(about two weeks into dating)
It all started in the fall of 2009. I had just moved to Provo after spending a year in New York as nanny. I hadn't dated for the year that I was there and was feeling a bit out of my league in the cut throat dating world that is Provo Utah. Swearing that I would "take my time" getting my feet wet I attended a barbeque hosted by my ward. I found a place on the grass after filling my plate and suddenly saw him at the start of the buffet line. He was wearing tee shirt that said "BOSTON" on it in big blue letters, thick black rimmed glasses, and jeans. He looked good. I immediately leaned over to my friend and said something like "Holy crap...look at that hot nerd." Before I knew it hot nerd sat his cute butt down beside me and was talking to me. Before I left the barbeque he chased me down the path back to my apartment and asked for my number. I was straight up giddy.
I remember the first time I saw her because it's my only memory with a soundtrack—angel choir harmonies. I was living in Provo attending BYU in 2009. The ward hosted a BBQ one Saturday. My roommates were all working, but I was never one to turn down free food—especially BBQ. So I went, got my grub, and began scanning the crowd for a familiar face. I skirted the edge of a couple groups until I saw her sitting on the grass. She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I mustered my courage and committed myself to not leave until I had her number. I floundered to get it through some awkward get-to-know-you conversation (mostly with her roommate). I wasn't getting anywhere. As they stood to leave I found my opening. They moaned about being full from their massive waffle breakfast. My inner Rico Suave lept into action as I invited myself to the next such breakfast. Of course, that would require her number. Somehow she fell for that junior high garbage and she gave it to me. I called her later that week and the rest is history.
We Got Engaged:
(December 20, 2009)
For about a month before Christmas Adam had been telling me how excited he was to give me my Christmas present. Of course I wasn't stupid I knew it had to be an engagement ring. We had been to look at rings and had talked about getting married that spring. He suspiciously told me that I needed to have a certain Tuesday in December open. The same Tuesday that I had a big Anthropology final scheduled in my class on campus. I told Adam about the test but he didn't seem to think it would be a problem. So time passed and the Tuesday came up and at 5:00 am Adam sneaked into my room and woke me up he told me to get ready and to be ready in an hour. I got ready and he drove me to a Park City hotel. I was so very confused and he just kept telling me that my Christmas gift was coming. Soon a truck pulled up pulling a trailer carrying a hot air balloon on the back. "There's your Christmas present," he told me. A hot air balloon ride. That was it. I was extremely disappointed but I didn't want Adam to see it. So I faked excitement. We followed the truck around Park City for about an hour looking for a launch point, but they were struggling to find some place clear enough to launch, because of the cloud cover. The longer we took to find a place to launch the more nervous I got knowing my final was just a couple hours away. Finally the pilot let us know that we would not be able to fly that day due to the weather but that he could take us up the following Sunday. Adam's disappointment was out of control. He begged them to take us up but they refused. The whole way home he was silent. I felt so bad, but didn't understand why he was so sad. I got home in time to take my final and we waited 5 days and headed back up to Park City. It was a beautifully clear day and I was straining to act excited, but I had convinced myself that for sure I would not be getting engaged for Christmas. We took off in the balloon and the flight was beautiful. As we were coming in to land Adam handed his camera off to the copilot and asked him to record us in the balloon. I thought it was pretty awkward but went along with it. Adam then pointed to the ground and told me to look. On the ground I saw a sign that said "Will you marry me?" I looked back at Adam to find him kneeling with a ring. I said yes and was thrilled to be engaged to my best friend!
I had been planning to get engaged in a hot air balloon since I was 13, and now I finally had the crucial element: the right girl. I didn't want Mandy to know that I had a ring yet, so I convinced her that I'd found something that I liked but it would take a while to get because I was still making payments. Her family helped perpetuate that deception, telling her that it would be at least February before I'd have it. The truth was I shopped around for a long time and found a deal too good to pass up so I unloaded half my savings. I took the ring out every day for at least a month and a half before I proposed just to look at it. I booked the hot air balloon ride with Skywalker Balloon Company, and made sure her roommate left the front door unlocked.
At 5 am on a Tuesday, I crept into Mandy's bedroom and told her she had an hour to be ready for her Christmas present. We got to Park City and waited at the Best Western for the balloon crew to arrive. Mandy was so confused. Once they pulled into the parking lot with a hot air balloon basket in tow, I announced to Mandy that it was her Christmas present. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a suitable launch location due to cloud cover and unfavorable winds. I was devastated. The whole way home I fought the urge to reveal the whole plan and give her the ring that was burning through my pocket.
But it wasn't all bad. Skywalker offered a complimentary private flight upgrade (as it was we would have been sharing the flight with 2 other riders. The upgrade to private required paying the other riders' way—Kind of steep after already buying an engagement ring in cash.) Mandy did a good job acting excited, because it wasn't until the second flight that I could tell she was disappointed. The flight was incredible because the day was so clear. We hit 14,000 feet—9,000 more than I had been told was normal, and my acrophobia was *barely* held in check by my excitement. The view and feeling was indescribable. The anticipation was killing me. Half of the crew followed us on the ground. As we approached a landing point, our European pilot Will radioed down that we were ready and winked at me. I gave the copilot the camera and asked him to record while I distracted Mandy's attention. Once the banner was unfurled, I pointed and told her to look. It read, "Will you marry me?" I knelt down right there in the balloon and Mandy whirled back around once she realized what it said. I was grateful for the sign on the ground; my mind was blank, I couldn't remember a word I had planned to say. To this day I don't remember what I had spent hours rehearsing. So I simply said, "Mandy, I love you so much. Will you marry me?" She said yes, we landed, had a champagne and orange juice toast, and I kept the camera rolling. Mandy would not stop jumping, laughing, and crying. I love being able to watch those videos today.
We Got Married:
She Says:I woke up at 5 am and started getting ready. I remember feeling strangely calm. It was a beautiful sunny spring morning and my parents house was filled with sleeping people. The night prior I slept in my sisters room, in her bed, in between her and my best friend. I didn't get much sleep but I remember trying to remind myself to enjoy the next 24 hours ahead of me. I got myself ready and my mom and cousin helped me to finish my hair. My sweet mom cooked a big breakfast of waffles. Surrounded by family and loved ones eating breakfast was when the nervousness started. Me, My mom and step dad got in the car realized they couldn't find their temple recommends. At this point the nervousness began to take over. I was so overwhelmed. After a 15 minute search and no luck they drove me to the Salt Lake City Temple and I had no idea what to expect. They were able to figure out the temple recommend issue and I tried to calm down. I met up with my sweet Adam and then were seperated again. My mom helped me change into my wedding dress, and shared some motherly advice. She was escorted away and I met up with Adam again I was so nervous at this point, I kept telling him I was going to pass out. I think he ligitamately thought I wasn't going to go through with the ceremony. Haha. I think I was just scarred that I would do or say something wrong. Finally we joind our family and were sealed together, in the Salt Lake Temple. It was a beautiful ceremony. I did eventually get over the nervousness and I was filled to the brim with happieness. Once the ceremony was over the rest of the day was a whirlwind of pictures, family, hugs and kisses. It was an amazing experience and most certainly the happiest day of my life. I've never felt so loved than I did on that day.
The night before our wedding day I said farewell to the single life by sitting around a TV with my best friends drinking cream soda straight from glass bottles. I didn't get much sleep. At 6:00 I showered and drove to Salt Lake from Provo. My brother Mike rode with me.
The day was a blur. I remember sitting and waiting a lot both before and after the ceremony. I remember moments before entering the sealing room—Mandy was so nervous she thought she was going to faint or throw up, or both. The room was full of the most important people in my life. I remember after it was over, sitting and waiting forever for my bride to get changed into her other wedding dress. I was sitting on a bench near an exit. A dozen or so couples walked passed, hand in hand, to greet their guests and take photos. I vividly remember sitting there, looking at my hand with a silver ring on it, and feeling the weight and magnitude of what I had done. I had picked my best friend to spend the rest of my life with, and I was more deadly serious about it than anything else I've ever done in my life.
Words fail to convey the devotion I felt to Mandy on April 24, 2010 and have felt every single day since. Naturally, it was a very happy day. But even more than joy I think what I felt was the solid feeling that comes from commitment and resolve to something bigger than yourself that you wholeheartedly believe in. She is my cause worth living and dying for. I will wear out my life with her and for her. And I can't think of anything that could make me happier.