A Jumbo-sized Proposal: Couple engaged at AJ’s

Savannah Vasquez
Michael Gloor and Jeannine Burton pose in front of AJ’s Jumbotron.

Birmingham couple Michael Gloor and Jeannine Burton have a common Destin thread to their love story; AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar. Seven years ago, the two hit it off at the restaurant during the unusual circumstances surrounding Hurricane Gustav, and New Year’s Day the couple came full circle with a proposal of epic proportion.

 “In late August 2008, I traveled from Birmingham to Ft. Walton with a friend, Amory Harwell, to stay at her family condo for a few weeks,” said Gloor. “After a few nights Amory talked her friend Jeannine Burton into traveling down for a few nights despite her concern of the approaching Hurricane Gustav. Jeannine and I had met in passing but never connected. This time was different we became best friends almost instantly. That night we traveled to Destin to eat at my favorite restaurant, AJ's.”

Burton agreed that it was that night that changed the course of their relationship.

“We had met previously, but we became better friends on that trip,” she said. “That’s when we became really close friends and bonded.”

The two now reminisce about the bad weather and the closeness the storm brought them.

“I was apprehensive about the storm, because I came down later,” said Burton. “It’s kind of an ongoing joke now because I said before coming down, ‘What about Gustav?’ And they where like, ‘Who’s Gustav?’”

The bad weather caused the group to board up the condo, and disperse but the love ignited in Destin continued back in their hometown.

“Jeannine and I remained best friends through good and bad times for the next six years,” said Gloor. “We began to spend more time together and on November 24, 2014 Jeannine sent me a text that read ‘I really think we're a good match, Michael.’”

From there, Michael said, talk of marriage progressed quickly and he asked permission from both Jeannine’s father and daughter for her hand before planning the proposal.

“We planned a trip to the Gulf of Mexico for New Year’s week but I still didn't know when the timing would be right,” said Gloor. “Then it came to me on December 31st; AJ's, the first place we ate dinner together. The plan was when we finished dinner we would go outside for the fireworks and once they started the Jumbotron would read ‘Jeannine will you marry me?’”

From Burton’s point of view, nerves almost got the best of her that night as she had all but written off the idea of the proposal.

“When we sat down to dinner I started to cry a little bit because I convinced myself that it wasn’t going to happen,” she said.

But her tears soon turned to tears of joy as Gloor’s plan unfolded.

“We finished dinner and had about thirty minutes to spare so we went outside and sat by the Jumbotron and listened to Jones and Company perform,” said Gloor. “Before I knew it, the fireworks began and we stood up to walk towards the pier to get a better view. That's when I saw the message pop up on the Jumbotron out of the corner of my eye. I asked Jeannine to turn around and asked her what it said. She read it, and was completely surprised. Then Cheryl Jones came out and made the announcement and sang ‘At Last.’”

“It really shocked me,” said Burton. “It was so overwhelming with the fireworks and the band, it was just unbelievable. It was an amazing, the best night of my life.”

After the large public proposal, Gloor took Burton for a walk along the beach and gave a private, down-on-one-knee version.

“We took a short trip to the beach, and I dropped to a knee and spoke from the heart, asked her hand in marriage, to which she said yes,” said Gloor.

“It was under the stars and all by ourselves. I got it all,” said Burton.

The couple now plans to head back for Destin for a spring or summer wedding later this year, and although the details are not set just yet, Gloor said you can bet AJ’s will be a part of the festivities.