Brianne and Kyle

1231571_10151854252039935_2008296044_nHow We Met: Kyle and I met in our fifth grade class when our teacher moved him, a loud-mouthed, back-talking ten year old “rebel” into the seat next to me, a painfully shy bookworm, teacher’s pet type, in her best attempt to quiet him down by putting him next to me, whom she knew would be too reserved to ever say a word to him, much less get in on his usual shenanigans. Her plan lasted for about two weeks in which I did my best to ignore him as he proceeded to steal every single pencil I owned and either use them or hide them around our classroom, snap me with rubber bands, shoot a copious amount of spit wads into my hair and did his best to push my buttons every single way he could think of. Finally one day he pushed me over my limit and I looked at him and snapped, “when are you going to leave me alone?!” He just looked at me and smirked, proud of himself as he had gotten the reaction he wanted, as he said “never”. After that day we somehow quickly became best friends, so attached at the hip that our names seemed to merge into “Kyle-and-Bri” as people associated us with one another. We balanced each other out, me learning to loosen up and him learning to be a bit more respectful and over the next ten years our relationship grew and matured as we did, even after six months of dating and a break-up our junior year, and we started dating again the summer after graduation, remaining by each other’s side even as we moved three hours apart to attend college.

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how they asked: August 31, 2013 I woke up early and left for a girl’s day with my mom, planning to hit the mall to get our nails done, do a little shopping and have some lunch. I had a blast and loved the quality time with my mom who I hadn’t gotten to see for a while but was looking forward to getting home, back into comfy clothes (she had insisted we get dressed up that morning)and take a nap as I had just gotten my wisdom teeth taken out 4 days before. As we got home I darted upstairs to change but before I could my mom called me back down, told me I couldn’t change yet and handed me a letter. To my surprise the letter was from Kyle, who I thought was still 3 hours away at his college, wishing me a happy ten year friendship anniversary, thanking me sweetly for all I had done in his life and telling me that he set up a scavenger hunt for me and to let the day be his gift to me. The letter had instructions to go outside to a brown van he had left across the street and a clue that led me to our high school football stadium where I had spent many a Friday night growing up as a watergirl while my dad was high school football coach and where Ky and I had spent every Wednesday and Friday night together during high school in marching band which I conned him into doing with me. As I was reading, a close family friend showed up at our door and began taking pictures then when I finished led me to the van and drove me to the football field. As we walked in the stadium, followed by my mom and little sister, I saw my three best friends from high school, two of which had moved out of the area and I hadn’t seen in many months, sitting on a bench on the sideline. After many hugs, pictures and confused questions on my part they handed me a second letter from Kyle.

(c) The Portrait Cellar by T. Culkin

In this letter he told me how thankful he was that God has used us so greatly in each other’s lives and molded us through our friends and each other into the people we are now. It then directed me to go, with the girls, to the site of our first kiss, a local playground near my house.

(c) The Portrait Cellar by T. Culkin

As we piled in the van my head was spinning and though I knew something big was up, nothing had clicked quite yet in the overwhelmingness of what was going on. We pulled into the playground, where one of my best friends from college, who had never before even been to my hometown, was waiting for me with a portable DVD player. After hugging her I felt a lump start in my throat as I began to put together the fact that this marvelous day filled with so many people I love was going to end in a proposal. She opened the DVD and a video started playing, showing clips of some of my closest friends who lived far away and couldn’t be there that day. Tears were flowing freely as I stood, watching some of the most important people in my life talk to me as others stood behind me smiling as they watched me realize I was about to get engaged.

(c) The Portrait Cellar by T. Culkin

The last video clip was Kyle, thanking me again and telling me how much I mean to him and directing me to my last destination, my aunt’s house. My aunt’s farm, and the pond on the hill behind it, holds many a memory for us as we’ve went to many Christmas Eve’s, Birthday parties, family reunions and most relevant, Labor Day picnics there together almost every year since we met. The girls and I loaded back up in the van and made the drive to my aunt’s talking and giggling tears running down my face on and off the whole way. When we pulled up the little country road to my aunt’s house I saw Kyle in a full suit and holding an umbrella (it was drizzling rain) waiting for me outside. He opened the door and grabbed my hand, leading me out of the van and up the hill to the pond, just him and I, my family friend and a friend of his from college taking pictures and my mom holding an umbrella for them so the cameras didn’t get wet. When we got to the top of the hill he led me beside the pond, looked me in the eye as i cried and poured out his heart to me before taking my shaking hand, bending to his knee and asking me to marry him. I, without a second thought, said yes and we hugged and kissed and took a few pictures of us and my absolutely perfect, gorgeous new ring before heading back down the hill to meet our family and friends at the announcement party he had all set up for us. Ten years, more memories than we can count, too many amazing people to be able to mention, a scavenger hunt and a beyond beautiful ring later the Lord has blessed me with the promise of marrying my high school sweetheart, best friend and love of my life.

(c) The Portrait Cellar by T. Culkin (c) The Portrait Cellar by T. Culkin

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(c) The Portrait Cellar by T. Culkin (c) The Portrait Cellar by T. Culkin (c) The Portrait Cellar by T. Culkin

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