How We Met
Our story started almost 5 years ago and has been an adventure ever since. Our love began unexpectedly. We fell in love hard and fast and never looked back. By the time we celebrated our 1 year anniversary, Kyle was already talking about marriage. I was very adamant about graduating from college before getting married. Over the next 4 years, we spent our time enjoying and being involved at Northern Illinois University, making amazing friends and traveling the world together.
How They Asked
During our senior year, we looked at rings here and there. Kyle wanted to know what I liked for when the time came. We knew we wanted to focus on our careers for a while, but it was exciting to be looking. With graduation on the horizon, we started planning a post-graduation trip. We had talked about taking this trip for years and it was finally time to start planning. We couldn’t have been more excited to spend three weeks traveling together before starting our careers.
Three days after graduation, we were off to Italy and Greece! We rod a gondola through the Grand Canal of Venice, climbed Mt. Vesuvius in Pompeii, kissed under the Faraglioni Rocks in Capri, explored the Almalfi Coast by moped, had a Lizzie McGuire moment at the Trevi Fountain and reenacted Gladiator at the Colosseum in Rome. We spent 10 days wandering around Italy, trying every pasta known to man and eating our body weight in gelato, before boarding a flight to Athens.
In Athens, we climbed to the top of Acropolis, visited the first Olympic Stadium, saw the Temple of Zeus and acted like we were in the movie My Life in Ruins. As we were planning our last day in Athens, we found out a national strike was scheduled for our last day on the mainland. All airports, ferries, and trains would be shut down the day we were heading to the island of Santorini. After 4 trains, 2 Airbnb transfers, and a 6-hour midnight ferry ride, we managed to dock in Santorini a few hours before the strike started. We made it to the final destination of our trip with one week left before heading back to reality.
Our first few days were spent eating gyros, drinking Ouzo, relaxing on the black sand beaches and enjoying the Oia sunsets. As we laid on the beach, I couldn’t help but look back on our relationship. We had finally made it. In one week, we would be home and starting the next chapter of our lives together. College was amazing, but I was excited to see what was next.
Throughout our entire trip, Kyle and I took turns planning daily excursions and romantic date nights. Kyle had planned a wine tour and a sunset sailboat dinner cruise in Santorini. He was very excited about these excursions, so I thought he might be planning something special. The morning of the wine tour, we relaxed on the beach and swam in the Aegean Sea. At lunch, Kyle showed me an email from the vineyard letting us know that a photographer would be there if any couples were interested in professional photos. Knowing how much I love taking pictures together, he suggested we dress up and have a few taken.
Once we were dressed and ready to go, we went down to the hotel lobby to wait for the car. He said we were being picked up at 5:00 pm. After a few minutes, Kyle rechecked the time provided on the email. The email was in military time. He had mixed up the time and we weren’t supposed to be picked up until 7:00 pm. At this point, I knew he wasn’t planning anything out of the ordinary because if he was, there is no way he would mix up the time. We went back up to the room, relaxed and made our way back down at 7:00 pm. A luxury Jaguar was waiting to take us to the vineyard.
I was very excited to be dressed up and looked forward to the night Kyle had planned. The car ride was relatively quiet as we held hands in the backseat an admired the scenery out the window. About 20 minutes into the drive, the driver reached back and handed Kyle a blindfold and asked me to put it on. This was not the first time Kyle had done something like this, but I was suspicious and I asked him why. He said it was a surprise. Within a few minutes, the car stopped and Kyle came to help me out of the car.
He took my hand and walked me down a steep set of stairs. I could hear music playing and as we got closer, I realized it was our song. I started to cry, so naturally, Kyle chuckled. I was fairly sure at this point that this was going to be a moment I remembered for the rest of my life. We made it to the bottom of the stairs and Kyle took off the blindfold. I was in shock. We were standing in a heart made out of candles on the side of a cliff overlooking the Caldera at sunset with the Volcano off in the distance.
At this point, I was bawling. Kyle was talking, but I couldn’t hear a word he was saying. I was still in shock. As he got down on one knee, I came back to reality as he asked me to marry him. He barely finished his sentence before I said Yes and pulled him into a kiss. We stayed right there, in that very moment, for what seemed like forever. It wasn’t until that kiss ended that I realized we weren’t alone. Kyle had hired a proposal planner and a photographer to help him plan and capture our special moment. They handed me a bouquet and us a glass of champagne. We toasted to our engagement and danced in the heart to the rest of our song.
A private dinner table for two was set up at the edge of the cliff for us a romantic dinner together. As the food was prepared, the photographer continued snapping pictures of us as we danced, kissed and admired our love for one another. We enjoyed a beautiful dinner together as the sun set behind the volcano. As we cut into our cake, I asked Kyle to repeat what he said before getting down on one knee. I was so excited that I blanked and didn’t hear a word he said. After a few laughs, he told me and I started crying all over again.
We danced to one last song after finishing our meal before heading back to the hotel. The hotel staff was waiting for us with a bottle of wine and congratulatory wishes. We spent the evening celebrating and calling our immediate family and close friends. It was the most magical night of my life. The last 7 days of our trip were spent soaking in premarital bliss, excitingly referring to one another as fiancé /fianceé and enjoying our engagement moon (as Kyle called it). We can’t wait to say I Do!