How We Met: Aaron and I both attended Xavier University, lived in the same dorm from 2003-2004, and mingled with a few of the same people, but that would’ve been too easy. Despite all of those opportunities, we met five years later at the Kentucky Derby in 2009.
I was living in San Diego and Aaron was living in Toledo, OH at the time and we wound up on the same party-bus, riding from Cincinnati to Louisville on Derby-Day. Aaron did a toast on the bus-microphone to kick off the day. He had me at hello or in his words “I hope you rest’d up to messed up, cause your gonna be tore-up from the floor-up”, and so on; you get the gist. By the final race of the day, we had lost our friends and didn’t seem to mind. We walked hand-in-hand out of Churchill Downs to find that the bus was long-gone. We rolled with it and enjoyed Louisville for the night.
We kept in-touch over the years and eventually started taking some memorable trips, making the most of the long-distance situation we had going on. In March of 2011, I took a promotion to move to Grand Rapids, MI to see if this was really something and found out, it was.
How He Asked: By February of 2012, Aaron had moved to Columbus, OH and the now five-hour drive separating us was starting to cramp our style. He insisted that we spend the first weekend of February in Grand Rapids, despite the fact that I had already made Superbowl plans with some friends of his in Columbus. I was stubborn and didn’t understand why he wanted to go to Michigan so badly; I was not budging at all. Finally, he came up with a way to get me back to Grand Rapids. He told me that he had been thinking lately about how much I had been missing my friends due to the move, so as a special treat, he was flying one of my best friends (Kira) to Grand Rapids that weekend so we had to go back. I started crying and was so pumped that he was treating me. His only rule was that Kira was really excited to surprise me so I couldn’t tell her that I knew she was coming.
He pulled into town on Friday night and picked me up with plans to go to dinner and then pick-up Kira at the airport. We pulled up to our favorite local deep-dish pizza place, Brick Road Pizza, which I had been craving all day. He walked me past the front door and up to the far bay window where I saw the biggest cluster of familiar faces pressed closely up against the glass, from my mom and dad from Minnesota, to my sister from Omaha, to friends from San Diego, Boston, and Minneapolis, to his family and friends from Toledo.
Right there, in-front of the window, he said some heart-felt words and went down to his knee and asked me to marry him. I ran in place and jumped up and down while our entourage cheered inside. I forgot to even say YES when he showed me the most beautiful ring!
A very special plus was that my mom had arranged an amazing photographer (Amanda Montgomery from Arrae Photography) to catch the special moment on camera. I also got to spend the entire weekend celebrating with my family and some of my best friends.
Photos by Arrae Photography based in Grand Rapids