Fiancés Katie and Jon Almost Missed Their Connection—Until Jon Extended Their Time
By Ashley Edwards Walker
The Thursday before the 2019 CMA Fest, a multi-day country music festival, Jon was sitting in the lobby of a Nashville hotel waiting for his room to become available when he opened Bumble. He didn’t normally use the app when he traveled. But he’d flown in early that morning from Toronto, and had hours to kill before his friends were scheduled to arrive. When he came across Katie’s profile, he liked that it included more than just a few good photos; she talked about growing up in Alabama and her love for travel. “She seemed like a really nice, down-to-earth person who was interesting and, obviously, beautiful,” says Jon. So he swiped right.
That same night, Katie was leaving her job as an account manager at an IT staffing firm when she decided to check Bumble. She knew there’d be a lot of cute guys in town for the concerts. She typically made a point only to match with guys who also lived in Nashville, as she’d done long distance in the past and things hadn’t worked out. But that weekend, “I was like, ‘Whatever,’” she says. “I’ll give it a shot and see what happens.”
When Katie came across Jon’s profile, she liked that his photos—particularly one of him bungee jumping—made it clear he was adventurous. But it wasn’t until after they matched that she noticed Jon lives in Canada. “I figured I’d never see him again, and it wasn’t worth the time,” Katie recalls. But she changed her mind on Friday when she got a notification that Jon extended the 24-hour period Bumble gives to make the first move. Katie knew he must’ve paid for that feature, and “didn’t want to be rude,” so she messaged him.
Jon knew extending their time after Katie let it expire was bold. But, “I’d never talked to someone from Alabama before, and I was curious,” he says. They started messaging on the app before switching to text. Jon asked for her recommendations on where to go for drinks, and they discussed their lives: where they were from, their jobs, and their friends. “She was really sweet and nice,” says Jon. “And I decided I wanted to meet her. So I was pretty persistent and chased her around Nashville for two days.”
And chase he did—although Katie says she didn’t intend for it to go down that way. Originally, they’d planned to meet up on Saturday at a bar in downtown Nashville with their respective friends. But on the day, they couldn’t get their groups to align. Then Katie’s phone died, so she returned home and went to bed. She figured that would be the end of it. But on Sunday morning, Jon texted that he still really wanted to meet. “I remember my friend Mike asking me, ‘Why do you want to meet up with this girl so bad? We’re going to be at a bar in 20 minutes and there’s going to be 1,000 girls to talk to,’” says Jon. “And I said, ‘I don’t know, she’s just so interesting. I’m convinced she’s my future wife.’”
Katie was sitting at a bar with one of her coworkers when she saw Jon walk in with his friends. The groups met and started ordering drinks. Eventually, Katie and Jon paired off and fell so deep into conversation their companions decided to leave them to it. The couple spent the next 10-ish hours visiting different spots around Nashville on what turned out to be a very long first date. They shared their first kiss on a hotel rooftop, and later in the evening, Jon asked Katie to be his date to country singer Thomas Rhett’s concert happening in Canada the following month. When she agreed, he booked her a plane ticket on the spot.
It was a whirlwind romance. But even when reality hit the next morning, with Jon flying back to Toronto and Katie returning to work, they kept texting and were soon FaceTiming every day. “We used to keep count of the hours we FaceTimed, and there were so many we literally lost count,” says Katie. When she finally made it to Toronto in July, they enjoyed their long weekend so much that Jon booked an August trip to Nashville. They returned to the Bobby Hotel, where they’d shared a kiss, and proclaimed their love for each other. They continued dating long distance for another six months —traveling to New York City, then spending Thanksgiving in Alabama with Katie’s family, followed by Christmas in Newfoundland, Canada where Jon is from—before Katie moved to Toronto to live with Jon in February 2020.
COVID hit six weeks later. They went from seeing each other every few weeks to quarantining in a condo together all day every day. And it proved their relationship was “as strong as ever,” says Jon. In May, they took a day trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, followed by a nearby botanical garden to celebrate Katie’s birthday. There, Jon proposed. As they took a celebratory selfie, two bumblebees photobombed their picture—a serendipitous nod to how they met.
When they announced their engagement on social media, Jon’s friend Mike who had been with him on that original trip to Nashville texted him, “‘Wow, you were right. She really was your future wife,’” recalls Jon. The wedding is now scheduled for August 2021 in Nashville, assuming international travel restrictions have been lifted by then. “Some people say love at first sight,” he says. “For me, it was love at first dating app convo.”