How We Met
FROM ETHAN’S PERSPECTIVE: We ran in similar circles, but had never actually met. I told myself I should try to talk to the sexy blonde cheerleader if I ever got the chance. I thought my time had come when I found out we had a class together, and I started plotting my first move. Little did I know, Katie would beat me to it! With a little liquid courage on board, she came straight up to me at a campus festival and said “hey you’re the boy from class.” I have no idea how the rest of the conversation went, I was just shocked and excited that she was talking to me.
I went to ask her for her phone number, and she obliged, but somehow I had no way to take it down. I didn’t have my phone, no pen or paper, nothing. She wasn’t worried and went off with her friends. But I was determined, so I waited around for a few hours and tried to stalk her on social media. I simply couldn’t wait until class to talk to her again, even though that’s what ended up happening. Correctly assuming my study habit, she believed me when I told her I needed help with studying for our upcoming test. I was hooked from the first hangout. We both tried to play it cool, acting as if we could just be friends. That last for a couple of weeks. I couldn’t pretend like I wasn’t crazy about her, and was so relieved to hear she felt the same way.
FROM KATIE’S PERSPECTIVE: I used to see E around campus pretty often, mostly at Ball State Football events. Finally, a Business Management course (MGMT 300), brought us together. We sat in the last 2 rows of desks, across the aisle from each other, him one row further up. I remember always feeling like someone was looking at me, looking over my shoulder & seeing Ethan staring at me. He didn’t dress well for class (sorry babe) but I always caught myself feeling major butterflies & thinking about how freaking cute he was. I was out one evening running around the BSU Homecoming Village with my girlfriends.
I flung myself off the zip line and ran over to Ethan to say hi. Ethan asked me for my phone number so that we could hang out outside of class, but he didn’t have his phone on him. I wasn’t sweating it, I knew I’d see him again, so I skipped off back to rejoin my group of friends. Ethan had sent me a private message on Twitter later that night, which I didn’t see until days later. I finally texted him & we set up our first hang-out, I was going to go over to his apartment above The Chug.
It was my junior year of college & I was leaving a class & used the bathroom in Woodworth during my trek across campus. I dropped my phone in the toilet, on the day E & I planned to see each other, just my luck. So, I too had to utilize Twitter DM’s to contact Ethan. Ethan had convinced me that he needed help studying for the class that we had together. I was eager to spend time with Ethan, even if that meant studying for exams together. It was that first hangout that changed everything for me. I fell in love so deeply and so fast & never looked back. Shortly after we made our relationship official, 12/7/2012, the day of my Chi Omega Winter Formal. The rest is history :)
How They Asked
Ethan told me we were having dinner with our friends John & Mary at Goosefoot. So, I knew it was a really fancy place, and needed to get all dressed up. I was told that were going to help John & Mary look at wedding venues and then go to dinner since they are recently engaged. We show up all dressed up to the Newport Theatre and walk up a white concrete staircase, where there is a woman waiting to escort us to a table, decorated in a glittery black tablecloth, in the middle of an empty theatre. At that point, I wasn’t sure if we should sit down or wait for John & Mary. There were flowers and a very romantic ambiance. There was a stage with several chairs, but nobody in them. One guy walks out onto the stage with his guitar and starts strumming the beginning notes to Dave Matthews Band “You & Me” and just like in the music video, people playing different instruments start to fill in the other seats on the stage until they are all playing our song together.
At that point I’m pretty sure I internally freaked out, knowing that this setup was for us. Ethan smiled at me and I totally freaked out and definitely squeezed his hand off! He walked me up towards the stage & we danced to our song, being played just for us. A huge slideshow of our photos is playing the whole time & while the band is playing, a cart is rolled out to me with a giant gift-wrapped box & E instructs me to open it. Similar to the first gift Ethan ever got me, a Michael Kors watch, which he wrapped in several wrapped boxes to trick me, there were a handful of boxes wrapped with nothing inside of them…until the final box, which this time had nothing inside.
It was so reminiscent of only 1 month into dating and such a sweet reminder of how far we’ve come. I turned around to Ethan on his knee telling me that he’s loved me since he first met me and he asked me to marry him. He proposed to me and my ring was glistening and glittering and glowing in the dim theatre lighting and Ethan was beaming. I said YES over and over and we danced to the rest of You & Me. Champagne was popped behind us and the band burst into “I Say A Little Prayer for You” (you know, the song from “My Best Friends Wedding” we danced some more and I couldn’t stop smiling. Ethan was twirling me all around and kissing me over and over, I was on cloud 9. We both were.
Ethan went above & beyond & hired a photographer and videographer! I’m so thankful that they were there to capture the whole thing for us, which is such a dream that I get to watch it and relive it over and over. I can’t wait to see the look on my face when I realized that all of this was for me. Even more, I can’t wait to watch me say YES, because I’ve been waiting to say that for so long & it felt so so good.Ethan hired a driver to take us around that night. Our driver was a little bit late, which gave us time to take some engaged selfies outside the theatre. Those pictures we took outside I will forever cherish. Our driver picked us up from the Newport Theatre and took us to GT Prime, a fancy Chicago steakhouse, where Ethan had a customized menu with several courses, all made up of my favorite foods. And of course…There was more champagne and flowers at dinner. All of the food was all things that I LOVE! It goes without saying that it was the best meal of my life. It’s one thing to go to a nice dinner after getting engaged, but to have it be so unique & special, it was so memorable & had me feeling so loved. My man really knows me well.Starter: seafood tower (oysters, shrimp, king crab, and all kinds of sauces)First course: meatballs with Pomodoro sauce, French onion soup, beef tartare with malt vinegar chips, Hiramasa Crudo with red chili vinaigrette, Asian pears and white sesame Main course: Verlasso salmon with fingerling potatoes and English pea. French-style mashed potatoes, jumbo asparagus with truffle hollandaise.Dessert: seasonal sorbet (mango) + ice cream (cookies n cream)We indulged and had the absolute best time.On the way to dinner, our driver had accidentally let it slip that we were going to be staying at the Waldorf Astoria, so at dinner, Ethan assured me that he had thought of everything without me having to go home to get my things for an overnight stay. I kind of doubted him, until he pulled my night guard retainer out of his jacket pocket & I burst out laughing realizing that he really had thought of everything!After we wrapped up dinner, our driver came to pick us up and took us to stay the night at the Waldorf Astoria, where we had stayed together before we moved to Chicago. Our stay there, years ago, is a special memory for us. Just like opening the gift boxes, the Waldorf took me back to amazing memories of when we first started dating and made me realize how far we’ve come. My younger self had no idea what I was in for, in a good way :)When I walked into the hotel, Ethan took me by hand and walked me past the front desk and straight to the elevators. I knew he was up to something by the little smirk on his face. The elevators are mirrored on the inside so I gushed over my ring in the bright lighting & mirrors and we took mushy selfies and made out the whole ride up to our room. Ethan pulls out the hotel key and opens the door for me, where I walk into a gorgeous hotel suite, reminiscent of the hotel room that we stayed in previously, but so much bigger and nicer! It even had the same massive floral artwork as the room of our last stay. In the living room, there were tons of my favorite snacks & treats & candies. There was more champagne (my favorite, Veuve Cliquot) and more flowers, of course!! The flowers were a gorgeous, massive bouquet of red roses, with a note that read: “I Love You, Baby! Let’s Do This!”Ethan takes me over to a door at the end of the living room and it’s a huge private patio! It was such a dream suite. He walks me back towards the bedroom and told me not to worry about not having something to sleep in & opens the top dresser drawer to a brand new pair of super soft, light pink leopard print (shorts and long sleeves) pajamas. Before getting into pajamas, I make Ethan take a few mirror pics of our outfits, the same pics we took hours ago at home, but this time at the Waldorf and with my newest & most favorite accessory, MY RING!!! I put on the pajamas and they were so adorable and gloriously soft and comfy. We put on the hotel robes and laughed about how Ethan’s feet could only halfway fit into the normal-sized people’s hotel slippers. We popped the Veuve and ate chocolate-covered strawberries and gushed over my ring and dinner and the proposal.The night of our engagement, I was wearing pearl hair clips that my mom wore at my parents’ wedding. I had asked Ethan for his opinion on my jewelry accessories, like always, and those are the clips he chose of the options I gave him. I love any opportunity to get dressed up & I love it when Ethan gives input on my outfits. I felt truly beautiful that night.Another choice of E’s was red lipstick. I didn’t take my makeup or lipstick off to sleep, because honestly I was dang proud of how good my makeup looked that night & taking off my makeup was the last thing on my mind. We woke up in the morning and called + FaceTimed our families to tell them our news. It was such a blast telling them about the band, dinner, and all of the surprises that Ethan had done for me. We were feeling the love & support for sure. We ordered room service and ate quickly because Ethan told me that we had plans at 10:45 am. After we finished eating & drinking more champagne, Ethan said that there was one more place in the suite that I hadn’t checked out yet. I guessed a few places & he guided me towards the closet, where there was a brand new outfit (black cropped tank top, purple velour Champion sweatshirt, neon orange/pink sports bra, black Zella leggings, Calvin Klein panties, footie socks, matching purple Champion tennis shoes)!!! He truly knows the way to my heart… food & fashion! I got dressed in my adorable & comfy new outfit and we walked to the elevators.Ethan knew where to go next and took us to another floor within the Waldorf. We landed at the hotel spa… Ethan arranged for us to have pedicures together & for me to also get my nails done. Everything was SO luxurious, down to the free beverages & massages. I panicked about choosing a color and originally chose a deep purple for my fingers and toes, but switched my nail color to light pink (Deborah Lipman: Cake by the Ocean) at the last minute. I’m so glad that I switched my nail color to a brighter, less fall-time color for my next surprise, which was still unknown to me at the time. I never do manicures or pedicures so I felt like a total princess. The manicure even included a hot stone massage and paraffin wax gloves with a massage. Ethan packed up the hotel room while I was getting my manicure. After he left, I gushed about him to the nail techs! I couldn’t help it, I just felt so lucky and so loved and so in love. I knew that I had another surprise coming soon, but wasn’t told what it was yet. I was so giddy and giggly and excited about everything I had just lived over the last 24 hours.Ethan came back to the spa to get me and go on to the next adventure.
Outside of the Waldorf, he told me that we were about to go shopping so that I could get some things for our trip because he was taking me to the Dominican Republic at 9 am the next day!!!!! My jaw definitely dropped to the floor! I could NOT believe that we were about to go on vacation & that I didn’t even know it! Even better, E contacted my boss Cynthia to ask her if I could have the rest of that week off work, so my PTO had already been approved when he told me about the trip!!! I was floored & at a loss for words! So so excited. We went home and dropped off our suitcases, took a quick inventory of our summer/vacation wear, grabbed a coat & headed out to shop around downtown.
We went to Macy’s on State St. where I found a pretty navy-colored bikini that made me feel really good. It came in cup sizes so that was a total delight to find on the rack in the store, a true rarity, so this day was just great all around haha. After shopping, we reached out to our friends telling them that we wanted to get together last minute to share some news. E made reservation days prior for Paradise Park, knowing that we would want to gather our friends to share our news. He truly thought everything out so well! Matt, Esther, Jess, Danny, Brooke, & Dave all came out to celebrate with us. It was such a blast to tell them all surprises Ethan had pulled off & how amazing & unexpected everything was. Our friends had the same reaction as I did when we told them we were leaving in the morning for vacation, jaws on the floor! Danny & Dave commented over and over on how Ethan set the bar really really high and that they had a lot to live up to with their proposals. It’s the truth! I felt so proud to brag about my man & to show off my gorgeous, sparkly engagement ring. My cheeks hurt from smiling all night. Basically, I had been smiling for 2 days at that point! I was truly feeling the love.We left Paradise Park at a reasonable hour for once, to get home & pack our suitcases for our flight. In the morning, we got up and raced off to the D.R. for what was the trip of a lifetime. From the clear blue waters, gorgeous palm trees, and perfect weather, it was picturesque. Ethan got us an amazing suite with a private patio and our own entrance to a separate pool, which we had to ourselves for nearly our entire stay.
The food was amazing, too – we ate tons of traditional Dominican / Caribbean foods and drank more Mojitos & Caipirinhas than we can count. Of course, Ethan had another surprise lined up there, of course! He surprised me with an oceanfront, private steak and lobster dinner on the beach, with another customized menu filled with delicious hamachi, shrimp, soup, dessert, etc. It was beyond romantic, We swam and drank and had the best time for 4 days straight, before heading back home to Chicago. I could not be more thankful, grateful, and in love with Ethan than I am now. I have always known that he loves me, but his proposal confirmed that he is all in and isn’t going anywhere. I’ve never felt so loved, listened to, and cared for in my life, all thanks to Ethan. I get to look down at my finger every single day and see a reminder of how far we’ve come, where we are now, and that I made a promise of forever. After 9 years of dating, I said yes to the love of my life, and in a way, I feel like this is only the beginning. I can’t wait to be Mrs. Katherine Lura Buckles❤️