Mark and Sarah

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How We Met; From the Bride, Sarah: Looking back, there were many events and interactions that led up to my “randomly” setting eyes on Mark in a crowded worship service on UGA’s campus. However, I don’t believe in what some people call chance or fate. I believe that God sees everything and has a hand in everything. So, from an outside perspective, all of our story may sound kind of random, but Mark and I really do believe many things happened throughout our entires lives that brought us together!

The day after a previous relationship ended, I was invited to hang out with a wonderful group of new friends, one of whom, Sean, was very instrumental in setting up an inter-denominational worship service for all of the campus ministries at UGA. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go, but right before the event, I caught up with my friend Emily, a long-time friend from middle school who I hadn’t seen in months, and we decided to go together!

Mark was also not sure he wanted to go to the service, but his friend Cory (Mark’s best man) convinced him to go. Mark was feeling under the weather and was certainly not expecting to meet his future wife that evening. Mark ended up sitting in the row behind me next to my friend Sean. For whatever reason, I couldn’t take my eyes off of this perfect stranger and had no idea that he was experiencing the same phenomenon.

To my complete surprise, after the service had ended, Mark approached me and asked if we had met before. I definitely thought he was simply hitting on me, but he’ll tell you that he really did think I looked familiar! A few days later, a person named “Mark the Coolest” (Mark’s previously epic facebook name) sent me a message on facebook. We ended up messaging back and forth for several months, and I became increasingly intrigued by this mysterious person who made me laugh and had an incredibly strong faith in God—we wouldn’t see each other again until a carefully orchestrated game night hosted by Sean, where Mark finally asked for my phone number.

Being an indecisive girl, I avoided (sometimes not on purpose…I really was busy, I promise…) Mark’s requests to hang out in person again, until I finally agreed to see a movie with him under the condition that it wasn’t a “real date.” This idea went out the window, however, after spending about 30 minutes with Mark, and suddenly I found myself with a very cute physics tutor and a new friend. The next few weeks found us hanging out more and more, until on February 20, 2009, Mark asked me to be his girlfriend.

I don’t think any of the events or life circumstances, no matter how tiny, that led up to our meeting and eventual relationship happened on accident. We are very blessed to have found each other and can’t wait to start our lives together!

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Proposal Story as Told by the Groom, Mark: It all probably began from the moment we started dating. Sarah is what I would call, for a lack of a better way of putting it… “a woman who knows what she wants.” It was hard enough convincing her to date me, once she finally made up her mind however, I don’t think anything or anyone could have separated me from her.

I think I knew early on that I was going to marry Sarah, but like most good things in life, it took a fair amount of time to really mature the relationship. We had both talked about marriage and future plans often enough while at UGA, and I believe the transition to Augusta especially helped bring us closer together. I was always of the intention to establish myself first, to be stable to both provide for and support Sarah, and then with God’s blessing, to ask Sarah to marry me. The simple fact remained that I love Sarah, and despite both her and my imperfections (and if you know anything about me, Sarah puts up with far more than I have to), we are perfect for each other. Patience had to be a priority, and after a couple of years I finally got my chance… I got the ring no more than one month prior to the actual proposal from a small antique jeweler. I then decided on Amicalola Falls as being the location. Sarah had mentioned earlier that month how she had always wanted to go visit the falls. To me this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

The falls themselves are truly beautiful, with a stairway starting at the base and then climbing several hundred feet up. It is quite the climb to say the least. Just prior to the “big day,” my best man Cory Watson and I agreed to visit the location two days before the proposal just to make sure all would go according to plan. We attempted the hike down the stairs, after which we discovered a small trail that alternatively could be used to travel up the mountain to the falls. It was late at night by the time we started heading back to the car. At one point during the journey, we momentarily turned off our flashlights to look at the stars, which was immediately followed by a deep growl no more than 50 meters from where we were. We still debate over whether it was a bear or not.

Finally the big day comes. Under the guise of a simple “date” on the day after Thanksgiving, Sarah and I made our way to the falls. To my dismay, the actual falls was crawling with people. Fortunately I remembered that the trail where I heard a “bear” was also a great place to potentially look over the entire valley area. We slowly started walking down the trail from the falls. There were still some people hiking up and down the trail as well, but intermittently so. Occasionally we would pass small outcroppings that really allowed one to look over the entire are for several miles. I found one to my pleasing and I asked if Sarah wanted to stop and just enjoy the view. The sky was clear and sunny and everything was perfect. Despite my awkward glances looking up and down the trail to check to see if any people were coming (or bears for that matter), I still tell myself that Sarah knew nothing about what was about to happen. Everything was set to go. I dropped to one knee… and the rest is history.

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Engagement photos by Rustic White Photography – two newlyweds, best friends and talented photographers out of Atlanta, Georgia.