Sarah & Alex
"The year leading up to our proposal was a crazy one to say the least. The summer before my senior year I was in Daytona with Campus Outreach on the Summer Leadership Project, while Sarah was back home in Milledgeville working and taking summer classes. Those three months apart were a real test for us, but our relationship grew more than it ever had. So much so that in those months I made the decision that I intended to ask Sarah to marry me.
I remember sitting out on a hotel balcony with Austin Shadoan and talking about married life and what it was like, and if he thought I was ready for that. It was a real confidence booster when he and some of my other closest friends all agreed that me marrying Sarah would be a wonderful idea. Sarah and I had been reading through a book that summer called "The Meaning of Marriage" and having weekly FaceTime chats to discuss the chapters. It was great to see how much we agreed on and how much we grew in our understanding of what we wanted a marriage to look like, and I loved being able to share that with those guys.
When I came home at the end of the summer I was both excited and nervous to start the new school year. I was excited to finish up my last couple of semesters of school and to begin moving towards proposing to Sarah. I was nervous for those exact same reasons. I knew that proposing during the school year wouldn't be a good idea because I knew neither Sarah nor I could effectively do our school work while also trying to plan a wedding. Besides, just because I knew I wanted to marry Sarah didn't mean I was ready right then and there. I did a lot of "soul searching" that year. I spent more time in prayer, read more articles on marriage, and drank more cups of coffee while taking in advice than I ever have in my life. But when it was all said and done my mind hadn't changed, no matter how many times I feared I may be getting in over my head.
After graduation I told Sarah's parents that we should get together for lunch sometime soon. I'll never forget her dad asking "With or without Sarah?" He knew what was up. Not four days later I met both of them at a Wendy's near macon and I asked them for their blessing to marry Sarah. I've never discussed anything that important over a cheeseburger and fries before. They said yes and we all laughed and hugged and started planning our surprise.
About a week later I was picking Sarah up for our flight to Kansas City. When I got to her house, her mom slipped me what was her grandmother's wedding ring while Sarah was in another room. She had no idea. Throughout June I spent my days making ring appointments and riding around to jewelry stores to look at rings. I finally found a band I thought Sarah would love and I got the center stone from her grandmother's ring placed in it.
After a lot of planning and trying to get family together without accidentally including Sarah in one of the numerous group chats we had for the proposal weekend, she and I hit the road for Saint Simons island. This was one of the first places Sarah and I ever vacationed at and it quickly became our home away from home. When we got there we settled in at my brother's place, then headed over to The Lodge at Sea Island to have some drinks. After a bit I took Sarah across a fairway of the golf course and out by the ocean. I had her turn around and said I wanted to take a picture of her, and when she turned back around I was down on one knee.
It was the happiest moment of my life so far. I'll never forget the first words (after "Yes!") Sarah said to me as my new fiancé:
"Now we can finally talk about getting a dog!"
We are currently practicing with a beta fish."
"During my final year at Georgia College, it felt like a million of my friends were getting engaged and I had to consistently remind myself to be patient and wait on God's timing. I don't think I've ever relied on the Lord so much in any point in my life. It's hard to be patient when it seems like everyone around you is getting what you want but might not necessarily need at the time! But, after an encouraging conversation with Steph Shadoan, she helped remind me that even though Alex and I had talked about the future before and were certain our futures were coming together to stay grounded and to not "expect" every trip to be "the trip" we would get engaged. Which was hard. But, I grew to be truly content where I was.
This was super helpful when looking for a job. I got the opportunity to really look for a job where I wanted to work, rather than look for one that was just close to where Alex would be the next year... because if we're honest, we didn't really know where that would be. He helps me stay on my toes and live in the moment sometimes :) It's wonderful haha.
By May, Alex and I had both just graduated from Georgia College (me with a Master's in Middle Grades Education and Alex with a Bachelor's in Psychology) and were both heading to the Atlanta area to continue pursuing our dreams. I had accepted a job as a teacher in Gwinnett County and his band was progressively getting bigger and success was within ear shot.
When school got out, Alex and I took a trip to Kansas City to visit his sister-in-law's family and watch his nephew's christening. Since we started dating, we always talked about taking this trip. He would constantly rave about the BBQ, the town, and of course, Sporting KC. We got to experience all of this and more and it really felt like a turning point in our relationship. We were growing up, but most importantly, we were growing together. I wanted more and more to be with him in the future so I could support his dreams of being a musician, no matter how hard I knew it would be.
St. Simons has always been "our place". So, when we planned a trip there in June, I didn't think anything of it. I woke up on June 24th, curled my hair, and put on a summer outfit for the trip down there. When we got to the beach, we sat down at Alex's sister-in-law's parent's house waiting for Laura and Brian to get there from work so we could head to Sea Island and listen to the bag-piper and have S'mores by the golf course. I don't remember much of the drive there, but I remember walking through the Lodge and Alex and Brian going to get drinks.
We walked down to the sidewalk by the golf course and Brian mentioned going to get his camera so he could take some pictures of Jack. When he got back, Alex told Brian and Laura we were going to take pictures by the beach on the other side of the fairway. On the way there, Alex and I were talking about the golf courses that Sea Island had. I remember turning around to look for one of them and I saw Brian following us, not too closely, with his camera. I think my heart dropped. It was coming.
We got to a quaint little spot and I had flipped my hair to get it off my neck. Alex told me to turn around because he had an idea for a picture. When I turned back around, he was down on one knee. Speechless. Tears rolling down his face. Honestly, I don't know how he held his composure because there were a lot of tears like he had them built up for a while hahahaha.
When we got back to The Lodge, we were greeted by both of our parents, Alex's aunt and uncle, and a weekend stay on Sea Island. I don't think I've ever had a vacation that was truly just joy 24/7. There was no sadness, no anger, just joy. Pure joy."