Kelsey and Gunnar

How We Met

Gunnar and I met about 18 years ago in our hometown when he started going to the same church at 5 years old. We were both raised and grew up in this church, and our friendship grew over those years as well. He actually started out as my younger brother’s best friend, and I didn’t think of him romantically until the end of high school. The one thing I always knew about Gunnar was that he made me laugh more than anyone else. I always looked forward to youth group events because it meant I got to hang out with him and he always made it fun!

I’m a year and a half older than him, and two grades ahead in school, so I went off to college before him. The summer after my first year away, I came back home and we hung out all the time. I remember him asking my little brothers where I liked to eat, and he took me to Chipotle one day upon their suggestion. I was so nervous because he bought my food and it was the first “date” I’d ever been on. Afterward, we went and saw a movie together. We saw a couple more movies together that summer, but I had to go back to college and he had to finish up high school, so that was the extent of it. He actually started dating someone else after that and was off the market for a couple of years. All of my college friends knew about Gunnar because I complained about him being with someone else, and I still give him a hard time about it to this day! (All is forgiven now though).

In the fall of my senior year of college, our universities played each other in football, and he came down to Florida State from Clemson to see the game (GO NOLES). He was still dating someone else at that point, but it ended up being a really fun time hanging out as friends, just like it had always been in youth group. Fun fact: the two of us ended up being aired on ESPN during the game because he stuck out like a sore thumb in the FSU student section!

A couple of weeks after the game, Gunnar texted me and somehow led me to look at his Facebook profile, where I noticed that his relationship status was now single. I was so giddy and excited at the possibility of being with him. Christmas break rolled around, and we hung out all the time again. He invited me over to his house for New Year’s Eve, and that night is when we shared our first kiss. It was actually my first kiss ever, and let’s just say… it wasn’t the best because I was so nervous! I was bummed and confused, and we both went back to school without making anything official. We continued to talk every now and then throughout that spring semester and then both moved back home that summer. Initially, I tried to avoid him because of how awkward we had left it after Christmas, but Gunnar persisted and pursued me. I’ve always desired to be sought after, and Gunnar definitely fulfilled my expectations. He had to leave for a month that summer for Air Force training camp, and I had no contact with him. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder! When he got back, he asked me if he could take me on our first official date, and I absolutely said yes.

After a beautiful date and walk on the beach, we decided to make it official and go for it! 2 years later, I’m finishing up law school, he’s finishing up his chemical engineering degree, and I really like kissing him now. :)

How They Asked

Gunnar and I had obviously talked about getting married, and I had known when I started dating him that he’d be the one. He’s the only boyfriend I’ve ever had and the only one who met my high standards. On August 10, 2019, he told me he was taking me on a date and to be picture ready. The day before, one of my best friends had gone with me to get my nails done, so I was ready in that regard too. I put on a new dress and new shoes, and as I was waiting for him, I saw a limo pull up to my house! I started crying as soon as I saw it and knew what was happening. Gunnar showed up in a suit, and we headed out for the night in the limousine! He told me we had several stops to make. We first started going in the direction of our church. When we got there and started walking up to the sanctuary, I saw our youth leader standing inside and started crying again. There was also a photographer snapping away. Gunnar had arranged for our youth leader and the one who had watched our friendship transform over the years to pray over us. He explained to me that we had to start the night at our church because it’s where our relationship began and because he wants our faith to be the pillar of our marriage. Anyone who knows me understands how important it’s always been for me to find a man who loves Jesus, so this was probably my favorite and most meaningful part of the night.

Where to Propose in Sarasota, FL

Our next stop was the movie theater where we had seen all those movies 6 years ago! Gunnar had kept his ticket stubs and given them to the box office for me to ask for. This was now the part of the night spent reminiscing on our journey together thus far. With the aged and water-stained tickets in tow, we headed to our next stop – Chickfila! He had reserved the exact booth where we had sat for hours over that Christmas break and talked one night. We ate and then went to Tommy Bahamas for dessert, which is where we had gone on our first official date. It was there that I noticed Gunnar getting nervous, so I knew that the big question was coming soon. We hopped back into the limo for a short drive down to the waterfront. We got out and walked to a little park under the bridge in our hometown of Sarasota, Florida.

Kelsey's Proposal in Sarasota, FL

As we approached the spot he had picked out, I noticed the photographer and one of my best friends standing nearby, and rose petals spread out on the ground. After going through the story of our relationship in one night, Gunnar got down on one knee and proposed. It was the most thoughtful, detailed, and romantic night I’ve ever known. After a little photoshoot, we headed over to the rooftop bar in downtown Sarasota where our friends and family were waiting for us! The ring, proposal, and guy are everything I’ve ever dreamed of!

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Sarasota, FL

Our Video

Special Thanks

Savannah Bell
 | Photographer