Finding Your Person
The debate lives on to this day. Did we meet at Chili’s, on State Line or at the bowling alley on a night out with friends? Neither of us can quite remember, but we know we were in each other’s lives before we even spoke. When our friends Ray and Joy Sandefur were married in 2016, we were both in attendance, dressed in coordinating colors as part of their bridal party. Will claims to have wanted to dance with me that night, but asked a mutual friend instead. I would never change our love story now, but looking back, I can’t help but wonder if our timeline could have happened much sooner. For a couple of years our friend group subtly pushed us together, and we denied the connection for a long time. The regular outings inevitably resulted in couples pairing off and the two of us sitting with each other. Will started picking up my dinner bill since the servers usually just assumed we were together. These dinners turned into offers like, “Let me pick you up, so you don’t have to drive,” and, “Do you want to drive around for a little bit after dinner?” Finally, after much anticipation, we went on our first real date. It was a night out at Fuji Kim’s Sushi and Grill and going out into the woods to shoot bottles.
After that evening, I knew he was the man I was going to marry, but I wasn’t ready for that man yet. Stubbornly, I started limiting the days we could see each other. He was persistent, asking when I was next available and if group dinners counted toward our date quota. Our dates became more frequent, but I still didn’t give in to the whole relationship. Finally, after six months, I brought him to my grandfather’s 75th birthday party. An only child with a soft-spoken demeanor, Will met my entire family, and miraculously didn’t run for the hills. Everyone claims their family is crazy; I have it on good authority that we are objectively just a loud bunch. But after I witnessed Will sitting and talking with the birthday guest of honor, Paw-T, for a couple hours about various things, that’s when I stopped fighting the inevitable. Soon after, Will and I attended a New Year’s Eve party I threw as a potential new member in the Junior League of Texarkana, and we spent New Year’s Day visiting his parents and my family. On the car ride back home, he asked me to be his girlfriend, and I said yes. He was honestly in shock I agreed to make it official. We were so excited to finally admit our feelings and announce the official status to our friends only to be met with, “Duh! You two were the only ones denying that you were a couple!”
We began going on trips together and spending weekends away. We even made the trek to California for a week. Since we didn’t kill each other during that week, I thought we loved each other enough to go the distance. After another calendar year of holidays, meeting more members of the families, and traveling, Will finally proposed! We were in Dallas for the weekend, celebrating one of our best friends’ birthdays. After finishing our meal at Truluck’s, the dessert tray arrived at the table sprinkled with samples of chocolate, cheesecake, and brownies. But, perhaps the sweetest addition was one perfectly placed ring box, which I didn’t notice immediately. Will picked up the ring and got down on one knee. He was ushering me out of my seat, and I just thought it was a really mean joke. I could not mentally process that it was happening, that he was proposing at that moment, because he had me convinced that it would be a couple of months into the new year before our engagement. Convinced he would not propose this trip, I didn’t have an inkling of suspicion, and that made the surprise engagement even more special. I cautiously made my way out of the booth when I realized he was not teasing. That diamond was as real as the man of my dreams kneeling before me, asking if we could spend the rest of our lives together. I, of course, said yes! Will worked with both our mothers to plan an intimate engagement party with family and a few friends to welcome us back on Sunday. It was the perfect proposal weekend.
Admittedly, I had my eye on a wedding venue for about a month once I knew a proposal was in our near future. Wasting no time, we visited Sweet Briar Farm the next weekend and while walking the grounds, we knew it was the place and booked it. Throughout our engagement, it seemed every vendor we wanted would fall into place. The world shut down two months into our engagement, but we were optimistic that the pandemic should be over by December. We had no idea how much impact COVID-19 would have in our world!
Will and I coped with the pandemic by throwing ourselves into our house that I would move into in May. We painted, re-floored, and learned so much about each other through the process. When my lease was up, we moved me in (he must love me since he moved ALL of my things across town). As the day inched closer, we discussed moving our wedding date, reducing the guest list, eloping and having a reception at a later time, the conversations every engaged couple was forced to have during the pandemic. We decided we did not want to put off our lives, because the world around us was drowning. We had each other to keep afloat, so we pushed on. Honestly, it didn’t even feel like COVID-19 existed the day of the wedding. Sure, some people wore masks and only stayed for the ceremony, but these minor details aside, we had the best day celebrating us. In the final days leading up to December 12th, I would daydream, picturing what the day would be and imagining how it would look. It was different from my visions, but better than I had ever imagined. Most of our family could attend, many of our friends, and most importantly, we had each other. Looking back on all the decisions and trials that led up to the day of our wedding, none of them matter. We made a promise to God in front of friends and family that we would be together. Our unity ceremony included an anniversary box filled with personal letters written to each other earlier that morning, a bottle of wine, and two glasses. We placed the items in a beautiful wooden box Will built and nailed it shut. Each anniversary we will re-open the box, read the letters, write new ones, and enjoy the wine. I cannot wait to open that box again and again for years to come. It feels amazing to find your person in this world.
Photographer: Molly Kendrick Photography
Videographer: Blue Shadow Films
Wedding Jewelry: Alexander’s Jewelers
Rings: Alexander’s Jewelers
Groom’s Watch: Alexander’s Jewelers
Dress Alterations: Gracyn Elizabeth Bride
Bridesmaid Dresses: Gracyn Elizabeth Bride
DJ: Beast Texas DJs—DJ Frazier
Makeup Artist: Kimberly Bearden Beauty
Hair: Delainea Hubbard