Lauren and Luke

How We Met

I started going to Church @ The Springs, where Luke’s dad is our pastor, in 2010 and quickly became involved in serving within the church and getting to know many people. I actually met most of Luke’s family before I was introduced to him and eventually worked under his mom in the communications department on the church staff. I grew to love his family, and I didn’t know just how much that would mean to me in the years to come.

In June of 2014, our church was planning a missions trip to Costa Rica, and both Luke and I were involved in going. Out of the many groups everyone was split into, Luke and I were put in the same one. We quickly became friends during the many meetings we had in preparation for the trip. I remember him stealing my water bottle at one point and me trying to get it back, so I guess you could say we were flirting just a little ;) Our youth pastor’s wife, Cassidy Robinson, mentioned to me that she had an “epiphany” about the two of us being together, and I denied that because he was a few years younger than me and we were just friends. I also found out later that Luke’s mom, Teddi, had also mentioned to him that he should try to get to know me more, all of which happened around the same time.

While on the trip, we had the best time ministering to the children and families around San Ramon. Everyone generally becomes closer on trips like that, and it was no exception for Luke and me. Being around each other every day for a week caused us to become even closer friends, and I found myself trying to find a way to “happen” to sit next to him on the bus rides so we could talk even more.

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On the last night being on the mission site, we had an amazing night of worship and before I knew it, Luke walked up to me and asked to pray for me, and that’s when my heart melted into a puddle on the floor. I, of course, said yes and he continued to pray the sweetest prayer over me that God would lead and guide me throughout my life. In the days after that, we spent many nights texting and talking late into the night, and on the last day of the trip, our team went to some hot springs, where Luke’s friend “abandoned” us, and we were able to talk (I remember him talking mostly about basketball, and that won’t surprise you if you know anything about Luke).

After the trip was over, we talked nonstop every day and would find ways to see each other whenever we could. I knew I was going to the University of Florida that fall, so we weren’t sure what was going to happen but just figured we would take it one day at a time. A few days after his 18th birthday, he took me to Lake Alice on UF’s campus for a picnic, which obviously included pub subs, and asked me to be his girlfriend in the sweetest way. And after that, the rest is history :)

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How He Asked

After dating for a little over three years, Luke and I have talked many times about taking the next step in our lives together. My birthday is coming up soon (the day after Christmas), so my parents told me they wanted to take me out for dinner since they will be visiting my sister in Montana over the Christmas holiday. We were going to a restaurant downtown in the city where both Luke and I grew up, and Luke had told me he wasn’t able to go because of finals week and all he had to get done that day. While we were standing outside the restaurant for what I thought was waiting for our table, Luke walked up behind me and surprised me by coming! He then asked to take me for a walk, and we started walking towards the square. He was a lot quieter than usual and was definitely walking with a purpose but wouldn’t tell me where we were going.

Once we got to a little spot under a tree that was lit with the prettiest Christmas lights, he grabbed me by my hands, got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife! Of course I said yes, and he then told me the night wasn’t over yet.

He said we had dinner reservations at one of the fancy restaurants downtown, so we walked there, and I just couldn’t stop staring at my ring the whole time. It was perfect. After dinner, he told me we would stop by his house and then head to my house to spend time with my parents. Little did I know, he had actually planned for both of our families to be at his house when we got there to celebrate with us, and that meant the world to me! We had the best night, and I’m still having a hard time believing it was real!

Special Thanks

Sarah LaCognata
Photographer