Margaret and Mark

How We Met

The first time I met Margaret is a moment I will never forget. It was the beginning of our junior year of college, and I was recently admitted to a finance club of which she was a part. Technically speaking, she was my boss. I remember waiting outside the computer lab for our first meeting, looking across the hall, and seeing the most beautiful woman. We struck up a conversation about different organizations we were a part of on campus, and she mentioned that she taught business classes in Haiti through a student-run organization. I decided at that moment that I wanted to teach with her. I wanted to know Margaret more – she was one of the most kind and energetic people I’d ever met. Little did I know that I had just had the first conversation with my future wife.

Fast forward a couple weeks, and a friend made the connection that we were interested in the same career path. He suggested we do mock interviews to help prepare each other for the recruiting process. We both agreed, and I figured we’d potentially run through a few interviews together and then call it quits. A few weeks later, we nervously sat down to do our first practice interview in the on-campus Starbucks, and quickly discovered we had more in common than we thought. That first meeting soon blossomed into a friendship like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Over the ensuing year we went to Haiti together, landed our dream jobs, and became best friends in the process. Finally, after a year of friendship, I worked up the courage to ask Margaret the second most important question I’ve ever asked her. On November 14th, 2016, at Starbucks once again, I asked her to be my girlfriend and it was undoubtedly the best decision I’ve ever made.

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how they asked

Mark always does the most in every situation. When we prepared for recruiting together, he spent hours creating interview questions for us to use. When I traveled abroad, he researched the best gelato places in town and sent them to me in a spreadsheet. He is considerate, compassionate, and always excessive when it comes to expressing thoughts about things he cares about. On Saturday, August 26, 2017, the morning began beautifully. Mark hand-delivered a flat white latte, bouquet of white roses, and breakfast spread (including chocolate pancakes and scrambled cheese eggs, my favorite) to me – safe to say I was awed by his thoughtfulness, but truly wasn’t suspicious or surprised. Like I said, Mark is known for being extra. After eating together, he informed me that my roommate, Erin, was coming to pick me up for a surprise girl’s day.

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So sweet of her, I thought to myself, as we drove to North Park Mall in Dallas. En route, Erin mentioned that her nails looked pretty bad and asked if I wanted to get a manicure/pedicure – not a difficult sell. When we arrived at the mall, Erin took me to the Neiman Marcus entrance and I assumed we would walk straight through to a nail place inside.

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To my surprise, Neiman has an in-store salon and at the top of the staircase was my best friend from San Francisco, Olivia! Needless to say, I cried and the jig was up – I knew this was going to be one of the most special days of my life. As Olivia and I walked downstairs, we met Sharon from Neiman and sat down in a spa chair, chatting nonstop. Nothing beats seeing old friends and I was truly speechless that she flew all the way from California just to see me. During our pedicure Sharon stopped by with a mimosa and I quickly realized that she was our fairy godmother of the day, who came bearing champagne and fun at regular intervals. After our nails looked a bit more spiffy, Olivia handed me a letter with instructions to enjoy lunch at the Neiman Café. Again, who knew they had more than just clothes at that place? I was surprised at literally every turn.

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Sitting at a table in the restaurant was none other than Mallory, another one of my best friends from college. I started to realize what was going on and continued drinking champagne to calm my nerves. We ate a delicious meal consisting of fluffy rolls with strawberry butter, a Waldorf salad, and salmon tacos. Mallory then delivered her letter, which informed me that my next stop involved a hair appointment. Mark instructed me to make my hair look as beautiful as it did at Carnation, my sorority’s long-dress formal that we attended together during our senior year of college. When I arrived downstairs to find yet another girlfriend with a letter in the salon, I was not even phased.

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Margaret's Proposal in Dallas, Texas

This was becoming quite the adventure, and I was so excited to see who else would join us! Caroline stood there beaming and escorted us to the hair salon, where Sharon graciously offered another round of mimosas as my hair was transformed into an elegant updo. Our final stop was the makeup counter, where Courtney met us for the finishing touches.

Margaret and Mark's Engagement in Dallas, Texas

My glamour squad helped Tony, Neiman’s extremely talented makeup artist, select the perfect red lipstick to finish off the “natural yet a bit more refined” look and BAM – I went from freshly showered with chipping nails to lacquered, hairsprayed, and made up in the span of 5 hours. Courtney’s letter came last in the lineup, with instructions to head upstairs to the dressing rooms. You guessed it – time for my outfit to look stellar as well. As I walked into the room Mark popped out of nowhere, dressed to the nine’s in his most handsome navy suit, with a letter in hand.

Behind him was a rack of black dresses, and on the ground were 5 pairs of Christian Louboutin heels. Once upon a time, during my Vogue obsession phase, I dreamed of owning a pair of the beautiful red-soled shoes. And now the man of my dreams was standing in front of me, offering me a pair.

To be totally honest, this was one of the most panic-inducing parts of the entire day! My girlfriends and I spent about 45 minutes trying on different dresses, discussing flattering hemlines and the challenges of dressing a 5’4’’ frame. Eventually we settled on a fitted, sleeveless, deep-V black dress with a ruffle hemline. It was a bit flapper, a bit flirty, and very beautiful. I picked a pair of nude platform heels to match – which I later dubbed my “power heels,” to be worn on presentation days at work and for significant events – and Mark whisked me off. Once in the car together, a Spotify playlist began that I later learned Mark had custom made for this very occasion. As soft tunes proclaiming lyrics of love came on, Mark began talking about us. He walked through the beginning stages of our relationship and I started to realize that the moment was coming.

When we pulled up to Lakeside Park, a beautiful green oasis in the middle of Highland Park in Dallas, I saw a small table with the same bouquet of roses that he gave me this morning. On it laid a few books, which from a distance I couldn’t distinguish. As we drew closer and closer, my nerves began to disappear. What could be more natural, more right in the world, than to say yes to my best friend? Mark told me how much I’ve impacted his life, how much I had come to mean to him, and that I am the love of his life. He told me that he couldn’t promise me health, wealth, or happiness. He told me that life would have ups and downs, but that he wanted me by his side through it all. He told me that he would strive to love me every single day and always put my needs before his. He told me that he would provide for our family spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and financially – intentionally listed in order of importance. He told me that nothing would make him happier than for us to become one. He asked me the most important question of my life, and I said yes, of course.

How could I not? Mark has been the most influential person of my college years, my best friend for the past 2 years, the most encouraging and supportive boyfriend I could ask for, and my rock. And now I could call him fiancée! It was the most joyful moment of my life, and I am still in shock and awe at the thoughtfulness of this day and his proposal. Placed on the table was a study Bible with my name on it, – my new last name, that is – a journal that we used for the past year to write letters to each other, and a notebook that he began writing in approximately 2 months after we started dating.

In that notebook, he told me that he knew he would marry me from the beginning. Every day since January 14, 2017, he reflected on our Bible verses of the day, as part of our read-the-Bible-in-a-year-study-plan, and wrote a note to me. Needless to say, my mind was spinning at the sight of his pages and pages of letters, each proclaiming his devotion to us and describing the current stage of our relationship. After taking a few pictures around Lakeside Park, Mark drove me to YO Steakhouse in downtown Dallas. 2 years ago, during our junior year of college, Mark and I ate our first meal ever together at this same steakhouse a few months after we met.

We had flown to Dallas for consulting interviews, and both were scheduled on the same day and time. I remember that meal like it was yesterday – it was the first time that I truly began to admire Mark for the incredible person he is. In his typical thoughtful fashion, Mark had requested that we sit in the exact same booth that we did the first time we visited. After enjoying a delicious filet steak, Tabasco cheese grits, and champagne, we headed to Mark’s apartment for a surprise engagement party! Mark’s sweet mom Mrs. Jackie and his cousin Melissa had driven from Arkansas to decorate Mark’s entire apartment. They thought of everything – white hydrangeas (my favorite flower) filled the room, ring-shaped cookies were on a table, and cheese and cracker spreads sat next to champagne and wine glasses.

We ate, drank, and enjoyed quality time spent with all of our friends from the Dallas area. Knowing how much I value my friendships, Mark incorporated them into every aspect of the day and I was so grateful. Nothing compares to the feeling of saying yes to forever. Mark is a blessing from God, and I truly believe that our relationship was ordained by Him because we are just about perfect for each other. He is generous, thoughtful, caring, considerate, romantic, kind, loving, witty, and so much more. I do not deserve him in the slightest but WOW am I thankful to call him mine. Every day I wake up in awe that he would choose me to stand by his side forever, and I am so thankful for all the people who joined us in the most special day of our lives.