|About 2003 - some early engagement pictures taken by my Dad|
HOW WE MET:
I had just gotten out of my high school romance (first love) of 3 years and I was a freshman in college. I was living with my wonderful grandmother in town and commuting to school in Nashville. I was ready to date but not looking (I had just had my heart-broken). I went to my cousin's college graduation party at my Aunt's house and there were some of their friends there that I didn't know. Their son was their too (Michael) but I didn't meet him that night. I definitely got a good look at him and later I told my Aunt that I thought he was a "hottie" (this was Dec. 2001). Well she is a notorious match-maker (she set up my parents and her daughter with their spouses) and she told Michael what I had said and gave him my number (after she asked my parent's permission). He called me out of the blue and asked if we could go out to eat and I said yes. He came and picked me up at my parent's home one weekend that I was there and we went out to eat at Olive Garden and went to see some movie. The main thing you need to know is at the time he drove a jacked up Ford bronco that he had to literally hoist me into. So yeah it got a little personal that first date. Haha! We did kiss goodnight and I remember thinking that was a fun date but didn't have any expectations. Well the next day he shows back up to our house on his Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle and spends the day with me and my family and we got to know each other more.
We ended up dating for a while....like about 8 months and then we broke it off. The fact was that I was a Christian and he wasn't. So some things he was ready for at that point, I was not ready for. Michael will tell you that he "had his head up his butt" during our 1 month breakup and he wrote me really sweet letter (no texting back then) and we made up and started dating again very soon. I did make him earn my trust back though and he started to go to church with me fairly regularly.
The main thing was that God and church were first in my life (or at least I was trying to make them my top priority) and so a lot of times he would want me to go riding on the motorcycle on pretty Sunday mornings and I was like "no, I will be at church and you are welcome to join me." He finally got the hint that this God thing wasn't going away if he wanted to be with me.
HOW WE GOT ENGAGED:
In December 2002, a couple of days after Christmas, my extended family on my Mom's side was all gathered for our family Christmas. After the festivities were over, Michael and I left to head back to my house (my parent's house) and decided to take a walk down by the riverfront area of the town we were in. They have a huge Christmas light display every year along the river front walking area so we wanted to just walk around and talk. I didn't know it at the time but Michael had bought a ring a few weeks prior and was just waiting for the right moment to ask me. I didn't have a clue and we left there and headed to take me home. When we got to my house we went in and got warm and we were just hanging out and waiting for the rest of my family to arrive home from the gathering. Then Michael asked me to step out on the front porch for a minute to look outside at the stars (or something...I honestly can't recall the reason LOL). Then once out on the porch of my childhood home he dropped to one knee and gave me the biggest shock by asking me to marry him. I said "oh my God" when I saw him take a knee and then said "yes" through tears. The ring was beautiful and perfectly picked out for me by him. A little bit later all my family (parents and siblings) arrived home and we shared our happy news. Michael had came down the week before (when I was at my grandmother's house for school) and asked for Dad's permission to have my hand in marriage. Once he got his blessing he met them for supper one night to show my Mom the ring too. Shortly after we got engaged, Michael decided to give his life to the Lord and was baptized into Christ. I am not sure if we would be here today if he hadn't of decided to change his life. I am glad that I trusted the Lord and said yes even though he hadn't said yes to God yet. We were engaged for 1.5 years while I finished my Associates degree and planned our wedding.
|Getting my dress fitted at the bridal salon|
|A group of friends that gave me a lingerie shower. Mandy (top - right) is now my sister-in-law|
|At my work shower the spring before we married. Tanning bed anyone?|
|Just playing around with hairstyles for the wedding. Tiaras were all the rage in 2004!|
THE WEDDING DAY:
We married on a beautiful June day in 2004 at my home church. There was a pop-up thunderstorm (as happens in the south when the humidity goes up) during the ceremony but was gone shortly after the ceremony ended and reception began. Then God decided to really show off and sent us a beautiful rainbow during the reception. We are so thankful to our photographer (my cousin whose graduation party we first saw each other) that she got this incredible picture that we will treasure forever.
Anybody else get married in 2004? I can't believe it's been so long and yes we were babies when we got married. I was barely 21 and he was 25!