Mary Grace and James

How We Met: I was a freshman at Grove City College when I met James and was just getting involved in the theatre program. I had performed in the fall One Act festival and wanted to continue my participation in the theatre, so I joined the makeup team for the musical, The Apple Tree.

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James was a junior at Grove City and he had just joined the theatre program after two years of playing on the baseball team. A pitcher, James always struggled with a shoulder injury, until his freshman year where the injury starting preventing him from playing. He spent his entire sophomore year in physical therapy, hoping that it would feel better, but to no avail. Come the fall semester of his junior year, he was feeling rather lost without baseball and was looking for another way to spend his free time. He signed up for an audition on a whim, got a part, and started the rehearsal process.

Fast forward to tech week, and I’m sitting in the makeup room, and notice this really cute guy. I ask him if he would like for me to do his makeup and he says no! that someone else had already volunteered. Our first interaction, and he turns me down! But then he spent the rest of the show nights trying to talk to me…so, I guess he did notice. We started dating in March the following semester.

How He Asked: Seeing as James and I met in the theatre, it was only fitting that he proposed in the theatre. It was a big weekend for me; I was performing in another One Act, receiving a scholarship at an awards ceremony, and hosting a retirement party for one of my professors that I had been planning all semester. I knew that my mom and brother were going to come up and see me in my show, but I was completely surprised when my whole family (both parents, three siblings, and three foster siblings) walked into the chapel on Saturday morning to see me get my scholarship. I didn’t put two and two together, however, but little did I know that James had been conspiring with my family and roommates all month to surprise me on that day.

Off I ran to get ready for my show, completely ignorant about what was going to happen. After my show, I got out of costume (I was playing a 60-year-old woman, so I was decked out in makeup wrinkles and grey hair) and met my family out in the lobby. One of my professors found me and said, very urgently, “I need you to help me with something in the auditorium”. I followed her in, and was so confused. The house lights were out, and the cyc was blue, and there was a single spotlight dead center stage. “Sweet Afton” by Nickel Creek was playing on the sound system and James was standing on stage next to a prop chair. He quickly bounded up the stairs to lead me onto the stage. I was shaking and kept thinking “is this really happening?” He assured me that everything was going to be just fine and told me to trust him.

He led me center stage where he reiterated the same five promises that he made when he asked me to be his girlfriend two years earlier. He took my left hand in his and touching each finger he made a different promise: with my little finger he pinky promised to love me no matter what. On my middle finger he vowed to never intentionally hurt me or make me angry, and to always make things right when he does. With my pointer he swore to always choose me. On my thumb he reminded me how much God and our families love us, saying that we will always put the Lord first in our marriage. Lastly, he held my ring finger and looked at me and said more sweet things that I don’t really remember because all I could hear was my heartbeat and “is this really happening?” in my head. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, pulling the most beautiful ring out of his pocket and slipping it onto my finger.

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After I said “yes!!” my family and friends came in and we hugged and celebrated and laughed and cried happy tears. It was a wonderful day and the perfect proposal story. And I can’t wait to marry him on May 21, 2016!