Chelsea and Dylan

Image 6 of Chelsea and Dylan

How We Met

Dylan and I met when I was a freshman and he was a sophomore in high school. We were both only 15 years old at that time! We had two classes together, biology and Spanish. We quickly became friends over the course of that year. He actually dated one of my friends shortly during the fall of 2010, so we go to know each other through that relationship. The first one-on-one conversation that we had ended in a bet – who would win the Michigan vs. Michigan State football game. I, of course, won that bet, because who bets against the Spartans?? I’m honestly not sure at what point friendship turned into romance, but I think it might have been when our biology teacher partnered us up to “make babies.” Haha!

Image 1 of Chelsea and Dylan

I remember that’s when he asked for my number, and then he ended up texting me after one of our baseball/softball games and we texted all night. He finally admitted that he liked me through some cringe-worthy text messages. I had never really been in a relationship at that point in my life, so the first time he ever kissed me I actually ran away – he still hasn’t let me live that down!! That summer, we were inseparable. Because we were only 15, our first date was at our small town’s home run derby. We hung out and flagged down balls all day. Late in the summer told me he loved me after a sweaty game of basketball in his backyard and we haven’t stopped loving each other since.

Image 2 of Chelsea and Dylan

We did have one little bump in the road though. Because my parents were so strict, we had snuck around a lot that summer to see each other. One thing led to another, and my parents found out. I think it’s safe to say that they were extremely upset with us, so they basically forbid me from seeing Dylan throughout most of the high school. This didn’t stop us from dating though, and more often than not, we ended up getting in a lot of trouble. We used to sneak around and park my car at the school, or at a friend’s house and we’d just drive around for hours. We left letters in our lockers together, and he actually bought me an iPod so that we could talk to one another without my parents finding out.

Image 3 of Chelsea and Dylan

No, I am seriously not making this up. The struggle bus was real. Our friends always helped us see each other too. But when college rolled around, my parents finally figured out that this man wasn’t going anywhere and we were FINALLY allowed to be with one another. We spent college growing with one another and falling even more for another. I feel so beyond lucky to have had Dylan by my side through all of the ups and downs life threw at us. Those challenges made us even stronger!

Image 4 of Chelsea and Dylan

Image 5 of Chelsea and Dylan

How They Asked

I love talking about Dylan’s proposal. We had been talking pretty seriously about our engagement for almost a year. (Disclaimer: prior to him asking, I had been giving him a pretty hard time about not asking me yet. I actually apologized for a couple of days before he proposed for giving him such a hard time and told him I would stop with the jokes.) We each expressed what we wanted out of an engagement, and I remember telling him that my only wish is that it would just be the two of us. I couldn’t have cared less where and when, just as long as it was only the two of us at that moment.

Dylan was very intent that he didn’t want me to know when the proposal was coming. So in order to do that, he had been telling me for months that he couldn’t afford a ring or a wedding at the time. That our time was coming but it wasn’t just our time yet. I bought every word. Because Dylan didn’t want me to have any clue what he’d been planning, he had his mom tell me we were getting ‘family pictures.’ I remember thinking nothing of this, because his family didn’t have any recent photos of themselves, and I actually found myself beaming with excitement that they asked me to be a part of them. Weeks had passed by when his mom reminded me of the picture session that Wednesday. I had, remarkably, planned to get my hair done on Tuesday and my sister just so happened to have a gift card she wanted to use to get her nails done, so she asked me to tag along with her. Again, I had no idea so I just thought I was getting myself pampered for pictures.

Finally, Wednesday rolled around. My sister had a basketball scrimmage that morning (we didn’t have school because it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving) so we woke up bright and early, got breakfast, and spent most of our day watching my sister’s team scrimmage. It started off as a typical day. We got back home later that afternoon, and I started getting ready for the pictures. I had offered to drive myself to his house, but he was so set on picking me up. As we were driving to the pictures, I had a slight feeling that maybe, just maybe, this might be it. I had my hair done, nails done, dressed up, Dylan had been extra sweet. But when we got there, and I saw all the cars, my thoughts flashed back to our conversation about wanting it to only be us two. I literally said out loud to myself, “oh well, another day.”

Image 7 of Chelsea and Dylan

We were at our hometown’s marsh, somewhere Dylan and I used to sneak away to in high school. I like to think of it as one of our many hiding spots. As we were walking down the long boardwalk, I noticed that no one was in sight. Not a single soul. Then I noticed roses in the water on either side of the boardwalk. I looked at him and said “what is this?”, but he just smiled and put his head down. At this point, I am totally convinced he’s getting down on one knee. He opened the door to the pavilion area, and inside are what seems like hundreds of roses, music playing, and poster boards of notes, pictures, and other small mementos that Dylan had secretly kept over the course of 9 years.

Image 9 of Chelsea and Dylan

Image 10 of Chelsea and Dylan

Now I’m thinking, HOLY CRAP THIS IS IT when he turns to me and says “I know how badly you want a proposal, and I promise it’s coming, but until then I just want you to know how much I love you.” Talk about a mood killer. I smiled and acted like I was fine with it, but the whole time I’m clearly pouting while we walked around and finished looking at each of the posters strung along the walls.

Image 11 of Chelsea and Dylan

We walk out the other side of the pavilion a few minutes after, and start walking towards his family I now see in the way back of the boardwalk, when he stops me dead in my tracks and says “I actually have one more thing I’d like to give you to show you just how much I love you” and gets done on one knee. I had been dreaming of this moment for 9 years. I was instantly weak in the knees and couldn’t stop crying. He didn’t even get a chance to put on the ring before I squeezed him in a tight hug. It was a magical moment. The whole process was so intentional and thoughtful. Everything about it was perfect.

Image 8 of Chelsea and Dylan

We wanted to be intentional about telling everyone closest to us before posting anything, so we spent the rest of the evening surprising our closest friends and family with our engagement announcement, and ended the night at a local restaurant celebrating with all of our loved ones… and basically the entire small town we live in. I will never forget that day. It was filled with so much love and happiness. We were overwhelmed with the outpouring love and support we received. I don’t think we stopped celebrating for an entire week afterward. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him!

Special Thanks

Reganne Goodwin
 | Photographer