Charlotte and Garrett

Charlotte Laryssa's Proposal in Wimberley, Texas

How We Met

It was an incredible story, or as I like to say, it was a total “God thing.” A few months after I got out of a very toxic relationship, my little sister, Bryton, kept trying to convince me to get on Tinder.

I was weary about dating sites and apps because it truly means going on dates with complete strangers. Bryton told me that it would be a good way to at least get my flirtation muscles warm again.

After some convincing, I acquiesced. I joined Tinder.

About a month went by, and I had basically decided I was done with this ridiculous app. That was when I passed by the profile of the most handsome man I had ever seen.

Even more than that, I noticed a single sentence in his description that stood out to me.

It read: “I’m looking for my person.”

That was exactly what I was looking for. I swiped right, and we immediately matched.

He knew my love of Harry Potter based on my profile, and the first question he sent was: “If you went to Hogwarts, what house would you be in?”

The more conversations we had, the more I began to realize this man was something special. I started to actually want to meet him in person, and it turns out he felt the same way.

We lived an hour apart, so I started trying to think of a place in the middle for us to meet. However, Garrett James had other plans.

He decided he would rather drive all the way out to see me!

I was nervous the entire day leading up to dinner, and my instinct was to find a reason to back out. For some reason, nothing was good enough to convince me to tell him the date wouldn’t work that night.

May 8, 2019, I pulled up to the Rockwall Mi Cocina and saw Garrett James walk out of the front door to come out to meet me. I’ll never forget the first thought I had when I saw him.

“Wow! He looks just like his pictures!”

He met me outside the front of the restaurant and made sure to hold the door open as I walked in. Once our conversation started, it never stopped.

In fact, the only thing that ended our first date was the fact that we were the last ones in the restaurant and it was about to close.

He walked me out to my car. We stood by the driver’s side door and looked at each other.

I could tell his wheels were turning in his mind, and I asked him what he was thinking.

That was when he told me that he was trying to decide whether or not to kiss me. He didn’t want to ruin anything by moving too fast.

I am not one to kiss on the first date, but in that moment, it just felt right. I looked at him and told him that I didn’t believe it would ruin anything.

The first kiss was better than I could’ve ever imagined. It was literally the most perfect first date I’d ever or would ever go on. It was the first date that started everything. My last first date, and my last first kiss.

It all started on May 8, 2019, and I will never forget the moments that brought me my best friend, my forever person and the love of my life.

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How They Asked

Garrett James had been planning for over a month, and I knew it because he is terrible at keeping secrets from me. Even though I knew it was coming, he did a fantastic job of keeping any and all the details from me. Rather than telling me what was going to happen, he would say something along the lines of: “I talked to SOMEONE about SOMETHING today!” or “I have been talking to QUITE A FEW people about SOMETHING today!” When I would ask for details about whatever secret he was planning, he would grin mischievously and say: “Oh, secret stuff.”

Weeks went by and my curiosity only grew. I was beginning to put things together, or so I thought. I believed I had narrowed it down to the week it would possibly happen (and I should let you know ahead of time that I was actually correct about the week!)

~~~~~SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2019~~~~~

Flash forward to the Sunday before the engagement. I had already taken Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off of work that week because I had quite a few vacation days, and the year was coming to a close. Garrett James and I usually go to church every Sunday, but this particular Sunday, he had school. He is at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business Part-Time MBA program. After school, he came over and we went to sushi for dinner.

About halfway through dinner, Garrett casually brought up the fact that he had decided to take off Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday as well. He asked his boss the previous Friday, and we were going to go to Austin to visit his little brother, Wyatt, who is currently in attendance at UT Austin.

My curiosity piqued.

I began to think why in the world would he randomly take three days off of work. I was also confused by the fact that he would wait until Friday to ask his boss for those days off. He is an avid planner, and it just seemed way too last minute for it to be something like…I don’t know…a proposal. He also threw me off in another way. He mentioned that someone at work gave him an idea for that “special day,” and it might just happen in a few weeks.

A FEW WEEKS?! My head was spinning. I thought I had it all figured out, and now, I was so lost. I had already put on my “special” nail polish and everything. Not that I was expecting anything…You know…just for a trial run.

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I composed myself and knew that it would be a great time for us to just a getaway, and I would finally get to meet his little brother! How exciting is that?!

I literally started packing that Sunday night. We decided to leave Tuesday night so that we could spend the night with his brother and have an entire day to explore Austin on Wednesday.

~~~~~TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2019~~~~~

The look on his face when he saw the amount of stuff I had packed that would have to be loaded into his two-door BMW is something I’m sure you could imagine. Don’t worry. I spent an entire year traveling the state of Louisiana in a two-door Mustang. I know how to pack a small car with many, many suitcases.

We hopped in the car and started down the road toward Austin. I brought my laptops and started working.

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When we pulled over to get gas, Garrett mentioned he would be needing something from his backpack. Being the helpful person I am, I decided to try to find it for him, so he wouldn’t try to reach for it while driving. I put my hand into the first zipper pocket, and after pulling out his phone charger, I realized I would not find what he needed without his help.

I peaked my head out the car door and asked him where in his backpack I could find what he needed. The look on his face was pure and utter panic.

He stopped in the middle of pumping gas and stared at me as though I had just poured gas all over his head. He asked: “Did you look in my backpack?”

I jokingly said: “Of course not! *wink* Okay…maybe just the first pocket.”

Yea…he was not joking…

He looked at me intently and said: “Seriously. Did you look in my backpack?”

At that point, I realized he wasn’t joking, and I told him I looked in the first pocket of the backpack and only found his phone charger. I also explained why I did it. I could tell something about my having looked in his backpack was not okay, but I could not figure out why.

He asked me multiple times what I saw in the backpack, and I told him the same thing. Little did I know what was hiding in that multi-zipper black backpack he used to carry his work and school items. It was something in a small burgundy box that would change my life forever.

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After sufficiently convincing Garrett James that I hadn’t found or seen anything of interest in his now-mysterious backpack, our journey continued. We laughed, sang, listened to comedians, and talked about how excited we were about our Austin trip. The three to four-hour trip passed so quickly that our arrival into Austin almost came as a surprise!

We couldn’t reach our destination without a quick stop at Buc-ee’s! (If you’ve never been, you’re seriously missing out!)

Our time at Wyatt’s that night included a lot of hilarious when-Garrett-was-little stories, quite a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity (where I lost tragically and Garrett cheated spectacularly), and late-night conversations with Wyatt and his girlfriend, while Garrett James lost a valiant battle with his eyelids as he tried to keep himself awake.

~~~~~WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2019~~~~~

Wednesday morning came quickly, but I couldn’t wait to get the day started and see the city my Garrett loves so much.

After a little bit of work, Garrett and I ventured into Austin and walked to get brunch at a little cafe down the street called Kerbey Lane Cafe. We enjoyed delicious mimosas, but that was when Garrett gave me a little clue that there was a full day of excitement coming. He warned me that we will have to be careful not to drink too much at that point because we had a full day ahead of us. Of course, this was right before he said: “But, we can’t have a second mimosa!”

I looked at him with eyes full of curiosity, and he grinned and told me: “It’s a secret.”

Charlotte Laryssa and Garrett James's Engagement in Wimberley, Texas

We walked back to Wyatt’s apartment (with pancakes for Wyatt, of course!) We all changed, and I did a little more work before we headed out for a tour of the University of Texas. Our tour guide? Wyatt.

We stopped at the UT shop, where Garrett bought me an Austin snow globe. It was very sweet because I actually collect snow globes (and he knew it would be a battle to get me to wear something burnt orange).

The campus was absolutely beautiful, but all of you LSU fans out there like me, don’t worry. The entire time I was singing the LSU fight song in my head! :)

Garrett continued to check his watch, and I finally asked him why. He said we had a reservation.

Let me just say to all of you that, no matter how much I wanted to believe that it could be “the day,” I continued to think back to the confusing hints he had given me like him changing things because of a co-worker’s idea and the part about it happening in “a few weeks.”

Regardless of those factors floating in my mind, the girly part of me felt some extreme butterflies as we walked back to Wyatt’s.

I finished my work, while Wyatt and Garrett went out to get something from Garrett’s car. When he came back in with dress shoes and began putting them on, I was more confused than ever. I thought…’ Well, if he is going to put dress shoes on, then I should at least put on some cute boots I was saving for ‘that day.” So, I did.

I brought the adorable, white sweater dress on the trip that I had picked out for ‘that day,’ but I didn’t trust my instincts enough to put in on…I should have.

We hopped in his car and began the short drive to the first stop. On the way there, he told me he got this restaurant idea from his boss on Friday, and that he had made a reservation then.

Once again, my wheels started turning. I thought…’ So, he made the reservation on Friday. It couldn’t be ‘that day’ if he made the reservation on Friday.’

The restaurant turned out to be a very nice, rustic, and, as the restaurant’s online description says, a retro-chic place called Swift’s Attic. We each had a salad and a glass of wine. Once again, my love warned me about drinking too much too fast because he had more plans.

Oh my goodness! All the secrecy was killing me!

He had it all timed out perfectly, and after a wonderful meal at Swift’s Attic, we were off again. The drive was about 40 minutes through the beautiful countryside of Austin. We watched the hills roll gracefully by us as we enjoyed the beautiful fall air through his car windows.

This time, he gave no hints as to what we would be doing. He didn’t even give me an idea as we pulled up to the entrance of the Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood, Texas.

We drove by a vineyard that had been recently harvested and parked across from a beautiful winery. Garrett opened my door and led me in.

It was as though they knew we were coming, and we were both walked to a secluded back room with about 20 tables. One of the tables was set up for two with glasses and hors d’oeuvres.

It was just for us!

We walked to the table, and Garrett pulled out my chair for me. There was soft music playing, and we could see the beautiful scenery outside from the window across from us.

My person had scheduled a private tasting and tour just for us! The hors d’oeuvres were delicious and the wine was superb. However, the greatest part about the experience was that, as we tasted the wine, we had a chance to sit alone and spend time with one another. I was the happiest girl in the world sitting there across from this man that I love and enjoying the entire experience.

I thought to myself…’This must be what the entire day was leading up to. A wonderful wine tasting together! I love it!’

I’m not going to pretend as I missed him saying to the woman taking us through the tasting: “We absolutely want to make the tour, but we have to make sure we are on the road by 4:30.”

4:30?! Why? Is there more?

We took the tour of the winery, purchased a bottle of wine we tried and loved, and we were on the road again. This time, I peeked over at his phone map and saw we were about 10 minutes from our next destination.

He informed me that we couldn’t finish off the day without some dessert. Almost as though he was reading my mind, he looked at me and grinning he said: “Remember, calories don’t count today.”

Only a couple minutes into our drive, he quickly pulled over to the side of the road saying he needed to do something really quickly.

He looked at me and instructed me to dig in the back of the glove compartment. I pulled out some thick black fabric about the same texture as a nice restaurant napkin. He then told me to put it over my eyes and tie it behind my head making sure that I cannot see.

My instructions were that I not take off the blindfold because he would be doing that. Also, he turned up the music very loud and said that I am to listen to the music and only the music until instructed otherwise. He said he would be getting out of the car for a moment once we got to our location but to keep listening to the music. He even went so far as to say: “If the music stops at any point, hum to yourself loudly.”

Very confused, I put the blindfold over my eyes and did exactly as he said. I could feel the car move up and down as we drove from the smooth roadway onto a rocky path. I thought about the fact that we really should’ve driven my Jeep if we were planning on off-roading.

In what seemed like forever to someone blindfolded, he stopped the car but kept the music blaring. He got out for a few minutes, but before shutting his door, he reminded me to not take off my blindfold and to listen to the music.

I was getting more and more confused by the second. What kind of dessert place is this secretive?! But I sat there obediently until he returned. I could hear him open his door and take the key out of the ignition. The car and all of the music stopped abruptly. He closed his door, and I could hear his footsteps on the rocks as he walked around to my side of the car.

My door opened, and Garrett helped me out of the car and onto the rocky road. I remember saying to him that I was absolutely going to fall on this in these boots. He said that he wouldn’t let me fall, and he didn’t. With his hands firmly on my shoulders, he led me up a step and onto more solid ground. I knew I wouldn’t fall because I had him.

There was a sound I heard as I stepped out of the car, and now that I was walking more steadily, I could hear it more clearly. It was the sound of music.

However, it wasn’t just music. It was an actual musician playing “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur.

I felt my heart beat faster as we moved closer and the music became louder. I felt him lead me around what seemed like a corner, but as we continued moving, sprinkles of water sprayed on my face. I wondered whether it had started raining or maybe someone was spraying me with water.

Garrett stopped and put his hands around my waist. We began to dance (with the blindfold still on by the way).

I could hear his breathing get heavier as my heart felt like it would pound out of my chest. I held him closer.

The song started to end, and his arms reached behind my head and pulled the blindfold off. I looked in his eyes and whatever was going on around us fell away. I didn’t notice where we were or what else could’ve been going on at the time. All I saw was the love of my life looking at me as though he wouldn’t ever want to look at anything else for the rest of his life.

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The words from his mouth sounded better than music as he went into his feelings for me. At that moment, I knew what was coming, but I couldn’t believe it. Nothing could have prepared me for this moment.

I saw him reach into his back pocket and get down on one knee. Then, he said the words that I always imagined but never fully believed I would hear.

Garrett James Sommer said: “Will you marry me?”

Before he could even get the ring out of the box, my arms were around his neck saying: “Yes!”

When we finally pulled away for a brief second, he placed the ring on my hand and pointed his finger toward the window in the gorgeous cabin behind us. It took me a moment to figure out what he was pointing at, but when I saw my mom and sister freaking out in the window, my heart exploded!

Out in the middle of Wimberly, Texas, at the absolutely incredible Relics Ranch given to us by Bex Hale for the night, I became a fiancée, and I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with my best friend, forever person, and the love of my life.

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Special Thanks

Dalton Campbell
 | Photographer
Dalton Campbell
 | Videographer
 | Guitarist