Vanessa and Zachary

How We Met

Zach and Vanessa met at Wisconsin Academy during freshman year in 2009 and went separate ways after graduation in 2013. Their story actually began in November of 2016. On Wednesday the 9th, Vanessa had traveled to Andrews University for a gymnastics event. A couple of days and a couple of texts later, Zach and Vanessa found themselves caught up in the middle of a crowded gym. That Saturday night, before the team headed back to Lincoln, Zach and Vanessa exchanged Snapchat names and went their separate ways again. Soon, they found themselves making plans to meet up during Thanksgiving break. Zach actually slept through what was supposed to be their first date!

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Vanessa was jokingly not impressed, but because he had a good reason, they decided to try again the next day. On Thanksgiving day, they went on their first date! Vanessa was a bit nervous wondering if anything would become of this friendship. Zach made her feel so comfortable, his humor eased away from her nervous. They saw each other again during Christmas break. They remember talking and laughing their heads off over some chicken wings and brisket quesadillas at their favorite spot: Applebee’s. The next time they saw each other was in February. On Saturday the 11th, Zach asked Vanessa to be his girlfriend and she immediately agreed! The distance between them was unfortunate, but not impossible to manage. They visited at least once a month and Skyped every Friday night.

How They Asked

I was so especially excited for this date night because Zach and I were going to try a new pizza place! We had been talking for a couple of weeks about eating some crunchy thin crust pizza and the day had arrived. We got ready and headed out the door. Before we hopped in the car, I suggested we take a selfie, so we did. Zach doesn’t hate taking pictures, but he’s not very fond of it either. Regardless, this time he didn’t complain when I retook the picture. When we got to the park, the sun was setting so it was getting dark fast. Zach kept complaining that he couldn’t see anything and that due to some construction at the park, the walk wasn’t “romantic” enough. He insisted that we go to the other side of the park. He thought we could walk along the bridge that looks out into the Ohio River.

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When we made it to the bridge, we walked all the way down and all the way back. Like always, we talked about everything and anything. We stopped to watch as the rest of the sun faded away. Zach asked me if I would remember this date night and I said something along the line of “Yes, especially because we’re long distance so our dates always mean the world to me.” I just looked away or nodded my head to move my hair because when I looked again, he was pulling his hand out of his pocket. He said, “Yea, I think you will too.” And with that, he knelt on the ground and asked me to marry him. I always thought that I’d cry and immediately say yes, but the surreal feelings kicked in before any other feeling. For about 30 seconds I asked him a series of questions: “Is this real? Are you sure? Are you kidding?” When it finally hit me that you couldn’t really fake a ring, I replied:

“Yes, of course!”