Tony + Kelsey

Tony and I had been talking about getting engaged all summer, and Tony had hinted that it might be in August. So, by the time September 1st rolled around, I was a little disappointed/discouraged/paranoid. The first week of classes at U of I had been stressful and we had gone through a few tense conversations. Also, my boss had mysteriously called me to let me know that he had taken me off the schedule that Saturday, which was suspiciously the day Tony wanted to go on a date. So, when Saturday rolled around, I had a feeling it might not be an average date!

When I pulled in to pick Tony up at the dorm where we had both lived the previous year, he ignored my call and texted me that he had been held up by a friend inside, and asked if I would come in to meet him at the meeting place? (The meeting place is where Tony and I would meet and exchange notes or carkeys, or just meet before our dates!) It seemed odd that he wouldn’t have me stay in the car, but I wanted to play along. When I walked through the double doors to the small alcove, my two best friends were sitting there, and I just started laughing! They sat me down, and let me continue laughing and shaking out all my nerves. Then, they handed me a note from Tony.

He explained that I was about to go on an adventure and that he would see me soon. He had also left rainboots and an umbrella (there was a 100% chance of rain due to the remnants of a hurricane going through the area!). My friends had me read the note, and then walked me outside and began to encourage me on why they love my friendship and how they are so excited to be part of the next chapter in Tony’s and my life. Then they walked me over to a tree where Tony and I used to sit and practice guitar. There were some beautiful candles set up with a note that gave me my next destination: the park where Tony had held my hand for the first time.

My friends prayed for me, and I began walking to the car to drive to the park. Just then, I saw a car whip into reverse and turn to face me as it honked. It was another close friend, who told me that I needed to get in the car. She was my chauffeur for the day! She also told me why I was a good friend as she drove me to the park. When we pulled up to the pavilion, I saw one of my older brothers and his wife sitting at a picnic table. I couldn’t believe that they had come all the way from Chicago! They had another letter from Tony directing me to go to the fountain where he had told me he loved me the first time.

So, I was on my way to the fountain! When we got there, I saw my oldest brother and his wife waiting for me. They are currently living in Thailand doing missions, and they were only home for a month this summer. It was so special to have them there with me! Like everyone had that day, they also encouraged and prayed for me, and then my sister-in-law said, “Okay, time to go to your boy!”

I wasn’t sure that this was the last stop, and I was so excited! I walked around the landscaping surrounding the fountain, and there he was. He had lined the walkway with candles and flowers, and he was waiting on the edge of the fountain. When I reached him, we hugged, and I said, “Thank you!” Then he sat me on the seat he had made with some old lace on the bench and washed my feet, explaining that he wanted to serve me for the rest of his life. Then he asked if he could sing me a song.

He walked me through the flowers to the interior fountain and sat me on the edge. He had hidden my guitar in the flowers, and pulled it out and began singing me Matt Wertz’s song “Easier tonight”. The last line is, “… and that’s how the story ends. I’m down on my knee and I’m asking for your hand!” I had told Tony that the first time I heard it I thought he would play it when he proposed (and he always pays attention!).

When he sang, “…this is how the story ends…”, he stopped playing, grabbed the hidden ring, and got down on his knee! My heart stopped. He asked me to marry him and I said yes!! We prayed together and sang John Foreman’s song “House of God Forever” together, which we had sang together the day we started dating, and which I plan to walk down the aisle to. Everything was so perfect and romantic! He even had both of our families and all of our closest friends waiting at my house when we got there for a surprise engagement party.

I can’t believe that I get to marry Tony! He is seriously such a blessing from God in my life. He is my best friend, and I love how much fun we have together! I think that’s why the engagement pictures are so perfect – there is so much laughter and fun. Ahhh so exciting!

Photos by Jasmine Nicole Photography