Dillon and I began talking seriously about marriage over the summer, with confidence and peace that this is God’s will for us. Since then I have known that a proposal was forthcoming but that the timing of it was entirely in Dillon’s hands. We have since talked loosely about wedding ideas, ideas for potential wedding dates, prospective places to live, and even drawn up a detailed would-be household budget. It has given me great peace to know that our hearts are invested even more deeply into our future marriage and home than in our wedding, even though we are incredibly excited for both! Needless to say, despite all of our discussions on these matters, he managed to completely surprise me with the timing of our proposal this weekend.
Our community group at church was having a costume party on Saturday night and I had originally thought Dillon and I would attend. When I asked him about costume ideas on Thursday, he said that he’d like to go out for a fancy dinner on Saturday night instead. He is usually excited to join in on community activities, but I surprisingly did not find anything strange about his suggestion. He was supposed to be helping a friend with something during the day on Saturday so we planned for him to come pick me after he was finished. I spent the day relaxing, completely unaware of what was about to happen. He confirmed our plans later in the afternoon and said he’d come pick me up for dinner at 5.
When 5 o’clock rolled around I thought I saw one of my best friend’s cars parked out front, but I dismissed it because I was still expecting Dillon to arrive for our date. As I waited for him, my mom handed a letter to me that she’d written with sweet words of encouragement and affirmation. It is not unusual for her to give me such notes ‘just because’ so at first I didn’t think anything of it. I’m pretty sure my response to her was, ‘This is random. But thank you! I’m blessed by these words.’ At which point she told me to go outside. It was at that moment that I realized what was happening, because Dillon always comes inside when he picks me up.
I think I exclaimed to my family, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m getting engaged today! Why are you all not freaking out?!’ as I walked out the door. They were keeping calm because they didn’t want to confirm or deny what was about to happen. When I went outside, my dear friend rolled down her window and greeted me with a huge smile. When I got into her car, she handed me a handwritten letter from herself and a clue – the first of several on a scavenger hunt Dillon had arranged. As we drove, she prayed with me and asked me why I was excited to marry Dillon. I am so, so thankful that she helped me slow down and savor the moment instead of getting swept up in the surprise of it all.
When we arrived at the destination of our first clue, Chipotle, I immediately spotted another dear friend of mine sitting inside by the window. I went inside to see her and she gave me a huge hug, and then handed me another handwritten letter and my second clue. She joined us in the car and we set off for our second destination, our church, where Dillon and I first became friends.
The three of us drove there with much excitement, and I found a third friend of mine there upon arrival to deliver the third clue and another handwritten letter. She gave me a huge hug and sent us on our way to the next destination, the center of a charming small town where Dillon and I met up on our first date. As we drove, the excitement began to mix with good nerves, as I still had no idea of when we would reach Dillon. My friends were so helpful in making the car ride as celebratory as possible, helping me really steep in the goodness of what was about to happen.
When we arrived at the general store in that charming small town, Dillon’s mom was there to greet me. The sweetest part of this stop in our journey was that she was holding her phone with Dillon’s oldest sister on Facetime to deliver my last clue from London. I had originally thought that Dillon wouldn’t propose to me until his sister came home from England later this year, but he found a way to include her in the day from across the world. I got to talk with her for a few moments and then received the clue for my last destination, the end of the trail where Dillon and I went for a walk on our first date – the place where our story was first set into motion. I handed the phone back to his mom and she handed me three letters, one from herself, one from his sister, and one from his grandmother, and then gave me a huge hug and sent us on our way. I could hardly contain my excitement as I anticipated what was about to happen.
When we arrived at the last destination, I saw market lights strung on the trees with candles, and Dillon standing in the center of it all, looking handsome as can be. I heard a song that is significant to us playing softly in the background as I walked over to him. All I remember seeing in that moment was Dillon’s face as he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He placed a beautiful ring on my finger and we enjoyed the moment together, overwhelmed with joy at what had just happened.
After we steeped in the moment, I looked around and took everything in. I wanted to remember every detail, the crunchy leaves beneath my shoes, the warm glow of the market lights, the sweet details he’d decorated with – including my favorite flower, the way the trees looked, and most importantly of it all, the smile on his face. There was so much joy, and I am still in awe at the way he put together such a special evening to mark this milestone in our story. I am incredibly thankful to call him my future husband!
Thank you kindly to my friends Krystina (photos 4, 5, 6)
and Tara (1, 7) for capturing these sweet moments!