T h e B a c k s t o r y
Angus and I have been together for what feels like forever. We were friends first, and he claims he was in love with me long before I knew it. I fell for him in the mountains on a weekend retreat. It was the time I was able to spend with him distraction-free, and I realized how special he is on the bank of a lake. We immediately clicked and began spending every moment we could together. We fell in love at fourteen. We have changed a lot since then, but we have changed together. He is the perfect counterpart and complement to everything I am.
T h e E n g a g e m e n t
On Saturday, October 5th (my best friend Abbey’s birthday), Angus and I had plans to go with our roommates, Hanna, Caleb, and Kieran, to Charles Towne Landing. I had a feeling that Angus was planning something – he had set me up to think he was proposing the week before when he took me to watch the sunset over the water. This, combined with the outing, made me wonder if there was more to the day than an escape from college.
The weather was my favorite kind: cloudy and cool as if it were going to rain. When we came to a crossroads, Angus examined the sign, and I could see him weighing his options. We decided to see the animals first. I suspected that this meant the other pathway involved something special, so I was really able to let my guard down while we walked around.
After finishing the loop, we walked along the edge of the lake towards a big oak tree with huge, low limbs. I caught him looking at the signs multiple times, and this reinforced my thought that this may be the time. We walked past a large, historic farmhouse and towards a 500-year-old oak tree. Before then, part of my nervousness had been because he wasn’t nervous at all. I was wandering, and he didn’t seem to be worried about where I was in relation to his location. But when we left the oak tree, he grabbed my hand, and we began walking ahead of our roommates. Then I was definitely nervous. I knew it was coming, but I couldn’t help the feeling. It was a big moment. We had been talking about what we wanted for years, hoping that things could be right when we wanted them to be, and they were. We walked back towards the farmhouse and into a clearing.
In the center of the clearing was a white picket arch framing the base of an oak tree. Angus walked me to the center of the clearing, and I saw the first flash of nerves on his face. In an immediate, surreal moment, he reached into his pocket, fumbled to find the box, recovered, and dropped to a knee.
I felt myself starting to cry as he asked, “Sarah Claire, will you marry me?” I laughed a little and said, “Yes, of course!” I was stuck between wanting to kiss him and wanting to see what he had done with the ring. We had been designing the setting (although he got the final say so I would be surprised!) for about a year, and I instantly remembered all of the long, exciting nights we spent dreaming of this exact moment. I took the ring, amazed, and bent to kiss him before putting it on. (I just couldn’t wait!) I was definitely crying a lot now. I put the ring on as he stood and wrapped me into the best hug I have ever had. I never quite let go, even after he did, both because I was emotional and embarrassed. I looked over his shoulder at the ring, shaking even harder as I tried to retrain my brain to see. It was perfect. Both everything I had imagined and something completely unique. I wanted something that would withstand outdoor adventures, so the artist set the diamond low on my finger. The diamond had been in my grandmother’s engagement ring, so it has a lot of sentimental value. My grandmother knew that glitz is not important to me, but what she overlooked was that she and my grandfather had always been a foundational person in my life. The story of their love is my favorite. They met at fourteen, and on their first date, he drove her on a four-wheeler into the middle of the woods, presented a pile of rocks, and said, “This is where we will build our home someday.” That pile of rocks is the grandmother’s house I was raised in. They have always been a wonderful example of gentle, caring, companionate love. (Santa still brings them stockings every year if that tells you anything…)
Angus was nervous about me liking the ring, but he planned it perfectly. Every detail, even somehow the ones I never thought of, was immaculate, and the metal was recycled white gold! As I stared at the craftsmanship, wiped away my tears, and thought of all the time and energy my new fiancé put into this symbol of our love, I was finally able to face our roommates and let Angus go. Don’t tell my mom, but the first person I told was my best friend, Abbey. I sent her a picture exclaiming, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!”
We went and took some more photos, wanting to remember the moment. Kieran, one of Angus’s suitemates, was our photographer. I was stunned and ready to head home, curl up, and process the day/update all of our family. Our roommates wanted to keep going to historic Charles Towne, so we kept walking. I hugged onto Angus while we walked, feeling so overwhelmed. We made it to the town, and I was nervous. See, I had carved Angus a ring made of his favorite wood, black walnut, as an engagement ring of my own. Diamond rings signify that a woman is taken, but there is nothing for men that represents their relationship status until they are married. I didn’t like the double standard, and I wanted to do something special for him, so I started carving. Making the ring was difficult, but it was definitely worth it.
I distracted our roommates and snuck Angus away. I gave it to him in the nook of an oak tree overlooking the water, and he was completely surprised! He loved it, and it fit perfectly!
We left, exhausted, and thrilled. It was the perfect day, and we were over the moon with the promise of our future together.
And now…the wedding planning.