So, I’ve been remiss with some certain exciting news on this here blog about love and marriage and newlywed life.
My little sister – my “built-in best friend” is GETTING MARRIED!
Kelly and her boyfriend of two and a half years, Matt, got engaged in July right before her twenty-fourth birthday. I am so excited to be her Maid of Honor in their June wedding next year, and of course, plan to document the fun details of the planning process as much as they will allow me 😉 I asked Kelly if she would share her engagement story with you all, and she graciously agreed.
– – –
If you want to know the short version of my engagement story, here it is:
Matt and I went on vacation with friends this past summer. He proposed on the beach with a fake ring at sunset. I said yes.
So before you start thinking, “How lame, how cliche!” you might want to listen to the long version.
Before Matt even knew he was going to marry me, he knew what he would be doing the summer of 2012. During Matt’s senior year of college, he and his housemates started to make a pact for future reunions after graduation. One of his roommates, Will, would be living and working in El Carmen de Bolivar, Colombia, with MCC’s SEED service program. Like a true band of brothers, they vowed to go visit Will when his term was halfway through. They followed through with the plans, and they graciously extended this International Celebration Trip to include myself and my friend Kate. We were headed to Colombia in July!
Fast forward to summer 2012. After several days in Will’s “hometown” in Columbia, we headed up to the coast of Santa Marta for beach vacation time. It was a little paradise – white sand, beautiful water, palm trees, gorgeous mountains and cliffs that hugged the coast. It was beautiful. We enjoyed the downtime, delicious food, and beautiful night skies. It also gave us a chance to process the past few days of travel and a wealth of new culture.
One evening, we decided to take some group photos on the beach before sunset. Kate and I put on some dresses for the occasion. As we got ready for photos, the sweet lady who had been making all our meals was preparing food in the kitchen. Another lady who was helping her started talking to Kate and me. It took me a minute to realize she was talking to me, and by the time I tuned in, all I heard in Spanish (or thought I heard) was “Are you the girlfriend?” You see, at this point in my Spanish speaking career, I understand probably about 80% of what is being said and can muddle through most conversations. It turns out that it was actually sort of a blessing because she was spilling the beans and asking if I was the one who was getting proposed to tonight. I continued to engage the conversation, confused as to why she would be asking me about my boyfriend and sharing about a wedding that apparently recently happened here at the beach. “Are you the one who is getting married?” I heard in Spanish. “You look like you’re dressed for matrimony.” I turned around for Kate’s help and language support, but she had a bewildered look on her face as well. I figured she was just as confused as I was about the conversation.
Meanwhile, as I continued to get ready, Kate and Will ran upstairs to tell Matt that I knew what was about to happen – the cook had spilled the beans. Matt was super bummed and thinking, “Now it’s not going to be a surprise! Should I even do it tonight? It’s ruined!” But he pressed on and went through the motions of pictures somewhat distracted, though I never knew the difference. I suppose I was more distracted by Will’s insistence that he and Drew and Ben wanted to go climb the rocks/cliff before the sun set. They pushed through photos and quick scurried back up to the house to change and get sneakers. I was a little baffled since they had been climbing on them earlier that day, and I didn’t understand the sudden urgency to do it again. But then again, sometimes you just gotta let boys be boys. Matt and I stayed a little longer for more pictures and then ventured back up to the house. Kate told me she wanted to go journal and take my camera just to snap some pictures outside (this didn’t phase me, either – totally normal Kate behavior.)
Soon, it was just Matthew and me. He suggested we go back down to the beach and walk the guys climb. I half-heartedly agreed to come along. As we made our way down the beach, we saw the guys walking back up the shore towards us. “Didn’t they just start climbing? It’s been like 15 minutes!” I told Matt incredulously. We met them and Drew quickly covered by saying they were going back to get some drinks – did I want one? They continued on, and Matt pushed to keep walking. I saw a chair off in the distance and stopped him.
“Wait – Matt! That’s Kate! She wanted her alone time. We better not go over there.”
He assured me Kate wasn’t over there and pushed me to keep walking. When we got closer, I saw it wasn’t one chair, but two. And there was wine in a bucket with flowers on the ground. There was a fruit plate with watermelon cut in the shape of hearts. So sweet! And, of course, I immediately said to Matt very sincerely, “Oh, this is Kate and Ben’s Colombia date! We have to leave, Matt!” ” (As a wedding gift for Ben and Kate, the guys gave them a year of dates, which also included a Colombia date.)
Poor guy – I asked way too many questions. He thought I knew what was going on and was trying to get out of it.
“No, Kelly, this is for us… this is our date.”
Suddenly, it all made sense. He sat me down in one of the chairs and proceeded to share how much he loved me and looked forward to sharing our lives together. He got down on his knee, the waves crashing behind him, and asked, “Kelly Elizabeth Brewer, will you marry me?”
“Yes, I will!”
Next thing I know, Kate pops out of the rocks with camera in hand and snaps a few shots. Our own paparazzi! I admired my fancy, cubic-zirconia $15 Target ring, thankful that Matt had the sense not to bring the real deal in a backpack to Colombia. We enjoyed the rest of the beautiful evening together before celebrating again with our friends; there’s nothing better than soaking in such a wonderful and sweet moment of life.
Matt and I both went on a Middle East cross-cultural in college, and our professor once described what it would feel like arriving on the first day of our cross-cultural semester. It builds and builds for days – 25% excitement, 50% excitement, 75% the week before, and finally to about 99.9% when you actually land in the spot you’ve been planning for so long. He said it would be a moment to put us to just about the fullest capacity of excitement in living. But only 99.9% percent because at 100%, you’d just simply die on the spot by cause of full-living.
Saying “yes” to my best friend and love just about put me to 99.9%… hopefully our wedding day doesn’t put me over the top 😉