Alexandria and Michael

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How We Met

We were just 15 when we first met. Michael was the tall, skinny boy in the youth group that I had just become a part of. The first time I ever really noticed him was in a red van halfway to Gatlinburg, TN.

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He ate all of my twizzlers that day before we had barely said a word to each other, but then he whispered something to his friend. I asked him what he said and he continued to resist, until he finally looked at me and said, “Do you really want to know what I said?” Of course I responded saying yes, not ready for his answer to be “I said you’re weird.” I immediately turned around in tears, only to be told later by his friend that he had actually said that I was cute.

Throughout that weekend we began hanging out. I was warned about this “Michael Barry kid,” but I saw something much more. He was funny, sweet, and so cute with his shaggy hair. Later that weekend during our retreat, we were asked to write a letter to each person in the group. I received Michael’s and noticed that he had put much more effort into his to me, than I had in mine to him. I ended up writing a new letter to him, which ended with “P.S. Whatever girl ends up getting you is going to be an EXTREMELY lucky girl!” Never once did I think in that moment that the lucky girl would be me.

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It took four months of constantly being persistent to truly grab my attention. I remember one day I randomly received a text from him where he said “I love you.” I responded very quickly asking him what in the world he was talking about and him sending back “I asked if you were going to Mexico.”

The night that I told him that I liked him, four months after meeting, he immediately told me that he was going to marry me. When he said that, I thought he was crazy, but six and a half years later, here we are and I would not want it any other way.

How He Asked

It all started with our first combined family vacation with both mine and Michael’s family in Hilton Head the week of July 4th. We had been planning the trip for a while and a few weeks before, Michael and I began discussing our desire to go out once or twice just the two of us. After being together for six and a half years, you begin to think that a proposal could happen at any time and of course my mind wondered there for this time too.

Once we were in Hilton Head, Michael and I discussed our plans for a date. He had planned dinner at Alexander’s and then to go to a private beach that his friend had recommended to watch the sunset. I remember waking up that day and paying close attention to how Michael was acting because I had always heard that the guy acts very different the day you get engaged. Nope.. nothing, I thought as we spent the day at the beach. He was acting as normal as any day.

When I went up to my room to get ready, my sister was there and I even looked at her and said, “You know, I’ll be honest, I thought there was a chance that Michael and I were going to get engaged this week, but at this point there is no chance.” She agreed that she had thought it was a possibility, but admitted to him saying that he did not have a ring yet.

Welp.. I thought, what in the world was I thinking? There is no way it even crossed his mind for him to propose here. Tonight is just a normal date.

Finally, we were both ready and it was time to go to dinner. Of course, when we arrived at dinner I still had a glimpse of hope that tonight was that special night thinking that this private beach that his friend had told him to go to was just a place he had planned, until of course he pulled out his phone and showed me the messages from his friend. At this point all hope was gone and I just wanted to enjoy our date.

At the end of the dinner, Michael did my favorite thing ever, he got down on one knee… as a joke.

Now this is not the first time Michael had done this to me. He had done it while we were walking around the neighborhood or when I was getting in my car. He had done it in stores, as well as other restaurants.

My immediate response was, “Michael Benjamin, you better get back in your seat right now and stop all of this right now.” Of course in this moment, only he knew that he actually had the ring in his pocket. He finally got back up in the seat and all was right in the world.

After dinner, we went back to his place and got a blanket to sit on and headed out to the beach. Anyone who has been to Hilton Head knows that each community has a security stand that you have to go through and on our way to the beach, Michael warned me that there was a chance we wouldn’t get in. At this point, all anxiety set in.

We got to the security stand and the security guard asks for a name and who we are going to see. Michael began reading what his friend had sent him. In my head I was thinking, “Are you kidding me Michael? You think this lady is going to let us in when you just had to read our so called last name to her off of your phone that you are holding right in front of her??” I just knew we were not making it in. I am in the passenger seat trying to cover my face with my hair because I am so embarrassed and yet she hands us our pass and we drive right in.

While we were driving back through this community, I realize we were among some mansions and I began getting nervous because I thought there was no way that we weren’t getting kicked out. Finally we arrived at the GPS destination and we parked and got out. As we began to walk the path to the beach, I realized just how beautiful it was. It looked like a Nicholas Sparks movie and I was in awe.

As we walked out on the beach, I was so taken back by how different it was, not to mention that there was no one out there but us. We laid out our blanket and walked to the water. He asked me if I wanted to go sit on the blanket and so we walked back. We sat there talking and he brought up our life together. With it being Michael, I didn’t really think anything of it. Michael has always been someone that would say sweet things. He then asked me if I wanted to go for a walk and so we did.

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That’s when it happened. Michael and I were a few steps in when I felt more of a pull on my arm and heard him say my name. In that moment I turned around to find the handsome man of my dreams, down on one knee. It was the image that I had dreamed about for as long as I can remember… but in this moment, I thought it was another joke, which led to me turning away and saying, and I quote, “Michael, are you kidding me?”

In this moment, I then received another tug on my arm which had me turn around to see the most beautiful ring in his hand and hear him say those wonderful words “Will you marry me?”

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In which I responded with “are you kidding me?” followed by what felt like me saying “oh my gosh” one hundred times while the tears began flowing and then responding with “OF COURSE!!!”

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The look on his face in that moment and the feeling that I had are some things that I never want to forget. I could not imagine a more incredible time.

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I was then greeted by our incredible photographer, who had captured everything. You can see how excited I was when I first saw her. She congratulated us and began taking pictures. I remember thinking that I already had a big smile, but that in these photos my smile was literally going to be from ear to ear. I was so happy.

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After taking pictures, we continued on the walk that we had started and one of my favorite moments of the night was when I stopped us in our tracks and turned to Michael and said, “Hold on! You are my fiance now!” This was crazy to me after calling him my boyfriend for so long! We walked and watched the sunset. We celebrated together the most incredible moment that we had ever shared.

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He told me how he planned it. He explained how he had texted himself the information and changed his name to his friends to throw me off. He told me that he had the ring since November and that his brother was the only one that had known since then. We talked about how not only had he asked for my parents approval, but my siblings as well, as he knew how important they were to me. After walking, we realized we were too excited to wait anymore to tell anyone and went back to our families to celebrate.

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I could never imagine a more perfect day and cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with the man of my dreams! I am one lucky, lucky girl!!

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Special Thanks

Faith Seiders
Photography