Lauren and Matthew

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How We Met

Matt and I met each other in the first few months of our freshman year at the University of Georgia in Athens. My sorority was having a social with his fraternity, NASCAR themed to be exact! I remember the first time I saw him across the way in the event venue. I just knew that I had to talk to him! Once I built up the courage, I walked over and introduced myself to him. We went through the usual introductions of basically every freshman year first conversation: where you’re from, where you went to high school, major, what dorm you live in. I was happy to find out that Matt went to a high school that my high school had played football against and couldn’t help but rub in my high school beating his in overtime by a field goal! After talking for a while, I realized just how easy it was to talk to him. Something just felt different. Even after we had finished talking and gone our separate ways to find our friends, I couldn’t help but smile. After that night, we continued to run into each other on campus, at the dining hall, and at other parties on campus over the next few weeks. One night, we ended up walking back to the dorms in the same big group. We ended up talking the whole walk back and once we reached the entrance to the dorms, I remember being so disappointed because he didn’t ask for my number before he continued the walk up the hill to his dorm!

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One of my really good guy friends, Taylor, just so happened to be in Matt’s pledge class. I told him that I thought Matt was so cute and sweet! I made Taylor promise that he wouldn’t tell Matt but I should have known that would never happen! A few days later I got a text from Matt and promptly responded with, “Who is this?” He told me Taylor had given him my number and I am so glad he did! We continued to text and talk over the next few days and then one night Matt asked if I wanted to go watch a meteor shower with him. Of course I said yes and as we watched the night sky at the intermural fields, he held my hand for the first time. At this point, I knew that I liked Matt so much more than any other guy I had ever met. It just felt so different and I had never felt that way before. We pretty much did everything together after that point. After cheering on the Dawgs together at every Georgia football game, multiple date nights, and countless fun times, I was head over heels.

As our freshman year came to a close, I started to worry what the summer would bring. Even though everyone we knew considered Matt and me a couple, he had not officially asked me to be his girlfriend. On our last night in Athens, Matt and I went to eat the late night breakfast at the 24 hour dining hall one last time. I was nervous because I knew this would be the last time we would see each other for a while because our home towns are almost 4 hours apart. We were walking back up to where the entrance to the dorms is and he stopped me right outside Bolton dining commons (the favorite freshman dining hall) and told me that he wanted us to be official. He asked me to be his girlfriend. Even though it was the least romantic spot possible, it was perfect. Of course I said yes and we have been together ever since!

How He Asked

About 2 months before the proposal, Matt asked me to try to rearrange a work shift on an upcoming Friday to have a long weekend. When I asked him why he just told me it was a surprise and that he needed to know about my schedule before he would tell me anything. After successfully working out my schedule, Matt still wouldn’t tell me anything! He said he would tell me what I needed to pack 2 days before and that we would need to leave very early in the morning on the Friday of the trip. I tried so hard over the next 2 months to figure out where we were going! All I got was that it was going to be a very long car ride so I just needed to be prepared for that. The week before the trip I was so excited! Matt told me to pack for cooler weather in the upper 50s to mid 60s. I have never had such a hard time packing for anything in my life!

After getting off work on Thursday night, I immediately left to make the trip up to Atlanta so we would be ready to leave early on Friday morning. Matt continued to say that we had to leave at 6 AM sharp to make sure we had plenty of time to get where we were going. He talked about how long of a drive it was going to be and just hoped there would be no traffic.

When my alarm went off at 5 AM on Friday, I could barely contain my excitement. We loaded up the car and left at exactly 6 AM. I still had absolutely no idea where we were going. We got on 1-75 south and I was immediately confused. I figured we would be heading north since the weather was supposed to be cooler than it was in Georgia. Finally, I started to see the signs for the Atlanta airport and when I looked over at Matt, he was smiling to himself. He then said that we were actually getting on an airplane! After I got over the initial excitement, I quickly realized none of my things were packed to go on a plane. Matt again had planned ahead and hidden his suitcase in a smaller suitcase so I would have something to put all of my things in. After parking at the airport, Matt looked over and asked if I wanted to know where we were going. He then handed me a guide book for the Grand Canyon National Park. I screamed out loud and couldn’t hold in how excited I was. I have always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon!

After a flight to Phoenix, Arizona, we rented a car and started the 3 hour drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Matt didn’t mention what he had planned for the evening other than that we needed to be somewhere by 5:30 PM. After making it to our hotel, I rushed to get ready and we headed to the entrance into Grand Canyon National Park. Matt drove us to Yavapai Point, where there is an overlook into the Grand Canyon. We parked and started to walk towards the overlook area. The sun was just starting to set and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Words or pictures can’t even describe how breath taking the Grand Canyon is.

After a few minutes Matt asked if he wanted him to take a picture of me to send to my family since the backdrop was so amazing. I handed him my phone and walked closer towards he edge and when I turned around, I could just see it in his face. I knew exactly what was about to happen! He took my hands and told me that he had wanted to do this for such a long time and that he loved me so much. He got down on one knee and told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He then asked if I would marry him! I was in so much shock and fighting back tears that I had to quickly remind myself to say yes! He had picked out the most beautiful, perfect ring all on his own. As he slipped the ring onto my finger, I seriously felt like the luckiest girl alive. Just when I thought things couldn’t any better than they already were, Matt told me he had hired a photographer to capture the whole proposal and to do an engagement session right after. We spent the next hour taking pictures at the overlook.

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Every girl imagines what her proposal will be like one day, and Matt blew every expectation I ever had out of the water. The whole weekend was so special and he put so much thought into every little piece of it. It was so us, and I think that is what made it so special. I am so grateful that he put so much effort in making the starting point of our life together so incredible. After 6 wonderful years together, I am beyond excited for us to start the next chapter of our life together!

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Special Thanks

Ryan Williams
Photography