Jill and Matt

How we met: Matthew and I attended the same high school; I was just a couple years below him. We never talked during those high school years. We were actually on the same track team, when I often thought he was full of it while leading stretches and I skipped out on practices. (With his younger sister ironically.) I ended up at the same college he went to, a very small private college in the Chicago area. We obviously still knew of each other, but never had talked or anything. About halfway through my sophomore year, (his senior year), I was over at his house for a get together playing games when we made some simple small talk, which I didn’t think anything of. A few days later, he began texting me and we started going dates. Things were made official in the beginning of March, 2012!

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That fall I moved back to Chicago to continue with school, while he stayed home working in Holland. The following summer, I moved out to Colorado Springs for an internship for the entire summer, and then moved back to Chicago that fall for my senior year of college. He stuck with me through it all! Anyone who has done distance knows how much you learn to appreciate your other half during the times you get together! I was happy to graduate this past spring and move back to Holland to have a solid amount of time together. Being able to see each other more often after doing distance for so long was when we really began to grow together by leaps and bounds. We have grown to love each others families just as much as our own and are beyond happy that our paths crossed again at college!

How he asked: There’s really no way to make this short, which is a good thing I guess! So I woke up on 12-13-14 thinking that I was going to spend the afternoon Christmas shopping with my two older sisters for my mom. (I actually wrote a check out that morning while getting ready and thought “huh.. this is a cool date”), and then continued getting ready. Once my sisters had arrived and I was all ready to go, my younger brother told me he had to quick show me something on TV.

He began playing a DVD of Matt talking to me about our relationship together and how much he loved me and was so ready to take the next step with me. By this point I definitely had some tears because I could make a good guess as to what was going to happen. Little did I know that I was about to go through the most amazing day of my life, so far. He ended the video saying that today was going to be a really special day for us and that I was going to see a lot of people that day who loved me, and that I had to do as they say, and that he was going to be waiting for me at some point. My sisters handed me a card from him giving hints that I was about to go get my nails done. (Something he knows I love doing, and something he knew I would appreciate having done on the day I got engaged:).

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My sisters and I were about to leave the house when a Hummer limo pulled into my driveway! I couldn’t believe it. The driver brought us to the nail salon where all three of us had them done. When we got into the limo after that, I was given another card from Matt. This one hinted at lunch plans at one of our favorite restaurants on the top floor of a hotel downtown Holland.

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We were dropped off up front, and upon walking into the restaurant, I see my mom, his mom, his two sisters, his step-mom, and his step-sister all sitting at a table waiting for us! I definitely teared up again; I couldn’t believe so many people were in on the surprises of the day! We all enjoyed a fabulous lunch together, and as we were about to leave, I was given another card from Matt. This one instructed me to get in the limo by myself, and he would take me to my next destination. Obviously I didn’t want to leave my family and his family behind, but I knew something wonderful was in store at the next stop.

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I got dropped off at another of our favorite restaurants right on the lake. I walked in, not knowing at all who or what I was looking for. I see a table of four ladies waving excitedly at me and when I recognized who it was, I almost lost it. One of my best friends from home was sitting there, with three of my closest friends from college who had driven up from Chicago to surprise me for the day! We sat for an hour and half and enjoyed some drinks and lots of laughs together! When we were leaving, the limo picked the five of us up and I was given another card from Matt. Inside was some money which I was instructed to use to pick out a new outfit for the evening! I couldn’t believe this was really happening.

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The limo took my friends and I back downtown to shop, and I am so glad they were along because I am absolutely horrible at making decisions, which Matt knows full well. We strolled through a couple shops and ended up finding a dress and some jewelry to go with it. My friends drove me to my sisters house and dropped me off to get ready by myself. Everything I needed was there waiting for me to finish getting ready and to complete my outfit :) (including five pairs of shoes to pick from). Twenty minutes later, there was a knock on the door. I opened it to see my dad standing there waiting for me! He walked me outside and had a Hummer waiting for me, that he drove to take me to the next stop.

I had no idea where the next stop was, and we were getting close to my house when I saw the driveway to one of our barns lined with lit candles in mason jars. My jaw dropped, and I couldn’t believe it was really about to happen. Dad dropped me off at the end of the driveway and told me to walk towards the barn. I walked up alone and saw a TV set up in the doorway of the garage, with a chair set up. There was a blanket laying over the back of the chair with “Matt and Jill, 12-13-14” embroidered in the corner. I sat with the blanket over me and pressed play.

For about 12 minutes, I watched the DVD as family and friends spoke to me about how excited they were for Matt and I! Friends from far away, my mentor from college, friends that had a part in the day, and both of our families showered me with so much love. The last part was my Dad instructing me to take a moment to wipe away the tears (there were quite a few) and to turn around and look back up the driveway. I saw a silhouette walking through the candles down the driveway towards me, and I heard Matt whisper my name. I was obviously shaking by this point and hurried out to meet him. I had been waiting all day to see him, obviously. He told me how much he loved me and got down on his knee and asked me to marry him!

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Fireworks shot up out of the field by my house right after that as family and friends came out of the trees to give hugs and congratulations! It was dark so I couldn’t even see my ring until someone took the flashlight on their phone to see it. It is so incredibly perfect!!! We went back into a different barn that was decorated with lights, lots of good food, and even more friends waiting to celebrate with us. He far exceeded all the dreams I have ever had for this day! It was the most wonderful day surrounded by people who love us, and ended with me saying YES to become the wife to the man of my dreams! :)

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