Ever since I shared news of our engagement in December, perhaps you've wondered about the proposal, or the story of "us." Well, many of you have asked — and today I'm sharing...
So, let's start at the beginning. How did we meet? Kevin and I first met in 2008, through mutual friends. He happened to grow up in the same hometown (same neighborhood, in fact!) as a good girlfriend and roommate of mine who I met during college. (If you didn't know, I went to school at University of Wisconsin in Madison — where fate would have us meeting). At the time during my junior year, I lived with a group of girls and our building was typically the spot to gather and "pre-game" before going out. (Remember those days?). It was one of those fun nights around Thanksgiving break, and my friend/roommate, Genevieve, invited two of her guy friends from her hometown over to our place. One of them was Kevin. (And the other, Phil, is still a good friend of ours to this day!)
We all ended up having the best night together, reveling around University Ave and State Street. For Kevin and me, our timing wasn't really right. He was about to graduate early from University of Illinois and begin work in Chicago, while I was completing my junior and senior years at Wisconsin. Though we parted ways after meeting that one night in Madison, we both held on to the idea and possibility of us together again.
Fast forward to summer 2009 and we were reconnected, among a group of friends at Genevieve's lake house in Lake Mills, WI. (Again: thank you, matchmaker Genevieve!). We spent the July summer weekend swimming, boating, waterskiing, and concluding with a Dave Matthews Band concert at Alpine Valley. That's when Kevin and I really fell for each other. He was 22, and me, 21.
Something I'll always remember is how Kevin asked me to "officially" be his girlfriend back then. It was a gesture I appreciated and found quite chivalrous, really. It seems those DTR ("define the relationship") conversations are too often avoided or don't happen at all, especially in the 20-something years. So there we were, boyfriend and girlfriend. In separate cities.
Over the next year, we spent time traveling between Madison and Chicago to see one another. I would save money I earned from my college job for bus fare into the city, and Kevin would make the reverse 3 hour route from Chicago to Madison, too. Once I graduated from school and began working in Chicago myself, we really began building our lives together. Since then, we've established roots in Lakeview, enjoyed time with each other's family, developed great friendships, spent summers sailing on the lake, and have taken some pretty incredible trips together.
Then it happened. December 15, 2016: our engagement. One of the most frequent questions I've gotten is, "Did you know it was coming?!" I'll say, the engagement: Yes (I mean, c'mon, we had been together for seven years!)... but the proposal: No (it was a total surprise!).
Kevin's parents spend most of the year west near Vail, Colorado, and the two of us had a trip planned to visit them the week before Christmas. Our first night was spent at Kevin's parents' home, and the following day, Kevin had made plans for the two of us in Aspen. So Thursday morning, we drove an hour and a half through the breathtaking mountains until we reached Aspen. We checked into our hotel around 1:00pm and got settled. We were staying at The St. Regis Aspen, which was totally decked out for the holidays. Not too long after checking in and dropping our bags to the room, I suggested we take a look around and explore the hotel. By this point, we were chilling a bottle of prosecco and some beer in the bathroom sink. (#Truth.) Kevin agreed to exploring the hotel, but first left the room to "get more ice."
15 minutes or so later, Kevin returned to the room. I didn't think too much of the delay, as he said our floor's ice machine was broken and had to go to a different floor. I didn't mind, though... I was just happy to be together in such a beautiful place the week before Christmas.
We finished our drink and left our room for the lobby, which was filled with festive decor, crackling fireplaces, and sounds of Christmas music. The St. Regis is located at the base of Aspen Mountain and the hotel has a large outdoor courtyard area facing the slopes. In the middle of the courtyard was an enormous Christmas tree, complete with ornaments, and I naturally wanted to take a closer look. So Kevin and I walked out of the lobby and outdoors toward the tree. It had just begun to snow, and for whatever reason, there were no other people in this open courtyard besides us.
Approaching the tree, I was enamored by the view of the mountain and also the Christmas ornaments (anyone who knows me, understands how much I adore the holiday!). And then, I turned around to find Kevin on one knee.
I was completely surprised!
Kevin said the sweetest things to me and presented me with the most stunning diamond ring I have ever seen. I said "Yes!" of course ;)
Moments later, we were congratulated with glasses of champagne from the hotel, and Kevin had one more surprise up his sleeve. He told me to look across the courtyard... and tucked inside the lobby window was a photographer who captured the moment! Truth be told, I always imagined a low-key, private proposal — but I'm so glad Kevin had planned it how he did. It was perfect. When Kevin was "finding ice" earlier, he was actually in the lobby coordinating with the photographer!
Since it was only around 3:00 in the afternoon, we had the entire rest of the day and night to celebrate — which was an amazing way to begin our weekend as a newly engaged couple. I was convinced Kevin might ask later at night, or maybe on Christmas day, so I was pleasantly surprised. We called our families with the happy news and spent the rest of our time celebrating all over town.
So what's next? Wedding bells, of course! We recently set our date, booked a venue, and are now focusing on the larger items, like photography, music and our ceremony. I'll be sharing some wedding updates throughout the planning process — so stay tuned! Whether you're a new reader or have been an old friend, thank you for following along here and for your continued support. It really means the world. I'm feeling so happy to experience and share this special time.