But since I wan't a blogger then, or during wedding planning, or when I got married...I guess I could fill you in, huh?
This is the story of the second-happiest day of my life thus far (second only to the day Florida won it's first National Championship in football in '96...kidding!).
Our Engagement: Friday, October 15, 2010
About two weeks before Alex proposed, April – a good friend that I worked with at the time (and one of my Besties today) – had casually asked when Alex would be in town next, since he still lived in Aiken at the time, and if the four of us (April, her husband Jacob, Alex and I) could get together for dinner. I told her that he would be in town Friday the 15th, so we made plans for dinner.
That same week, Alex Monday Qualified into the PGA Tour event in Sea Island, GA. When it became clear on Friday afternoon (Oct. 8th) that he was going to make the cut, I jumped in the car and headed south so I could watch him play his first weekend in a Tour event. April had asked if we were still on for the following Friday – I said “yep, unless Alex top-ten’s the event – then he’s going to California!” Little did I know the repercussions that making the top 10 would have had on his plans.
However, Alex finished a strong 45th and the next week, went to another Georgia location to play in the eGolf Tour’s final event of the year. He was playing pretty well, and then shot 8-under par in the final round on Thursday to win the tournament. To say it was a successful week in Alex’s career would be an understatement. Of course, I didn’t know just how fantastic that week was going to get.
It began as a normal Friday: I had gone to work, had had a long week, and was ready for the weekend. I was excited because Alex was going to be in Greenville for the whole weekend, which was pretty rare. I was looking forward to having him to myself for a few days.
At work that day, April asked me if 7:30 at the Lazy Goat, a favorite downtown restaurant, would be good for dinner and I told her that would be perfect. Alex came to Greenville as planned that afternoon. I knew he would probably get to my apartment before I even left work, so I texted him around 2:00 PM and he told me he was about to leave Aiken. When I texted him again around 5:00 to see if he was in Greenville, he responded: “No.” I asked, “Where are you?” and he replied “About 20 minutes away. Why are you wigging out?” I thought that was a little, er, strong of a reply but I just let it go. (Note: I had never heard him use the word "wigging" before. Clearly, he was the one "wigging" out. Ha!)
When I got home from work, Alex was waiting at my apartment. He greeted me hello and then promptly said, “You are going to change before we go to dinner, right?” I said yes, of course, I’m going to put on some nice jeans, maybe some boots, and so forth. I told him that April suggested dinner at 7:30 at Lazy Goat, and he said that sounded good to him. Around 6:30, he started pushing for me to get changed and ready. I kept telling him we had plenty of time, to which he responded: “We can get there early, you know. I’m hungry.” Meanwhile, I was trying to find something to wear, since Alex was dressing up a bit more than usual and he vetoed a lace skirt that I had put on (“That looks like...lingerie!”). Finally, I settled on a simple black dress, grey boots and a colorful scarf. I was aware that he was acting a little strange and was much more outspoken than usual about my clothing choices, but it really didn’t faze me. Obviously, I knew later that he was just trying to make sure I loved what I was wearing since it would be a very special night!
Alex also insisted that I bring a coat, even though it was only about 60 degrees out. He kept pushing so I gave in and threw a coat in the car. We got downtown and parked in the garage below Lazy Goat around 7:30. When we parked, he said “Are you going to take your coat?” and I said no, it wasn’t cold enough and that I would be fine. Come to find out, he had put the ring box in his coat so it wouldn’t be as obvious as if it had been in his pants pocket. He wanted me to wear a coat too so it wasn’t weird for him to be wearing a coat. But when I dismissed the coat idea, he had to get the ring into his pocket instead. I was oblivious.
Rather than taking the garage elevator or stairs up to the Lazy Goat, Alex led me around the side of the garage to the river walk level. We had barely gotten riverside when he took me in him arms and said, “We’re not going to Lazy Goat.” I said, “We’re not? What about April and Jacob?” He ignored my question and very seriously said, “Ever since we started dating, you’ve made me very happy. And I want you to make me happy for a long, long time...” He continued and said a lot of other sweet things as well but at this point, I knew what was about to happen and all I could say was “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!” and I really have no idea what he said. He then got down on one knee right there by the Reedy River and pulled a hunter green ring box from his pocket. “Kristin, will you marry me?” He opened the box. At first, I didn’t see the ring! It had fallen into the lid of the box. But then he took the ring in his fingers and I said, “Yes, yes, YES!” He slipped a beautiful ring on my finger. I looked at that ring for the first time and saw not only Alex’s love for me, but also the love my four grandparents have for one another as it was a combination of two family rings (I'll write more about my ring tomorrow!). It couldn’t have been more perfect.
We started walking down the river walk and I was still confused. “So…what about April and Jacob?” I asked again. Alex said, “The two of us have dinner reservations at High Cotton,” a wonderful restaurant just down from Lazy Goat. At this point, I realized I had my camera in my purse so I stopped two passersby and asked them to take a picture of us, our first as an engaged couple.
We walked into High Cotton and Alex told the hostess that we had reservations. She led us to what I thought was our table – a simple table for two set up right outside of the kitchen! I was thinking, hmmm this isn’t a very nice table for a restaurant that has pretty river and city views! But then she opened a door and I heard “CONGRATULATIONS!” and saw the faces of some of the people I love the most: my Mom, brother, my two best friends Lindsey, Lesley – and April and Jacob, who of course, were in on it the whole time! I was so shocked to see my Florida friends and family in Greenville that I burst into happy tears and threw my arms around them all one by one. Amongst the “Let me see the ring!” and “Are you surprised?” questions coming at me from all angles, I heard, “So Alex, how did it go?”. He said, “Good – I mean, she said yes!”
I have never been so surprised in my life. I thought Les and Lin were at Gator Growl (it was UF’s Homecoming weekend) and I thought Mom was at home and John Louis was in Gainesville. They had all lied to me! Which in this case, was completely acceptable.
|My love and I|
|On the phone with my Dad, telling him the news!|
I had told Alex about two years prior that my ideal proposal/engagement night would involve my family and friends. I knew that he was getting close to proposing, but I never thought he would be able to organize something so perfect and involve so many people (and that they could all keep it a secret!).
|I made a great choice when I said yes!|
He confessed later that when he was coming down the stretch of the 3rd round in Sea Island (at which point he was tied for 5th) he was thinking that he didn’t know what he was going to do if he had to go to California the next week. But, like I said: it was a fantastic week. There had already been so many things to celebrate, and then Alex put the icing on the cake by putting ice on my finger to make our proposal night completely, totally perfect.
Tomorrow, I'm going to tell you more about the family history behind my engagement ring :)