A couple of months ago, we announced that Austin Hines was the winner of our first Wedding Sweepstakes. Austin will marry Darbi Scott in a ceremony at Eureka Springs’ Thorncrown Chapel next June. We’re thrilled to share their story.
Darbi and I have been together since May 1st of 2012. It was my curiosity that got together and I have been happy with her ever since. Our relationship has steadily gotten better and better by the day and it’s our simple dedication to each other that makes our relationship fun and loving. I didn’t realize that our relationship would be so blessed in the beginnes, but lately it seems everything has been falling in to place. Most of those things have allowed us to have better memories in our impending marriage.
As stating earlier that it was my curiosity that got us together and later into a relationship, I was working with a cousin’s busines when I met her. I was working with him to help me get by until my pending application with Georgia-Pacific Chemical was finalized. I didn’t know anyone family and much less anyone else for that matter so, to make friends, I was using a couple of social networking apps. I came across Darbi’s profile on an app called Plenty of Fish in which I had an app on my cell phone. I messaged her, we exchanged a few messages, numbers later on, and met later that evening and had dinner with her and her mom. We had a few dates and started dating a couple of weeks afterwards.
It was around about a year when we started looking at rings and talking about getting married when I had found the ring that I got her. She loved it and I had a variant of the ring we looked at made to our likings at Kinard’s Jewelry, where she works. She never saw the final ring itself. I decided to keep that secret until the day that I proposed.
A couple of months has passed after we had the ring modeled when I started toying around with ideas on how to propose. In such a small town as Crossett, and nearby Hamburg, it was going to be tricky to make an impressive proposal. That’s around the time that Darbi came up with an advertising scheme, for her work, to make an opportunity for a man to propose to his girlfriend showcased on a billboard. Unknowingly, Darbi did not know that she was going to be the intended target after Kinard’s had approached me and asked if I wanted to do it since I was to be proposing soon. I thought about it for a week or so and finally decided to do it. After a week or so of designing it, it was to be July 2nd when the billboard was to be put up and timing was of the essence.
We headed out that Tuesday afternoon to her mom and dad’s house to have dinner. I crazily stopped on the side of the road just passed the billboard, since it faced North, and told her that I needed to get something out of the back of my SUV. I popped the rear gate and when she turned around is when she was the billboard and immediately burst into tears. I had walked around, opened the passenger door, took a knee and presented the ring and asked, “Will You?”. Those were the words that were inscribed on the billboard along with a professionally made photo of us made by Betty Ann Swaim of Hamburg, and a larger than life photo of the ring that I had gotten made along with the quote. She collected herself and said absolutely. We continued in excitement and headed to her parents house. I was then, after I had finally proposed after much anticipation, that she knew that this relationship was going to last until “I Dos” and old ages.
It was later on, in the latter half of July, when I was cruising through Facebook when I saw, “Win your dream wedding in the Natural State of Romance – Arkansas!” presented by Arkansas State Tourism. I thought, “What the heck, we don’t have much of a budget for a wedding and this would be right up our alley,” and clicked on the link, read up on the packages, and selected Eureka Springs/Thorncrown Chapel package and filled in my information. We had planned on having our wedding in her parents front yard and this it would be awesome to be able to have it at a famous chapel. I told Darbi that I had submitted for the sweepstakes and told her that she should enter as well. We sat there and talked about “if” we won ans what that would help us do and how many memories that would make. Not to mention, on how cool it would be to win something. We talked for about 30 minutes and then moved on to other things. Nothing else was ever said about it since the chances of winning something like that were so slim.
Recently, I was asleep in bed after swapping to the graveyard shift when a number from Little Rock called my phone. I looked at it and figured it was a pesky telemarketer that had finally gotten my number and disregarded it. I snoozed for another hour or so and woke up to find that I had a voicemail. I listened to it and wrote the name and number down and proceeded to call it back, as I was dialing the number, the same Little Rock number called again. It was Kat Robinson from the Arkansas Tourism page telling me that I had won the Wedding Sweepstakes! My heart immediately dropped and I sounded rather bland since I was still half asleep and she wondered if she had caught me at a bad time. I quickly said, “No!” that I was just getting up. She proceeded to tell me everything I had won and the process for which I needed to take. Thousands of thoughts raced through my mind and I didn’t even think it was real! I sat there and gathered my thoughts and called her back again to make sure that I didn’t need to write anything down. It was at that point that I knew it was the real thing! I texted my fiance’s mom and quickly told her the unofficial news and then headed up to the jewelry store to tell Darbi that we had won. I walked in and let her listen to the voicemail that was left for me and asked her if that was familiar to her, in which she was not. I then showed her the ad that we had entered and she immediately fell into tears and disbelief when she figure out I wasn’t joking.
Since doing a billboard proposal that captured the town, the local newspaper, and news station’s minds, winning this wedding sweepstakes was just the topping on the cake and everything seemed to be working out better than we had imagined. Winning was an answer to our prayers. We always wanted to have a memorable wedding and this has allowed us to have that as well as a big help in financing it! We are still in awe about winning and wonder where our luck will take us next. The sky is the limit since our venue was changed to the famed Thorncrown Chapel where we will exchange vows and have the most wonderful times of our lives. This opportunity has changed a lot of things for us and we are extremely thankful for winning this opportunity and are going to take it to our utmost advantage in helping us create the wedding of our dreams in the Natural State!