Justin Pounders was just 3 years old when he met Amy Giberson at the Sunshine Preschool in St. Petersburg, Florida. At the time, life was innocent for the pair—who liked to play house and feign weddings with their friends—but neither knew that this would be the beginning stages of an incredible love story.
“He remembered that I had blonde hair and that I always spun around in my dresses,” Giberson tells The Knot in an exclusive new interview. “This little memory cracked me up because I was very stubborn with my parents. I’d only wear dresses and pearls to school with my sneakers. No shorts, no T-shirts and no dress shoes… I’d spin around in them so much and boys would look under my dress! So when he mentioned that detail I was cracking up.”
Little Amy and Justin eventually lost touch and went on to form new circles of friends, and romances, as they grew up. The journey was not an easy one for both. “Justin was destined to meet and love a beautiful woman named Adrianne,” Giberson shares. “He was going to propose to her, but he tragically lost her the night before they were set to move in together. We believe that once she became Justin’s angel, she set out to help heal his heart and get him through.”
For Giberson, dating proved to be equally difficult. “After each heartbreak or let down—while I’d be sad or hurt—I still didn’t give up hope that my dream man was on his way to me,” she muses. “With each dead end, I’d tell myself ‘It’s okay, Amy. This is just clearing the path for the right guy to show up.’ I finally came to the realization, that it doesn’t always mean right away, nor does it mean that after a really bad relationship, that he will finally show up. No. You have to go through some really bad days, weeks, months and years. You have to go through a lot of crummy first dates, big let downs and everything in between.”
Both remained cautiously optimistic about finding their future spouses, and made the conscious decision to sign up for Match.com, an online dating site, in hopes to meet someone special. These two, however, had already met—three decades prior. “We both signed up to see what was out there. You just never know,” she says. “We certainly found out, your preschool crush could be one click away!”
Giberson says she was immediately attracted to Pounders. “I knew he was the man I’d be having dinner with the rest of my life,” she recalls of their first dinner date. “He comes from a great family. He’s a very genuine and ego-free man, not to mention insanely good-looking and hysterical! He makes me laugh every single day.”
Eventually, their surface chemistry turned into something far greater than they had imagined. “We were only a month into dating and we were talking about very light-hearted things. Justin said, ‘I’ve actually always liked the name Amy because my first crush was a girl named Amy back in preschool.’ I joked, ‘Well, it wasn’t me, so I don’t want to hear about her!’ He laughed and we dropped it,’” she tells The Knot. “Two months into dating, he had a headache so I was lying next to him rubbing his head. He pointed out a scar above his eye. He proceeded to tell me how he got it from falling off monkey bars at preschool. He then said, ‘Good okay, Sunshine Preschool.’”
For Giberson, that name sounded all-too-familiar. “I squealed with excitement and told him, ‘Babe! We’re the same age! We had to have been there at the exact same time!’ That’s when he reminded me—‘Baby! Don’t you remember me telling you my first crush was a girl named Amy?’” The bride says she lost it. “I was this Amy,” she shares.
The couple married in the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Friday, November 18. Some circles of guests at their wedding surprisingly overlapped. “We’ve discovered so many stories where we were minutes from meeting each other,” Giberson says. “Same functions on the same nights for the same friends and we never met. We’ve been minutes from each other our entire lives for the most part.”
Now, they’re making up for lost time. “I love everything about him,” she says. “Even the things we struggle over. Finding someone who loves you for [who you are] makes you feel a sense of peace that’s indescribable. I love his big heart, his reliability, his unwavering strength, his character and principal, his sense of humor—and his sweet dance moves.”
She encourages singles to stay hopeful. “You can’t close off your heart,” she says. “If you do, you won’t be able to meet your person when they finally arrive. They are on their own journey to you. Sometimes that journey takes a while.”