states, Erica and Jacquie brought engagement rings and jetted off on a romantic holiday before telling anyone.

Erica and Jacquie met in college, they were both 19 and joined that same sorority. They didn’t really notice each other, or care for one another all that much.

Erica suffered a difficult semester, and one night Jacquie sat her down on the steps outside of their dorm and took an interest in her changed behaviour. It was the start of a friendship that blossomed over the course of the year and, during their junior year, they began dating.

Another difficult semester hit again when Jacquie had to leave college due to a tumour growing in her neck, and they were separated by distance when Erica relocated to Washington to complete a full-time internship.

Erica moved back to Washington, and so began a two-year long distance relationship. For the couple, it was the toughest thing they’ve had to endure together. However, it gave them time to grow and discover themselves as individual people and has made them better as a couple.

Reunited when Jacquie made a move to Washington, together they have built something they would describe as nothing short of incredible.

This past December, after 6 years of dating, Erica and Jacquie decided to take their first holiday together to Trinidad and Tobago. Before they left, they decided that they would “just go check out a sale” at a jewellery store in town.

Five hours later they left with their engagement rings.

The couple decided to keep the news to themselves for a little over a month – and describe that month as the best of their engagement.

They left for Tobago with their rings and enjoyed a week of sunshine and celebration. On their return, they told family and friends the good news and began planning their wedding day.

Erica and Jacquie will marry in July 2018 in the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Photography by Mackenzie Alexander