Tristen and Collin

Image 1 of Tristen and Collin

How We Met

Woah, where to start. Collin was on the men’s soccer team and I was on the women’s soccer team, both incoming freshman in the fall of 2015 at Indiana Wesleyan University. We both were strong headed, loud, obnoxious people – so naturally, we butt heads very often. We had a lot of the same friends and the occasional crushes on roommates, but never on each other. Our freshman year we went through phases of being really close and being best friends, to hating each other and not talking. Summer before our sophomore year I got a call from Collin in the middle of summer apologizing and saying “I miss my best friend”. But, when we showed up for year 2 of college, we still weren’t close.

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About a month or two into school, I realized that Collin didn’t seem like his fun, energetic, loud normal self so I approached him. I simply told him if he needed anyone to talk to or someone to pray for him, I was there – because truth was, I missed my best friend too. We agreed to meet one day and talk about life. Prior to this meeting, I had no idea about the things he was dealing with. Throughout Collin’s freshman year of college soccer, he acquired some concussions that ended his soccer career sophomore year. Doctors refused to clear him to play. God had put on my heart that it was right to reach out to Collin, so I followed my heart. I had no idea that over a year and a half later it would lead to the happiest day of my life. We left that night being shocked at how much we opened up to each other and how amazing it felt to be best friends again. We went through that semester always leaning on each other for advice. We became closer every day as we each were dealing with heavy things in life.

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God challenged us a lot in those months, yet it seemed easier knowing I had someone to talk to and pray with about it all. The funny thing was, everyone, told us that we would date, everyone said there was a special connection between us, everyone called it before we even knew. December 2016 came along and it was about time for me to head back to Arizona for Christmas break. Collin had taken an internship at Disney World in Orlando, Florida for the Spring so he was going to take off a semester of college. I was sad to lose my best friend. I knew that him leaving could have meant never seeing him again. Who knows if he would come back to Indiana Wesleyan after. The last day of finals came and it was time for Collin to say goodbye. We were standing in the parking lot outside of his car. Emotionally, I said my goodbye, sealed it with a hug, and walked away.

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As I was walking away, he called me back and said to me “I don’t think everyone is wrong”. WHAT. I was shocked. I didn’t know how to respond. He just confessed that he did like me, that he wanted to pursue me, that there was something special between us. We spent the next few weeks of break Facetiming and figuring out exactly what God was doing in our lives. At the end of Christmas break, I decided to fly to Chicago to visit him. We spent days just trying to figure out the transition from best friends to something more. The first night I was there, we had our first kiss. It really was as cheesy as they make it sound… It was breathtaking. Right there, I knew, this could lead to somewhere amazing. He was still going to Florida for his Disney internship, so we said our goodbyes, and committed to trying long distance. We did long distance for about 3 months. Since before we were officially something, from that night of our first kiss, we knew this could be forever. Spring break came around and I went to Florida to visit him.

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We spent time exploring Disney World, learning about his life in Florida, and just smiling and being happy together. The first night I was there he told me he was in love with me and I couldn’t help but say it back. There was something so special about this guy. There truly is nothing better than being in love with your best friend. We said goodbye at the end of spring break and committed to long distance for a month and a half longer. He came back to Indiana after his internship and we were able to spend a few weeks together before I went home to Arizona for the summer. so YAY another 4 months of long distance. I just want to say long distance is the hardest thing I’ve gone through. But I know it made it so much stronger. We had to be intentional about growing together, learning more about each other, and helping each other be the best versions of ourselves. Junior Year. We officially get together, NO MORE long distance. After about 8 months, we were done with it. I appreciated every day we got to spend together in person. People were rooting for us because of the journey we had been through, and “I told you so” seemed to be everyone’s favorite phrase.

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how they asked

We had always talked about getting engaged the end of summer 2018 because we both graduate December 2018. One fun fact about me, I am not good with surprises. I’m like a detective. I catch onto one hint and I always end up figuring things out from there. For months Collin had assured me I would never see this coming, and boy was he right.

March 31, 2018. Collin had it all planned.

He prepped me for about over a week saying we were going to a dinner with his boss and co-workers. He reminded me to bring a cute outfit that was a little nicer than my everyday clothes. When the day came, I grabbed my straightener to straighten my hair and he told me “no curl it”. I was so annoyed that he was going to make me curl my hair. BUT he knew I would want it curled for this, not straight (Thank you, Collin). We headed out on our way and his directions kept misleading us. He kept missing exits on roundabouts and making wrong turns. We end up pulling off the road on a curb and he told me he was going to text his boss to find out where this restaurant was. Me, being impatient as always, I decided that I was just going to look up the restaurant on my phone. I found the place instantly and realized we were 1.3 miles away…

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When I told him, Collin said to me “he told me to get out and walk”. THIS IS WHEN MY DETECTIVE INSTINCTS KICKED IN. What? That’s not real. Where are we? It cant be… this is so soon… What? Did he talk to my parents? When did he buy the ring? Where is he taking me? My brain was running a hundred miles a minute! We started walking and I saw a beautiful gazebo with lights strung all around it. I saw a photographer. I saw candles in a circle in the middle of the floor.

This was it.

I was freaking out and when I get nervous, I get SO awkward. As we were standing in the circle of candles I told him, “This is the worst April fool’s joke ever! What are you doing! Are you sweating”? and I proceeded to lift up his arms to see if he had pit stains.. he didn’t and I’m not really sure why I do some of the things I do. I’m just awkward (and he loves me anyway thank goodness!). Collin then handed me a letter he wrote because he knew he would forget all his words he had planned to say, and he got down on one knee. I couldn’t help but have the biggest smile on my face, still in shock that this day was here.

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He’s going to hate me for adding this in… but he opened the ring box upside down hahaha :) It was probably the highlight of the proposal. And he had no idea until I told him… I still said YES clearly!

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Now I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with my best friend!

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Special Thanks

Josiah Hardacre
 | Photographer
Mackenna Maynard
 | Photographer