Larkin and Nicholas

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How We Met

Nicholas and I met at our very first day as students on Clemson University’s campus at the ever-exciting freshman orientation recreation center party. It just so happened that I had made a friend who knew the cute boy in the corner and introductions were made. He made fun of my neon orange nail polish and how dressed up I was for orientation, but ultimately spent the evening teaching my friend and I how to bowl, play pool, etc. While he may have been a little preoccupied with my new friend, I knew that I had met someone special. To this day I still remember walking back to my dorm and telling my roommate all about the handsome young man from right around Clemson. There was something about him I just could not shake, so imagine how excited I was as I was back on campus for the start of my first fall semester and there he was at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Ice Cream Social. I eagerly went out of my way to say hello only for him to forget my name entirely. With that, I then went on my way avoiding him all over campus.

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It was not until later that fall, maybe November, while I was talking to a friend that I realized there was more to the story for the two of us, so I began not heading to the opposite side of campus when I saw him and before long we were watching football games together with the same group of friends. First semester ends, Christmas break comes and goes and one day a message pops up through TriviaCrack on my phone. Nicholas had asked me to go hiking with him and some of his friends. So I called up the only people I know who do go hiking (and also some of my favorite girlfriends) and off we went. From there we kept in touch, exchanging messages and snapchats and always stopping to talk when we ran into one another. A few weeks later, he asked me to be his “friend” and hang out with his best friend and a girl he was asking on a date one night. He made it clear to me it was just friends, but I knew that would change. I went to the dinner and it turns out the two of us hit it off far better than the other potential couple.

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We kept spending time together with friends and eventually I worked up the nerve to ask Nicholas to be my formal date. He said yes and oh my, did we have the best time! Then a month later on my 19th birthday, Nicholas planned a surprise dinner date for the two of us. All that he told me was that he would be there at 6 and to dress nice and warmly. Not a minute past six and Nicholas walked in all dressed up, present and a dozen roses in hand. It would not be a date night with Nicholas without him making me pose for an awkward photo, so now and forever there is a photograph of me nervous smiling in Manning 4C3 with a dozen red roses. A quick drive down some back roads and we were at the Lighthouse Restaurant on Lake Keowee for a celebratory dinner. After dinner, he walked me down to the docks where he brought out red velvet cake (my favorite) and asked me if I would like to be his girlfriend. For the past two and a half years, we have been on quite the adventure. There have been some major highs and lows throughout the years, but we have continuously come back to each other. Xoxo, Lark

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how they asked

Larkin: If you were to talk to me for more than just a few minutes, you would probably hear me bring up New York City many times. I always said it will take quite the special someone for me to love them more than I love New York. Ever since I was little my absolute dream was to get proposed to in Central Park. It just seemed like something out of a movie to me. I guess Nick caught onto this too, as he began to plan the most perfect proposal. While I will let him tell you all about the planning that went into the dreamiest proposal, I’ll tell you my side of the biggest surprise of my life. Long distance summers are not something new for Nicholas and I have spent the past three summers in New York City, studying and interning. We typically make plans to see each other a few times each summer and spent the rest of our time exchanging love letters, phone calls and text messages. We planned early in the summer that he would visit the city in late July.

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Oh my, was I so excited for him to be in town! He told me that he had a business meeting around Central Park so we planned to meet up for a picnic near the Bethesda Fountain. He said that he was waiting by the stairs in the shade (as it was an incredibly hot day in the city and the handsome man was in a suit). We met up under the archway and watched a gospel choir sing hymns for a moment before he mentioned he had found us a shady spot nearby. He let me up a small hill and before I knew it I was at a shady spot under a tree overlooking the pond and the fountain complete with a picnic blanket and roses. I slipped off my shoes and sat down to enjoy a wonderful sandwich from the Boathouse restaurant located nearby. We dined and laughed and just enjoyed each other’s company. After a little while, Nicholas asked me to come sit down next to him and said he had a letter for me. I teared up as it was one of the sweetest letters I had ever been written, little did I know what was to come. After reading the letter, Nicholas told me that he had not been totally honest with me lately about his feelings and that he needed to talk to me about something. Before I knew it, he asked me to stand up and he dropped to one knee and my favorite man in the world said, “Elizabeth Larkin Spacek, will you marry me?”

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An abundance of joyful tears, hugs and shouts of “we’re getting married” followed as one of our best friends appeared from behind a tree and snapped pictures of the two of us. We spent the afternoon wandering the Upper East Side and trying to wrap our minds around the fact that we are engaged!! We had plans to eat dinner at the One World Trade Center and so that evening we split up to go get ready and planned to meet up before our reservation. We went all the way to the 102nd floor, dressed and so full of excitement. As we made our way down to the viewing center, Nicholas whispered to me, “Lark, I’m always full of surprises, aren’t I?” and pointed to the left where both of our parents and my sister stood. The happy tears fell again as I could not comprehend all of the thought and planning that had gone into making this the most wonderful day. We dined and celebrated and enjoyed the city together for the remainder of the weekend. I could not be more excited to spend the rest of my life alongside my best friend. All Glory Be to God!! Xoxo, Lark & now for the other side of the story…

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Nicholas: I knew that Larkin and I were a special couple. When we had our first conversation about marriage, we were 19 and I had no idea what I was even saying. We had been dating for less than a year, and I, for some reason, thought it would be a good idea to bring up a life-time commitment to a girl I just started dating. I didn’t even know her shoe size and I brought that intense conversation up. Thankfully Larkin didn’t leave me at that point. She saw through my words and realized that I was serious about dating her, but she quickly shot down the idea of getting married young. Opps…. Looks like this was going to be a tough relationship. Flash forward to February 2017, over two years of dating and I understand that my feelings for a marriage are actually becoming real, and the timing of graduation is in the horizon. Perfect, another opportunity to bring this up to Larkin. This time instead of just saying what was on the top of my mind, I prepared what I wanted to talk about. I prayed for weeks for God to allow the right timing for this conversation and for the right words to say to Larkin.

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When I finally got the nerve to bring up this serious conversation, Larkin seemed like she had been thinking about it too. We were on the same page of where we thought our relationship was heading and this was incredibly encouraging. Our conversation was not easy. Larkin’s personality is about planning every detail, and I am spontaneous and up for the unknown. Nonetheless, we both felt comfortable with having an engagement within the year. I knew Larkin always wanted to get engaged in NYC. No doubt, she made that very clear. But I was determined to convince her that was not going to happen. When the summer began, I could tell she kept probing about my visit to NYC, and if I was planning ‘anything special’. I told her exactly what she didn’t want to hear, “no I don’t have time to plan something that big”. Trying to be playful and misleading in my tone lead to small arguments about if I was ever listening to her. I had a difficult time taking her serious at this point because I had already begun planning big time for our engagement, I just didn’t want to her to catch on at all.

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I had a conversation with Larkin’s dad and Mom about a proposal at the beginning of May. They were incredibly supportive and loved me very much, but I was not clear as to when it would happen. I was keeping them in the loop and letting them know that it would likely happen soon, and that there would be more conversations as I got more detail on what I wanted to do. After talking with my parents more, praying hard, and falling in love with Larkin more, I decided when June rolled around that I wanted to propose in NYC! I knew from the start it was going to be a lot of work keeping this secret. So I called up the Spaceks and asked them to book a trip to NYC the weekend I was there as a way to have both our families meet and enjoy the city (I didn’t tell them I was planning to propose just yet, but I figured they had an idea). My first step was buying the ring. I planned a weekend to come home to my parents and go look with them. We went to a family jeweler who has made all of the jewelry that my mom was wearing. That was special to have that connection right of the bat.

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I decided to get the best diamond I could get, and have it set in a tiffany band. It would take a few weeks to have it made, but it was far worth it. I then called Larkin’s Mom to let her know I bought Larkin’s ring, and that NYC was where I wanted to propose. She was thrilled and loved the idea, and began right away at making dinner reservations in the city. I told her not to tell her husband just yet, as I wanted to have a one on one conversation with him to ask for his blessing. I kept the news quiet and close. I saw one of my best friends at a wedding that weekend, Jordyn, who would be living with Larkin in NYC, and told her that I would like her to take off the Friday that I’m visiting so that I she can take pictures of us. I tried to be casual, but she caught on that I was already planning something. Jordyn asked that I wait to tell her the details so she wouldn’t have to keep so many secrets. A few weeks later, the ring arrived. I was so excited and I showed my grandmother who I was staying with for the summer, and she cried tears of joy.

I held the ring every night in bed and said a prayer over it. Always asking that I wouldn’t lose it, and asking God to bless the person who he has allowed me to give it to. I never missed a night of doing that, it was my favorite part of every day. For July 4th, I was going to Charleston to visit friends and I planned to stop by in Columbia on the way to meet Larkins dad. The conversation went well and he was very thankful I was doing so much to plan for a special event. He gave me his blessing and the realization started setting in that I was going through with it. I came home from that trip and began to work with Jordyn to come up with the exact plan. I wanted to propose in Central Park and have Jordyn there to capture the moment. She made sure to have the day off, and was all in for the plan. Then I worked with the Spacek’s and my parents to plan the other surprise which was to have them meet me and Larkin at dinner after the proposal. Larkin’s mom helped me book a reservation at the One World Observatory, which overlooks the city at the 102nd floor.

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The plan was set and I just had to execute. I arrived on July 20th to NYC and met Larkin for dinner. I was definitely not myself, and I tried my best to eat anything and act natural. Larkin noticed I wasn’t my usual self so I blamed it on the long day of traveling. I had told her earlier that month that I set up a meeting with a company that I had interest in. I was going to meet them the next morning and we could meet up for lunch in Central park. I told her I was going to wear my suit so I could look professional, and I suggested she look sharp too (she always is). The next morning I woke up before 7 with no alarm. I was alone in my hotel and I had a nervous calm over me. I knew this was going to be a special day. I received dozens of texts from family and friends who knew, wishing me luck and sharing that they were praying for me and Larkin that day. It was truly special to feel love and support so far away from home, and in a time where ironically I was alone to prepare for the big event.

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The morning started out really fast and I made it to central park to meet Jordyn, my ‘business meeting’ that I told Larkin about. We were frantic trying to get a picnic set up. Jordyn thankfully picked up a nice blanket, but I still needed flowers and food. The downfall of being spontaneous is not being prepared, and this was a case of that. After running all over Central Park I found food to bring, and Jordyn ran to get flowers. We had only about 30 minutes until Larkin was supposed to arrive as I was walking back to meet her. I had the rest of the time alone to think and compose myself before seeing her. I sat in the shade above the Behthesda Fountain, listening to a playlist we made. I was in constant prayer because I knew I wouldn’t be able to go through this alone and keep my wits about me. God gave me a calm and a confidence that I was a part of his grandeur plan in doing this. When I saw Larkin for the first time that day, I completely broke down inside. I had so much anxiety and emotion going on in my mind that was let loose when I saw her. Thankfully I kept it together on the outside, and she didn’t suspect a thing. As we made our way to my picnic I tried to keep the small talk going, and tried to get her to keep talking because I was beginning to get nervous and didn’t want to talk much. The whole picnic was a blur and I remember Larkin kept wanting to take pictures of the setup and I was laughing inside because she had no idea what was about to happen.

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I couldn’t even touch my food, I knew I shouldn’t have gotten any for myself, but oh well… I transitioned to the moment with a letter. We write love letters, so this was nothing out of the ordinary. I didn’t give anything away about the proposal in the letter, so I told her I needed to be clearer about where I see us going in our relationship. This came out kinda harsh, but I told her I haven’t been completely honest with her in the last few months. WARNING this does not usually lead to a good reaction! So I immediately switched gears and told her to stand up, then I got down on one knee and proposed. The moment was full of elation and tears. We hugged and kissed and I finally got to put the ring of her finger. It looked so beautiful on her. The rest of the day was spent roaming the city where we took pictures and enjoyed ourselves. I then took Larkin to dinner where the last surprised remained. At the top of the One World Observatory, we met our parents and Larkin’s sister. More tears and hugs followed, along with a wonderful evening of reliving the day. My favorite weekend ever! So happy to have Larkin as my future wife.

Special Thanks

Jordyn Schirripa
 | Photographer