Lydia and Kenneth

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How We Met

Kenneth and I met at the beginning of my freshman year at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. I had just moved all the way from Oregon to start college, and he had come from South Carolina to begin his year-long study at the TCU Ranch Management Program. Kenneth was the epitome of a true Southern gentleman, and I fell head over heels for him… But, I was only 18 and he was a 23-year-old focusing on his graduate studies. So, no matter how much his friends urged him to take me on dates, he decided it wasn’t the right timing…

Turns out, he was right!

After Kenneth graduated that year from TCU we remained in touch, but life took us on different paths. However, four years later, by some strange twist, I got offered a job in Kenneth’s home state of South Carolina. I texted him immediately to tell him I would be moving there and he later admitted to calling his best friend from Texas to tell him that he, “wasn’t going to mess it up this time.”

I’m happy to say that he most certainly didn’t mess it up, and our relationship has been nothing short of a fairytale. Once I moved to South Carolina, Kenneth began courting me and we quickly fell in love. Not long after that we decided to “jump off the deep end” and move all the way across the country to live closer to my family- in the little town of 99 people that I grew up in. Now Kenneth works on my family’s organic cattle ranch and we are surrounded by so much love and support that it’s unbelievable. I am completely blessed to have a man like Kenneth who stops at nothing to make me smile and keep the romance alive in our relationship. Who wouldn’t be hopelessly in love with a guy who would move from coast to coast just for you?!

We may have taken the long way around, but I think it’s one of the best love stories I’ve ever heard! As Kenneth likes to say, “It took 2,777 miles to meet at TCU. It took 2,185 miles and four years later to finally fall in love.”

How He Asked

Kenneth and I decided fairly early in our relationship that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, so for me it was a waiting game to see when he would ask the question. He always teased me about being impatient, but I knew in my heart that he would pick the perfect time, the perfect place, and the perfect ring.

On May 15th, 2016 I was at a baby shower for a friend in our little town. The baby shower was taking longer than I had anticipated and I had to keep texting Kenneth to apologize for my lateness because I was supposed to go see him at my family’s ranch where he works. Towards the end of the baby shower my mother started getting anxious too, which was a little odd seeing as she is always the one telling me to “chill out!” We both left (my mom and I) at the same time from the event and headed out to the ranch…

When I got to the ranch Kenneth was still in his church clothes, but he said we had to go “put out salt for the cows” before we could be done for the day. The work never ends on a ranch or farm, so none of that seemed out of the ordinary. My dad loaded up our vehicle with salt and we set off into the pastures. Not long after the trip began, Kenneth told me he had painted me something and needed to blindfold me so I didn’t see it before we got there. I think for any other girl this might have tipped her off that it was the “big moment”, but with Kenneth I had no idea because he does those kind of romantic gestures all the time. Therefore, I didn’t think much off it when he put the blindfold on me!

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However, as we started driving and I had the blindfold on, my mind began racing for some reason. I was thinking, “Wait… that wasn’t the same shirt he wore to church this morning!” and “This can’t be it, right?! Rachel (my professional photographer best friend) is doing a photography shoot in the neighboring town, so she’s not here to take pictures!” and “Oh my goodness! My parent’s first date was putting out salt for cows… is that significant?!”

After what felt like an eternity, Kenneth put the vehicle in park and led me out into the grass. He told me to keep the blindfold on, so I did. I heard some rustling and then he began to read from his Bible. I couldn’t hold myself together for more than a second and a half because Kenneth was choking up and I could hear his smile, even though I couldn’t see it.

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After reading several scriptures and a letter he had written me, he told me to take my blindfold off. In front of me was a hand painted sign that read, “Will You Marry Me?”, a bucket full of white lilacs, and the man of my dreams down on one knee.

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With that, Kenneth pulled out the most beautiful ring I have ever seen and asked, “Lydia, will you marry me?” I fell to my knees in front of him, cried like a baby, and somehow managed to get the word “YES!” out of my mouth.

And there we were, both on our knees, holding each other, laughing and crying while my best friend caught it all on camera for us. My parents were hidden away on a faraway haystack watching the whole event through binoculars. It was the most amazing moment and I felt so blessed to have a man that would go to such great lengths to make sure this memory was perfect in every way. My head was spinning and I couldn’t even believe that it had finally happened!

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After I pulled myself together a little, I looked at Kenneth with a bit of concern and asked, “I remembered to say “yes,” right?!” He laughed at me and assured me that I said it plenty of times, but I said it a few more right then, just to be sure.

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So with mountains towering in the background, picture perfect farmland surrounding me, and a smile from ear-to-ear… I took the first step towards marrying my Prince Charming.

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Special Thanks

Rachel L'Antigua
Photographer