Stephanie and Hayden

Stephanie and Hayden's Engagement in Mallard Stables Decatur, Alabama

How We Met

Nothing says graduating high school like leaving your small town behind and taking on new adventures, with new people, in a new city. Little did I know, my future had been sitting in the same desks, attending the same football games, and getting late night ice cream at the same Sonic for the past 7+ years. Life has a funny way of bringing unexpected people in your life at unexpected times, and that was definitely the case for Hayden and I. It wasn’t until we were both hours from our shared hometown at two different colleges that we began a friendship that would last a lifetime and started dating. We definitely didn’t do things the easy way! Our first year of college and dating, we navigated our way through a long distance relationship, since our schools were an hour and a half apart. He played college football and I was on a college dance team, which led to many late night Skype calls, as well as many nights without talking. Despite these obstacles, our love weathered the many tolls distance puts on relationships. The following year, I made the decision to transfer to his school. Our relationship thrived, we formed lifelong friendships, and I was able to cheer him on from the stands as he lived out his dream of playing college football. Fast forward five years, and I could not be more thrilled to be spending forever with my hometown love!

How He Asked

Although Hayden and I attended the same middle and high school, it wasn’t until college that we started our lifelong journey together. Funny how life works, isn’t it? Since we got a late start on the high school sweet heart thing, Hayden wasted no time making it up to me. During our time dating, Hayden played college football and utilized playing guitar as a way to relax when the stresses of the game became overwhelming. The entirety of our relationship, he made comments about how he was writing a song for me, but we would always joke that it just wasn’t quite finished. Approximately a year prior to the engagement that Hayden knew was in our future, my father’s terminal illness progressively got worse leading to his death. To no surprise, Hayden’s love and support for me withstood the ultimate trials and heartache I endured after loosing a parent at a young age. Four months after my father’s death, conveniently on Hayden’s birthday, I was told that his mom wanted a family photo taken to decorate her living room. Although I thought this sounded strange, I followed directions and arrived at Mallard Stables in our hometown. To my wonderful surprise, I found the man that I had grown to love over the past five years standing underneath a beautifully light gazebo, with the song that he had been saying he would write for me for the past five years completed in a frame.

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While sharing the many tears, laughs and happiness, Hayden went on to share that he had asked my dad for his permission prior to his death, which gave a special ending to a day that we will never forget.

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