Athena and Devin

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How We Met

As told by the bride – I was at a point in like where I felt like I would never find anyone to date, let alone someone to marry. My loving mother took pity on me and dragged me out to our favorite restaurant for a hearty meal and margarita – her version of an adult Happy Meal! While there, we opted to sit in the bar and have a more relaxing dinner. As my Mom was giving me the most motherly advice about how I should not worry about finding someone or that it will all work out, the TV caught her attention and she asked if I had dated a baseball player. NOPE! She suggested that a baseball player was a man for me – not really sure why or how that made sense, but I left it alone and smiled, nodded, and asked for another margarita. When we left the restaurant, my best friend called and asked me to join her out for a girls’ night. At the pushing of my mother, I retired the sweats and agreed to join her. While out, my best friend spotted Devin as he entered the bar. She pointed him out to me, but I had zero interest – I’m not much of a “going out” person or a barfly.

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I was sweating, I was being pushed around with all the people in one small space, the music was too loud, there were creepy men around, and my beverage needed to be replenished. Still, she urged me to look over, but I responded with “he’s very attractive, but looks too young” and looked away. That was just not enough for my friend! Later, she noticed that Devin’s friend was having some difficulty re-entering the bar and thought she could help (this was her former place of employment and she was still friendly with most of the current employees). She asked him what was going on and to “watch me” while she helped. Needless the say, his southern charm and those cute dimples won me over and we hit it off! We met up a few days later and that’s when I discovered that he was indeed a baseball player and was playing for a team affiliated with the team my mom and I were watching that day in the restaurant bar. Full circle!! That was almost 4 years ago and I couldn’t be happier or any more excited to be embarking on this next chapter with the guy I refused to.

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how they asked

As told by the groom – When most women are living out their courtship with their significant other, they dream of having this magical moment where the two decide to take that next step together into a life everlasting a.k.a THE ENGAGEMENT!! When a woman dreams of the moment where she finally says “yes”, she says that she’ll be happy no matter what, wherever she is, whatever we’re doing, but this IS A LIE. It needs to be magical, it needs to be special, and most importantly, it needs to be a story that can be told over and over and met with awwws and gasps from friends and family (not to mention, it needs to be a story that will receive hundreds of likes on social media – don’t get me started on that one). So in our story, the difficulty wasn’t in finding a magical moment in a romantic place that she’d remember forever, it was finding a way to knock her socks off with the surprise of my proposal. So I guess our story starts with the process of finding the perfect engagement ring.

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My fiancé is and has always been very anti-traditional when it comes to engagement rings. She’s adored sapphires for the longest time and has always loved cigar bands. After four months of countless jewelry stores, we still hadn’t found the perfect ring that screamed, “This is it”! While we were in the process of finding the perfect ring, we book a trip that we’ve been trying to make happen for over two years. It finally worked out for us to make our trip to Europe, over the Christmas vacation – to Paris, London, and Dublin – for a 10-day, romantic getaway that doesn’t scream “we’re getting engaged in Europe” at all. Unbeknownst to me (the oblivious boyfriend), this trip was designed for us to get engaged. At least this is what everyone was indicating to her and filling her head and heart with giddiness, despite not knowing the situation with our ring. Finally, one week before our departure to Europe, we stumble into a family owned jewelry store and start looking around at their selection. Just as we’d almost given up hope of finding something that spoke to her, I come across a band that was the perfect mix of untraditional-bohemian, but would also indicate to any other guy that “this is an engagement ring, please back off”, that I was looking for.

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We began talking to the store owner and after looking at the ring for a half-hour, we decide that the ring would be absolutely 100% perfect … if we could just change the setting, find the perfect sapphire and resize for my go–with-the-flow girlfriend. The jeweler was extremely accommodating and said there was no issue at all, but it would just take a little time. Around the holidays, changing the structure of the setting and finding the perfect sapphire stone was no easy feat. The estimated arrival for our creation was two months – so much for the romantic getaway getting topped off with an engagement to the woman I loved. Still, it was a small sacrifice for getting the ring we’ve been searching far and wide for. The next day, I received a call from the jeweler and put my best southern charm voice on to see if she could possibly get the ring done in the next week. Luckily for me, she was on the exact same page and was going to do everything in her power to make it happen. I thanked her immensely and anxiously waited for a phone call confirming that the ring was done. Needless to say, the next week was quite stressful. With an upcoming trip out of the country, Christmas shopping, and possibly the most important event that the two of us could have together, I was as on edge as someone could be keeping this big a secret.

In the midst of awaiting the phone call, I was constantly asked by a hopeful girlfriend if I’d spoken with the jeweler. “I’ve spoken to her honey and we’re going to try and make it happen, but obviously there are no guarantees”. That conversation happened five times in a week. The day before our departure date, I had not heard anything from the jeweler so I decide to stop into her store and was met with a huge smile from the owner telling me that the parts had just arrived and all that was needed was to put them all together. She goes on to ask me if I can come back later around closing to pick it up after it’s put together. I didn’t have much choice and decided to channel my inner Mission Impossible in order to sneak away and keep my girlfriend off the scent. At 4:00 pm we attended a Christmas church service and immediately following we headed to a Christmas party in which we had to make an extended appearance.

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Finally around six o’clock, after many phone checks that were met with eyes screaming “Who could you possibly be talking to right now”, I got the text saying the ring was ready! I tell the jeweler I can’t get there now and she completely understood and told me I could swing by her house tonight to pick up the ring. Wonderful, but how to get away? On the way home, I start planting the seed for my quick escape to pick up the ring. After a 20-minute ride home of back and forth about why I need to leave, I finally convince my girlfriend that it’s a surprise and she needs to let me run out really quick. I have no idea if she was thinking engagement ring at this point, but either way, I needed to throw her off the scent. I ran out quickly after dropping her off, meet the jeweler in the street of her home, check the ring with only the moon and a luminescent street lamp to see it, and deem it ready to give to the love of my life. The jeweler was such a good sport and we hatched a plan to trick my soon to be fiancé by her make a phone call the day of our travels to Europe. We decided that I would let the call go to voicemail and she would leave a fake message telling us that she was sorry the ring wasn’t ready in time, but it would be ready by the time we got back in town.

This worked perfectly and my girlfriend never brought up the ring our engagement while on our trip. Unfortunately for me, the anxiety of not having the ring was replaced with anxiety of carrying the ring through customs and into a city that had become infamous for robbery. Thanks a lot, Kardashians. So after three days of keeping a death grip on my bag and a swiveling head looking for anyone who eyed me suspiciously, we arrive at the big moment. We’re in Paris, one of the most romantic cities in the world, on the way to the Eiffel Tower, one of the most iconic monuments in the world, on New Years Eve. If you’re a sucker for cliches, you’ve come to the right place. So on a warm 25 degree night in Paris, we make our way to the Eiffel tower and find a nice little lawn area underneath the tower that wasn’t riddled with tourists and locals pushing their trinkets. The weather was a perfect brisk cold that allowed couples to bundle up with each other without garnering the sneer that people like me would give for showing too much PDA.

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The countdown comes and goes with beautiful flickering lights and couples kissing, adding to the reputation that Paris has acquired for being one of the most romantic places in the world. As the crowds disperse and people begin making their ways to hotels, clubs or cafes, I begin to realize that this is my time to make the “magic” happen. As we’re standing there, taking in the moment of where we were, I begin to ask my girlfriend if she was disappointed that we weren’t getting engaged on this trip or at this moment. She responds with a polite “yes” and says that she was disappointed but there was comfort knowing that the ring would be ready soon and that good things come to those who wait. I go on to tell her that I appreciate her patience and just because our engagement wasn’t happening now that it doesn’t mean that I love her any less. I’m in it for the long run and I wanted you to have a little something to at least hold her over until the actual ring comes in.

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I’m face to face with her and reach into my pocket and pull a small little box that is about half the size of a normal engagement ring box, still keeping her in the dark about what could be inside. As I begin to open up the box, revealing that what was inside was the ring that became so difficult to acquire, I slowly start to see the realization on her face. I drop down to one knee and pop THE question. She stumbles and her eyes begin to tear up, as she starts to sound out the words “oh my God, oh my God”. After a few moments of anticipation and a wet knee, she finally lets out the much awaited “of course, I will.” I stand up and we hug and kiss and the moment just stands still. After we finally decided that the cold was getting too much, we started making our way back to the hotel, at which I recapped the difficulty of getting the ring from the jeweler, through customs and around Paris. I’m thrilled that I was able to give my fiancé the proposal of her dreams. I’ve never been one to give in to clichés, but the look of shock, delight, and love on her face made everything completely worth it for me.

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