How We Met
Bryant and I met completely by chance, two weeks before he departed for his first deployment at the beginning of 2017. It was one of those “through a friend-of-a-friend” encounters that you never initially expect to turn into anything substantial. He and I were both invited to a barbeque at a friends apartment, and I’ll never forget the moment he walked into the room. Ray bans, a baseball tee, and the most swoon-worthy dimples I’d ever seen.
…Then he introduced himself and, once I heard he was a Marine, I immediately brushed away any feelings I had. I had always told myself I’d never date a military man and was DETERMINED to stick with that promise.
Luckily for me, Bryant knew at first sight that I was the girl for him. Even through two rejections on my end, he still pursued a relationship and wouldn’t take no for an answer. He was deployed overseas for six months that year, yet somehow managed to keep in touch almost every day to ask how I was doing and to get to know me. A friendship started forming, and I remember how hard I attempted to ignore the butterflies in my stomach every time he messaged me.
Toward the end of that deployment is when we really started to bond. I traveled to Europe with friends for a month and Bryant was always there – on my phone screen each day – to hear all the stories and see every picture. We FaceTimed every chance I had because the time difference was easier to work with. As my vacation started to come to a close, I finally FINALLY admitted that I liked him. We agreed to give us a shot as soon as he came home from deployment.. and that turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. He returned home and it was like all the romance novels and fairy tales I adore came to fruition in my own life. We truly were made for one another in every way.
Then, 2018 brought its own round of challenges with another deployment. This time, he got extended an extra two months for reasons beyond our control. Those eight months all together were definitely a test of patience, love, and trusting that God had a perfect plan for us and our future. We talked every chance we got, FaceTimed when his service would allow, and lived our separate lives – all while hanging onto the thought of how good life would be once he finally returned home.
And just like that, in what seemed like forever and yet a blink of an eye, he was home and in my arms. We were elated, completely consumed in the euphoria of being together at last. It was a perfect homecoming in every way.
how they asked
Next stop: California! Bryant and I decided to spend his post-deployment leave visiting family and friends from his childhood. I kept hinting beforehand that I wanted to go to Disneyland, but it was almost a five-hour drive from where we were staying and he didn’t know if we could swing it. I was a little disappointed. I mean, DISNEY. It’s been my dream to go ever since I was young. I’m such an avid fan and lover of everything they create. I even worked with a princess party company for a while and lived out my fantasy of being a Disney princess! I wanted to go to Disneyland so. freaking. bad.
However, this trip wasn’t about my sight seeing; it was about Bryant being with his loved ones for the first time in a few years. I resigned myself to being content and joyful, even without going to the happiest place on earth… That is until a friend of mine (who is a cast member) offered some free passes. I brought it up to Bryant with a smile on my face and hoped he would agree.
On Wednesday, November 7th, we woke up at 1:30 am and hit the road – on the way to what was going to be the place where I would say yes to the man of my dreams!
I was absolutely oblivious.
But we’ll get to that later.
Thankfully, we had enough time to fuel up with some iHOP before entering the park. I was too excited to eat much. We were in ANAHEIM! All of my Disney dreams were coming true. (At least, what I *thought* was all of them.) I did my makeup on the way to the parking garage and changed shirts before we got out. Bryant joked that I care too much about how I looked like he normally does. I rolled my eyes teasingly and continued to fix the bow on my shirt until I was satisfied.
The first thing we did when we got off the tram was to shop in Downtown Disney because I obviously wanted a pair of ears to commemorate the day. Then, we waited outside the gates for my friend to help us get passes. I was such an excited wreck and I kept asking Bryant if I looked okay and if my shirt was tied right, to which he responded with a kiss and said I looked beautiful, as always. He’s forever my calm in the storm.
At last, we went to Disneyland! I was beside myself with giddiness, taking pictures of the streets; and then suddenly there it was the castle. It was like I was four-years-old again, singing along with my favorite mermaid on the television screen. I stopped to take a picture of Walt and Mickey with the castle behind them and Bryant nudged me to get my attention.
“Alright, I’ll pay for one professional photo,” he said, almost reluctantly. “Do you want it here, or over by the castle?”
“Really?!” I squealed. He never wanted to take pictures, so I just thought that the offer was him being a good boyfriend. “By the castle, duhh.”
I practically dragged him over to the photographer, who was super sweet and got to know us a little bit before taking the picture. Bryant and I got positioned and he put his arm around me. The camera clicked twice and he moved his arm as if to leave. My first thought was that I hoped I looked good in at least one of shots… but then everything in my head went blank and fuzzy when I realized the reason Bryant moved away was to get down on one knee. This wasn’t happening. My absolute perfect dream was coming true.
“Nooo!” I gasped. (as in, NO WAY IS HE PROPOSING AT FREAKING DISNEYLAND!!)
All Bryant heard, however, was me saying “no” while looking up at the sky and laughing.
“Um,” he held the ring out with a nervous smile. “Please say yes.. I love you, Lily. Will you marry me?” I was crying full on tears at this point and I said yes, of course, yes. My heart was overflowing and the camera was still clicking away and I couldn’t think straight to save my life.
“Give me your hand,” he laughed. I had forgotten all about that part, so I blushed and flung my shaking hand out. He slipped the ring on and we kissed to the sound of cheering people. Bryant really hates crowds, so the fact that he did this for me is such a gesture of love in itself. Our photographer posed us for a couple final shots, and as we were standing there I could feel my fiance shaking against me. My heart was racing too. Did that really just happen? I glanced down at my ring.. and cried some more happy tears.
We spent the whole rest of the day celebrating, riding rides, and soaking in every moment of that special time together. It was absolutely magical and I am incredibly thrilled to be marrying my “Prince Charming”, my hero, and the love of my life. Here’s to our Happily Ever After <3