Lindsay and Jeffrey

Image 1 of Lindsay and Jeffrey Van

How We Met

J and I met in Sunday school at our church when we were really little; I believe I was in third grade and he was in fourth. He was always on the taller side and I was always on the tinier side, which is what first attracted my heart to him (even so little!!). Our friendship started when my best friend Becca and I would call J “Ryan” and J’s friend Ryan “Jeff” (I believe that was our way of flirting at that age). J was always more shy than myself (I am really outgoing). We ended up becoming really good friends and we would hang out together in big groups of people. He had also gotten really close with my brother Danny who is thirteen months older than me, so he would come over a lot. When I was in seventh grade and he was in eighth he had asked me to be his girl friend. At first, I said no, but then he grew on me a little bit and ever since that moment we have been dating. Two times we had broken up (it was all me), but he refused to stop chasing me, and pursuing my heart. We have been to banquets, homecoming courts, weddings, proms, graduations, vacations, soccer tournaments, hospital trips and many other things together, which have opened my eyes to what an amazing man of God he is. It made me realize I could never imagine myself sharing an ounce of my heart with anyone else. Saying YES on May 19th, 2017 was the best day of my life!!

how they asked

Proposal Through HIS Eyes: I had the ring for a few weeks now and was struggling with coming up with a proposal idea that I liked. She has always been good at figuring out my surprises and I wanted this to be different. At the time, I was also struggling with deciding whether or not to have a graduation party. Talking with my mom, we came up with the idea of having a “surprise” graduation party for me and using that as an opportunity to propose and get our friends and family in one location to celebrate. My mom would handle the “surprise” party, while I would handle the proposal. We decided to rent out a barn in my town and decorate with lights to make it look nice as a location for the “surprise” party. My mom cunningly worked with Lindsay and led her to believe that the party was a surprise for my graduation. The two of them worked together really well to invite our families and friends and Lindsay did a great job at keeping it completely secret from me! Little did she know that I was behind the whole thing. For the proposal, there was a gazebo on the side of a lake that had a path leading to a dock.

Image 2 of Lindsay and Jeffrey Van

The location was special to us because we had gone there a few times before for some serious conversations and also to watch the sunset over the lake. To me, it felt like the perfect spot to ask my best friend to marry me. I knew Lindsay would want to be able to look back on the day so I also talked to a friend and she happily agreed to be a ninja and take pictures of the proposal. On May 19th, the day of my “surprise” party, Lindsay’s job was to take me out to dinner after work and on the way she was going to have me pull into the party. Instead, I put on “our song” in the car and made a wrong turn towards the gazebo on the lake, she was suspicious but I managed to play it off as a shortcut. As we turned into the gazebo parking lot, she could see a board I made that had our initials and a picture of us. I also had laid out roses and a note that I had written for her. We then walked over to the picnic table under the gazebo and I had her read the note. Lindsay, thinking I was just being sweet, told me to hurry back to the car with the sign because she was so focused on getting us to the “surprise” party on time. I still think she didn’t know what was going on. I then grabbed her hand and walked her down the path and out onto the dock. Once there, after my heart was already going crazy, I spoke to her about our past, some experiences, and my wish for our relationship.

Image 3 of Lindsay and Jeffrey Van

It was at that moment I knew that I was making the right decision. I dropped to my good knee and asked the girl of my dreams to marry me! Once our ninja photographer friend was finished taking every picture pose that Lindsay wanted, we had to get back to our friends and family. Besides asking my best friend to spend the rest of her life we me, the best part of the night was that besides my immediate family, her father, and two of her friends, not one person knew that we had gotten engaged. Everyone at the barn thought it was a surprise party for me, but really the surprise was for everyone else. When we arrived, everyone yelled surprise and then just looked at us. Lindsay then joyfully flashed her hand and showed everyone the real surprise of the night. I managed to get two of Lindsay’s best friends from out of state to be there without her knowledge and when she saw them her already massive smile somehow grew even more. Lindsay and I, along with family and friends then got to celebrate the best day of my life to this date!

Proposal Through HER Eyes: J and I started talking about marriage this year. I’ll never forget the night he brought it up to me. He asked me if I could see a real future with him at dinner one night nonchalantly. I didn’t hesitate one bit and told him of course. Since that moment, he had my heart beating 80 miles per minute, and my mind curious as to where he was going with that question. He asked me one weekend to go and look at rings. MY HEART WAS SOARING!!!!!!! Of course I acted cool and said as shyly as I could, “Sure.” I knew at this point something was brewing in his mind. I called my mom that night and asked her if she knew anything at all. “Did he talk to dad?? Tell me what you know!!” She told me she knew nothing and I was just confused. Three weeks before May 19th J told me he was unsure whether he wanted to have a graduation party. I was unsettled on the thought of that because I thought he deserved one; he has worked so hard to earn that degree. Word got to Mrs. Van Grouw and she texted me telling me she thought we should do a surprise graduation party for him and I could help by being in charge of the guest list (little did I know, it was J telling Mrs. Van Grouw what to say). ANYWAYS, I was so excited I started texting and getting a hold of who I thought was important to him.

Image 4 of Lindsay and Jeffrey Van

I texted guys on his soccer team from school, his best friend from high school and I even called my best friends who were a plane flight away to see if they could (somehow) make it. They both told me they couldn’t make it, and my heart sunk. It was about him though, so I needed to get my act together and keep asking his other friends. Lucky for him, he knew if I was fully invested into something else I would be so distracted I wouldn’t even think anything pertaining to me and him. His graduation passed the weekend of the 13th of May. I asked him one last time whether he was sure he didn’t want a graduation party (knowing, or hoping he would say he was sure) and I was luckily right. The following weekend I knew I would be busy and I was so excited to help surprise him with a graduation party to make him feel special. I woke up the morning of the 19th (It was a Friday).

Image 5 of Lindsay and Jeffrey Van

I was jittery all day, I just wanted to see him!! I was asked to make plans with him to get him out of the house, so his parents could get things ready for the “surprise graduation party” that was at this beautiful barn about 2 miles down the road. The plan was his brothers Shawn and Eric would call us while we were out to eat at Outback to tell us they were broken down on the side of the road. The plan was 6:00 PM J and I would meet at his house to go to Outback. He texted me later in the day saying “Lets meet at 6:30, I’m in traffic and I’ll be back then.” I was slightly freaking out because the party started at 7:00 PM and I had to get him there by 7:30 PM. Him pushing it back to 6:30 PM meant that we were going to be really late!! He finally gets ready to go and it was about 6:40 PM when we got into the car. He was driving and when we got to the end of his road he made a left. My insides started freaking out because right was outback NOT LEFT and we were already late as it was!! I was going to ruin everything. He told me that he found a quicker way that avoided the traffic on 23. I didn’t think twice and just said okay. He asked me what I wanted to listen to, and I said “I don’t care anything is fine.” I wasn’t actually going to be listening to the music, I was too worried I was ruining everything for his mom. He turned on “Then” by Brad Paisley which has always been our song and it made my heart melt (I’m a mush). He ends up turning another left…into a parking lot of a lake that we always went to to talk about things, sort out our thoughts or watch the sunset some nights. I look and one of my favorite pictures was in a big sign in the gazebo. I was so confused and frustrated. He is always so sweet, but right now was not a time to be sweet, it was a time to cooperate!! We got out and started walking to the gazebo. It was an adorable sign that said “All because two people fell in love” and it had a note attached to it with roses on the side. I asked him if I should read the note now, he insisted. So, I did. It was really sweet. After I read it, I gave him a hug and grabbed the sign (almost the size of me) and started walking towards the car when he called after me to bring it back. He could tell I was anxious so he simply stated, “I know everything.” I was confused. He grabbed my hand and brought me out to the pier on the lake. He grabbed my hands and started telling me how special I was to him. He then got down on one knee!!! He had tears in his eyes and I did too. My heart was melting. I finally understood what was going on. He had our friend capture the moment and take some extra special pictures for us!!! It was beautiful. We got in the car and started driving to the barn. We arrived at the barn and everyone screamed “surprise!!” He then held out my hand and said “we have a surprise too!!” Emotions were all over the room in that instance. I saw my two best friends I had asked to originally come poke out in the crowd…INSTANT TEARS!!! Is this for real?? He got them here!!! I then found out J had taken off the whole day, picked up one of my closest friends at the airport and spent all day with her, anticipating everything that was going to happen later. He did a really really good job, and I could not love him anymore. What I was planning to be a very special day for him, he was planning to be an even more special day for me.

Image 6 of Lindsay and Jeffrey Van

Special Thanks

Melissa Mattson
 | Photographer