When Peyton Thomas met Jake Ganus at a theme park at age 13, she had no idea she was meeting her future husband. Fast forward eight years, and these high school sweethearts can’t imagine having grown up without each other. They’re sitting down with B-Metro to share their favorite dates, who said “I love you” first, and how they won Diamonds Direct’s annual honeymoon giveaway with a touchdown-worthy proposal.
How did you meet?
J: I met her at the Visionland theme park the summer after 8th grade. My grandmother wanted to set me up with her since I was moving from Georgia to Alabama and didn’t know anyone. I was really nervous when we met because I thought she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.
P: I remember him chasing me around the park’s lazy river that day; we always laugh looking back on it. It wasn’t until sophomore year at Chelsea High School that we started dating and completely adored one another.
Tell us about your most memorable date.
J: I think our first one was probably the most memorable for me. She was wearing this beautiful dress, and I remember I took out my phone and started texting, which she told me was rude. Then her phone buzzed, and she saw I sent her a text telling her how beautiful she looked.
P: It was our anniversary, and I had been waiting to tell Jake I loved him until I knew without a doubt. On the way home, I said I had to tell him something really important. He pulled over on the side of the road, and I told him how in love with him I was. He lit up in a way I’ll never forget.
J: For me, I think it was at that theme park. When I first saw her, in the back of my mind I was thinking, “Lord, please let me marry this woman.”
P: In high school I told him and all my family and friends that I would marry him. We were young, but we matured together and have been each other’s rock ever since.
Tell us about the proposal.
J: I play football at the University of Georgia, and I knew I wanted to propose to Peyton after a game. I told her that I won “Senior of the Week” and would get to bring my family onto the field for pictures after the game. She was completely surprised when I walked her onto the field and dropped down to one knee.
P: We were on the field, and Jake asked me to go to the 50-yard line with him to take a picture. He spilled his heart out and got down on one knee—it was so special to have our families and his teammates there to witness it all. Little did I know the senior award he won didn’t even exist!
Tell us about entering (and winning!) the Diamonds Direct honeymoon contest.
J: Peyton had told me she heard about the contest on the radio, and we both immediately knew we wanted to enter. We had a great video of our proposal put together by one of UGA’s video guys, and I thought we had a good chance to win.
P: It means the world to us to have won this honeymoon! With us being so young, we had been discussing how we would be able to pay for a honeymoon, and this has lifted a huge weight off of us.
J: Always follow your heart, because there is nothing worse than living with regret. If you love someone, don’t be afraid to let them know.
P: Never ever settle. I am so lucky to have found Jake when I was young, but it doesn’t always happen like that. You accept the love you think you deserve, so settle for nothing but the best.
What are you most looking forward to about spending the rest of your lives together?
J: I can’t wait to come home to her every day and just make her happy.
P: Doing everyday things like buying a house, going to the grocery store, cooking dinner together, and raising sweet babies. He really is my best friend.