Laura and Cliff

pyronengagement4How We Met: When we met, we worked at the same news station in Wilmington. I remember sitting in my bosses office watching his reporter reel and talking about how they might hire him. When he came in for his interview, I was just pulling out from working the night shift as he was pulling in. He waved at me from his car but we wouldn’t officially meet until a month later when he started working there! We worked together for just over a year. I had a pretty strict “no dating coworkers” rule but Cliff didn’t hide the fact that he was interested!

I played hard to get even after I moved to Birmingham, AL for a new job. I went back to visit my friends in Wilmington one weekend in June and FINALLY admitted that I had a HUGE crush on Cliff! We started talking more and finally made our relationship official during a visit the first weekend in August 2012. After a LOT of flights, Skype dates, and phone calls, I made the best decision ever and moved to Raleigh to be closer to him in August 2013. After two years of long distance, I followed him BACK to Wilmington in September 2014 when he quit the news biz got a job with the state.  That move turned out to be a pretty good decision!

How He Asked: A lot of brides say that their guy was acting strange the whole day and was very on edge. Not Cliff! It was a typical Saturday morning in early November. We woke up and walked to our favorite breakfast spot in Carolina Beach, went to run several errands, and came home to settle in for the day. Around 1:36 (I still has the texts as proof —  but Cliff will try to tell you it was 1 pm!), our friends who were coming to visit us for the weekend texted us asking if we wanted to meet for dinner in Southport around 5. I thought this was weird because it would have been easier for them to meet us at the house and then take the ferry together. Cliff suggested taking an earlier ferry over to Southport so that we could walk around downtown a little before dinner. By earlier – he meant 3:15! That gave me about an hour to change out of sweats and get ready before they had to drive down to the ferry terminal.

pyronengagement1Unfortunately….I take a little longer to get ready than I am proud of. We finally made it out the door at 2:55. When we got to the ferry, the 3:15 ferry was full and there was a line for the 4 o’clock ferry! Cliff was freaking out (and I had no idea why!!) but thanks to some very quick thinking, he quickly paid for walk-on ferry tickets, parked the car, and suggested we had the friends we were meeting pick us up on the other side. Halfway through the ferry ride, Cliff said he had to use the bathroom and disappeared for about five minutes. Little did I know he was actually coordinating to have everyone clear the upper deck where we were so that it would be just him and I. Cliff came back and we were just standing at the edge of the upper deck when he began to talk about how I was his best friend, his anchor, and that he knew God had put us together for a reason. He said that we had already survived some tough stuff – including years of long distance where there seemed to be no end in sight. He told me that he could never imagine his life without me and got down on one knee, pulled the ring out of his pocket, and asked me the honor of being his wife forever.

But the surprise wasn’t over…Cliff had coordinated with our friends and family to have them waiting on the other side! We celebrated with our best friends and family who came in from all over North Carolina and even some who came all the way from Georgia and Maryland.

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Photos by Jennifer Simpson Photography