Elise and Jared

Image 1 of Elise and Jared

How We Met

Elise’s Version: Jared and I met for the first time through a mutual friend during our junior year of college at one of my sorority events at Baylor University in Waco, TX. He actually thought I was dating a guy that he saw me with at the event so he says he didn’t pay much attention to me at our encounter. I, however, thought he was cute and I was intrigued.

Our friend was determined for us to meet again so a week later she set up a quick lunch date for all of us at a local sushi restaurant. Jared had just gotten back to the states a few months prior to a yearlong study abroad experience in Japan. The sushi restaurant was a perfect icebreaker for him to tell me about his experience living in Japan. During the lunch he was trying to impress me with his chopstick skills and Japanese knowledge, however, he was so nervous that he dropped his sushi in the soy sauce dish causing soy sauce to splatter all over him and our mutual friend. It was pretty funny, but he turned bright red, which I thought was pretty cute. He was so nervous that he forgot to ask me for my number when we left. I assumed that was it and we’d go our separate ways. However, Jared was determined. He got my number from our friend and began texting me. I wasn’t very interested at first and I was very standoffish towards him, but thankfully that didn’t stop Jared. He is the type of person that once he knows what he wants; he doesn’t stop until he gets it.

After about two weeks of him texting me, I gave in and agreed to go on a date with him. He took me on a date about an hour away from Waco to go to dinner and a drive-in movie. He is still shocked that he was able to convince me to go on a first date with him an hour away when I barely knew him, but I had always wanted to go to a drive-in theater, so I definitely couldn’t refuse. I’m sure glad I went! We talked non-stop the entire way; we laughed, joked, and really got to know each other. It was like we were old friends, instead of barely knowing one another. Fast forward two months to when Jared asked me to officially be his girlfriend. I’m a huge fan of Disney so on November 24, 2013 when Jared surprised me with front row tickets to watch Disney on Ice at the events center in Waco I was ecstatic. After the show he planned for us to get hot chocolate to take to the lake to look at the stars (and ask me to be his girlfriend), however, there was a gate preventing us from driving up to the lake and the store was out of hot chocolate. I had no idea he had this special plan to ask me to go steady with him, but I could see that he was upset so I offered for him to come over to my house to look at the stars on my front porch. He came over and we talked for a while. When it was time for him to leave he went to my fridge to grab a gallon of milk he had left from our grocery trip the day before. As he was walking through the doorway he abruptly turned around dropped on one knee with the milk carton in his hand and asked me to be his girlfriend. I was so confused and startled by the whole situation that I just stared at him. I said yes and we laughed as he clumsily got up.

Our relationship continued as boyfriend and girlfriend for the next 3 years and 7 months. Having each other to experience college with was a blast. We made so many memories and built relationships with a solid group of friends that we are still very close with. Dating through college and through the transition out of college allowed us to grow not only with our relationship with each other but also with God. Having each other to walk through the uncertainties that life brings was a blessing for both of us. It helped us become certain that we were who each other wanted to walk through life with to experience the joy, hardships, and love together.

Jared’s Version: I was just getting back from a year abroad in Japan. I had spent the summer in Waco, TX taking a few classes to catch me up in preparation for the upcoming school year. One of those classes was Managerial Accounting. Now, this isn’t exactly where I met Elise, but we are getting there I promise. This class was taught by a temperamental man from Wisconsin, who to this day I’m not actually sure why he moved to Waco when it seemed like he couldn’t stand it there. Anyways, a lot of the friends I made freshman year had either transferred, graduated, or I had lost touch with them. I wasn’t too focused on making friends over the summer because I just wanted to get my classes over with and try to enjoy the rest of my summer. Anne Crutchfield had other ideas for my summer. She was very charismatic and very insistent that I didn’t just sit in my apartment all summer alone. I appreciated the offer of friendship and agreed to a few study sessions. Anne and I continued to hang out and study throughout the summer until the school year started. Once the school year started we didn’t really talk too much because classes got busy and we had none together, but one day that all changed and I got invited to a thing called “Foam Crush.” Now I had no idea what exactly this was when I agreed to go, but I’m so glad I decided to give it a try. This was my first sorority event and I would say it turned out pretty well. I showed up to the middle of Minglewood Bowl in a yellow shirt greeted by Anne, her party, and a field full of screaming college students. It was a bit overwhelming… Anne started introducing me to people, I mean lots of people. After meeting a significant amount of people, we made our way over to the foam pit. Standing there in the foam pit, foam covered in a bright yellow shirt, was my future fiancé! Anne walked me over to her and said: “this is Elise she is one of my good friends in Tri-Delta.” I said, “nice to meet you I’m Jared.” And we shook hands. About this time the evil Jared (another guy named Jared that Elise just happened to know and was totally crushing on my future woman) scooped her up and took her into the foam never too be seen from again, well at least for the rest of the party. Now we frequently argue over the details of the aforementioned event of a meeting, but I totally thought she was taken when I first met her and as with any guy quickly squashed any idea of getting to talk to her again and moved on to enjoy the rest of the foam party. Well, it turns out she was not taken and I wouldn’t find this out until about a month or so later.

Anne messaged me after the party and asked if I had a good time. I had a great time and was able to meet lots of new people. Anne asked me if I would like for her to set something up with one of her friends from the foam party. I, of course, said sure and I let her work her magic. With the school year starting and classes already starting to get busy, I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, but I was always looking to meet more people and make new friends. Anne set it up and we all met at Wako Roll. I’m just going to throw this out there now, Elise was not a fan of me after our first encounter. In fact, I’m surprised she still wanted to talk to me afterward. The meeting started out like any other, we walked in said hello and ordered some sushi. One of the things that stood out to me the most about Elise was the fact that she started to pray before we ate our lunch. This was something I had grown up doing before dinner with my family, but rarely out in public and almost never for lunch. There was something special about her and I knew right then and there I wanted to learn more about her to figure out what it was. I had always struggled with my faith, my parents always took my brother and I to church, but rarely did we talk about it outside of that context. I attended church camps and did a lot of volunteer work when I was growing up, but once I got to High School I drifted away from the Lord and my faith started to waver. I went through the next few years very self-involved and I really only cared about myself. I was living very selfishly and I was lost. I chose to go to Baylor to hopefully regain some of what I had lost and try and rekindle my faith in the Lord. It turns out what I needed more than anything was Elise and for her to guide me back on the right path. The lunch at Wako Roll continued, but needless to say, I didn’t make a very good first impression. I was pretty nervous during this whole first meeting that I had forgotten to ask for her number when she had to leave for a sorority event. Thankfully, I was able to get her number from Anne so I could keep talking to her.

Over the next few weeks, we started to talk more and more and that quickly became the highlight of each and every day. After my less than an excellent first impression, I wanted to be on my best behavior and earn Elise’s love. I bought her with flowers, walked her to class, and asked her out on a what would be our official first date. Now to this point we were getting along great and our relationship was starting to grow, but I could tell that she wasn’t that into me. I needed to do something big to impress her. I decided on a drive-in movie out in Gatesville. This date turned out really well despite my lack of a real plan. You see, I had never been to Gatesville, the drive-in theater, or the restaurant we would eat at. There were a lot of things up in the air. Also, it required her to be quite trusting of me because it was about a 45-minute drive on a little Texas farm road. I’m sure most of you reading this are familiar with Texas farm roads, but I’ll explain anyway. They get really really dark and are only lit by the occasional ranch gate light and oncoming headlights, they can be a little creepy especially with someone you don’t really know. Elise, however, handled it great and just started chatting away as soon as she got in the car after I had picked her up. It put my mind at ease for the time being, but I still wanted the rest of the date to go flawlessly. The 45-minute drive seemed like it was over before it started because we talked the whole way there. This drive was very special to me because it really gave me the opportunity to get to know Elise and how special she would ultimately become to me. I would love to recommend this to any wayward lovers out there looking to impress a crush, but to be honest I’m still not sure how it all turned out so well and how I was able to convince her to go with me. I’m sure glad she said yes to our first date! Once we arrived in Gatesville we headed off to find a restaurant, the steakhouse I had picked out originally was jam-packed and we didn’t have time to eat there if we were going to make the movie. Another thing that just happened to work out in our favor because this might have been the best accidental restaurant discovery of all time. We still talk about the food we had that night to this day. I’m not sure I remember how good the food actually was, but I know one thing is for sure, having Elise sitting there smiling across the table at me made it taste that much better. Unfortunately, the restaurant has closed forever, so we will never be able to eat there again, but it will always be a memory we share together of our first date. After dinner I stopped at HEB to get some candy and some drinks for the movie, she got Twizzlers and Sour Patch Kids; some of her favorite candies. We pulled up to the drive-in about 15 minutes early and were able to tune into the ending of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. We were both so intrigued by the last 15 minutes we wanted to watch it from start to finish, but that wasn’t our movie for the evening; our movie was Gravity. To be honest, I don’t remember what happened during the movie, it wasn’t very good, but I do remember sitting there just happy to be with Elise.

Fast-forward a few months to November 23rd, 2013, the day that started it all. So ever since our first date, I knew I wanted Elise to be my girlfriend, but I wanted to make sure I waited the appropriate amount of time and I wanted it to be very special. I started thinking of a plan on how to do it. I wouldn’t get as lucky with this as I did with our first date, but thankfully it wouldn’t matter too much. There are 2 things Elise loves besides me and Jesus, Disney and Food! I wanted to incorporate one of them into my plan. I chose Disney, more specifically, I chose Disney on Ice. I bought us two front row tickets to the show at the Extraco Event Center for Saturday night at 7:30 PM. That was just the first phase of my plan. Phase 2 involved us going to Lake Waco to look at the stars and drink some warm hot chocolate. Then as the last few drops of hot chocolate left the cups and slid smoothly across our taste buds, I was going to ask her to be my girlfriend. I thought it was a pretty good plan, but sometimes you can plan down to the last second and things still won’t go your way. We went to the show and it was awesome! We happened to get tickets to the 100 Year Celebration and it went through all of our Disney favorites, singing songs from across Disney’s past and present. We both smiled the whole time as we enjoyed characters and stories from our childhoods. The show lasted a little longer than I had expected, but it was an amazing show that neither of us wanted to end so we weren’t complaining. After the show, I asked her if she wanted to drive around for a little while. She happily agreed. This was my way of getting to the lake without it being too suspicious. We made a stop at a little Shell station to get hot chocolate, but they were all sold out… Well, we could still make it to the lake to watch the stars even if we wouldn’t have the hot chocolate. I was determined to salvage this and make Elise my girlfriend. To my unpleasant surprise, we pulled up to a locked gate blocking us from getting to the lake. I didn’t even realize lakes closed! Now I was very defeated and I had no idea where to go from here. Elise offered for us to go back to her house and watch the stars on her front porch. I agreed and thought it was over for me, it wasn’t going to be nearly as special as I had hoped. I’m not sure why we went to HEB that night, but I do know I bought a gallon of milk because I was out at my apartment. Once we got to her house I put the milk inside the house and we walked outside for a little while to look up at the stars. It was getting really late now and it was time for me to say goodbye to Elise. I went inside and grabbed my milk and Elise walked me to the door. All kinds of thoughts were racing through my head and my heart was beating a thousand beats per second, but once we got to her door it was now or never. Without really thinking about it, milk in hand, I dropped down to one knee and I asked her to be my girlfriend. I’m not sure what compelled me to do that or why that was my way of asking her out, but I’m happy with the results because she said YES! Now since it was after midnight when all of this took place our official dating anniversary is Sunday, November 24th, 2013. We continued to date for the next few years having many adventures and plenty of laughs along the way. We didn’t always see eye to eye, but we always managed to work it out in the end. We have been through long and short distances, and have survived a few city moves along the way, but one thing has always remained that same; we have remained best friends and are always there for each other. That leads us to the next part of our story.

Image 2 of Elise and Jared

how they asked

Elise’s Version: During the summer of 2017, I was taking classes at the dental school in Dallas, TX to prepare for my first year as a dental student at the Texas A&M College of Dentistry. Jared was still working at his job in Houston, so we were continuing our yearlong stint of long-distance dating. Before my summer session started he told me that he was planning to come on the weekends to visit me. I agreed to the plan before realizing how busy I was going to be with schoolwork. As the weekend of June 3rd approached I began to tell Jared how I was going to have to spend the weekend studying and I asked him if we could postpone his weekend visit. He immediately blurted out that he had a surprise that weekend to take me to see Disney on Ice in Waco, TX. We had previously talked about wanting to go to another show and taking a trip to Waco since it had been over a year since both of us had visited our beloved college town, but we never got around to it. I was excited to hear of the surprise, but reluctant since I had 3 exams the following Monday. He half-heartedly said that we could sell the tickets if I really didn’t think I could go, but after he told me he had been planning this surprise for a while I couldn’t tell him no.

Leading up to the weekend I was a little suspicious that this trip was bigger than a ‘Celebration of beginning Dental School trip’. Jared told me to pack a nice outfit for the weekend trip and he paid for me to go to a nail salon with a friend to get my nails painted. Then he told me our plans for Saturday. Jared planned out the entire day for us to have lunch in Waco, go to the Waco Mammoth site, visit the Magnolia Silos, dinner, and then the show that night…but because I’m a student, it’s hard for me to follow a strict plan of activities on a time schedule because studying can go longer than initially intended.

So of course, the night before I was up late studying and woke up late on Saturday, delaying our plans. On top of my delay in time, it rained as soon as we got to Waco, which caused us to barely make our dinner reservations. We went to dinner 135 Prime Steak House, where we had our first Valentine’s date. After dinner, we went to see the Disney on Ice show, which he again got us front row tickets for. After the show, we could tell that it had rained again while we were inside because it was growing increasingly more humid outside. I was ready to go back to the hotel, but Jared asked me if I’d be up for walking around Baylor since we hadn’t seen the campus in over a year. I was a little reluctant due to the humidity and I was wearing heels and confused why we couldn’t go the following morning, but I could see that he really wanted to go so I said yes.

As we walked on campus Jared said he wanted to go to the spot where we had our first picture taken together to see if the building had changed. As we walked up I was so focused on looking at the building that I didn’t notice one of my favorite flowers, a tulip, with a letter that was on the table next to us until Jared pointed my attention to it. He picked up the letter, handed me the tulip with a picture and began to read. As he read I knew the day we had both prayed about was happening. We continued walking to various spots around campus that were significant in our relationship. Each spot had a tulip with a picture of the memory that Jared touched on his letter. Our final destination was the location where we met for the very first time at my sorority event almost 4 years prior. Jared had a chair waiting for me to sit on with more flowers next to a table that was set up for us. On the table was a photo album with all of our memories throughout our relationship. Next, to the table, he even had a milk jug like the one he had next to him the first time he got down on one knee to ask me to be his girlfriend. There was also a bible with communion set for us to take. As Jared finished his letter he got down on one knee to ask me to marry him. After I mustered out a yes through my happy tears we took our first communion as an engaged couple, prayed for us and our new season of life that we were entering into together.

After we were done Jared told me to turn around and look up. I was shocked, humbled, and overjoyed as I looked up to see that my friends had traveled from all different locations (Oregon, Tennessee, Louisiana, and various parts of Texas) to be there on our special day. It meant so much to me that they each came for me, but also that Jared included them. After they came down we all walked over to a local coffee shop, Common Grounds, where more of our family, friends, and relatives waiting on FaceTime that couldn’t come in person, anxiously awaited us to celebrate. Each one of them played a special part in our day by setting up the pictures around campus, setting up our table, baking and decorating for the after party, and being there to celebrate with us. I felt so humbled by the loved our family and friends showed not only at this special moment but also throughout our dating relationship. Jared planned a meaningful day that was a testament to our relationship. I am so thankful and blessed to say I will be marrying this man.

Jared’s Version: Now a lot of time had passed since we first started dating and some would say that I was dragging my feet a little with proposing to Elise, I would disagree with them, but some might say that. My first job out of college was with Harris County Public Health and it was a great job, but it didn’t pay all that much. I loved my job and the opportunities it gave me to serve my community, but when you are trying to buy a great ring you can run into a few hiccups along the way. Needless to say, after about a year and a half of working there I was able to save enough money to buy Elise a perfect ring. She told me back when we first started dating that she wanted a ring with 3 bands because she really loved the idea behind each band: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”……… one strand “God strand” wraps around two strands ” the couple” holding them together.” That really stuck with me and I wanted to make sure I could incorporate that into the ring. I started out looking on ring websites and Pinterest to find the perfect ring. My searches were not very fruitful. So, I started to draw a few things and started thinking about having the ring custom-made. Well, I can’t draw very well, but I knew what I was looking for. I was hoping someone could take my thoughts and poor drawing and turn them into magic. Philip Wolf was that man. Between Pinterest and Philip, I looked at more rings, diamonds, and types of gold than I care to admit, but after a few iterations and a few weeks’ time we combined my original drawing, a ring from Elise’s Pinterest, and a few things Elise specifically wanted on her ring to form her beautiful engagement ring! Now that I had a ring I needed a diamond. Philip also helped with that. He sat down and did nothing, but teach me about diamonds, where they come from, how they are cut, why some cuts are better than others, why certain sizes look better on certain styles of rings, and most importantly how to get to most for my money. I wanted it to shine so brightly that every time she looked down she could think of us. After everything was picked out and the final check was cut, Philip got to work crafting the ring. For the next few weeks, I would get pictures of the progress and all of the intricacies of Elise’s ring. After weeks of work, Philip called me up and told me to come pick up the ring and inspect it. It was perfect! Don’t tell Elise, but I was actually the first one to try it on… I tried it on my pinky finger to make sure it was going to look good when it was time for her to put it on.

Now that I had a ring, I could finally stop with all the feet dragging and ask that woman to be my wife! This was one of the hardest things to plan in my life. I was nervous. I wanted her friends and family to be there and working with schedules was no easy task. Also, I wanted the moment to mean something to us so she could never forget it. I thought back to 3 and a half years earlier when I had asked her to be my girlfriend. Disney on Ice would be a perfect place after all Disney is where dreams come true. I called the company that owns the rights to Disney on Ice to see if after the show was over I could take Elise by the hand to center ice and drop down on one knee with all of the cast around us. I was quickly shut down and told that was not going to happen. What to do? Risk it and do it anyway, it’s for love, what Judge wouldn’t understand my motive? No, I had to think of something else, maybe not as grandiose, but just as special. I started to think even further back to when we first met. In Minglewood Bowl surrounded by foam, but what girl wants to be covered in foam for her engagement pictures? You can’t see the ring through all that foam! No foam. I sat there and pondered other ideas, maybe go to the drive-in where our first date was and get them to play “Elise will you marry me?” in the credits? Not really plausible and what if she went to the bathroom and missed it? I could do better. I had all of these ideas floating around, but I needed to start formulating at least a small piece of a plan. I started with something simple, dinner. But where? We couldn’t go back to our favorite restaurant in Gatesville because it was nothing more than a distant memory of what used to be. We only had eaten at one other fancy restaurant in Waco and that was for Valentine’s day 2015. It was special and the food was good. I had the restaurant down. As much as I wanted to eat a Gut Pack from Vitek’s this wasn’t about me! Now for the rest of the plan. I knew I wanted to incorporate Disney on Ice, somehow or someway even though I couldn’t propose there. I went ahead and purchased us front row seats once again and this time the special plastic collector’s tickets so we could always remember this day. Not that we should ever forget anyway, but… This plan was starting to come together nicely, except for one major thing; where was I going to ask? So, remember all the way back up at the very beginning of my story? Don’t worry you can scroll back up, I have nothing, but time. Well in case you forgot or didn’t want to scroll back up to the beginning. Elise and I used to argue over whether or not I remember meeting her in Minglewood Bowl, I totally do, but that is beside the point. The final part of my plan was to give her and I a memory in Minglewood Bowl that we would both never forget. I had my location. With a location, a restaurant, and a special event, I just needed to get all of our friends and family to Waco and have a place for all of us to gather after the proposal. I made a few calls around Waco and eventually landed on Common Grounds being to most logistical place for us to all meet up afterward because it was less than half a mile away from Minglewood Bowl.

As for the friends and family part, I notified everyone pretty last minute. My parents were out of the country at the time and had about a week or so to buy a ticket once they got back. Elise’s two friends Alex and Laura both lived out of the state and had to buy last-minute plane tickets to be able to make it. To this day I’m still so thankful that they were able to make it all work and fly down to be with Elise and I as we celebrated our engagement. Elise’s friend Joy was a rock star. She offered to take all of our pictures and to make us a sign for the after party. The sign turned out awesome and was a great spot to take pictures! All of our other friends and family drove in for the occasion. Everyone had been so amazing up to this point and Elise’s family was no exception. As soon as I told her mom, her aunt, and her cousin that I was planning on asking their sweet Elise to be my wife, they all hit the ground running with planning the after party and gathering the decorations. They made almost all of the decorations by hand and put so much thought and effort into the whole thing. Without all of their hard work, there is no doubt in my mind that it would not have turned out as special as it did. Everything had come together and it was shaping up to be one heck of a day.

The weekend of the proposal started out like just a normal weekend. I had driven up from Houston to see Elise while she was working hard studying for school. She was extra busy this weekend studying for a few upcoming tests. I started to get nervous because I knew everyone was already on their way to Waco and I didn’t want to pull Elise away from her studying. I had already mentioned that I had tickets to Disney on Ice as a celebration of her getting into Dental School, but we were waiting to see how much she got done and assess the situation. The situation was not good, she was very busy and stressing out about her tests. I bluffed and told her I could sell the Disney on Ice tickets if she really couldn’t go. I know her pretty well and figured this would kick her into overdrive and she would get some more studying done. I dropped it for a little while and let her keep studying to see if she could surprise both of us and get more done than she was expecting. She did not get more done than she was expecting. I was now caught in a very bad bluff, I could sell the tickets and we could not go to Waco, disappointing everyone or I could knowingly pull her away from her studies to make sure the proposal took place. I selfishly chose the latter. I had planned a few other things for our big day in Waco, but as time passed I had to cut more and more of them from my itinerary. We were down to dinner, Disney on Ice, and that was it as far as she knew. I had to keep playing it cool to make sure she didn’t suspect anything. I had mistakenly not packed an undershirt and I knew that even though I typically don’t sweat when I’m nervous that this was a big moment for me and that it was very likely that some perspiration was going to occur. I made a quick stop to Walmart on our way into town and got a few undershirts and an umbrella. The umbrella was a safety precaution I was hoping I would never have to use. The weather had been great all week long, but as soon as the weekend rolled in it started to rain. The rain was very steady and was not letting up. I was playing against mother nature and I was losing. We got to Waco with about an hour or so to get ready for dinner and Disney. The rain had stopped temporarily and I was hoping that it would stay that way. My parents had gotten us a hotel room so we could get ready for dinner and the show. While Elise was getting ready I was coordinating with everyone behind her back. We were coming up with plans for what to do if the rain interfered with our plans and how to make changes without being super obvious to Elise while we were on our date. We both finished getting ready for dinner and headed out the door. I put the ring in my interior pocket and let my blazer jacket unbuttoned to be a little more discrete that I was holding a box with her ring in it. I opened her door like a gentleman and complimented her on her beautiful outfit. Just like that, we were off. We pulled up to the restaurant and the rain had started again. I dropped Elise off at the front of the restaurant so she wouldn’t get wet and I went to park the car. This was also to buy me a little time so I could update everyone on our location. We got inside and sat down to eat. I told her to order whatever she wanted, thanks, dad! We both got steaks and started eating. I was starting to get really nervous and started cracking more jokes than normal. She later told me that I was acting weird. About halfway through the dinner she started to get cold and asked for my jacket. I couldn’t just tell her no because the ring was in there. I had to think fast. I knocked my jacket off the back of my chair onto the ground and quickly took the ring out of the pocket and shoving it into the top of my boot. I got up and handed her the jacket and acted like nothing had happened. I don’t think she noticed anything. Our dinner concluded like any other dinner and we were off to the show. She gave me my jacket back and I took the ring out of my boot placing it back in my pocket. We go to the show right on time and took our seats in the front row. The show was just as good as it had been 3 years and 7 months prior. We laughed and pointed out all the details in the backgrounds and the skating choreography. At the beginning of the show, Elise and I both noticed this cricket sitting on the edge of the rink. We whispered back and forth about whether or not it was real. It was a constant mystery throughout the whole show and no matter how many Disney fan favorites zoomed past that cricket it never moved. At the end of the show, I had to go touch it to see if it was real or fake. It was totally real! It was like a live-action version of Jiminy Cricket came to watch all of the Disney Classics on Ice. During the show Elise had leaned on my shoulder and her arm was resting on the ring box. I started to panic and immediately faked being hot so I could take the jacket off and move the ring again. I moved it to my jeans pocket and put the jacket around her to avoid any suspicion. The show concluded and we were driving back towards the hotel. I texted everyone notifying them that the rain had stopped and that the original plan was on. I looked at Elise and asked her if she would want to walk around campus for a little while since the rain had stopped. She agreed and we headed towards campus.

While we were driving a lot of things were going on behind the scenes. Elise’s mom was setting up the table in Minglewood Bowl where I was going to ask her. Luke was running around placing the flowers, the pictures, and my letter that I had written Elise. The pictures were of locations and events where we had made memories around Baylor’s campus together. The plan was to walk her down memory lane before ending up at Minglewood Bowl where I was going to ask her. Elise’s aunt and cousin were both at Common Grounds setting up the after party and making sure it all looked perfect for when Elise and I got there. Her mom and my mom really wanted to watch everything unfold so I told them that once they finished setting up they could go to the roof of the parking garage next to Minglewood Bowl and watch the whole thing. Joy and my brother were in a position to take pictures and all of the pictures and flowers had been put in place.

Elise and pulled up and in the distance, I could see Luke putting the last few pictures down. I stalled for a few minutes to give him time to finish. Elise and I got out of the car and started heading over towards the first stop, the place of our first picture together, right outside of Marrs McLean Science Building. We got there and I could tell she was confused to see a letter with her name on it and some flowers next to it. I started reading her the letter and she started to tear up. I think this was when she knew what was about to happen. After finishing at the first stop we took a few steps into Foutain Mall where the second stop was. We had been to multiple Homecoming bonfires here and had lots of fond memories of all of the Homecoming festivities. I continued reading the letter and I gave her the second set of flowers. We continued our journey hand in hand to Waco Hall. As we walked we stopped to read all of the historical facts down the road leading to Fountain Mall after the remodel. Waco Hall was where every freshman was required to attend chapel on Wednesdays. There is no doubt that we probably ended up in some of the same chapels without realizing it at the time. This is also where I was able to watch her enjoy one of her passions, dancing. She was able to perform with her sorority for Sing as they gave their rendition of the Emerald City. Once we walked up to Waco Hall and spotted the picture and the flowers I read a few more lines of the letter and handed her some more of her growing bouquet. We had one more stop before getting to Minglewood and that was Founders Mall. We had walked this beautiful garden many times, but the memory that we will both always have here is taking our graduation pictures together. I continued reading down a few more lines of the letter almost to the conclusion I had set up for Minglewood Bowl. I had a few more stops planned out originally, but I knew she would be wearing heels and didn’t want to make her walk all across campus with that kind of foot torture. We rounded the corner and I could see Minglewood Bowl in the distance as well as the table where we would be stopping. I took her the long way so we could pass by the Bear Pit and give everyone some more time to get into position. We arrived and I had Elise sit in the chair that was there for her while I finished reading the rest of the letter. I made it to the end and tears were in her eyes as I bent down on one knee and asked her to be my wife. I was super nervous and quickly put the ring on her finger without actually slowing down for Joy and Josh to get a picture of it. I had prepared a photo album of our dating life and put it on the table for Elise. She picked it up and we started to look through it. We took communion as an engaged couple using a Bible her mom had gotten engraved for us. After all of this, I signaled for her mom and my mom to come down from the garage and to my surprise, all of her friends, who I thought was at Common Grounds, were there waiting and cheering for us as well. With plenty of hugs and pictures and some tears, we were finally engaged. We all walked over to Common Grounds to enjoy the amazing party that Elise’s cousin and Aunt had prepared. It was a truly special night and I’m so happy to start my life with this perfect woman!

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Special Thanks

Joy Baker
 | Photographer
Erinn Smith
 | Planning
Erina Valenzuela
 | Catering