Shayna and Andrew
How We Met
Andrew’s version: It was a chilly Saturday, December 20th 2014 to be exact, and I had just returned from a day with my brother downtown. Unbeknownst to me but my roommate’s girlfriend had invited her cute, longtime best friend over from Pasadena for a fun night of wine and board games. Walking in the front door, I looked up and locked eyes with Shayna for the first time. I had no idea at the time, but the person I would be looking at would be the person I would fall more in love with than I ever thought possible. That moment was the beginning of the story that would change my life forever.
Shayna’s version: I was single for seven years before meeting Andrew. Though I still consistently had crushes on certain someones they never worked out which left me confused. On paper these relationships seemed like a perfect match. Yet in reality there was always something not quite right to sustain a healthy relationship. I would go on the occasional date, over think it, and then set my horizons on a new person. This perpetual cycle in hindsight could have done more harm than good. I left always wondering what I needed to grow in to become “worthy of a relationship.” I wouldn’t trade those single years for anything looking back on them. I was able to make decisions that were right for me and challenge myself without considering how it would affect someone else. I traveled, fully invested in my home team, and had a lot of different time-consuming jobs. I don’t know if I could have lived to the fullest of my potential while dating someone when I look back on my last seven years.
Back in December of 2014, I met a boy.
A group of us were going over to a friends’ new house that he had moved into with new Westmont graduates. We were just going to have a little game night with some wine. Later into the night one of his roommates, that I had yet to meet, came home from The Nutcracker with his little brother. He came in from around the corner and just plopped himself down on the couch to start playing the game with us. I went into the kitchen to get more water and he was in there to get something. Without skipping a beat he just started asking me a lot of questions about myself. It threw me off because I am typically this person to other people. After the game we were talking about how we know so many of the same people. My response was, ” this is a great start to a friendship.” His response was, “oh, that is where this is going?” It completely threw me off and I had no idea what to think. He later told me that he loved seeing me squirm in that moment. The next day we all met up for church and then went out for breakfast as a group after. I remember standing in line and making small talk and then he disappeared. He had already sat down in the middle of the table and he later told me that he strategically got up to get water for everyone at the table so that he could come back and “save me a seat.” Smooth move, Stoker.
I left Santa Barbara that weekend intrigued by this boy that I had just met, but also very aware that it could have been one-sided feelings. I remember writing in my journal that I met a boy, and I wanted my posture to look different this time. That instead of trying to plan all the little details that I would simply trust in the Lord. I didn’t even write his name that day because I was afraid of putting too much into something. Little did I know that my prayer would stand as a precedent for the season to come in dating this man. He messaged me the next day and from there our conversation has never stopped.
For the last year and a half, I have slowly gotten to know this man and who God is creating him to be. Dating in two different cities (Pasadena + Santa Barbara) challenged our relationship to be the best version it can be through communication. We had to put in a lot of effort with driving two hours in LA traffic just to see each other for a couple days. When I think back on all those drives, whether they were at 5 AM or 10 PM, they were always worth it because it meant I got to see Andrew on the other side.
For so long, I always thought I was going to have to settle in dating. I never thought it would be possible to find someone who was attractive, loves Jesus, asks great questions, quirky, kind, and loves others so well. Up until meeting Andrew most guys fell short of this hope.
how they asked
Shayna’s version: If you know Andrew than you know how much he loves surprises and making them full of special detail. Throughout our whole relationship, he would show his love by big and small surprises: whether was bringing me flowers at the end of the day, driving two hours to Pasadena last minute because I had a bad day, or planning a romantic weekend trip to New York City for our anniversary. So as you can imagine, this proposal was going to be one of his best surprises yet.
I just moved to Santa Barbara the weekend before, and we were so excited to finally end the long distance chapter of dating. I had graduated with my Masters from APU a couple weekends ago. At that time, my parents from Oregon had mentioned multiple times that they wouldn’t be able to make it to my engagement, whenever that happened, because of scheduling and cost. I was pretty bummed, but completely understood at the same time. Andrew and I had been talking about engagement for quite awhile, but it was really important for us to live in the same city prior to making all those big changes. So we lived in the same city for a whole SIX DAYS, before this change happened.
It was Thursday, May 19th, 2016 when our love story took on a new chapter. Andrew had picked a Thursday months back because he knew I would NEVER SUSPECT IT. I mean, who gets engaged on a Thursday? I had woken up and did some last minute errands, watched Grey’s Anatomy, and went over to Andrew’s house. He came to pick me up so we could go on a lunch date in the middle of his work day. As we walked casually down State St. we started naming some options of where we would go, until Andrew suggested Finch and Fork (where we had our first date). When we walked in, I was surprised when I found out he had already made reservations and then they sat us in the EXACT booth where we had our first date. All the flags were raising. I went to the bathroom to try and not get my hopes up that I was getting engaged that day, after all it was a THURSDAY. When I came back to the table, there were two glasses of champagne waiting for us. GAME BACK ON, he knows me well. For the whole lunch we talked about our first date and how nervous we were at the time. It was so fun to be able to relive that special moment and see where we are today in our relationship. Towards the end of our lunch date, Andrew pulls out a card for me to read and starts recording my reading it. In the card he mentions how this is a day that we have been waiting for for a long time and that today marks a new chapter in our beautiful love story.
“Today we recognize the amazing miracle that God has done in bringing us together. The road has “literally” been a long one, but we are finally here and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Today is a celebration! This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, but I’ve got some surprises in store for you. To kick things off, you’ve got some friends picking you up in a moment to take you on an ‘Andrew sponsored shopping spree!’ I want you to feel as beautiful as I see you my heart. Pick out a nice dress and shoes at your favorite store for a special occasion tonight. After that, you’ve got a nail and hair appointment to put the finishing touches on your outfit! I cherish you, Shay. You are my absolute favorite! Have fun today, and I will see you tonight!”
At this point, three of my best friends (Jenna, Taylor, and Heidi) pop up from behind me and whisk me away. I was so stunned and surprised. We went to Free People and found this GORGEOUS red dress right away, I’ve always wanted to be the “red emoji dress girl!” It was such a special afternoon processing with my girls about the big night ahead and to hear their affirmations of our love story. These are the girls that have walked with me so intently through my seasons of singleness and dating Andrew. I felt so known and loved by my home team. Throughout the whole day, I felt so at peace and excited about the surprise ahead. I would have never guessed that today was the day I was going to get engaged, and I am happy I had the whole day to prepare my heart for the celebration!
The plan was for them to drop me off at the next location at 7:15 PM. Heidi ( I was her MOH last year) drove me to the spot which was so special because on her engagement day a year ago I got to do the same thing for her. We both started crying in the car out of excitement and cherishing the fact that I was about to get engaged. We arrived at Butterfly Beach in Montecito, CA. This is a special place for Andrew and I because this is where we went the day after our first date and I showed him I can throw a mean spiral. This is the place where he asked me to be his girlfriend with breakfast burritos, of course. And now this is the place, where he was going to ask me to be his WIFE!
At the top of the stairs, there was a note that told me to come on down because he had a very important question to ask me. As I ran to him, I was so full of joy and excitement to see him! When I finally got to him, I saw this amazing beach set up that he had created with the help of our friends.
He took my hands and wanted to show me some things he had made for us. First, was a bible that had “Shayna Stoker” engraved on the front. We both lost it at that point, and we just held each other as we were crying. He then showed me this book that he had made with all of our fun adventures from our dating relationship.
After we read through the book, he took my hand and we stood up. At the beginning of our relationship we had created a list of all the things we wanted our relationship to be about: how we love each other, how we invest in our home teams, how we invest in Jesus, and how we challenge our individual pursuits. In the card he listed all of those dreams in present tense, sharing that we ARE those things now as a couple. He then put the card down and got down on one knee.
This is the most surreal moment, when the man that you are in love with commits to loving you for the rest of his life. I told him that with all my heart I say, YES! He put the ring on and I just burst into tears. He then showed me our friends that photographed the whole experience and I give them a big wave! Andrew then twirls me and points up to the top where all of our friends and family had watched the whole moment and they just burst into excitement! Up until this moment, I was fully convinced my family was not coming today. My sister had even sent us a group text wishing her luck for her three midterms. Man, do they know how to trick someone. At the top of the bluff where everyone was, I hear my dad yell “SHAYNA RAE!” It was then that I realized my sister and parents had come to the engagement, and I burst into tears again. I’m not kidding, full on SOBS. Everyone ran down to the beach and we got to celebrate! Afterwards, Andrew and I walked on the beach and prayed over this new season and thanking Jesus for the gift of this love.
When we got into the car, Andrew told me I had one more surprise waiting for me. Moments later, we drove up to Jamie Slone (a wine tasting room Andrew is a member at) and entered into our engagement party! There was food, wine, and pictures everywhere! It was so special to share this day with all the people that have invested in our relationship and made us who we are today. What is also special is that during that weekend I got to try on wedding dresses with my mom, sister, best friend, mother-in-love, and sister-in-love. I had told Andrew multiple times how important it was for my family to be there for me to try on dresses, and it was so special to have the whole weekend to celebrate! I even got a dress– easiest decision!
Andrew Stoker, thank you for choosing me and loving me the way you do. I am so honored that I get to be your WIFE and our love story will only continue to grow throughout the years! I am thankful for our home team that consistently refines, supports, and loves us so stinking well.