Savannah and Josh

How We Met

It was move in day of our freshman year of college. I (Sav) came to Missouri State without knowing a single soul, so I was both anxious and excited about meeting new people. Amidst all of the unpacking, my parents and I decided to run to Walmart and Target to pick up some more dorm room things, especially since I didn’t have a car. As we were leaving, that’s when Josh caught my eye. I thought he was way too cute to be living in the Scholars House dorm (also known as the Honors dorm on campus), and I instantly felt a connection deeper than anything else I’ve ever felt before. We locked eyes for what felt like minutes, and then he was gone. Just like that. After that moment, I could not get his face out of my mind. It was then that I knew that I had to find out who this boy was. Scholars House had a lot of opportunities to get to know other residents. So for the first month of college, I went to every event and social Scholars House hosted, hoping that I would see him there. Finally, he ended up coming to an ice cream social, but when I saw him, I didn’t have to courage to go up and say hello. I thought that maybe he wasn’t interested in me or had a girlfriend, so I didn’t want to risk rejection.

However, this “brief” interaction only intensified my feelings for him, and I just knew I had to know more about him. At this point, I didn’t even know his name was Josh. I just knew him as the boy who had caught my eye that first day of college. For weeks, I asked everyone in Scholars if they knew who this guy was, and no one could provide any concrete answers. Finally, the receptionist at the front desk of our building told me that she thought one of his friends had called him ‘Josh.’ With a name and newfound confidence, I began an intense Facebook search to find this guy. Little did I know just how hard it would be to find my Josh along with all of the other Josh’s that went to Missouri State. After a week or so of searching, I found him on some Scholars House group page I wasn’t a part of (but quickly became a part of). I immediately friended him, and that was about the extent of our interaction. For a while. Convinced he would never date someone like me, I pursued other people. During my first semester, I dated a few different people, but Josh was always in the back of my mind. At one point, I heard that he was taking a girl in our dorm to her sorority formal, and I was so upset that he was going with her, even though I was dating someone else at the time.

Why did I feel such a strong connection to someone I had never said a word to? How was I ever going to get over someone that I’ve never even dated? Later in the semester, I ran into him more often, sometimes at inopportune moments. Once was me talking to my friends about him, which he overhead and laughed about before walking away. The other was when I was preparing for a music audition, and he caught me singing in the stairwell. I’ll never forget the cheeky grin he had when he happened upon me singing because in that moment, I thought I had blown my shot of ever getting to know him. I thought that all he saw was this goofy, loud, musical girl, that wasn’t even confident enough to talk to him. December finally rolled around, and I was at the tail-end of another relationship. Upset that I had wasted so much time on someone who didn’t even care about me, I wondered about the one person I had never even talked to, but felt like I already knew.

As fate would have it, that was the moment his friend walked into my dorm room. She told me that someone she knew in Scholars had had a crush on me all semester and wondered if I felt the same. I tried to think of who this person might be, but before I could even say one name, she blurted out, “And that person is Josh!” My heart leapt right out of my chest. I felt like this was truly meant to be, and I couldn’t believe that the feelings I had for Josh were mutual all of this time. After she left, I wrote a note, including a Disney princess coloring book page and my number with it, and decided I would deliver it to him tomorrow. The next day, I was so nervous about the note that I ended up taping it on his dorm room door as fast as I could and ran up the stairs before anyone else could see me. Later that night as I was doing laundry, I received a text message from a new number. Little did I know that that first text would be just the beginning of our lives together.

How He Asked

When you’re with someone for almost 5 years, you learn a lot about a person, particularly with how they plan surprises and gifts. With Josh, I knew that he was anxious about how to plan something that was going to surprise me. Granted, I had known for almost 6 months that the proposal was coming soon because we had talked about timelines and when we would like to get married. Originally, our proposal consisted of going to dinner before one of my musical rehearsals, but because it was so obvious, we both decided to nix those plans and do something fun instead to relieve that pressure. I had also just graduated from college, so a proposal seemed like a lot to deal with on top of that. He came to my family’s first Christmas this year, and I was SURE that he was going to propose to me at some point there. My mom loves taking photos any time she can, so I figured that it would be the perfect opportunity to propose and have someone document it. However, the proposal didn’t happen during Christmas, and I was beginning to wonder how long it would be till we actually got engaged. Because of the musical I was in, I had to be back in Springfield on January 1, 2017, since the show opened a little over 2 weeks from then, and we needed all of the practice we could get. One of my closest friends said that we should go out to dinner beforehand dressed up, and catch up over our holiday breaks.

Thinking nothing of it, I wore a quick new outfit to dinner and decided to wear it to our rehearsal that night. Throughout the rehearsal, I noticed that something seemed…off. Everyone was being extra nice to me that night (my cast members were always lovely, but it seemed like most of the attention was focused on me for that night), and I noticed that my close friend kept pulling people aside to tell them something. At this point, I thought I was just going crazy, so instead, I just focused on the show and the work that needed to be done. At the end of the rehearsal, our director called us all together to talk about notes and discuss a few scenes he wanted to work on. Once he was done with that, however, the director said, “I also wanted to let you know that we have a special guest here tonight. Josh, do you wanna come out?” Into the theatre walks MY Josh. At this point, I figured I knew what was happening, but I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions.

Still, my excitement went into overdrive when he dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was so blown away that all I could manage to get out was a shocked, “Yeah!” The reason I was so blown away is because Josh is so reserved and doesn’t like the spotlight, so to do the proposal onstage in front of 30 other people was NOT easy for him.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Springfield Little Theatre

Proposal Ideas Springfield Little Theatre

But it meant the absolute world to me to say “Yeah!” to the love of my life onstage doing what I love most with the people I love most. They tell you to always expect the unexpected in the theatre world, but I guarantee you that I never expected that moment to happen onstage in a million years. But I’m so glad it did.

Our Video

I've been a part of many rehearsals in my lifetime, and they have usually been pretty predictable. However, no rehearsal could have prepared me for this exact moment. ❤️💍I can't wait to be your wife, Joshua! Thank you to the 9 to 5 cast for being a part of this wonderful and surprising moment. Special thanks to Chuck Rogers and Zoe Zelonky for helping Josh with the proposal, and thank you to Matthew Scott for capturing the moment on film 😊 "Dreams and plans are in the making 🎼"

Posted by Savannah Gibbons Fernelius on Monday, January 2, 2017

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