Matt and I knew we wanted to get married, and we also knew that it had to be in the summer, or it would mean another entire year of driving back and forth and lots more goodbyes. We knew we did not want that, so we were most likely going to marry in the summer. Knowing that I was going to be planning a wedding while teaching full-time, I was getting a tad impatient when Christmas, New Year's and my birthday passed with no ring. I should have trusted my love though, because he had a wonderful plan!
January 24, 2008 was the day we were engaged, and oh what a day it was! My friend Alicia had made plans with me to go out for coffee then dinner to "celebrate my recent birthday." After I finished teaching that day, she came and picked me up, and we went to Starbucks. As soon as we sat down with our coffees, she reached into her purse, saying that she got me something for my birthday. She handed me an envelope with a "1" on the front. At this point, I was thoroughly confused. After all, I wasn't turning 1, 21 or even 31, but as soon as I opened the small wax-sealed envelope, I saw the handwriting of the one I love. I started crying immediately, because I was sure I was going to be getting engaged. The letter went on to explain that he was going to send me on a scavenger hunt of sorts, leading me to places and people that represented each of our seven months of dating. Alicia would be driving me around, since he knew I would be rather worked up.
The first letter told me to go back to my place, which is where our second month of dating began since our entire first month, one of us was traveling the entire time. After we started dating, I got a roommate, and she was there to give me the second letter, which told me to go to the place where we most often hung out with my friends in Sarasota... a little place called the Cock n' Bull.
Matt said it was during the third month he felt like he started go get to know my friends, specifically some guys who were in the band "Burden of a Day" along with their respective wives and girlfriends. Since the band was on tour, one of their wives was waiting for me with the third letter, telling me to go to the place he first swam with my cousins... Scott and Charla's house.
During our fourth month, he said that he began to realize just how important family is to me. He had already met my brother and parents, and he was also able to get to know my family living in Sarasota. When I got to Scott and Charla's, my aunt, uncle and all my cousins who live in Sarasota were there. Some people involved were running late due to traffic (I didn't know that at the time), and Charla had to make me stay until she got word from Matt. I loved that they were all able to share in my joy, but I was rather antsy. Finally, I was handed letter number four giving me the go ahead to continue my adventure to the place we had a special picnic one weekend... Marina Jack's.
The entire time we dated, only one weekend we did not see each other. Every other weekend, one of us drove to see the other including a weekend that Matt was quite sick. We were so in love that he drove to visit me despite his illness. I tried my best to take good care of him and nurse him back to health. By Sunday, he was wanting some fresh air and the weather was lovely. So we decided to have a picnic at the marina. When I came upon that same spot the night of our engagement, I was shocked to see five of his friends from Miami sitting on a bench with my fifth letter. I could not believe they had taken the time and made the effort to drive all that way on a Thursday to be there for us. They have all become dear friends of mine now as well. The fifth letter told me to go to the place we always go to when my family is in town... The Old Salty Dog.
It was in our sixth month that Matt got the grand opportunity to go home with me to Southern Indiana. I was extremely glad to see the ease at which he fit into my family. He has learned how very close I am with my family and how much they mean to me, especially my mama. Therefore, he made sure to include her in this momentous occasion. I nearly lost it when I ran into the Salty Dog and saw my mom sitting at a table! Matt had her fly down that day, and I had NO idea! All I could scream when I saw her was, "Mom! I'm getting engaged! I'm getting engaged!" She laughed and let me know that she knew already. That was, in fact, why she was here. Thankfully, she had warned the staff that a very excited girl would be coming. In hindsight, I probably made quite a fool of myself, but I was already ecstatic and could hardly handle seeing my mom and knowing she would be around for this. My mom handed me my sixth and final letter, which instructed me to to the spot where we watched a nighttime electrical storm... the beach.
That particular storm and our conversation that night was a pivotal point in our relationship. Matt says that was the night he knew he wanted to marry me. I thought it might take us forever to get to the beach, but we finally arrived! I saw my love way out on the beach, but I didn't want to look like a completely crazy person and was trying to compose myself by walking. I couldn't take it any longer though and ran to meet him. He was waiting for me on a blanket complete with roses and champagne. When I reached him, he gave me a hug, then got down on one knee, proclaimed his love for me and asked me to be his wife. Of course I said YES!
We had a moment alone together, then we walked back up the beach to be joined by everyone who had been at each of my stops along the way. Treats and drinks were brought for all to share and celebrate. Apparently it was freezing on the beach that night. I didn't notice though. We spent some time celebrating with everyone, but Matt had made reservations for us at a lovely spot on St. Armand's. I have no idea what we ate that night, but I know it was wonderful! Not only did he plan all that, he contacted my school to plan for me to be off work the next day, AND he scheduled a manicure for me because he knew my hand would be drawing some attention. I got me one amazing fella!
|The night of our engagement|
The entire wedding weekend was lovely. We were so grateful to share the day with so many we love. It really has been one of the best days of my life, and to top it off we left everyone for a fairytale night in the vice-presidential suite at the Ritz (we got an unexpected upgrade when we arrived) and a honeymoon in GREECE! My prince also planned every detail of that trip. I didn't even know where we were going until we were at the ticket counter in the airport. We had an unforgettable time in Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos.
|Honeymoon in the Greek Isles|