Sage and Chelsea
How We Met
My fiancée is the kind of woman that you dream about marrying when you’re younger but secretly know you’ll never be that lucky; she’s the kind of woman that when you describe her to someone they look at you in disbelief that your fiancé is really this “incredible;” she’s the woman that gives the “girl next door” title an entirely new meaning. She is Chelsea Ann Bowman, and soon she’ll become Chelsea Ann Vaughn.
Chelsea grew up in a small town in rural North Carolina. She participated in all of the typical southern traditions; hometown softball leagues, middle school dances, Friday night football games, and most importantly, high school journalism class. Journalism class is where Chelsea and I became best friends. It was in this class that I witnessed Chelsea express her love for writing and photography. It was this class that I feel in love with the way Chelsea expressed her dream to join the Peace Corps after college so she could be apart of something so much bigger than herself. It was also this class that I realized how desperate I was to date this blonde haired, blue eyed, amazing girl I now get to call my fiancée. I may not have officially dated Chelsea during high school, but I was lucky enough to convince her to go to her senior prom with me. But enough of the build up, let’s skip to the good part.
College created a bit of barrier between Chelsea and I. She attended NC State University and I the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Alas, Chelsea’s senior year a spark remained between the two of us. Chelsea told me about her recent acceptance into Peace Corps South Africa. She told me how excited she was to graduate from undergrad. And she told how much she liked me. No longer the high school “I like you, do you like me too?” Rather the “I like you, and I like that I like you, but how can I like you from 8,000 miles away?”
Chelsea left for Manguzi, South Africa in June 2014. We began dating November 20, 2014. She was 8,000 miles away and yet we made it until June of 2015 to see each other as boyfriend and girlfriend, officially. Another 6 months passed and I made the 3 day journey to her village in South Africa. It was this experience that made me realize how amazing this woman was. Not only did she make dating continents away easy, she taught under privileged children while living in a hut, without electricity and running water for two years. It was this moment that I realized that my girlfriend was not only tougher than I, but would always make me want to better myself to attempt to be on “her level.”
In June of 2016 Chelsea finally came home from South Africa. Chelsea and I fell further and further in love as we finally lived only minutes away instead of days. I began doing research on what ring could possibly match the tenacious yet loving spirit of this woman I so admired, and I found it in Heidi Gibson’s work.
How He Asked
Chelsea: May 5th, 2017 will be a day I will never forget. Sage had created this whole elaborate plan to take me to the beach for the weekend. I was all packed and ready to go! I left that morning to run a quick errand and when I got back home I noticed Sage was gone. I ran upstairs wondering what was going on to see he wasn’t there and I found an envelope titled “Darling You are all I ever wanted Love to be!” with money sitting beside it. With complete excitement I dropped all of my stuff to open it. It was the cutest letter saying he had different plans about our weekend. He told me my friend Amy was on her way and I should put on a cute comfy outfit. I rushed around and opened the door to see Amy coming up the stairs with a huge smile on her face! She hugged me and handed me another letter. Which was the first of many! It told me we were headed to our favorite brunch spot, The Flying Biscuit where I had a surprise waiting for me. I got ready so fast because I was excited and we jumped in the car.
When we got there I was SO surprised to see my best friend from Boston who had flown down just for this! We had a blast eating all of the food we could handle and just being excited about the whole day because at the bottom of the first letter Sage had wrote “ps. it is happening!”. Knowing at the end of the day he would propose to me made it that much more fun of a day!
After we ate I got the next letter which was to go to the nail salon and get my nails done so he could put a ring on it! We all got pedicures and manicures and had fun relaxing/being girly! I got my next letter which told me to go get lunch! We ended up on NC State’s campus for nachos and margs! (2 of my favorite things). After lunch I got another letter telling me to go to our favorite cloud watching spot at Pullen Park where a present would be waiting for me.
I knew something special had to be there because once we arrived Amy and Dorothy made me close my eyes while walking over the bridge. I saw my blanket with sunflowers and a big box! I opened the box to see the actual Adventure Book from the move UP! I immediately cried because this is our favorite movie together because it completely represents us and how much we love taking adventures together! I sat down to open it up to find pictures and letters he had kept that I wrote to him while I was in the Peace Corps. The further I got in I noticed that Sage had been writing to me since we started dating back in 2014! I cried the entire time reading alllll of these letters he had written throughout our relationship! I shared them with my friends and we all laughed and cried together! It was such a special part of the day I will never forget.
My friends took me shopping to pick out earrings for me that night! Once we found them we hungout and got coffee before heading back to my apartment to get ready. As soon as we walked in I got my next letter which was telling me he got a fancy new dress and he could not wait to see me. The dress he picked out was perfect and I felt so pretty in it! I had a blast getting ready and when it was FINALLY time to leave my friends gave me the final letter which told me to guess where I was going. I definitely could not figure it out but when I noticed we were pulling into the North Carolina Museum of Art I knew he had picked such a perfect spot. I couldn’t believe I was finally going to see Sage!! I was excited/nervous/happy and READY!
I honestly LOVED seeing Sage standing there waiting for me jumping up and down with excitement. I still get butterflies remembering the whole day. When he got down on one knee and asked me the only response I could get out was “OF COURSE!” I get to spend the rest of my life with the most thoughtful and wonderful man! The proposal was the absolute best day ever!
Sage: Fast forward to May 5, 2017. I had just completed my first semester of graduate school and had been planning the perfect proposal for months. One of Chelsea’s best friends from undergrad kidnapped her early that morning and took her to breakfast where her life long best friend surprised her after journeying all the way from Boston, MA. The three of them adventured through a list of activities including: breakfast, manicures, lunch, and shopping until they wandered upon an “adventure book” in Pullen Park. Chelsea and I had adopted an “open when” care package system while she served in S.A. Little did she know, I had kept all of our letters in addition to several she never got the chance to read. After a long session of letter reading and high emotions, her best friends took her to get ready. Chelsea met me at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh by the reflection pond where I finally knelt to ask this amazing human, my person, to become my wife. To which she responded “Of Course!”
Chelsea and I have a love that differs from most. It’s a love that people tell us that they can feel just having us both in the same room. It’s a love by heavenly design; and I could not be more thankful to have been designed to have her as my girlfriend, fiancé, and soon to be wife. Chelsea, you have been my greatest adventure and I am so thrilled to do this adventure called life with you by my side each and everyday.