'Alice in Wonderland'-Themed Marriage Proposal

How We Met: Garry and I have known each other since 2005, our freshman year of high school. He always tells me that he remembers exactly what I was wearing the first time he saw me-when we had to come in during 8th grade to take a Spanish placement test. We had a class together every year, but were never really friends (although, I must admit, I admired him from afar at times). Let’s just say that I was the Helga to his Arnold. We were even paired together in theology class sophomore year for the “marriage project” and had to plan a wedding! Of course, I did all the work as Garry was very much in denial of our imminent friendship, brooding over the fact that he was paired with me–my how things have changed.

During our senior year of high school, we were both individually faced with a lot of emotional struggles and family transitions. I specifically writing in my prayer journal and asking God to send me a friend and two weeks later Garry and I started talking.

We became friends out of nowhere, but we joined at the hip instantly. That is how I know Garry was truly God-sent. My healing process began when we became friends; it was as if God was working through both of us, for both of us. Our parents used to mock the fact that we even talked on the phone in the shower! Our friendship was so just organic. We were even nominated as “Couple that Should have been” in our senior class. However, through all of this we remained just best friends.

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In the fall of 2009, right after be both went away to separate colleges–Garry to California and I to Central Illinois–we finally decided to pursue a relationship, albeit long distance. That 2,000 miles of separation actually brought us closer together and we decided to start dating during our freshmen year. We told ourselves that the only way to survive that distance for four years was to make God the center of our relationship and to always view each other as best friends first. Those four years of college were filled with ups and downs, but after graduation we decided to continue our relationship and move to New York to become teachers.

How He Asked: Garry asked me by proposing in Central Park in front of the Alice in Wonderland statue. He surprised me with 30 of our closest family and friends. People ranged from ages 8 to 84 and came from all over including Texas, St. Louis, Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.

To set things up, my best friend was I town from St. Louis. We had been planning this trip for weeks and I was consumed by making sure she took a juicy bite of the Big Apple. Garry told me that he had a brunch planned us at this very nice restaurant. He said he wanted us get dressed up (he even bought me a dress to wear) and do a tour in Central Park with our guests first.

When I woke up that morning I had NO idea that my entire life would change. I put on the dress Garry picked out for me and we all got ready to head out. My roommate asked where we were going and said she had a lunch date in that area and asked if she could head up to Central Park with us. I didn’t think anything of it, the more the merrier!

We were running extremely late and I called Garry to ask him to book us for another tour. He told me they happened every 30 minutes, so I thought our tardiness could be fixed. When we finally got to the park Garry greeted us to take us to where “the tour” start place. He grabbed onto my left hand and squeezed it for dear life. He later told me he wanted to get a couple of good squeezes in before I got a ring on it. The whole walk over he was squeezing my hand and sweating profusely. I even asked him if he was alright because he looked so out of sorts.

As we approached the statute I noticed a huge crowd of people and I remember thinking to myself that this was going to be the largest tour ever. I then noticed that there were A LOT of people wearing the same shade of blue. As I got closer I realized that I knew the faces in the crowd!. I was totally clueless and had no idea! When we arrived at the statue I saw a line of 30 of my friends and family. It took me a minute to realize what was happening, but I saw my dad at the end of the line and that’s when I knew.

As he walked me down the line of friends and family, everyone repeated, “Alice, join him in Wonderland!” That’s when the tears started coming. I couldn’t control myself. It was the most beautiful thing that anyone’s ever done for me.

He then walked me to a spot marked with flower petals in front of the statue and gave his proposal speech. My heart was beating so fast, he literally took my breath away. He included references from my favorite movies and even my favorite scriptures. He ended his speech by asking, “Alice, will you join me in Wonderland?”

Of course, I said yes! After I came to my senses I realized that we were in a huge sea of friends, families, strangers, tourists, and love. We then went our to lunch at the Loeb Central Park Boathouse, which is featured in my favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally. Garry made a reservation for all of us months ago and we had a fantastic time at the premier New York City restaurant.

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The day was absolutely perfect. God is so good! I cannot believe that I’m on my way to Wonderland by marrying my best friend.

Garry & Alice Engagement

Garry & Alice Engagement

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Photos and Video: Carlton // Photos by AhDream Smith