Nicole and Charles

Image 1 of Nicole Van and Charles Bryels

How We Met

I was a community assistant in the dorms at Arizona State University. One of my jobs was patrolling the dorms at night to ensure that students were not hosting parties since ASU is a dry campus – meaning no alcohol or drugs. On my first night ever of duty, I stopped a party, which Charles happened to be at. From that point on, Charles pursued me from that day on. Luckily for the both of us, our majors had something to do with math, so we ended up taking a few math classes together. This is where our relationship developed and we fell in love! Becoming a community assistant was the best decision I ever made because that one decision ended up with me meeting my future husband! We’ve been together for the past three years and couldn’t be more in love. We really complement each other well. Everyone always talks about finding their other half. In the case of Charles and myself, we really have!

how they asked

This is my first year officially teaching seventh grade math. On the last day of the semester, December 22nd, I was in my classroom with my students. Another teacher, Tiffany, came into my classroom saying that she was asked to cover my class because the office needed to speak with me immediately. Of course I was nervous at this point – I didn’t want to get in trouble, especially on the last day! I immediately rushed downstairs to the office to see what was going on. When I got to the office, I was told that Veronica, the attendance manager, wanted to speak with me. I went into her office and she gave me a bouquet of flowers. Veronica told me that they had been delivered and needed to be given to me personally, but that they didn’t say who they were from. This I thought was weird as it didn’t make sense to me that Charles would send me flowers without saying they were from him. Veronica then told me that the program coach, Mindy, needed to see me, so that I should stop by her room before heading back to my classroom. I thanked Veronica and headed towards Mindy’s though many of the office staff kept stopping me to admire my flowers. Little did I know, this was the office staff following “Operation Flower Drop” – the code name given to the proposal by office staff – in an attempt to distract me while they got everything set up in my classroom. Finally I made it to Mindy’s. She had a troubled look on her face as she walked towards me. Mindy informed me that she was missing some of my students’ bubble sheets for a district test my students had just taken. I instantly started freaking out, as I specifically remembered turning in all of my bubble sheets! We decided to go to my room to look for the “missing bubble sheets.” Luckily that was just another distraction technique – no bubble sheets were really missing!!

Once we got to my classroom, I opened the door and was instantly shocked by what I saw. My students were no longer in their seats. In fact, they were standing, facing the door, with large Harry Potter themed signs that said “Will you marry me?” I slowly walked into the room trying to take in the confusing scene…what in the world was happening? People were filming me and taking pictures, my students were staring at me, and Charles was no where in sight. Suddenly Charles appeared from behind the students and the reality set in. He began walking towards me talking about how he was nervous, but that I was his moon, his sun, and his everything and he wanted me in his life forever. He got down on one knee in front of me and asked me to marry him.

Image 2 of Nicole Van and Charles Bryels

Of course, I said yes! I was ecstatic! I’ll be honest though…I was so excited that I wasn’t really listening to much of what he said when he was actually proposing! I had to watch the video of our proposal to really let his words sink in! Really he was quite sweet! Anyways, after Charles proposed, Tiffany told me she would continue to cover my class so that Charles and I could have some alone time to discuss what happened.

Outside the classroom we were both shaking and laughing, trying to take in what had just happened. The principal and assistant principal came to congratulate us. Once our nerves had settled down, we returned to the classroom and asked my students for a few formal pictures. Since I still had to teach the rest of the day, Charles left and I got back to work. It was adorable to see how happy my students were. They were literally screaming about my engagement in the hallways! For the rest of the day I must of received hundreds of hugs and congratulations. Students I didn’t even know were coming up to me in the hallways and giving their love. It was truly an amazing thing to see. I felt so blessed. It honestly was the best proposal I could have possibly imagined.

Image 3 of Nicole Van and Charles Bryels

Special Thanks

Tammie Garrett
 | Photographer