Mariah and Devin

Image 1 of Mariah and Devin

how they asked

It was the summer of 2018, in the midwest, in Kansas. It was hot, but so was our love for each other. Devin and I (Mariah) had almost known each other for a full year. I (Devin) couldn’t believe we had been through so much life together. In fact, July 29th was our “one year” of dating.

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My birthday was on July 19th. Unfortunately this year, I was unable to celebrate with friends and family as I usually do, since most of them were out of the country, on honeymoons, or otherwise unable to celebrate. Mariah and my best friends, Brad and Marissa, had recently left on their honeymoon the week of Mariah’s birthday and had asked Mariah if they could take us out for dinner as a ‘belated’ celebration. Which… WAS the original plan… til I tweaked a few things.

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Marissa had asked me to dress up so they could take me to the Cheesecake Factory for my birthday in Kansas City at the Plaza. I didn’t think much of it. It was like us to be a little “extra” when it came to doing special occasions together. Marissa told me to plan on July 28th for our dinner. (A day before Devin and I’s one year. Something I didn’t even think about when making plans.)

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What Mariah was unaware of was the fact that I had called Brad and Marissa and told them that I was in fact, wanting to propose that very night (July 28th). Of course with their permission to wreck their original plans, I went to work. Mariah had always DREAMED of a fall proposal and engagement photos. Fall has ALWAYS been her favorite season, and she had always talked about loving photos that were taken in the autumn. I had already bought a ring, about a month before our dinner night. I had been holding on to it for September 18th, the first day of fall. That’s when I PLANNED on proposing. Then a guy I work with walked up to me one day and said, “Well, what are you waiting for?” and I realized, I was only waiting for fall! I was ready to marry Mariah the next day if I could.

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Completely unaware of the planning going on (and believe you me, I’m hard to fool), I was teasing Devin by sending him screenshots of all of my friends who had got engaged JUST THAT WEEK alone, not even aware my proposal was that Saturday. Friday night as he got ready to leave my house I laughed and said, “The count is up to four!” and he laughed. The next morning I sent him another picture, “Now we’re at 5!” Devin never responded, so I didn’t think anything of it. I teased him quite a bit about proposals not because I was fishing for one (ok maybe a little), but mostly out of jest.

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I tried not to crack or show any signs of her being on to me as she sent photos of friends who had got engaged throughout the week. The morning of, when I opened her latest screenshot, I didn’t dare even respond and give her any reason to think anything was happening out of the ordinary. I picked her up at her mom’s house in town after I had got off work and showered. She looked stunning. A little black dress, black flat sandals, and gold hoops. She looked like she belonged in the city. After her mom took a few pictures of use, we started for Kansas City. I let her play ‘DJ’ and pick music to listen to on the way up to what was going to be the proposal. In her own little world, she played karaoke by herself, signing to Disney and High School Musical. She was so happy and totally unaware.

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The car ride went quickly and soon enough we were at the Plaza. Devin isn’t a fan of big cities and traffic, so I offered to drive, but he refused. Marissa had sent me the location of the restaurant, and a text telling me where to park and where to meet them. I was trying to direct Devin when he made an abrupt turn up the side of a one-way street. To top it off, he had parked at the top of a hill. At the thought of having to take multiple flights of staircases, and wander through the plaza to find my friends in a dress, I was starting to get frustrated. I told Devin he was in the wrong spot, and we needed to turn around. He apologized but insisted it would be ok. Then I looked up and noticed a 2-hour parking sign. Again I insisted that we would be at the Plaza for more than 2 hours, and it would just be better to move the car. He told me we would find Brad and Marissa, and then he would move the car… Frustrated I followed him. At the top of the flight of the mosaic staircase, Devin waited for me and held out his hand. I let the stress roll off my back and walked down the stairs next to him. Little did I know, I wouldn’t even remember these last 5 minutes in the grand scheme of things…

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What Mariah didn’t know was that on the way down the street to where she was navigating me, was the proposal site. She was about to ruin the biggest surprise I had ever planned in my life. It was worth upsetting her for 3 minutes, instead of wrecking 3 months plans.

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As we started down the staircase, I was in my own thoughts. Thinking about where Marissa and Brad had wanted to meet for dinner, where we would go shopping after dinner, and where we would grab coffee at the end of the night. However, as we approached the last landing of stairs, I looked up and noticed quite a few people were watching us, or at least looking up the stairs. I looked down at my feet and noticed little tea candles, and suddenly it hit me. I turned to Devin and whispered, “Devin! I think we’re interrupting someone’s moment!”

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It was so typical of her to always be on top of the ball in all of her NCIS tv shows, and mystery movies, and then be completely oblivious to her own proposal. I laughed and just kept leading her down the stairs to the base landing. There I had created not only the perfect proposal but HER perfect proposal. I brought her fall, in July.

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After whispering to Devin, I looked up and saw what I thought was his cousin with a camera taking photos of us. I realized I must have been mistaken. But then when we got to the base of the stairs, I FINALLY caught on to what was happening. This was MY moment I was interrupting. Devin was proposing. He had three hay bales stacked up into a pyramid, with a black and ivory checkered blanket draped over one of the hay bales. On a wooden washboard frame, was our first picture together. Red, golden and auburn leaves were draped across the setting and a big tin vase of big warm colored wildflowers (Devin’s nickname for me). On 4 mini pumpkins was written, “Will. You. Marry. Me?” In the background “It Girl” by Jason Derulo was playing. A song I had told Devin I wanted playing or sung at my proposal since I was a 13-year-old girl. I told him I always wanted to be someones “It Girl”. And here he was, making me his. I was in complete shock.

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I pulled out my notecards and read her words that will always only stay between us. In one of the most nerve-racking moments of my life, as I got down on one knee. The whole time Mariah had her mouth covered and was just saying, “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Devin!” Finally, after asking, “So Mariah Calyn Bush, Will You Marry Me?”, she screamed out “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

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I swear the whole PLAZA erupted. I felt like a celebrity. The people walking by on the street congratulated us. People ACROSS the street screamed to us. The people at the coffee shop next door cheer for us! It was everything I had ever wanted and more. (AND THE RING Y’ALL! THE RING!)

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After taking a moment to take it all in, my cousin Montara took us around the Plaza to take a few photos to remember the day. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day…

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I think back to when I was 19, 20, 21, etc. When I was so desperate to find ‘my guy’. To find the one I would spend the rest of my life with. It’s funny to think that the moment I stopped looking for him, he came into my life. It’s funny how he’s nothing I thought I would ever want, yet he’s everything I’ll ever need. We’re complete opposites, Devin and I, but we’re better together. He knows me, loves me and thinks of me in the most intentional ways. In the most intimate of ways. I mean – a fall proposal in July?! Who would have EVER thought of that?

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I did.

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// Mariah and Devin – The Ram Fam //

Special Thanks

Montara Gaddis
 | Photographer
Marissa Southard
 | Planning
Bradley Southard
 | Planning