How We Met
Freshman year of college I went home with my best friend, Lydia, at the beginning of the summer to meet her family and have her show me around good ole Minnesota. Little did I know I was spending the week with my future in-laws!!! I met everyone except for her eldest brother, Gavan, who was studying abroad in Rome at the time; I missed his homecoming by just a week! Summer passed and Lydia and I talked about setting my older sister up with Gavan because we wanted to be sisters of course. By the time sophomore year rolled around I couldn’t wait to see Lydia again. Her parents couldn’t drop her of because her younger sister was starting college at the same time, so they had Gavan drop her off instead- reluctantly of course; they had to pay him. I biked over on my yellow little beach cruiser (in St. Louis because my California heart couldn’t quite let it all go) once Lydia and Gavan arrived. I ran and hugged both of them tight, feeling like I already knew Gavan from all that Lydia had told me. Gavan stayed for the weekend before heading back home and I spent most of my free time with the both of them. Gavan and I seemed to be cut from the same cloth just about.
I was so tired of surface level conversations with most people that it caught me off guard when the first question he asked me was “What is the most spiritual experience you’ve ever had?” I had been craving depth but it’s hard to create depth when other people want nothing to do with it. I felt inspired and grateful to meet such a kindhearted, genuine man. It was then that I realized my expectations of what I was looking for in a man were not unrealistic, because clearly exactly what I was searching for was staring me straight in the face. We became friends that weekend and continued to talk on and off for a few weeks after that, trying to find any excuse to talk and even Skype. We were so enamored by one another that our Skype dates would last 4 hours on average; staying up until the early hours of the morning. Lydia was unaware of the interactions until one time she wanted to come over at the same time I would be Skyping her brother… I was so afraid to tell her that I would be Skyping him but I just simply tried to play it off like it was no big deal and I just wanted to hear about his study abroad experience. Turns out she completely caught on when she came over and I had a full face of makeup on just to Skype him LOL. We didn’t talk about it for awhile until a few weeks later she asked what was going on and I told her “I have a FAT crush on your brother.”
She told me not to worry because she honestly could not imagine anyone better for him than me. My heart sang. She talked to him and catalyzed his confidence to pursue me more obviously. The next week I got a handwritten letter from him in the mail, wax stamp and all. Talk about the man of my dreams? Such an old soul, I was entirely infatuated. Lydia and I planned to spend Thanksgiving together and we decided to go home to her house which I really couldn’t have been happier about, as much as I tried to play it off. Just before Thanksgiving break arrived, Gavan and I were talking on the phone and he asked if he could take me on a date while I was visiting and you can bet it took me maybe half a second to say that I would love to! That is when it all really began, our first date and from then on things just kept looking up and up. It was funny when Lydia and I roomed together the next semester, with her brother as my boyfriend. We would pray for our future husbands together and even though I didn’t tell her, I was sure it would be Gavan.
how they asked
Fast forward a year and a half, my dear friend and photographer extraordinaire came out to visit me in California. We had planned to road trip my little VW bug across country back to St. Louis and our photographer hearts swooned when we thought of all the possibilities. Claire asked if we could get Gavan to fly out and meet us in Arizona because she wanted couple pictures and of course I thought that would be the best of both worlds!! Gavan flew in on a Thursday which was perfect because Claire had to fly out on Saturday so this way we would all have Friday together to shoot and I wouldn’t have to road trip alone at all.
On June 16 we woke up at 4:50 am to see the sunrise over Horseshoe Bend because Claire and Gavan had convinced me that sunrise would be best for lighting since we couldn’t make sunset but in reality it was mostly because that way it wouldn’t be crowded and sweltering when Gavan proposed. We arrived at Horseshoe bend around 5:15 am and I was so surprised by how much Gavan knew about this place, he even knew that there were port-a- potties at the beginning of the trail and nothing after so we’d better go then or forever hold our pee-ace (dumb). This kid does his research (he even made sure to get me a ring that wouldn’t rip my gloves as a nurse) so no wonder he knew these random things about horseshoe bend.
Turns out that the Sunday before this (June 11) Gavan had called Claire to run the idea by her that he might propose to me on the trip (!!!), the Monday before this (June 12) he had asked my parents for their blessing to marry me, and the day before this he had picked up the ring (he had it picked out but it wasn’t finished until just hours before his flight).
We walked the maybe 3/4 of a mile up the trail to Horseshoe Bend and kept making jokes about being out of breath and out of shape and by the time we reached the bend it was plenty of time for our spiked hearts to calm ;). BUTTT I hugged Gavan and noticed his heart was beating so intensely I turned to him and said “wow you must REALLY be out of shape.” I really have a way with words. Super romantic. Then Claire set up to take pictures like we had all planned for quite some time and she just told us “do your thang” so Gavan started hugging me (?).
I was like “okay we don’t need to just hug, we can do something else” thinking how awkward that we’re just standing here hugging for awhile not being dynamic at all but Gavan said no and that he needed to hug me. He then proceeded to say the kindest things ever- more than likely the sweetest words I’ve ever heard. But I can’t tell you what they were because I don’t remember!!!! I was too busy FREAAAKING out thinking “oh my gosh he’s going to propose, oh my gosh this is it. wait if he’s not proposing then this is just super weird. no he’s definitely proposing. wait, listen to what he’s saying. HE’S PROPOSING!!!!!” #nochill… *Gavan gets on one knee* “Carli Wolfe, will you marry me?”
I said yes, obviously. and I looked at Claire as if to ask her if she was seeing this and it
was actually happening!? Best. Day. Ever. and it wasn’t even 6 am.
We all went to breakfast afterwards to celebrate and I kept trying to hold my coffee cup at an angle so everyone could see my ring lol. Then since it was only 8:30 (9:30-?) we decided we all better take a nap before we take on the rest of the day. I’m not really sure if I slept or if I just kept thinking “I’m engaged” the entire time. When we woke up we conference called my family which you can see at the end of the AMAZING video Claire made for us here.
We spent the day perpetually confused by the time and touring Antelope Canyon which is amazing and 10/10 would recommend. After that we parted ways and Claire drove back down to Phoenix to catch her flight out the next morning and Gavan and I went on to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. That was the plan anyways. We got no more than 10 miles outside of Page when my car, sweet Talullah, started tweaking. She was making this super weird noise and I- not being a car person (I almost put coolant in my windshield wipers at the start of the trip) figured we could just keep driving. But Gavan pulled over and then some super kind policemen pulled up behind us and tried to help. They told us that if we have any more trouble we better turn around because there is no civilization for TWO HOURS.
So we turned around and literally coasted back into Page. Tallulah even started smoking so we had to stay the night in Page with no idea how we would leave because just so you know, Page had no more rental cars, an airport so small that it has to be subsidized by the government, and no Ubers. So we decided to make the most out of our night in the only open motel in Page, celebrating our engagement by drinking wine out of paper cups and Face-timing friends and family to share the news.
It wasn’t until 11 am the next day after exhausting all options that we finally found a Uhaul to tow Talullah back to STL. It makes me laugh thinking about the fact that we road tripped 1000 + miles in a UHAUL towing sweet Talullah through all parts of the country simultaneously celebrating the start of our forever together.
It also makes me happy because our forever began as a sitcom-like fiasco in which we were stuck in the middle of practically nowhere with nothing but each other and a broken car. Life has a way of keeping us on our toes, always finding an opportunity to throw the unexpected at us and somehow at the most optimally inconvenient time. But it made me happy because it’s life and it’s our life. It was us doing life together and that makes me happy.