Kayla and Ethan

How We Met

It’s all thanks to my Big (and bridesmaid), Allie Hull, that I and Ethan even met. Ethan and I were both attending Grove City College and on November 7, 2014, the Gamma Chi sorority hosted a date auction as a fundraiser. Having nothing to do, Allie suggested that I go to the date auction. Although I had no one to go with, I figured it would be a fun way to be entertained for the night. I walked to Crawford Auditorium and was given a bidding paddle as I entered. Luckily, I was able to find a friend to sit next to. One by one, guys from various fraternities walked out onto the stage as the host read a short biography about their dream date and what they looked for in a girl. Each guy was auctioned off to the audience for a chance to win a date with the lucky fellow. One of the last guys to walk out on stage wearing a black suit with a Mickey Mouse tie. Recognizing him, I realized that he was in my brother fraternity (Beta Sigma) and he immediately caught my attention. The bidding began. I turned to my friend and said, “Ya know, I would actually go on a date with that guy. He seems really nice.” And my friend’s response? “You should bid on him!”

After seeing that I was shy and unsure of what to do, my friend bumped my hand in the air and the host counted my raised paddle as a bid. Another person in the audience started bidding against me, but I was brought up in a competitive family and wasn’t about to just give up! So I went for it! Completely stepping out of my comfort zone, I started bidding higher and higher thinking, “This person needs to stop. I actually kind of want this date.” Moments later, realizing that I had brought no money with me to the event, I decided to bid one last time, and if I didn’t win, then that was that. I put up my paddle for one last bid and very much to my surprise, the host announced, “SOLD!” and asked for a name from the winner…”Kayla.” Ethan and I met up after the event and exchanged numbers so we could find a good time to go on the date that was won. Not thinking that anything would happen between us, we went our separate ways and met up for the date a week later.

How He Asked

Every January, Ethan’s church hosts their “Great January Getaway” at Ligonier Camp. Knowing that Ethan had already asked my dad for my hand, I knew that the proposal was going to happen sometime soon. My entire family attended the winter retreat and that Saturday was filled with lots of fellowship and fun, including zip lining and playing outdoor laser tag in below zero weather. That night, the youth pastor announced that they would be auctioning off various items to raise money for an upcoming mission trip. All of the young adults were asked to help out and one by one the prizes were held up and bought for a ridiculous amount of money. I had the last item, the “mystery box.” After all other items had been auctioned off, the bidding for the “mystery box” started.

Where to Propose in Ligonier Camp

After a few rounds of bidding, Ethan chimed in and started to bid. I knew that something was up but couldn’t figure out exactly what was happening. All of a sudden, the youth pastor yelled “SOLD!” and Ethan walked up to receive his gift from me. He opened up the box to show everyone what he won and pulled out a knit scarf saying, “That’s it?!” Everyone laughed. Then Ethan looked back inside the box and pulled out a smaller box, one that looked a lot like a ring box. I immediately started to cry, happy tears of course!

Kayla and Ethan's Engagement in Ligonier Camp

After a heartfelt speech, Ethan got down on one knee and said, “Two years ago, you bought me at a date auction, and tonight I’m returning the favor…Kayla Marie Peterson, will you marry me?” And of course, I said, “YES!” I have to say, I was very impressed with how Ethan managed to incorporate the auction theme (from when we met) into the proposal!

Special Thanks

Matt Genders
Photographer