I cannot believe I’m typing the words “we’re engaged”! It’s been a little over a month now and I think we are both still getting used to it. Fiance is a word I’ll probably never get used to. But it’s such a fun time, and I’ve had plenty of “pinch me” moments.
If you’re not familiar with our love story, Jesse and I have been together for 11 years. We were teenagers when we first started dating and have basically grown up together. We moved in together after only 3 years of dating because we pretty much never spent a night apart. It felt really natural to move in with each other to save money, and it also just made us happy. We definitely did a lot of things “our way” but that’s one of the things I love most about Jesse, and our relationship.
All that said, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a lot of rollercoaster moments from me — wanting to get married, not caring if we got married or not, and not knowing what I wanted at all!
When we were younger I never felt a super-strong urge to get married. We have a rock-solid foundation and have been through a lot together — a piece of paper wasn’t going to change that. We are also both entrepreneurs and very career-driven. We’ve spent the bulk of our relationship trying to be the best version of ourselves so we can support the other person and live our dream lives together. That didn’t really leave any time or money for a wedding. The older we’ve gotten the more things started to worry me. What if something were to happen to one of us? He wouldn’t be able to legally make decisions for me and vice versa. We also started talking more seriously about the future and starting a family — and I felt like I would want a legal union for that as well. (Of course, these are just things I’ve personally thought about and not something everyone needs to prioritize.)
Once I knew I definitely wanted to get married, and I knew he definitely wanted to get married as well — I knew I did not want to give him an ultimatum or a date it had to be done by. I trust him wholeheartedly and I knew he would propose when the time was right.
A big reason I want to delve into this part of our story is that I know exciting life news like this can make some people feel sad, or anxious about their own situations. I’m here to say that EVERYONE has a different path, and yours is just as special as the next person’s. You absolutely cannot compare or look around. I know a handful of people who married young to end up divorced young as well. And then you have people like us, who waited 11 years! It’s okay if you’re not engaged or anywhere near it — that just means life has a different plan for you right now.
Now onto the details. The first question everyone asks when you’re newly engaged is — “Did you know?!” and “Were you surprised?!” I think if you know me well, you’ll know just by seeing pictures that this was the surprise of a lifetime.
I honestly stopped expecting it to happen on trips a LONG time ago since we take quite a few trips together (big and small). While every trip there was still an “ooh maybe it’s this trip!” thought, I pushed it back. I mean… we’re talking YEARS of trips people.
So this particular trip was our “11 year anniversary” trip — we chose NYC because I’ve been numerous times, Jesse’s been a few times for work (but very quick trips) but we’d never been together. It’s definitely one of my favorite cities in the entire world so I was excited to share it with him. We decided that on the way, we would stop in Arkansas to visit my Grandad for a few days. He’s in his 90’s and I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like being that he is in Arkansas and I am in California. My Grandad is one of the closest people to me. He’s someone I look up to wholeheartedly and find a lot of similarities with. I am definitely who I am today with many thanks to him.
Every time we visit my Grandad, we take a trip to this place called the Old Mill in North Little Rock. It’s truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen (it’s in the opening scene of Gone With The Wind). When I was a little girl I would play there and pretend I was a princess in a castle. It was always my real-life fairytale.
This trip was no different. We planned to go to the Old Mill that day. Bless Jesse’s heart as he knew what he had planned but I had no clue. I was wearing a super comfy but not flattering outfit of overalls and a t-shirt, and kept complaining about how I hated the outfit. He kindly asked if I wanted to change into an outfit for blog photos to which I pondered the thought then quickly decided “nah!” I didn’t want to make my Grandad wait for me to get ready and I didn’t want to make our trip about me and a photoshoot, so I opted to stay in what has become my least favorite outfit and also a forever documented outfit.
We walked around taking it all in, set up tripods and took group photos which were all very normal and routine things – we d0 it every time we visit. Finally, my Grandad states that he’ll take a picture of just the two of us. Jesse hands him the cell phone and sneakily leaves the tripod camera on record. I think we are taking photos the whole time. Jesse starts whispering in my ear and to be honest I blacked out. I knew by the tone of his voice and when he said “I want to take the next step in our lives together… starting today” and felt him back up… that it was happening. But it all blurred together so fast that I didn’t even remember saying yes! I had to ask my Grandad and Jesse in the car if I said yes to which they erupted in laughter. So really, thank goodness for that video because clearly the moment was there and gone so fast.
I couldn’t have dreamed up a better time and place to make that commitment to each other. I can’t even really put it into words, but it meant the absolute world to me that my Grandad was there, and that it was in a place that held so many childhood memories. It was the perfect, fairytale proposal from my prince.
And now… the best part… the part you probably scrolled down for…. the video!
And now I guess we’re planning a wedding?! I would love love love any tips or tricks you have with regards to wedding planning – leave them in the comments!