Savannah and Stefan

How We Met

While some may fall for the “girl next door,” Stefan fell for the girl who grew up 4,000 miles away. Stefan was raised in Christchurch, England, while I grew up in Merritt Island, Florida. Fortunately, our individual passions for tennis and volleyball led us to Florida Atlantic University, where we met during our first semester. My best friend (and maid of honor), Madeline, and I took anatomy and physiology with Stefan that first semester and we quickly became acquaintances.

Savannah and Stefan's Engagement in Napa Valley

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Savannah's Proposal in Napa Valley

It wasn’t until the spring semester of our sophomore year, however, that Stefan began showing an interest in me. One day, in the student-athlete center, Stefan asked me if he could give me a ring later that evening. I skeptically agreed (even though I had no idea what he meant by his question) and proceeded to run into the locker room and ask my teammates if anyone had any idea what on earth Stefan could have meant. One of my teammates quickly cleared things up and explained that for the British, giving someone a ring means calling them on the phone. And thus, Stefan and I experienced our first of many lessons on the differences between the British-English and American-English languages! Later that day, Stefan did, in fact, give me a ring and asked me on our first date.

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How They Asked

Castello di Amorosa; The Castle of Love. Where the love of my life asked me to share the rest of my days with him.

Our day began with Stefan treating me on a trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train. We had an incredible meal while traveling through some of Napa Valley’s most incredible vineyards. When we arrived at our final stop on the train, we took a shuttle to Castello di Amorosa. That’s when I found out that we would be enjoying a private tour and tasting through the castle and winery with our wine train group.

We started up the stairs with the group and Stefan suddenly told me to stay in one place and wait for him to call me because he had one more surprise. A couple of minutes later, Stefan texted me and told me to leave the castle via the way we came originally and find him in the vineyard.

I finally caught sight of Stefan down one of the vineyard lanes and started making my way to him. Along the path were rose petals and wine bottles that each had a different photo on them from significant memories and milestones in our relationship. Meanwhile, our favorite Ed Sheeran song was playing in the background during this entire time.

When I finally made it to Stefan, I noticed a hooded photographer in the background so I knew something was up. Stefan then proceeded to share the most amazing words with me and eventually dropped to one knee. By this point, I couldn’t even see the ring or anything else through my tears! Little did I know, one of the biggest surprises was still yet to come.

After Stefan stood up, he commented on the fact that we have both remarked in the past on how special it would be to share a moment like this with family. I figured, alright. I guess we should FaceTime them and share the news. Then, Stefan looked down the lane and I watched as the photographer took his hood down and saw that my own father had been the one taking our photos. Then my mother and Stefan’s parents walked around the vines, into view.

I screamed and began bawling all over again. After months of secret planning, Stefan managed to coordinate flying my parents from Florida and his parents from England so that we could all end up here on the same day to share in this incredible moment.

To say I was shocked would be an understatement. The amount of emotion and love at that moment was overwhelming. From day one of our relationships, Stefan has always gone above and beyond to show me how much he cares about me and this was his greatest surprise to date. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with this incredible man. I already know it’ll be one incredible ride.