Jade and Andrew
How We Met
I believed in fate but never truly experienced it until I met Andrew. I was a freshman in college, accompanying a friend on a lazy Saturday afternoon to the rock wall in our university’s rec center. Andrew worked at the wall and was on belay duty (basically a glorified “spotter”) while my friend climbed and I watched. My friend knew of Andrew due to previous climbs, but at the time we were strangers and I thought nothing of it. A few days later, we met again in the lobby of our residence hall, but this time he was on the phone waiting to run errands with friends while I was returning to my room, unshowered, in sweats and a ratty t shirt, with a basket of laundry on my hip. Recognizing him, I smiled, waved, and continued forward. Unbeknownst to me at that moment, he got off the phone and asked the desk worker in the lobby if she knew who I was. When she said, “No,” with determination he stated, “I’m gonna date that girl.” Sure enough, later that evening in the dining hall, while eating with our friends at separate tables, he saw me again and was eager to figure out who I was. He pointed me out to one of his best buddies, who thankfully knew me from often passing each other in our residence hall. With a swift Facebook search, he found my profile and sent me a message: “Aren’t you the girl I saw in the Suites that waved to me today?” And so it began. 2 months later, we were dating.
How He Asked
Andrew and I have always had a very open, honest communication style with each other and often shared our goals and dreams. After dating for a three years and approaching college graduation, marriage-talk became more realistic. We had some things to prioritize first: actually graduating, landing jobs, bringing in a stable source of income, becoming affiliated with the Catholic church (I grew up Catholic, he did not), and a few more steps along the way. One night, like many in the past, we sat together and talked of our future: when we’d like to get married, when we’d like to start having children, where we’d like to be in our careers, etc. When I asked Andrew when he roughly anticipated, at the very least, mentally planning to propose, he replied with, “43.” For months, I begged to know what sort of cryptic code this was and how “43” could be relevant. I looked at dates on the calendar, even years in advance, counted out months, morphed some sort of crazy combination of dates together, anything I could think of, but with no luck. During this talk, we both were not quite ready to be engaged, as we were focusing on prioritizing our other goals, so eventually, I let the thought escape my mind and settled with, “Well, maybe someday.”
Fast forward many months to my birthday in July. Like always, my family, Andrew and I went out for a nice dinner, then returned home to cake, gifts, and each other’s company. Andrew surprised me with three colored folders, and inside each one was a different adventure. A concert, the Renaissance Faire, and the biggest of all, a week-long visit to the Finger Lakes. We were going to stay in Belhurst Castle to explore Geneva, New York and the Seneca wine trail. We planned what we were going to do each day and what wineries we wanted to visit.
The first night, he said, we’d keep it low-key. We had a several-hour drive to make, and we planned to leave for our destination first thing in the morning. The plan was to dress comfortably, walk the grounds of the beautiful castle once we arrived, get cleaned up for a nice dinner in the castle, and then head to the docks right along Seneca lake to take some pictures, as we didn’t have any “nice” photos together. I’ve always been a photo fanatic, so the thought of having the opportunity to have a mini photoshoot at one of the prettiest places I would have ever been to had me ecstatic. The weather in mid August was just right, the sunset along the water would be beautiful, and the time roaming around new territory with my heart and soul would be priceless. Naturally, I bought a new dress, treated myself to a manicure and pedicure with my best friend before leaving, and made a Pinterest board of some cute and silly poses we could make at the convenience of owning a tripod.
When we arrived, I was blown away by how peaceful and gorgeous the grounds were. Beautiful, vibrant flowers spread across fresh green grass, birds basked in the sun along the lake, and the dock that I could’ve walked forever was silent and serene. As planned, we enjoyed a filling dinner and took off to the docks. While Andrew started to set up his tripod along the main stretch, I proceeded to walk towards a boat that was anchored at the end of it, hoping to find its name, as I’ve always been intrigued by them. With no luck, I continued to take in the breathtaking view and thanked God for blessing me with Andrew and the opportunity we had together. I began to make my way back towards him, when he started to meet me half way. We embraced and held each other there in the middle of the dock with my arms around his neck, when I noticed his eyes become glossy. Caressing my back as his voice began to shake, he said, “You, are the love of my life…”
Before I knew it, all sound and thought escaped me as I watched him reach for his pocket, and bend down on one knee.
After squealing with joy, excitement, and an overwhelming amount of tears, we embraced again after I said, “Yes! A million times yes!” Caught up in the moment, I (thankfully) failed to realize that my two best friends traveled a few hours ahead of us, and were hiding in bushes to capture the entire moment on camera as part of the surprise. I will never forget the overwhelming joy and love I had in my heart that day, and will forever have, for my soon-to-be husband, and two of the most precious people in my life.
On August 13th, I said “yes” to marrying the love of my life…43 days after my birthday.