Check out Part 1 first!
Beau slipped the beautiful ring, the ring he had picked out just for me, onto my finger and wrapped me up in a hug. I saw his friends pop out from behind a wall at one end of the bridge and run over to us, cameras in hand. I couldn’t believe it. We were, finally, after almost 4 years of dating, ENGAGED! He grabbed my hand and began leading me somewhere…I wasn’t allowed to know where, but he said excitedly, “call your mom!”
On FaceTime I proudly showed my family my new bling and told the whole story, still in complete disbelief and floating on cloud 9. I followed Beau and his friends, Lane and Cameron, to a parking garage nearby, and we all hopped into the car. Honestly, I don’t remember anything about that car ride, it was all such a blur.
I figured out we were going back to my campus in the suburbs. I thought maybe they were dropping me off back at my house, saving me a train ride. But when we walked through the front door, all our friends greeted us with a resounding “Congratulations!” We shared the proposal story with everyone, ate plenty of cheesecake, and obviously showed off my new sparkly piece of jewelry.
After a week of final exams (yes, we had to get through exams after that weekend!), we flew home for Christmas break and I could not wait to start the wedding planning. I was swept up right away into the excitement (and stress) of all the decisions surrounding the wedding day.
I only had 3 weeks at home to make decisions before we were back in Chicago for our final semester. We had to set a date, find a venue, book a photographer, and take our engagement photos, while I was also searching for my dress—one of the most important, yet time consuming decisions to make. We knew we didn’t want a long engagement, but that meant that we had to make the most of our time at home because wedding planning from 2,000 miles away while finishing up our final college classes was no easy endeavor.
Once we were back at school, most of the wedding day details were worked out over the phone with my mom in between classes and track practices. Beau met me in the suburbs on any weekends I didn’t have track meets to go to the mall and start our registry, choose the groomsmen suits, and pick out our wedding bands. In summary, it was a very busy time and honestly, it wasn’t always fun. It was stressful, and all my focus was on the wedding day, not on the marriage we were preparing for.
A month before the big day, Beau told me he wanted to take me on a long date, a full day away. He said we needed time to remember why we were planning our wedding, why we were getting married.
He surprised me with a day in Big Bear, a mountain town about 2 hours from where we live. We escaped all the craziness and stress for a day to just be together and soak up some time as fiancé’s. We strolled through the cute little town and meandered in and out of shops, ate lunch and ice cream together, and rented a boat to explore the coves around the lake. We had time to talk about us and share our excitement to finally be married. We didn’t talk about the songs that were going to play during our ceremony, or who was going to sit at what table during our reception. We talked about which apartment we wanted to move into and make our home, and what it was going to be like to do life together as husband and wife. Away from all the distractions and pressures and opinions enveloping us, we decided what we really wanted for our new life together, just the two of us.
The wedding is just a day, a really fun and beautiful day that marks the beginning of a lifelong commitment. So, it should be celebrated in a big way! But ultimately the celebration isn’t about the day, it’s about the lifelong commitment, the marriage that follows the wedding day. And I’m glad Beau remembered that so we could be even more excited about our marriage than the one day marking its beginning. I am so grateful to have a teammate for life that can ground me and be my rock when I get caught up in the stress and business of the little things.
It really doesn’t matter if the groomsmen’s ties match the bridesmaid’s dresses, or if you serve steak or salmon, or if crazy Uncle Joe decides to share a surprise toast. What matters is you’re committing to love and serve and submit yourself to the one you love most for the rest of your life.
Now in honor of 3 years of marriage, here are some throwback photos from our dating years. Enjoy! 🙂