How We Met
It was a little over three years ago around Thanksgiving and I was visiting my friend Erin at her parent’s home. Several of our friends, most of which were in her wedding, were also there. What a reunion! We were around the dining room table and I see my friends looking around at each other before they casually bring up the topic of dating. I should note, they are all engaged or married at this point. Erin and Wesley began talking to me about Shaun. Shaun and I knew of each other in college, but we did not spend much time together in Valdosta. We did however dance at Erin’s wedding that June. They wanted to make sure I knew he was such a great guy with a wonderful heart – a true gentleman. Needless to say, they were team Shaun. Then, the whole group talked about how funny he is and how involved he was at Valdosta State. They also mentioned he had been texting each of them about me for a few weeks.
The timing just wasn’t right. Even after what we now lovingly call “the round table” at Thanksgiving, it took another group of mutual friends before we even spent any time together. The fabulous photographer and our dear friend Anna Shackleford invited me to join them at Oyster Fest in Midtown. Little did I know, Shaun was also part of the group going to the festival. We spent the day talking, eating oysters and even dancing yet again.
It wasn’t until a month later that we actually went on our first date to the Smyrna Market Village St. Patrick’s Day festival. Before we went to the festival, we were invited to see our friend’s new home. It also helped that they lived across the street from the Market Village. On our drive to the Stroble’s house, we couldn’t stop talking about how much we loved Smyrna and the neighborhoods. All of the homes had a front porch and they were so beautiful with restaurants and shops within walking distance. Before arriving at their house, Jonathan called Shaun and told him they were about ten minutes behind us and to just wait around until they get there. Shaun didn’t really know how to kill that time with somebody that he was surely interested in but hadn’t spent any real time with outside of a group, but I sensed that. I asked him to pull over so that we could walk around this park area that had train tracks running through it. While we were there, we put some pennies down on the tracks and headed over to the house. We returned to that same spot on the tracks the next day to pick up the pennies and we still have them today!
how they asked
It was Master’s Sunday and we didn’t have much in the way of plans that day, only to attend church, have lunch with our good friends Jenni and Jonathan Stroble, then watch the remainder of the tournament. Shaun on the other hand, had so much more in store for us.
After church, Shaun was trying so hard to hide his phone and the messages that were coming though. He even told me he was catching up on the Master’s updates, but apparently the use of this phone was completely necessary to his plan. I did notice how restless he was during the service, but I couldn’t have known why since Shaun had done a pretty good job of defecting any sort of marriage proposal until after he graduated from law school, and most likely until after his bar exam in July. So I never considered a proposal at any time before the timeframe we discussed, but Shaun knew that catching me off guard would be the ultimate surprise, hence how perfect that Sunday really was.
Two days before, Shaun scouted out the area and described the scene to our good friends and photographers Anna and Daniel. When they arrived to the site on Sunday morning, they used Snapchat to circle where Shaun needed to stop and pop the question in order to get the best angle and light for our pictures. Shaun needed to park in a place where we could walk right by this area on the way to the Stroble house. He pretended to take a phone call after church with “Jonathan” telling him to park in a business lot and walk the 100 or so yards because his cul-de-sac was occupied by trucks and vans due to construction.
Once we arrived and began walking to their house, Shaun said that we needed to discuss something before we went in and we stopped in the park area. I remember thinking something was wrong, but then he began to tell me how important this area was to him and to our relationship as this is where we started.
Neither of us can remember much after that! Shaun remembers me asking him several times if he was serious, and I just remember crying out of pure shock and happiness! The ring was a monumental surprise in and of itself. Like most couples, we had discussed several options but I never expected this ring- the one I have admired for years, the one I would try on in the store every chance I got. I cannot stop looking at it!
Once he placed the engagement ring on my finger, Shaun gave me the biggest hug and told me that we had some friends lurking behind us and across the street. It was incredible when Anna and Daniel emerged from bushes and trees because at that point, the surprises were just beginning. There was no actual lunch with Jonathan and Jenni that day, but the four of us walked to their home and joined the Stroble’s and enjoyed a glass of champagne- the same kind from their own wedding. Anna and Daniel hit the road under the guise that they had another photo shoot to get to. Shaun told me that his parents wanted to meet for lunch at their place to celebrate and that my Mama would join us on Tuesday in Atlanta to celebrate.
On the way to Shaun’s parents, I called my Mama, but she did not answer the first time. Even though Shaun said she was aware of the day’s activities, I was so eager to hear her voice. She told me the morning before that she was going to Savannah to visit a friend. Shaun said she was worried about having bad cell service, and that I should give her a minute and call her back if she missed my call. After a few minutes, I was finally able to tell her about our lovely proposal story. She told me to enjoy the day and she would see me in a few days. Then I just had to begin calling my best friends, but Shaun made a good point and said we should enjoy this car ride together even if we just sat in silence.
When we got to Lawrenceville, only the Foley family cars were visible: Shaun was internally relieved. I walked first through the garage door and was greeted with all of our close friends who came to help celebrate the afternoon, Anna and Daniel included as they left the Stroble house early only to beat us back to the house to have the camera ready. As I moved through the house I saw one of my best friends Jessica and beamed the brightest smile. After giving Jessica the biggest hug she said, “and that’s not all”. Then, my Mama came around the corner. Shaun made it a point to have her there and it truly made my day! Following her was my sweet puppy Margot who Shaun had picked up by friends while we were at church. However, there was just one more surprise. Shaun even had my best friend Erin fly in from Louisiana, and she trailed my Mama as I entered the dining room. Erin was my roommate in college and best friend and I hardly ever get to see her. When she showed her face, I truly melted.
After all of the surprises, we got to enjoy everyone’s company! It was the perfect day for both of us, and an incredible feeling to have the people we love and cherish there with us.