Morgan and Jarrod

Image 1 of Morgan Hellen and Jarrod Wetzel

How We Met

Jarrod and I first met through mutual friends in high school. We did not know each other well and to be honest I thought Jarrod was a bit of a troublemaker. Jarrod is a year older than me, and during my senior year of high school I took a trip up to Mississippi State University. This just so happened to be where Jarrod was enjoying his freshman year of college. We ran into each other at a tailgate and said a quick hello. A few days later I saw his name on blackberry messenger (yes I do realize how outdated this is). I decided to send him a message. Before I knew it I was talking to him all the time. He always joked about taking me on a date and we would laugh. One day, though, it stopped being a joke.

I still remember how I felt waiting for Jarrod to pull up to my house. I had never been nervous for a date before, but this time I felt like I had ate a bowl of butterflies for breakfast. Jarrod pulled up to my house in his stepdad’s car he had borrowed to impress me and after introducing himself to my parents, we set off for a local art festival. We spent the day laughing and just having a good time. That night he swept me off to a fancy restaurant where roses were delivered to the table. It was the best first date I had ever been on.

I don’t know the moment it happened, but I fell head over heels. When we would talk on the phone I had to catch myself from saying “I love you” every time we hung up. It just felt like the right thing to say to Jarrod. Little did I know, he had called up his mom not long after our date and told her that he thought he was falling in love with me. His mother, very logically, pointed out that I would be going to Louisiana State University the following year and that it would never work. 5 ½ half years later we are still going strong and his mother loves telling the story.

We have been long distance our entire relationship. It has been one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life. That being said, it is also the most important and meaningful thing I have ever done in my life. We would find ways to help make the times apart pass more quickly. We would send hand written letters recounting our favorite memories and words of encouragement to each other. We would talk about what we were doing, how much we missed each other, and how we couldn’t wait to watch another sunset together on the pier at my house.

One day as I was going through some old things I found a small toy castle that I had played with as a child. There were small metal figurines one of which was a princess and another that was a knight/prince. In my next letter I sent Jarrod the princess so that he could always have a part of me with him. The prince has stayed with me through many moves and sits in my room. Likewise, Jarrod has brought the princess figurine with him everywhere he lives. It is a constant reminder to me that I have found my prince charming.

Image 2 of Morgan Hellen and Jarrod Wetzel

how they asked

I consider myself to have a rather small family, almost all of which reside on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My dad’s brother, though, lives in Florida with his wife and their two daughters. My grandfather often makes trips down there to visit them so I was not too surprised when my mother informed me that he was about to make another trip and would be gone for a while. She told me that my grandfather would like to have a family dinner before he left for his trip and asked if I would come in town. I am currently in veterinary school at Louisiana State University and doing research over the summer so I made sure to clear my schedule to drive back for the evening. I was told we were going to a restaurant that would require dressy attire so I began to rack my closet looking for something to wear. During my search I found a white dress I had not worn in a long time and decided it would do. I threw my bag in the car and hit the road.

Saturday morning my mom informed me that we had dinner reservations for 8, but that we were going over to my grandfather’s for cocktails before around 7:30. I told her that was great and threw on a bathing suit with the intention of sitting by the pool to grab some sun before I had to get ready for dinner. Just as I was getting comfortable I got a text from my friend Nicole asking me to go shopping with her. Being the lazy person I am, I tried to convenience to her come lay by the pool with me instead, but thanks to some gentle cajoling from my mom I agreed to go with her. I let her know about my grandfather’s dinner and that I needed to be back in time to get ready. Nicole offered to pick me up at 5 and suggested I do my hair and make up before in case we ran late. When 5 o’clock rolled around, I was ready to go.

After a relatively fruitless shopping trip I returned to my house and decided to spend the next hour relaxing since all I needed to do was change my outfit and touch up my hair. As I was sitting on the couch Jarrod walked over and asked me if I would go watch the sunset on the pier at my house with him after I got ready. The pier has always been our favorite place. I agreed with surprisingly little fuss. I went and changed into my dress and started to put on my jewelry. With the white dress and sparkly headband I vaguely remember thinking to myself that I looked like I was getting married.
We walked down to the pier and made our way out over the water. We stood for a few seconds just holding hands at peace. Then Jarrod looked at me and said, “I wish I was fishing.” I laughed and told him that he wasn’t very romantic. We talked for a few more minutes then out of nowhere he turned me around and took my hands. He looked in my eyes and told me that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I smiled and was about to reply with something along the same lines when he began to sink to one knee. As he reached into his pocket I continued to smile at him thinking that this couldn’t be real.

Image 3 of Morgan Hellen and Jarrod Wetzel

He pulled out a black box and opened it revealing the most beautiful ring I had ever seen and asked if I would marry him. I thought it was still a joke at first, but then I saw how badly he was shaking. I felt the tears rush up to my eyes and managed to blubber out the word “yes.”

Image 4 of Morgan Hellen and Jarrod Wetzel

Image 5 of Morgan Hellen and Jarrod Wetzel

Image 6 of Morgan Hellen and Jarrod Wetzel

He stood up and hugged me and then realized he had forgot to put the ring on my finger. He jumped back to his knee and put the ring on. He had been worried about dropping it in the water so there was fishing line tying it to the box. We both laughed as we tried to get it free of the fishing line. As we turned to walk back the house he pointed out the video camera attached to the pier and Mr. John Lestrade who had been filming us. It turned out that Nicole had taken me shopping so all the cameras could be set up.

Image 7 of Morgan Hellen and Jarrod Wetzel

Image 8 of Morgan Hellen and Jarrod Wetzel

We eventually made it back to up to my house where our family and friends were waiting, including one of my friends who had driven from Baton Rouge to celebrate with us. The rest of the night was spent celebrating our love with the people we love. It will forever be one of the most beautiful memories for me and I cannot begin to comprehend how I got so lucky. I cannot wait to see what our future holds, and just like the song says in our video “forever could never be long enough for me.”

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