Lauren and Ray
How We Met
We met in Long Beach, Indiana. I was spending the weekend at my best friend, Allie’s lake house the summer after graduating from high school. My best friend and I spent most of our weekends growing up at the lake. After turning in a final project for his Masters Degree, Ray missed his bus, but last minute caught a train from Champaign, IL to Long Beach. He was spending the weekend at his friend’s lake house for the first time. Late Friday night, we ended up at the same bonfire. Maybe it was Ray’s singing of Bob Marley’s “I Wanna Love You” (or maybe the vodka lemonades) that made me decide to stay up all night on the beach talking to Ray. It was then that we discovered we would both be in Champaign in the Fall- I was starting as an undergrad and Ray was finishing his Masters.
A few weeks went by, and we didn’t speak all that often (I was to blame for this, Ray definitely tried!) Once I was settled in to my dorm, Ray texted me one night to meet up. I decided to take a chance and we met outside my dorm and spent the next 4 hours walking around the beautiful campus of U of I. Ray showed me different libraries, buildings, coffee shops, and finally we ended up at the Krannert Center of Performing Arts. Sitting on top of the outdoor amphitheater, we had our first kiss.
After several dinner and dancing dates, we made it official on October 10, 2008. The next weeks flew by. It didn’t take long for Ray to confess his love… and I followed soon after.
In December, Ray finished his Masters Degree in Journalism and had to move back to Nassau, The Bahamas to work for the local newspaper. After spending just about every day and night together, we didn’t know how we would survive such a long distance.
3 1/2 years went by, with as many visits to Florida or Champaign as we could afford. Luckily, I was in a sorority house that allowed Ray to stay over; not to mention my amazing roommates, who would always give up our room to let us have the room to ourselves. Ray’s visits to Champaign were some of the best times I had in college. I loved to see my best friends bond with the man I was so in love with. At one point, we went over a year without seeing each other. However, in our case, absence definitely made the heart grow fonder.
I spent my senior year spring break in Nassau. I interviewed at two jobs, met Ray’s family, and got to know the Bahamas a little. After graduating, I moved to Nassau on July 10, 2012. We have been living in Nassau since then, and are so excited to FINALLY tie the knot!
How He Asked
Friday, August 4, Ray told me he wanted to go for a walk Saturday morning before he had to work. I agreed to the walk, but woke up after not sleeping well and suggested we skip the walk. Ray was adamant that we stick with the plan and go for the walk. It was about a 2 mile walk, and once we got close to a beautiful garden called The Cloisters, Ray turned off the path and I followed. We talked about how it would be a breathtaking wedding venue. In the middle of the gardens, Ray said, “Since we probably won’t get married here, let’s do something else special here.” He then got down on one knee and proposed. I don’t even remember what he said, I was just in shock to see him pull the ring out of a little baggie in his sock! Little did I know, he had found a taxi driver at 5am that morning to hide in the bushes and film the proposal so I could have pictures of the moment he asked. The surprise didn’t end there- my mom flew in to Nassau from Chicago Friday night. We had a great weekend celebrating our engagement!