The Lucky Lady: Joie P. Kinloch, 31, Unit Manager

Her Leading Man: James Eric Word, 32, U.S. Army Officer

The Big Day: October 12, 2013

Wedding Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico

How did you meet your man?
I met my man online of all places!

Were you looking for love at the time?
I was not. It is a funny story actually. I was set up on a dare by my girlfriends. We’d just read an article about online dating and were curious as to what could have been out there. After a few glasses of wine and major persuasion, I agreed to the dare. The deal was that I’d leave my profile up for 30 days only and this would be just for fun, as I had no intention of meeting anyone online. We signed up and after looking through a few profiles our curiosity was satisfied and we moved on. I forgot all about the profile until I was sent a reminder email about my subscription. I had not logged back on since that night, so I decided to check things out one more time before taking my profile down. After sorting through a month’s worth of messages, I came across a note from Eric that stated that he found me very attractive. I checked out his profile, and let’s just say the feeling was mutual. We went from instant messaging to phone calls, and our phone calls eventually led to a first date, which was the start of something beautiful.

Did you play hard to get?
I did. Although, meeting him was a wonderful surprise, initially, I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to get involved with a soldier. I wasn’t sure about dealing with possible deployments or the demands of the U.S. Military. With that in mind, I tried my best to keep my cool when it came to him.

Was it love at first sight?
I’ve always been pretty cautious when it comes to opening my heart to someone. So while it wasn’t love at first sight, there was definitely a strong attraction mentally and physically. I was intrigued with him to say the least.

Describe your most romantic date ever.
We are a pretty outgoing couple, however our most romantic date was a night spent inside. Eric had plans to take me out to check out a new restaurant, but unbeknownst to him, I had other plans in mind. When he arrived to pick me up, I surprised him with plans to have dinner for two at my place. The ambiance was set with candles, wine, good food, and of course, good company.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened on a date?
On New Year’s Eve 2012, we were enjoying ourselves at a lounge in St. Louis. In preparation for the New Year’s toast we had gotten our glasses of champagne and were headed downstairs. As I ventured down I took a misstep and almost had a horrible head first fall down the rest of the stairs. Luckily, Eric grabbed me saving me from my unexpected somersault down the stairs. I was able to recover and regain my composure but not without nearly everyone in the venue seeing. My claim to fame that evening was that despite that nearly crazy fall I was still able to balance my champagne, as I did not spill one drop. Eric still teases me about that incident to this day.

At what moment did you know he was “The One” for you?
When his job relocated and he informed me that he would have to leave the area soon. I realized that despite my reservations about a military lifestyle and entering into a long distance relationship, there was no one else in this world that I would rather be with.

How did he pop the question?
It happened on New Year’s 2013. I’d flown in a few days earlier to spend a long weekend with him. We exchanged Christmas gifts shortly after my arrival and proceeded to prepare for New Year’s Eve festivities. After having a blast bringing in 2013 we spent the drive back to his place discussing our relationship and our future together (a conversation we’ve often had, so I was still unsuspecting of what was to come). Once we got home, and I prepared for bed, Eric mentioned that he had one more gift he had not yet given me. Immediately I knew what was next. He led me to a small gift bag with a small box in it. As I opened it and saw my ring, Eric got down on one knee and officially asked for my hand in marriage.

What was really going through your mind as he proposed?
Yes! Yes! Yes!

Eric, were you nervous about proposing?
No, I knew that we both wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. I felt that we were both of a similar mindset. We were both in love with each other, had grown together over our time as a couple, and were ready to move forward to the next phase of our lives together.

What are you most looking forward to about marriage?
I’m looking forward to waking up to my husband every day. I’m also looking forward to continuing to build upon the strong foundation that we’ve established within our relationship. I’m so optimistic about what the future holds for us.

Photos: Keith Cephus Photography