One local couple won the “Marry Me” contest that Union Station Hotel held back in February. As winners of the contest, they received a signature cocktail, one night’s stay at Union Station, credit toward their reception and a limo ride to the airport.

The lucky winners of the contest – Belmont almuni Marcus and  L.A. We sat down with Marcus and L.A. to learn more about their wedding plans and what’s it like to learn you just won an incredible wedding package.

Can you tell us more a little bit about yourselves?

LA: I’m from Boca Raton, Florida. I moved to Nashville in 2004 to attend Belmont University (the first place I ever visited when I moved to Nashville was Union Station Hotel!). I majored in music business, and after graduation I moved to Los Angeles to work in TV production.

After a change of heart and life goals, I decided to move back to Nashville in 2012 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Counseling. I am currently a school-based therapist at Centerstone at McMurray Middle School where I work with middle-schoolers in the Nashville community.

Nashville is very special to me. I love being able to grow here, pour into the people here and watch the city blossom! We are both on the worship team and are life group leaders at our church, Nashville Life, and love seeing others meet and grow in relationship with Jesus.

Marcus: I grew up mostly in Collierville, Tennessee, a suburb of Memphis. I came to Nashville in 2005 to attend Belmont University, majoring in commercial music. Since graduation in 2009, I have been touring as a professional drummer for various musical artists. I am currently the drummer for EMI recording artist, Eric Paslay. I love Nashville and am excited that I’ve made my home here. I am also very involved at my church, Nashville Life.

Tell us how you met and we both both of your versions? 

Marcus:We met 10 years ago as students at Belmont University here in Nashville. Throughout our college years, we knew each other from a distance, but weren’t that close. She moved to California after college for a couple years; I traveled as a musician after college. She eventually moved back to Nashville on a different career path. She and I both became involved at church, Nashville Life Christian Church (nashvillelifechurch.com), and we both experienced incredible growth and maturity, both naturally and spiritually, through our church.

This is an important part of the story, because we both feel that as our foundation in God became central to our lives, independent of each other, and our eyes were opened as we began to see life much differently than before. This became the first time I was able to seriously consider asking her out on a date. I realized she was pretty, fun and loved the Lord. I would’ve been stupid not to go for it. So I asked her out, she agreed and from there we began dating in between my busy travel schedule.

A year after our first official date, almost to the day, I asked her to marry me. I knew she liked Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, but we hadn’t had a chance to go there together. So, with the help of friends, I secretly found a way to take her there without her knowing what was in store. I had a nice spot picked out there, so when we walked up, I got on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage. I also had a picnic planned next door at Percy Warner Park with all of her close friends waiting to surprise her. After I gave her the ring, we made our way over there to celebrate the occasion.

L.A.: Marcus and I had known each other for years and were in the same circles, but not very close. We started to become friends about four years ago when I moved back from LA. I wasn’t sure I was into getting married and I definitely had in my mind that Marcus was not for me. You see, I am very outgoing and animated, and Marcus is way more quiet and reserved.

I thought foolishly that he would not be able to handle me. As I learned more about the beauty and purpose of marriage and learned how through God we are made to compliment, support and help each other, my eyes began to open to the possibility of Marcus. I had always known there was a little spark or chemistry, but as I grew in God and listened to wise counsel around me, my feelings for Marcus began to grow.

I didn’t know how we would go from being sort of friends to dating, but I knew it wasn’t my job to figure it out. Slowly, we started talking more and after a month or so, he asked me out a date. I knew from our first date at Epice that this was a very good thing. Each step of the way has been new for each of us. We have had so much fun dating and learning more about what it means to adventure with some one else, and open up and be vulnerable, mature and Godly together. It has been a complete joy for me to learn more about him through this year and see how beautifully we were made for each other. He is good in every way I am not! Ha!

I have no doubts that he is the perfect man for me. He loves and follows God with his whole heart, he knows who he is, knows how to lead, he is smart, kind, patient, loving, humble, funny and really just extremely good looking. I love him so much and can’t wait to be his wife!

How did you find out about the Union Station wedding giveaway?

LA: When I started to think about what kind of wedding I wanted, I thought to myself, “there is no way we could do this, I am going to have to win a dream wedding sweepstakes.” I actually Googled “wedding sweepstakes 2016 Nashville,” and Union Station’s contest was the first thing that came up!

I couldn’t believe it, because I have always dreamed of getting married at Union Station Hotel. The only thing was that I actually wasn’t engaged yet. I was mad at myself for even looking. Little did I know that in a week Marcus had a beautiful proposal planned. As soon as I got engaged, I looked back on the post and realized that the contest was closed. I messaged Union Station on Facebook/Instagram to see if it was still open and then found out that the contest actually opened back up. We sent our engagement story and picture on Instagram the next day and a week or so later found out that we had won! God is so good!

Have you selected a date yet for the wedding?

L.A. Yes. Oct. 1, 2016

What was your first reaction when you found out you won?

LA: Shock! I was at my house and showed my phone to my roommate, Rachel, and was in complete silence; I didn’t know what to say. My roommate just started screaming, “Are you serious? This is amazing!!” when I showed her.

Marcus was actually on his way over to my house and arrived minutes later. I wanted to throw him off, so I told him I needed to show him something on my phone that was weird. He saw the message and was also in shock and exclaimed his classic line, “This is awesome!” with a huge grin on his face. We were so excited and texted our family and friends immediately.

Do you have an idea on what your signature cocktail might be?

L.A.: Ginger Fizz — grapefruit juice, ginger ale, vodka and lime. Sweet, tart and fizzy — the perfect combination! Some of my LA friends discovered this combination, and we would make them while watching “The Bachelor” every Monday night. I always said if I had a signature cocktail it would be the ginger fizz, and now thanks to Union Station’s contest, I have a chance to have one. And of course I am a ginger, you know, so it fits.

How does winning this package change your wedding plans?

Marcus: It actually fit very well with our wedding plans. LA has always wanted an October wedding, and as we narrowed down dates with Union Station Hotel, it became clear that Oct. 1 would be the best date. We also both have big families and a lot of friends, so we knew that our wedding might end up being fairly large. The size of Union Station Hotel allows for us to invite more people than we normally would have been able to include. Pretty much everything else about the package went along with what we wanted to do, so it’s working out perfectly.

LA: We would not normally be able to have a grand and large wedding, so we are very thankful that we are able to plan such a dynamic ceremony and reception at such a beautiful and historic place. Everyone that we’ve met and worked with at Union Station Hotel has been amazing — we are excited to continue to plan and are so grateful for this blessing!

Can you share with us your honeymoon plans?

We’re going to San Jose del Cabo in Mexico!

Learn more about Union Station Hotel and their wedding packages on their website.