This weekend was… unlike any other. I proposed to the love of my life – the future Mrs. Laura Nelsen. I’m THRILLED!
Quite a bit of lying and truth-bending had to be done in order to keep it a surprise, but in the end the piles of guilt were quite worth it.
If you’d like the full story, scroll to the bottom. If you want the concise photo-story, here you are:
The Back Story:
Our story began a little over a year ago. Laura and I worked at the same coffee shop and I had noticed her. I didn’t know much about her. She was quiet, calm and gorgeous. All of those intimidated me. Laura was the kind of girl who you know is out of your league in the way she cares and loves. Her smile has brought more than empty comfort to so many friends and family members. I was attracted to her physically to be sure, but it was the way that she went after the things that were important to her that really attracted me. I loved the way she loved, her delicacy and her joy. She wasn’t always singing-songs-and-laughing happy, but she had joy and love unlike anything I had ever seen.
But I didn’t know her. I wanted to be sure she was real. Having just come out of a relationship earlier, I was more interested in a good solid friendship. So I investigated.
I have gotten quite a bit of critique for being ‘creepy’. I made a fake email address and wrote her to encourage her. I equate that to being a modern-day secret admirer, but I’ll let you make your own deductions. I made sure she would have no idea who was sending the emails. Of course she knew right away (very smart girl) and she actually emailed me back! I fell in love with her right away. She had never been in a relationship before and we took everything slow. We didn’t say ‘I love you’ until it was beyond containing. We weren’t physical at the beginning and we have saved ourselves completely for our wedding night. We had conversations and coffee, made baked goods and watched movies, spent time with friends and exchanged Scripture. We were honest about feelings and it didn’t take long before we were deep in love – the kind you don’t ever give up.
We started a conversation with that first email and haven’t stopped since. And we never will.
Being a photographer, I have to make plans WAY ahead of time since my weekends are busy with weddings, etc. Laura and I had talked engagement and were thrilled at the idea of being together. She knew it was coming at some point (since we had to set a date ahead of time), but she had no clue when. I made sure to keep her very confused with fake clues, joking about truths and having all her friends and family tell her different stories. She was getting very excited about Fall Break (we were going to her house) until I told her that my work was going to take me away that weekend to Louisville, Kentucky. She was very sad. I actually tried to cheer her up over dinner at a nice restaurant – I felt so bad! Thursday morning I got up, got dressed for work (nametag and all) and left at the proper time. I went straight to her house, pretending to go to Kentucky.
The previous three weeks I had been busy making preparations. I had picked up the ring, talked to her father (and family) and planned like a fiend. I wrote a children’s story about two trees and how they had a long journey to each other with plenty of trouble, but in the end they are glad for the journey when they have each other. I also consulted close friends to help me choose a nice dress, shoes, jewelry and a cashmere wrap (since it was cold). I made the calls I needed and began the lies.
Once at her house, her mom and I went to Wal-Mart and got roses and insoles (because I’m short). We put half the flowers in a vase on her desk and the other six roses became petals for her bed. I laid the printed book on top of the rose petals and put the dress, shoes, etc. in her closet where she would see them.
Laura arrived home downtrodden and sad. Her mom gently directed her to her room and she saw the book. The end of the book said ‘Look in your closet and get ready’. At that point, two of her close friends appeared and helped her get ready – hair, nails, the whole shebang. They walked her out to a hill in her backyard – her favorite spot – and I was standing there smiling. [She looked… stunning… I didn’t breathe for what seemed like minutes.] Her bright smile could have been seen for miles. She knew. When she got to me it was raining lightly and I threw my umbrella down, kissed her and pulled the ring from my back pocket. On one knee I asked her to be the person to marry me – to be a witness to my life, a helper and my best friend. She said yes. [Side note: I thought it was traditional to wear an engagement ring on the right hand and switch it over when you get married. I was wrong.] We just stood there for a while and started back. As we were walking back, a green Camry came barreling up the driveway. I shrugged it off – but it was my parents! My future mother-in-law had surprised me with my parents! EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT!
Laura and I went to dinner and just smiled over sushi and main courses I can’t pronounce. We found a site for a ceremony, a reception, and a rehearsal dinner the day after – all open! Our good friend is helping us with wedding planning, the two great girls over at LinneaLiz Photography (www.linnealiz.com) have offered their photography (love you guys!) and my iPod has volunteered to be DJ. Wow!
May 8th will come so quickly. I will be the luckiest, happiest, most blessed man in the entire world.
God is good. I don’t deserve the things He gives.
:: a very happy jer ::