Madeline and Gage
How We Met
Gage and I met in the fifth grade, when he moved to my town. We were always in the same school and friend groups and sometimes spent time together outside of school. Our sophomore of high school, we went to homecoming together just as friends. Then, we went to homecoming together our junior year, except this time I had a huge crush on Gage. We both hoped it would turn into something more, and then we started dating afterwards. We both chose to attend the University of Illinois (not based off each other’s decisions, it was just both ours’ dream school) and our relationship just kept getting stronger and more serious! Somewhere along the way we started talking about our future, and realized that we each wanted the other to be a part of it. What makes our relationship so strong is that we were friends before we started dating each other, and we are both lucky enough to be dating (and now engaged to) our best friend.
How He Asked
Gage and I went on a trip to Ireland with his family and the Rapier family, who are close family friends. Gage, myself, and the Rapiers’ daughter Emmaline are all currently students at the University of Illinois, and Emmaline is an Illinette for the University’s marching band. The reason for the trip was to watch the Marching Illini perform in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin. Towards the end of the trip, we stayed in Donegal County to tour the Irish countryside. Two days before the end of our vacation our tour guide, Brian O’Donnell from the company Bus Feda, took us on a hike up Mount Errigal, which has the highest peak in County Donegal. Mount Errigal has twin peaks, so when we got to the first one, our guide told us that only a few people at a time would be able to make the final trek over to the highest peak with him. Gage and I were the last two people in the group to go. As soon as we got there, all I could do was look, awestruck, at the incredible view of Glenveagh National Park. It was absolutely majestic, and I felt so powerful for hiking all the way up! The next thing I knew, Gage caught my attention and immediately dropped down on one knee, saying “Maddie, will you marry me?”
It was simple, but perfect. I started crying as soon as he knelt to propose, said “yes,” and we shared the most magical moment of our lives together. And, the rest of our group was able to watch from the first peak. The hike down the mountain was a piece of cake—we were so elated we didn’t even notice how strenuous it was!