How We Met: Do you ever find yourself in an awkward situation and have no words to say, yet some words come out of your mouth and you automatically regret them? That’s how it was for me when I met Stephen. At Taylor University (Upland, Indiana), I was a freshman and he was a sophomore. We were in our Dining Commons in the salad line. At the end of the salad line was chocolate pudding and various other treats. I was heaping a massive amount of pudding into a bowl and he was waiting behind me. Feeling self-conscious about my pudding consumption, I turned to him and said, “It’s just a pudding kind of day, I guess.” I quickly ran off and hoped that I never saw him again. For him, he was hooked from there on (I somehow captivated him amidst all the chocolate pudding)! We somehow ran into each other a couple weeks later and his dreams came true when “the pudding girl” asked him to accompany her to a TinCaps (minor league baseball team) game in Ft. Wayne, Indiana with some of her friends! We hit it off on our first date and oh my, was he bold. He told me he was going to marry me and that this date was “so good for us.” That night, I laughed harder than I ever had, but was not completely sold. We parted ways for the summer and he wrote me letter after letter telling me how much he liked me and how we would be together someday. I was resistant, thinking this guy was crazy! We came back to college for our sophomore and junior years and he constantly asked me to hang out, took me on some nice dates, and did extravagant things trying to win me over (two of those things being driving nine hours to my house in the middle of a snow storm and knitting me two scarves!) I told him “no” and made sure he knew that we would never be more than friends. Spring came and I left to study abroad in Ireland for four months. We both dated other people and I quickly realized that I had lost the best thing that had ever happened to me. I came back and told him that I loved him and that I finally realized that he was the only one I wanted to be with, but he told me it was too late. For four months, I waited patiently, hoping and praying that it would work out. I fell more in love with him and knew that I would never find someone so thoughtful, fun, caring, loving, and absolutely perfect for me than Stephen. We started dating officially in October and I knew that he was the one! After a year and a half of ups and downs, relentless pursuing, lots of rejection, and some serious wake-up calls, we were together and knew that we could never be apart again!
how they asked: Stephen and I were both sad because he was graduating and going off to New York for the summer to work, and I would be home, near Chicago! He asked me to go on a fancy date with him a couple days before we were leaving for the summer. I asked him if we could go to Chipotle and he said no, we were going to a nice restaurant. He took me to Club Soda in Ft. Wayne and we enjoyed a great dinner, where he mentioned that we were in the city where we had our first date two years ago! I, oblivious as ever, didn’t think much about his comment. We left the restaurant and he told me we had a stop to make before we went back to school. We pulled up to the TinCaps stadium (location of our first date two years prior) and he said that we should get out just to visit because who knew the next time we would be in Ft. Wayne! It was lightly raining and slightly chilly, so I asked him if we could make it quick. We walked to the front of the stadium and he made me stop in the dead center. He turned to me and told me that two years ago at this very place, he joked about how he was going to marry me someday. He got down on one knee and told me that he loved me then, he loved me now, and promised to love me forever. There were so many tears and excitement! He told me the surprise wasn’t over, though. We walked up to the gates (the stadium was closed that night) and security guards met us at the entrance to let us in. Stephen walked me to the seats where we sat on our first date! After we left, we went back to school and he had planned a surprise party with all of our friends! It was a magical night to say the least, but aside from the perfect details, I was so happy that I was getting to marry the man of my dreams!
Photography by Christiana Lee Poulson