Jon and Claire
How We Met
Jon and I met the summer after my freshman year of college. I was back home for summer and would often run errands to help out my parents, including doing the grocery shopping. Jon was working as a cashier at the time at Whole Foods, and I would see him almost every time I went in. I remember the first time I got in his line, there was an immediate connection. I’m normally very nervous talking to guys, but with him, there was this sense of comfort and ease that I had never experienced before. Over time, I got up the courage to introduce myself and we would talk every time I saw him in the store. The Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, I was telling one of my friends about this cute guy who worked at Whole Foods–usually I’m oblivious when it comes to flirting, but it was pretty obvious at this point that he was interested in me. I told her I was going to give it a few more weeks and see if he asked me out. She looked at me said, “Why? What are you waiting for? A few more weeks and the summer will be half over. Just go ask him today!” I had NEVER asked someone out before–I always waited for them to come to me. But for some reason, I decided that just this once, I would go for it. What’s the worst that could happen? So I got in my car and started driving to Whole Foods. I told myself, “if he’s working today, then I’ll do it.” And sure enough, he was. I got in his line, asked him to coffee, and the rest is history. :)
How He Asked
I knew that Jon was in process of getting a ring and I would often tease him by asking if he had a plan for how he was going to propose. He never once gave me any indication about how he was going to do it, though you can bet I was wracking my brain trying to figure it out. On October 4th, 2018, he was driving me into campus for class from our apartment (because he’s super sweet and knows I don’t like taking the bus). On the way there, we noticed how absolutely perfect the weather was and talked about how much we wished we were at the beach—our favorite place. I said that I wished I didn’t have to go to class and he just looked at me and said, “Well, technically you don’t have to. It’s been a while since you’ve taken a day.” I’m very diligent about going to class regularly and keeping my grades up, but I also believe in seizing the day from time to time. After all, in 30 years, am I going to look back thinking, “I wish I had one more day of sitting in a lecture hall,” or “I wish I had taken advantage of a beautiful, sunny day spent with my person.” So after deliberating back and forth for maybe 2 minutes, I made the call and we decided to keep driving– to the beach. :)
Wrightsville Beach has always been our spot–it’s the first beach we went to together and the place where I first realized I was in love with Jon (though he didn’t know that until after he proposed). We weren’t sure what condition it would be in since Hurricane Florence happened a few weeks earlier, but we decided the day was too beautiful to waste and we would take our chances. Lucky for us, it was almost the same as the last time we were there–public beach access had just re-opened and we essentially had the beach to ourselves. We found a spot, settled in with our beach blankets, and he broke out his guitar. The first thing he played was January Wedding by the Avett Brothers–what we’ve always considered to be our song. It was all so perfect and I kept thinking to myself–this would be such a great time for him to propose. However, I had had that thought several times before and it didn’t happen, so I tried to just put it out of my mind and enjoy the day for what it was. We were going to listen to some music from this portable speaker he brought, and when I went to get it out of his backpack and he immediately stopped me insisting that he would get it. That was my first clue that maybe there’s something in there he didn’t want me to see…
Once the sun started to set, we walked down to the waves and I commented that I wish I had my phone so I could take a picture of the view. He said that he would go back up to where our stuff was and get my phone for me. Well, he got more than just my phone…when he came back, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I wasn’t dressed up, I didn’t have my nails done, and his proposal (as he later revealed) was not planned. He was waiting for the perfect moment–and to him, that wasn’t something he could’ve planned. It wasn’t elaborate, there wasn’t a photographer, and there weren’t any friends or family secretly hiding in the bushes waiting to surprise me after he popped the question.
I wasn’t completely surprised. It was simple. It was genuine. It was us. I think now more than ever there’s an expectation for proposals to be extravagant, over the top fairytale events– and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with choosing to do that! Planned proposals are wonderful and demonstrate thought, care, and effort. But I also think that there is beauty in simplicity. Throughout the day, I kept thinking of the lyrics to January Wedding, “She keeps it simple and I am Thankful for her kind of loving Cause it’s simple.” I got engaged to my best friend, on one of our favorite beaches, on a beautiful day. I’m lucky enough to get to spend the rest of my life with someone who just makes me a better person. For me, it doesn’t get more fairytale than that.