How We Met
Michael and I met in 2011 in our fourth years while attending Carleton University, in Ottawa, Ontario. Mike was part of a committee organizing a charity event, helping to raise funds for a local organization that supports homeless youth. While I truly believed in the cause and our school’s ability to help make a difference, I couldn’t help but notice how cute Mike was, and knew I needed to get involved somehow to give myself a chance to say “hello”. I applied to be a volunteer “sleeper”, requiring me to sleep outside on our campus for five days and four nights, giving me the opportunity to not only do good, but also spend a bit of time getting to know Mike better. We spent a few months preparing for the event, but then the five days came and went, and I found myself no longer having an excuse to keep in touch with Mike. I was disappointed, knowing that a really great guy might have passed me by.
Fast forward a year later – I had finished up my degree, and ended up moving out of my university dorm and into a house with a friend I had met through the event. Mike also moved on from school and returned to his hometown. Unbeknownst to me, Mike happened to be close friends with my new roommate and every time he returned to the city to visit friends, he also visited my roommate. During one of those visits, my roommate invited me to come out with them for a few drinks – I still got nervous butterflies in my stomach thinking about Mike, and so of course jumped at the chance to chat with him again.
We spent that night talking over drinks, as well as the next night, and the next night after. For some reason, we really just ‘clicked’ with one another, and spent his whole weekend visit talking about our families, our dreams, and everything in between. With Mike still not living in Ottawa, we knew it would be difficult to date long distance, and agreed to keep things casual as his weekend visit came to a close. Keeping things casual proved to be a lot more difficult than we imagined, and we ended up spending the next few days texting back and forth all day. And then the devastating news came – Mike learned that his beloved grandmother was ill, and most likely would not be with him for much longer. Our silly texts back and forth turned into late night phone calls of support, and doing the best I could to comfort him. This sudden turn of events made us realize how much we truly relied on one another, enjoyed each others’ company, and were willing to make it work, even long-distance. As fate would have it, a few weeks later Mike was offered a job back in Ottawa, giving us a real shot at developing our relationship. I like to think that she had a secret hand in helping us work out.
how they asked
My champagne birthday fell on a Friday this year, and I really wanted to do something big to celebrate. I was hoping to organize a party with my friends, and really make a big deal of the day. I was even tossing out the idea of heading to Las Vegas with our closest friends for the celebration, but Mike shut that idea down quickly, rationalizing that we didn’t have the extra vacation days, or funds, to splurge on something like that. Fast forward a few months later, when he let me know I’d need to book a few days off work around my birthday as he had something planned for me. He wouldn’t tell me what, or where, but let me know that an airport was involved, and I should probably pack my favourite warm-weathered clothes. The Wednesday before my birthday, we headed to the airport where Mike handed me my boarding pass – we were heading to Orlando for an extra long weekend. I had been to Orlando a few times before, and had an inkling that Disney World – one of my favourite places – would be on our itineraries. I was so excited to explore all of the theme parks with my best friend, and couldn’t wait to take him on my favourite rides and introduce him to my favourite characters.
We woke up early on the Thursday and headed to Magic Kingdom for the day. We spent the whole day riding the rides, watching the parades and shows, and meeting a handful of characters. We had also purchased the PhotoPass option, giving us the chance to have our photos taken by Disney staff throughout the park. After finishing up watching an afternoon show, we set ourselves up in front of Cinderella’s Castle to have our photo taken by the park staff. After a few quick pictures together, Mike turned to me to let me know that he had one more surprise for me…
Before I give you the play by play, Lauren had always laid out 3 specific rules, ahem, “guidelines” for how she saw her proposal going: No holiday proposals (Christmas, Valentines Day, etc.) No family or friends present – nothing mentioned about hundreds of guests at Magic Kingdom ;) Must be a photographer present to snap some great pics So there we were, right in front of the picturesque Cinderella’s Castle as dusk approached, and our photographer Matthew was asking us to shuffle just a bit to my right so he could fully capture the castle in the background. Meanwhile, I’m remembering that ten minutes ago when I let him in on my surprise and asked him to snap some photographs for us, I didn’t explain how I wanted the pictures to go. I guess now is the time to improvise, right? Mid-picture, I turn to Lauren and whisper “I have one more surprise for you”, as I reach for my wallet, and my knees find the soft turf. At this point, as any guy can imagine, my heart is pounding, and my hands will not stop shaking. For what seemed like five minutes, I began to dig behind my drivers license (where I had safely tucked the ring for the day) to pull out the enchanting ring crafted for a true princess. Then I accidentally drop it on the ground – Oh Shoot! One affirming glance up at Lauren suggested that she was just as nervous as I, so I picked up the ring and held it out for her true surprise and shock. Now at this point, I have a minute long speech and some very beautiful things to say to Lauren before I ask her hand in marriage. Notably, that she is my partner in crime, by better half, and my true princess. I wanted to explain that this ring is my promise to show her the four corners of the world, and be the best partner I can be. But none of that speech made it out of my mouth. Instead, I pieced together the most important words I could find – “Will you marry me?”