Vivien and Zachary

Image 1 of Vivien and Zachary

How We Met

It was 5 years in the making. Zach and I both attended the University of Portland, but it was a surprise that we had never shared classes or crossed paths on such a small campus. I met Zach the last semester of sophomore year through a mutual friend as we were studying for finals. Of all things to talk about, our first conversation was about cars. I absolutely knew nothing about cars, but somehow I survived the conversation without making a fool of myself. However, summer was around the corner and I thought this was our first and last encounter. Fast forward to fall when school started up again, either fate played a role or by sheer coincidence, one of my housemates was Zach’s former roommate. I began dropping hints that I wanted to get to know Zach more around my housemate, hoping that it would get to Zach’s ears somehow, and it worked! Looking back I’ll always remember when I hesitantly went and friended him on Facebook, and almost fell out of my chair when he accepted the request, but for the longest time we only communicated via Facebook messenger.

Our conversations felt natural, and it never occurred to either one of us to ask for each other’s number. Shortly after revealing to my housemate that I thought Zach was cute, we attended a Bon Iver concert at McMennamin’s Edgefield together in a large group, and there was definitely a certain element of magic to this place. It was like a scene from a Midsummer’s Night Dream; the lights twinkling in the night, and the lush gardens and different nooks and crannies to discover. After weeks of figuring out if I liked Zach or not, this was the place where I realized I might be falling for this guy. I’ll always remember how nervous I was on that warm summer night on the balcony. I may or may not have asked several embarrassing questions, and thought I blew my chance of impressing him. I was never the type to be so nervous talking to anyone, but something about Zach had me stuttering and tripping over my words. I had just wanted to curl up and be swallowed by the floor. Zach looked so cool and composed leaning against the railings wearing a white tee and the carefree smile of his.

It’s the kind of smile that radiates from the eyes, slightly crinkles the nose, and causes you to lose your breath (cue* swoon). The music was playing softly as we talked. Although people surrounded us, it felt like it was just the two of us on that balcony. Miraculously by the end of the night, we ended up making plans to hang out more back at school. After a few more times hanging out together in a group, Zach came over to our apartment, and whether it was planned or not, at first we were all studying and doing homework with our mutual friends, and before I knew it, everyone disappeared. He had asked one of my housemates if he could borrow a guitar.

I thought he was going to strum some chords, but what he did was put on a full concert for me. It was sweet and endearing, and at that point I knew I was smitten. We started dating shortly after. There was just something about Zach that made me feel like I could take on the whole world with him by my side. Never did I think of meeting someone so perfect for me, someone who encourages me to be a better version of myself, knows how to be silly with me, be a shoulder to cry on, keeps me grounded when I’m too stubborn for my own good, exercises immense patience, and spoils me with chalupas. I’m so thrilled and blessed to have a whole life of adventures with him by my side.

Image 2 of Vivien and Zachary

how they asked

McMennamin’s Edgefield was where our relationship began to blossom, so it held such a dear place in our hearts. Every summer we would make the effort to catch a concert on the balcony that overlooked the lawn and the stage. Nothing gave it away that this particular time anything crazy was about to happen. I like to say that I’m a very observant person, and it’s incredibly hard to surprise me. We had finished grabbing dinner, and were both trying to stay cool in the sweltering August heat, when Zach decided that we should go for a walk. We aimlessly ended going down the same paths, and through lush gardens that we have explored so many times before. He led me by the hand and we walked through a small golf course and sat with our backs to the setting golden August sun.

We gazed lazily into the vineyards that we once pranced around with our friends so many years ago. The mood was just perfect with the music playing in the distant. Zach pulled me to my feet and we slowed danced to the music and he spun me around when all of a sudden, bunnies started appearing! Edgefield was always crawling with bunnies when the Sun starts to set during the summer. We instantly set out to try and get close to these cute little furry things. I was so focused on proving to Zach that I could get close to a bunny that I didn’t realized he had started recording my little mission impossible. After running around for a bit with no success, I saw one little bunny hop down a row in the vineyard, and with the encouragement of Zach, I darted after the bunny. It hopped into the bushes and disappeared out of sight. I turned around, and Zach had also magically vanished.

At this point, I still didn’t think anything of it and thought Zach was just hiding and waiting to jump out to scare me. I called out his name, and I heard him yell out “Just a few rows over!” I started talking out loud telling Zach about how close I came to the bunny, and as I came to the row Zach was in I see Zach on one knee with a ring! My mind was rapidly trying to process what was going on and how he managed to pull this off, and my heart was beating uncontrollably. He said, “I’m sorry that you couldn’t find the bunny, but I have something better. Will you marry me, honey?”

Image 3 of Vivien and Zachary

I was so shocked! I started laughing hysterically and I remembered saying, “are you kidding me?!” over and over again. I don’t think I even said yes! Zach had actually managed to completely take me by surprise.

Image 4 of Vivien and Zachary

I had the biggest smile plastered on my face as I ran into his open arms. I think that definitely qualified as a big fat Y-E-S. So, how did he manage to pull of the surprise? He put the ring in his wallet, and had me carry his wallet in my purse for safekeeping! He did it right under my nose!!

Image 5 of Vivien and Zachary

Image 6 of Vivien and Zachary

Special Thanks

Rachel Lang
 | Engagement Photos
Blue Nile
 | Ring