Paige and Garner

How We Met

I remember the first time I saw Garner. I was a freshman at Baylor University and we were at a children’s playground volunteering with our sorority and fraternity. I asked my friend Ashton “Who is that guy? Is he a senior?” to which she responded “No! That’s Garner Millard. He’s our age.” I then smiled and said “Wow, he’s really cute.” And that’s when my crush began. Fast forward a few months to when we were formally introduced. We were at a gun range (so Texas) with friends and they introduced us. I remember being so nervous. We were shooting clay and when I shot and hit the first skeet, I turned to see if Garner was watching… maybe he’d be impressed! But he was facing the other way. Womp womp. Sophomore year came along and I kept going back to the playground volunteering… partially because I love being around kids, but partially because I knew Garner would be there (in a cute way, not creepy). One week I finally had the guts to go talk to him and he said, “I’m sorry, what was your name again?” My confidence was crushed (also I will never let him live this down).

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After that time, Garner never forgot my name and made an extra effort to come talk to me when he saw me on campus, volunteering at the playground, etc. Our fraternity and sorority also had a lot of events together which allowed us to see each other often. During Baylor Homecoming, I was in charge of designing the float and he volunteered to be a statue on the float (Judge Baylor if you’re familiar with the campus). We spray painted him gold and since I hadn’t slept in days and was completely out of it, I was forward enough to tell him that we had to follow the tradition of sitting on Judge Baylor’s lap! Cue our first and really awkward picture together. As the next months unfolded, we started hanging out in groups and getting to know each other – movies, parties, pranks, etc.

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I remember this one time we put on Grinch masks and ran through all the dorms and our friends’ houses. We laughed for hours. It was these sort of things that made me fall in love with Garner – he’s so adventurous, spontaneous and you just never know what to expect. In the spring of sophomore year, my sorority had a date dash where you go grab a date and meet at a certain location. I panicked and quickly called Garner. He was in a meeting with Baylor faculty and was unsure if he could leave… then finally (he claims) he said “screw it!” and came with me as my date. When we arrived at the baseball game, everyone was already leaving because we were so late! Garner suggested we go out to dinner instead (that sly dog). We went to Clay Pot in Waco, Texas where we sat crisscross on the ground with our shoes off, and had cashew chicken and Vietnamese coffee.

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Then it started to rain and we decided to go “chase the lightning.” We went to the Waco dam where we walked in the rain and talked for hours. After that night, Garner and I were inseparable. Minus the fact that I was leaving to study abroad for three months. Long distance was hard – one summer I was abroad, one summer in California – but it’s true, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Our adventurous spirits led us to moving to San Francisco after college. The past two years have been crazy, but being far away from friends and family has brought Garner and I even closer together…. which is why we decided to get married here instead of back home!

Paige and Garner's Engagement in San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

how they asked

Garner told me that on Friday, March 24 his company was having a cocktail party and he wanted me to accompany him as his date. I had it on my calendar for weeks and was looking forward to meeting his coworkers. He said he would pick me up at 5:30 for dinner and at 5 pm I’m reading a book at the coffee shop across the street still wearing yoga pants. I finally pull myself away from the book, go back to my apartment, change into a fancy dress and debate about doing my hair (really glad I decided to somewhat fix it). We’re running SUPER late and my roommate stops me and tells me to borrow her clutch instead of my regular day purse (thanks, Molly! Which she had no idea either, she’s just a good roomie).

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We get to the restaurant and order all my favorites – red wine, cheese platter, charcuterie and lots of Spanish tapas. Garner asked me if I wanted more wine… I told him I didn’t want to be tipsy when I meet his coworkers! LOL right? Dinner goes great and Garner seems completely normal except that he went to the bathroom five times (he later said he kept going to make sure the ring was still in his pocket ha!). After dinner, we take a Lyft to the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers where the “party” was taking place. It’s starting to sprinkle a bit (just like our first date!) as we walk up to the beautiful white and glass building that’s in the middle of Golden Gate Park.

We are greeted by a man at the front desk who asks for our names. He then checks them off the list (wow, so much planning!) and tells us the work party is in the back pavilion (which there actually was a party happening there so all of this is still making complete sense to me). We walk into the actual Conservatory where there are hundreds of plants and everything smells amazing. Garner leads us into the Potted Plant room where there is a fountain and gorgeous flowers hanging everywhere.

I ask him where everyone is and why we aren’t going to the Pavilion if we’re already so late… I’m still clueless. Garner said he wanted to spend a little time together in the beautiful Conservatory just us. He then starts telling me all his favorite memories and fun adventures we’ve had together, along with all the reasons why he loves me.

Garner then got down on one knee, asked me to marry him and spend the rest of our lives together, and pulls out of his jacket pocket the most gorgeous ring I’ve ever seen in my life. I am in complete shock at this point, but from what Garner and the photographer tell me, I say “yes of course!”

Then Cari the photographer comes out of the bushes. She took beautiful pictures and I’m so thankful she was there to capture the special moment. After a few photos, Garner suggests we walk around the Conservatory since we have it for the night. The only other time we’d been there was when it was super busy so it was great to experience the beauty just us.

We then walk into the next room and surprise – it’s not just us – my parents, Garner’s parents, his sister Meredith, and our close friend Blair had all flown in from Texas and were there ready to celebrate with us. We popped champagne, laughed and cried, all among the greenery. They filled me in on how everyone had known for months, how Garner had asked every person in my family for their permission (such a gentleman!) and how there had been so many close calls in me finding out. Garner then pulled out of his pocket the Baylor baseball ticket from our first date four years ago. WHAT!

We then went to one of my favorite spots in SF, Top of the Mark, which is a fancy hotel bar that overlooks the entire city. There was a live band and we drank martinis and danced all night. My mom told the band about our engagement which they announced and played “At Last” by Etta James which we danced to in the middle of the dance floor. It was a complete surprise and the perfect proposal. Garner – I love you so much and cannot wait to marry you!

Special Thanks

Cari Courtright