In some ways it seems surreal to be writing this, and in other moments it feels like the most normal thing in the world. I am engaged. Happily. I’ve begun the wedding planning process of my own after walking through it with more brides than I can count (and loving every minute of it, I should add.) I’m so grateful not only to have found love like this, but also for the love, support and encouragement of all kinds of friends, family, and clients. My heart couldn’t be more full.
Many of you have asked about our story, and so I’ve decided to share in this way …
How did we meet?
We met our freshman year of college, actually. He was in a serious relationship all throughout college, so it was never romantic but we were actually fairly good friends then. He doesn’t seem to remember it (and I give him a really hard time about it), but we hung out quite a bit and enjoyed lots of laughter and great conversations. It’s funny, actually … we both seem to remember very different things about our friendship in college. It’s been really fun rediscovering those memories together since we reconnected on my birthday (July 22nd) last year (2011). We’ve even found a couple letters we wrote to one another while I was studying abroad in Italy!
What does he do?
He’s a crazy talented musician. Yep, that’s right ladies … swoon now while you imagine a scruffy-faced attractive man playing the guitar and singing to you. Oh, and have I mentioned his beat-boxing?! Yep. He’s honestly the best I’ve ever heard, and I’m not just being partial. I tease him all the time, telling him I just want him for his beat-boxing. He’s amazing.
How long have we been dating?
Ummm, to be honest, we have no idea. We started talking on my birthday last July, like I mentioned earlier, but it wasn’t romantic at that point. It was just two friends catching up on life and enjoying conversations about life, love, hope, theology, and more. We can tell you the first time we saw each other after about 7 years had passed since we last saw one another in college, and how we ended up kissing that night which made it clear that it had turned to a romantic thing for both of us, but we honestly don’t know when that transition happened. You might think it’s strange to not have a date that we celebrate, but we kinda think it’s romantic that it was so natural and organic that we aren’t even sure.
Is that why you moved to Indiana?
Yes. We were do the long distance thing (even though neither of us really wanted to believe in long distance relationships, we suddenly found ourselves in one wether we wanted to admit it or not.) He kept telling me that in time he would move to North Carolina to be near me so that we give this thing a fair chance and try ‘doing life’ together, but he says I got impatient. However you see it, the long and the short of it is that when my roommate was getting married and moving out, and my beloved second shooter and friend, April, needed to step down from her position all within a week, I decided, “Why not?!” It never hurts to try, right? If it didn’t work out, I could always move back. Or at least that what I told myself. I didn’t really see that being a necessary option, though. I kinda figured it would turn out this way.
So, how did he propose?
Well, he was really wanting to propose in the basement of one of our favorite restaurants here, Vera Mae’s. It’s where we had our first official date, and it’s become one of our favorite places to frequent just the two of us, even if it’s just for drinks. He had it all planned out, but the problem came when I got miserably sick with a horrible virus that’s been going around here. I had a fever for days, the worst headache of my life, and an awful head cold. Needless to say, even though I was feeling better the night he proposed, I wasn’t really up for going out. He said he was trying so hard to wait for me to get well, but he just couldn’t stand it any longer. He just wanted the ring on my finger. So, Monday night we were at my place with our new pup and he said he was going to go grab us something to eat for dinner. He told me he’d be back in an hour or so. I thought nothing of it (let’s be honest, I wasn’t thinking much of anything with my head being in a fog still), and then about 45 min later he called and said, “I found something on the way back. Can you meet me out front?”Of course, I said yes, grabbed some shoes and a jacket, and walked out with the pup. He met me by the steps, held my hand and walked me around the building to the abandoned garage next to my flat. (The one we threw our Thanksgiving party in that was featured on Ruffled here.)
As I turned the corner, I saw a flicker of candlelight. I smiled and said, “What are you doing?” with a smirk and a twinkle in my eye. I knew at that point. Still holding my hand, he led me inside, wrapped his arms around me and held me for a few minutes amidst over a hundred lit candles. I remember feeling his heart beating so fast. The only time I remember it beating that fast was the night he first told me he loved me. I started to tear up, knowing that even though we’d been talking about this for quite a while, he was still nervous. He pulled me back, looked me in the eyes, pulled out the ring, and asked me if I’d marry him. I said, “yes” of course, after which he said, “Did you want me to get down on one knee?” and I said, “Well, yeah!”, half teasing, but he did anyway … and I smiled some more.
Thinking back on it, while Vera Mae’s would have been amazing, I kinda like to think that it says a lot that he didn’t care if I looked pretty that night or if my hair was done or if I had makeup on. (Believe me, I was looking rough!) Love isn’t about always looking your best or presenting the “pretty” … it’s about real life. About learning to believe in and accept the good, bad, and the ugly of the one you’ve given your heart to. I wish I had adequate words to express how grateful I am for a man who loves me no matter what. To be honest, after so many years of dating, it’s still hard to believe the way he loves me sometimes. He loves me well.
What’s with the untraditional ring?
I told him a while back that I really wasn’t a huge diamond girl, but that if he did want to get me a diamond, I knew that I wanted it to be conflict-free or a random vintage find from one of the many local antique malls we frequent. We talked about some different options, and then at some point I stumbled onto this amazing company called Bario Neal as I was working on a Style Me Pretty submission. I sent him the link and he was in love. Long story short, he ended up custom designing the ring. It’s made to fit another small, organically shaped band that will be my wedding band. I’m completely in love with Bario-Neal and think that you should be too. Even if you already have your wedding jewelry, check out some of their other work that can be worn for every day or special occasions!
It’s a white gold ring with a small, perfectly understated chocolate diamond. I am totally in love with it’s organic shape and simplicity, and can’t wait to have the porous band to go with it! Oh, and how cute is the packaging that the ring came in?!
And one of our adorable, sleepy pup, who made himself at home on the couch today while I was shooting the ring.