Zach and Lauren

Image 1 of Zach and Lauren

How we met

The couple met over the summer of 2010 while working at KPMG in Tampa. They quickly became work friends; however, Lauren left the firm later that year. They did not speak again until one day when Zach saw Lauren out and was completely ignored by her. Never one to let something go, Zach contacted Lauren to playfully call her out for her horrible manners! Although the person Zach saw ended up being a Lauren doppelgänger, a budding relationship began!

Image 2 of Zach and Lauren

Lauren and Zach continued to keep things casual for many months. Both had major life changes and wanted time to find themselves. It was not difficult since Zach had started a job which required him to travel a significant amount of time. Lauren’s job kept her extremely busy.

In April 2011, Zach had to spend some time in Amsterdam for work. Ever the adventurous type, he randomly invited Lauren for a long weekend in Amsterdam. Against her normal conservative nature, Lauren booked a flight to Amsterdam. Although Zach was 2 hours late to pick her up from Schipol airport, the rest of the trip went off without a hitch and a budding romance began. Not to mention Lauren was able to check off one of her dream visits!

Image 3 of Zach and Lauren

Going against everything they were taught about relationships, Lauren and Zach moved in together and shortly after officially declared themselves a couple. The exact day/month this happened is continually in question, but it was sometime in late 2011. The ensuing years brought many adventures. The first year of our relationship was nearly more time apart then together. Zach worked a job which required him to travel extensively. Lauren worked a job which demanded an excessive amount of time during many parts of the year. They took advantage of all we they could which included trips to visit Portland, Oregon; Sydney, Australia; and 4 days of scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Fun fact: Lauren dove with a broken rib she earned from Zach’s wayward surf board the day before.

Image 4 of Zach and Lauren

Once Zach moved on from the heavy travel job (yes, what he does now is not ‘heavy’ travel), Lauren and Zach finally had the opportunity to grow as a couple…over the next 3 years. The couple experienced many ups: job changes; promotions; new experiences; traveling and adventuring; plays; galas; growth in relationships with friends and family; as well as a few major downs: B-Lou’s, their dachshund, development and treatment of pancreatitis; Pamela’s, Zach’s mother, passing; and Zach’s failure to “pop the question” in a reasonably timely manner. The couple learned and grew from all of these experiences when finally…

Image 5 of Zach and Lauren

how they asked

Zach and I traveled to Michigan for a friend’s wedding. This was my first time visiting Zach’s home state in the summer. Prior to that I had only been during Thanksgiving and honestly didn’t see what all the fuss was about, but now I know. The weather was amazing and everyone was so nice. After the wedding we headed to Traverse City to spend a few days enjoying the first real vacation we had as a couple in over a year. The first day we got a feel for the town and grabbed dinner with a one of Zach’s college buddies and his wonderful family. The next day we had a special wine tour and dinner planned so I knew the day would be awesome – but I had no idea.

Image 6 of Zach and Lauren

The day of our engagement we woke up and had a hardy breakfast at a little diner and then explored the town. We did some shopping, vodka (Lauren) and whiskey (Zach) tasting, and went to Cherries Republic! For anyone that knows me, they know I love cherries, so it was quite the experience eating cherry tarts while slipping on cherry cider. We then went to the hotel and changed for our evening. Zach had arranged for a tour guide that would take us to three wineries and then to The Boathouse (a really fancy restaurant) for dinner.

The first stop was a 2 Lads winery with a breath taking view of the peninsula. While we were there a storm rolled in as we sipped on some amazing wine. The second stop was to a smaller winery, Bowers Harbor Vineyard, that had both wine and cider. While enjoying our cider (Lauren) and wine (Zach) flights the weather cleared up and we enjoyed every minute of each other’s company while imagining what it would be like to live on a winery. It was one of those really romantic conversations where you tell each other how much you love them and talk of the future. Zach even mentioned then that his father (Dan) told him that it is obvious how much I love him. (At the time I had no idea that statement was Dan’s response when Zach told him that he was going to ask me to marry him. Dan and my father (Ken) were the only two that knew the plan). The last and final winery of the tour was Brys Estate.

They were near closing time and Zach and I seemed to be the only people there. We had a tasting and then selected a wine to have a glass of. While drinking it, a lady approached us and said that if we hurried she could give us a tour of the wine making process before a very special event took place. Zach and I followed her to the back. As we walked in, I noticed a beautiful room. It was the “cask” room which was being prepared for the “special event”. We were quickly moved away from that room and continued on our way. We completed the tour and as we were leaving we had to pass the cask room again. This time the guide said “before you leave – you should check out the cask room”. I thought it was so odd that she wanted us to check out the room that was being prepared for an event but didn’t want to be rude so I walked in. In the room there was a table with a white table cloth, candles, rose petals, two glasses of wine, and one bottle of wine. I went straight to the back to check out the casks. When I turned around I found Zach sipping out of one of the glasses of wine! I was mortified. I mean, you can’t just drinking wine you find on the tour and was sure he had gotten us kicked out of this place. Then…

Lauren: “What are you doing?!?!?!?!?”
Zach: “It’s ok, it’s for us.”
Lauren: “Huh?”

Image 7 of Zach and Lauren

Then Zach picked up the bottle of wine (pinot noir – our favorite) and turned the bottle so I could see a label that had been placed on the back that said “Will you marry me?” As I read the bottle and tried to process what was happening, Zach pulled a ring out of his pocket and started to drop to a knee. I grabbed him and pulled him back up.

Lauren: “Is this real?”
Zach, laughing a little: “Yes – it is real.”
Lauren: “YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Image 8 of Zach and Lauren

Image 9 of Zach and Lauren

And then I cried, kissed Zach, and promptly put my ring on. We then went out to the bar were all of the ladies working at the winery and our guide clapped and congratulated us. They knew the whole time!!

I couldn’t believe that Zach managed to plan that evening from Florida prior to our trip. I always knew that Zach wasn’t the type to propose in a simple way, but this was the most perfect moment of my life (so far). I honestly felt like a princess in a fairy tale. I guess this is the part where we live happily ever after.