Annie and Aaron
How We Met
The year was 2012. My shorts had less denim and Aaron’s face had less hair.
It was the summer after our freshman year of college and my friends and I decided to spend the weekend at Country Thunder in Wisconsin. Cowgirl boots on, we skipped into the festival. Without a campground of our own it became a mission: find somewhere to hang out. Luckily, my family friend Joey was there with a group of his friends. (Fun fact: Joey will be standing up at our wedding). After a few texts and some wandering around, we found him and began imposing ourselves on their space. There was a whole group of them including Aaron. We had met in passing before but nothing of note. This time though was different. We spent the whole first day teasing each other mercilessly. Teasing turned into flirting, turned into one heck of a first kiss.
Country thunder came and went and what should have been a festival fling turned into a summer romance. We spent countless nights staying up late, sharing our hopes and dreams. We had each found out person, but it wasn’t the right time.
It was time to go back to school. Aaron was returning to Texas, and I was transferring to Iowa. The school year started and we went our separate ways, but we couldn’t give each other up. At one of my first sorority parties I turned to new friend Kelly and declared, “I’ve met my future husband” and went on to gush about Aaron.
Within our first couple of weeks at school, the letters started. I had mentioned to Aaron that I loved getting mail and he asked me to write him a letter. I was so nervous to share my feelings with him that I ended up sending him a page full of quotes and none of my own words. He wrote back letting me know he thought I was his “dream girl” and ended the letter with the words “be brave”. This gave me the courage to write my first real love letter.
Distance began to get in the way and we both moved on from one another, but the letters never completely stopped. They are what kept us coming back to each other and what eventually brought us back together in Chicago. The city where out love story could mature, and grow. The city where we would eventually get engaged. The city where we will soon say “I do”.
How They Asked
We have an accidental tradition in my family, the bride messes up the engagement. My mom tried to pick a fight with my dad right before he popped the question, killing the mood. My sister in law discovered the ring too early so they were standing in front of a Victoria Secret. My other brother’s fiance was running late so they missed the sunset for his sunset proposal. We claim these mishaps are good luck for the marriage and I pray that’s true because boy did I mess things up.
I had been waiting for Aaron to propose for a while. See, I did not want to move in together until we were engaged and he knew that. The problem was, we had found an amazing apartment and signed a lease but he still hadn’t proposed. So I waited, and I waited, and I waited. I waited loudly and dramatically. I found every excuse to work the words engagement, proposal, and finance into the discussion. I would commonly joke that my finger was going to float away soon or send him pictures of weddings.
Now, remember when I said that upon meeting Aaron and I teased each other? Well, this teasing has never really stopped. Aaron could not resist how anxious I was getting. Every time we went anywhere nice or alone he would turn and ask “what if I proposed right now?” or “Would this be a nice spot to propose?”.
By the time our engagement rolled around, I was far past anxious and straight up nervous that he would never pop the question. The morning of the 25th I had actually shown up at Aaron’s apartment and started crying. When he asked me what was wrong I told him it had become clear that he was never going to propose and that I needed to figure out where I was going to live when my lease was up. He chuckled and assured me everything would work out.
After some jokes about him visiting me if I ended up moving back in with my parents I calmed down and we made our way to the gym. After our work out we were walking back to the apartment when Aaron turned to me and said, “its finally a nice day out, we should take Marley (my dog) on a walk to the lake”. This is my kryptonite. I struggle through the grey Chicago winters all so that I can take Marley for long walks in the summer. So, I immediately agreed. “Cool,” he said, “let’s go home and shower and then we will go”.
Now if you thought my earlier meltdown was where I screwed up our engagement you are right. However, here is where I really blow it. “Shower?” I say. “Why would we shower? We are about to take the dog for a walk. If I shower now I have to wash my hair because it’s been like three days. I don’t want to wait for it to dry”. This dirty hair speech went on for a while. That’s right, as Aaron sat there working up the perfect engagement I went on a tangent about how my hair was so dirty I didn’t need a ponytail to hold it back and I was too lazy to do anything about it. Eventually, Aaron had no choice but to accept that cleaning up just wasn’t going to happen.
So we grabbed the dog and headed down to the lake. As we walked we held hands and talked about how much we love the city and each other. Eventually, we got to these giant concrete steps along the water. From there you have an amazing view of the skyline. We stood looking out over the water when Aaron asked: “do you think this is pretty?” “So pretty”, I replied while turning away from him to really take in the view. “Pretty enough to get engaged?” he asked. Now I thought he was teasing me again. I assumed that once again he was baiting me with another perfect moment. “You’re such a dick” I exclaimed my back still to him. He chuckled the most perfect Aaron laugh and said: “No I’m serious”. With that, I turned around to find him on one knee holding a ring box. Then, Aaron asked me to be his wife.
Now here is the part where I am supposed to say that I exclaimed “of course” and jumped into his arms. That’s not quite what happened. Instead, I just started alternating between “yes” and asking “are you serious?” over and over, more excited every time. My breath started racing until I couldn’t catch it and suddenly Aaron realized I was about to faint. He shoved the ring back into his pocket and quickly ushered me to a seated position, urging me to slow my breathing. I finally composed myself began to grasp what was happening.
I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe this amazing man had actually agreed to marry me. Me the one that cries in the kitchen because I’m not getting my way. Me the one that is proud of how long I can go without washing my hair. Me who showed up to her own proposal in baggy leggings and a sweat-stained tank. Me who faints every time I get too excited. But there he was pulling the ring back out of his pocket and slipping it on my finger.
Not only was the ring perfect but so was the rest of our engagement week. After a few selfies (less sweaty engagement photos to later be taken by my dad), we walked back to his place. The only time my enormous smile broke was when I would bend down to Marley to tell her we were getting married. Marley was the only one who knew for a while.
It happened that both sets of parents were out of town. This was a perfect call on Aaron’s part. He knew that for as much as I had thought about the proposal I had no idea what I wanted in a wedding. So I was not ready for the 100 questions that come with revealing you’re engaged. So instead we got to keep our little secret all to ourselves all night. After finally washing my hair, we went to a dinner for two and enjoy the night celebrating our engagement bliss.
As the week went on we were able to tell our close friends and immediate family personally. Each time, it was like we were living the engagement all over again. It was perfect! Then on Easter with lots of our extended family out to brunch, we were able to reveal our engagement to everyone. The week ended with a giant champagne toast and lots of hugs.
Our engagement was perfect. Even the moments that were a hot mess were perfect. I wouldn’t change a single moment of that day. Because at the very least, it earned us a lot of good luck for our marriage!