Chelsea and Heath
How We Met
On Monday, August 28, 2011 I finally understood the whole “he had me at hello” thing. I was helping a friend move into his apartment on campus and after numerous trips to the car, up the stairs, and back down we were finally finished. It was extremely hot outside and I was a sweaty mess (definitely not at my best). My friend was hooking up his television and I was sorting through wires when there was a knock on the door and it cracked open to reveal a beautiful brown hair, blue eyed boy who literally had me at hello. I mean, really, all he said was, “Hi, I’m Heath” and I was swooning. I somehow managed to muster a “hello” and after he walked away I immediately turned to my friend and said “why didn’t you tell me you had a hot roommate!”
I was mortified that I looked such a mess and thought I had no shot after that terrible first impression. However, after a few weeks of crashing on my friend’s couch (thank you late night classes) Heath and I were able to talk a few times and the rest is history. What started out as small talk while Heath made his protein shake each night turned into late night conversations and eventually him asking me to be his girlfriend while laying in the grass waiting for Josh Turner to come on stage during Sunday in the Country a few short weeks after we first laid eyes on each other.
How He Asked
The first time I went to Charleston was in 2011 and I was there for a whopping 48 hours. However, that’s all it took for me to fall in love with the charming city and decide that it was my favorite place in the states. The palm trees, Southern charm, historic houses, and I can’t forget the sweet tea, had captured my heart in a way I never thought a place could. I felt at home there and ever since that trip I’ve been dying to go back. So, when Heath and I decided we would go to there for our five year anniversary, I couldn’t have been happier. I was so excited to share my favorite place with my favorite person.
When we arrived in South Carolina we stayed on the gorgeous Kiawah Island. It was quiet, relaxing, secluded, and peaceful. Everything that we needed after a busy couple of weeks. Our first few days were spent laying on the beach, diving into books I’d been dying to read, and enjoying some truly incredible food. Everything so far had been amazing and the day of the proposal followed suit by including all of my favorite things. Heath started the day by waking us up early to sleepily walk to the beach and watch the sunrise. We were still in our pajamas, but we didn’t care. The beach was empty and I couldn’t have pictured a better way to start the most perfect day. After we watched the sunrise, we spent a few hours soaking up the sun on the beach and swimming in the ocean. I remember thinking that we looked like two crazy kids in love. We were splashing each other in the ocean, stealing kisses as we rolled over on our beach towels, and giggling as we talked about our goofy fur child back home. After we left the beach, we decided to grab a quick lunch before we headed to tour a plantation, and is there really a better meal than pizza? I think not. With happy and full stomachs, we left the restaurant and headed to Magnolia Plantation.
Pulling up to the plantation, I was nervous because storm clouds were starting to roll in, but the grounds were so beautiful we thought what the heck, let’s go anyway. We started walking through the Romantic Gardens, along paths lined by gorgeous trees covered in Spanish moss and after maybe 10 minutes of walking, it started to drizzle. We continued to walk along the path until we came across a small tree bench where we decided to sit and enjoy the view for a few minutes. While sitting there we saw a sign that said one of the prior owners of the plantation was a pastor and this bench was his special spot.
This bench was where he would sit and write his sermons, saying that he felt closer to God in this spot than anywhere else in the world. While we were sitting there, the rain started to come down in buckets, the thunder became louder and louder, and the lightning felt like it was striking within feet of us. It was scary stuff, but we felt protected knowing that God was present. When we finally thought there was a small break in the lightning strikes we decided to make a run for the plantation house.
By the time we got to the porch of the house we were soaked. We looked like we had just gotten out of the shower with all of our clothes on. We decided to stick around for a few minutes anyway in hopes the storm would pass so that we could continue our tour of the plantation. As we were waiting, Heath ran off for an “urgent bathroom break” as I sat by myself on the porch watching the storm. Shortly after he returned, we saw a photographer run up onto the porch and set her stuff down. At first, I thought she might just be capturing the beauty of the plantation, but she kept looking around like she was waiting for someone and I wondered if she was going to photograph a proposal. Excited, I turned to Heath and said “I bet she’s going to photograph a proposal!!” Surprised, he looked back at me and said, “Want to stick around and find out?” Obviously, I wanted to wait and see this magical moment, so Heath suggested we wait a few minutes so we could watch it. About 10 minutes went by and there was still no sign of a proposal happening, so we decided to get ready to leave. As we were sitting on the bench getting ready to get up, Heath and I were holding hands, and I remember noticing that his heart was pounding so hard that I could feel his heartbeat in my hand. For a second, I wondered why his heart was pounding so fast, but that thought quickly passed as we were getting up to head out in the rain that just wouldn’t let up.
We started slowly walking down the steps of the porch, and when we got to the bottom Heath asked me which way we should go. I pointed towards the parking lot, but he shook his head and said “Let’s take the long way!” The romantic in me agreed…a walk in the rain with the love of my life? I couldn’t imagine anything better.
We started running towards the gardens in front of the plantation house, and as we reached the middle of the gardens, Heath stopped abruptly and pulled me in for a kiss. I thought it was going to be a quick kiss and we would continue to walk to the car, but Heath had other plans.
At this point he was holding both of my hands and looking into my eyes with a big grin on his face. I was completely clueless still and wondered what was going on until he started talking and pouring his heart out to me. With his voice trembling and tears filling his eyes, he talked about how he knew that God put us in each other’s lives for a reason and how he couldn’t imagine his life without me. He then got down on one knee, with the rain pouring over us, and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. My hands were shaking, I was crying tears of happiness, and without hesitation I said “Yes!”
As we looked back at the house, we saw a small group of elderly tourists watching us, who hollered over to us, “Well, did she say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’???” To which Heath shouted out, “She said ‘Yes!!’” and they joyously cheered for us. Finally, I realized that the photographer was there for us and we were going to stick around and take our engagement photos.
It was then that Heath explained that his “urgent bathroom break” was to coordinate an alternative plan with the photographer, with the porch being the only place her camera would be protected from the rain. A few minutes later, the rain let up and allowed us to walk around the breathtakingly beautiful grounds, taking pictures, splashing in the puddles, and whispering sweet nothings to each other. I started wondering why we weren’t seeing any people anymore, and Heath confessed that the plantation was now closed and that he had rented it out for the proposal and photo-shoot. I couldn’t believe that everything had been done for me, but most of all, I couldn’t believe that the man of my dreams had chosen me to spend the rest of his life with. I still can’t believe it…I’m going to marry my best friend!