How We Met: Andrew and I met in 2006 when I was a freshman and He was a sophomore in our high school yearbook class. I instantly knew that we were going to get along and be friends when he sat down beside me. We dated on and off all through high school. You could say it was a typical Corey and Topanga meets Mississippi backroads relationship where it was nothing typical and always entertaining. We went our separate ways for years and it wasn’t until December of 2015 where we would reconnect….. on Tinder of all places. I was getting ready to take a travel nursing assignment in Colorado and had no idea where this would lead but I swiped right and messaged him. We exchanged numbers, he still had mine saved but his had changed, and started talking. I came home for a few days and we decided to meet up where we had one of our first dates in high school… Waffle House (stay classy). After all these years it felt like no time had passed at all and I knew that I still loved this man sitting across from me and we chatted for what seemed like hours.
Stories About Our Relationship: Her story: Andrew and I love to travel. While I was away in Colorado on my nursing assignment, I invited Andrew to come visit me for a few days. We stayed in the picturesque Garden of the Gods Resort which overlooked my favorite hiking spot in Colorado, Garden of the Gods. While he was visiting, we drove up Pikes Peak which is 14,114 feet above sea level and Andrew insisted he wanted to drive… What he didn’t tell me, was that he was deathly afraid of heights…so the forty-five minute spiral drive up the snowy mountains with very few guardrails was interesting… Once we reached to the top, we were light-headed and dizzy but enjoyed a few selfies and the incredible view overlooking Colorado Springs. It’s safe to say, I drove down the rest of the way and mid-way the Ranger stopped to check my car breaks as a pre-caution. They were overheated and we had to wait an hour in a cabin thrift store while a snow storm was brewing then safely made it down the mountain.
His story: Lacey’s always loved traveling and I knew that a life with Lacey would always be an adventure. When we were in Colorado, she mentioned to me that she had a six-week trip planned to see her friends, Matthew and Aaron, in London, England for their wedding. Being in a relationship with a travel nurse was quite difficult but with modern technology it was easier. I couldn’t imagine being away for another six-weeks from each other so when she asked me to come visit her for a week, I seized the opportunity. Not only am I afraid of heights, flying long distances isn’t my forte either but in late August I made the trip over to England. I never thought I’d have the privilege to travel overseas but knew it would be an incredible experience. I planned a date night which included front row tickets to Aladdin in Prince Edward Theatre, a night at this super cool historic hotel, Hazlitt’s, and dinner at the “most romantic restaurant in the world”, Clos Maggiore which was breathtaking. During that trip there were many surprises by Lacey including a hotel overlooking Tower Bridge, a VIP champagne experience on the London Eye, and more, that this was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It’s funny how life works. We went our separate ways and moved on but falling back in love with each other through travel is our greatest adventure. Lead Up to the Proposal (Andrew): When Lacey got back from her travel nursing assignment in late May, we were hanging out one night and discussing where our next adventure would be. Growing up in Chicago, I had always wanted to take Lacey there to show her the city where I grew up and talked so much about. We decided on a late fall trip which would coincide a few months after our London adventure but right before the busy holidays. As soon as we got back from our London trip I started searching for the perfect engagement ring. Thanks to Pinterest and many hinted conversations, I picked out the perfect engagement ring in September and started to plan our Chicago engagement. My job in event marketing / communications helped a lot in my proposal and I knew that I’d have to find the perfect spot. I stumbled upon Flytographer through Twitter and knew it would be the perfect tool to help capture our perfect day. Lacey and I are avid travelers and love to check out the local zoos in the places we visit but I didn’t want to get engaged in front of a gorilla exhibit but remember frequenting Lincoln Park Zoo as a kid so I started looking at what some of the Flytographer photographers have shot in that area and stumbled upon Lincoln Park Zoo’s Nature Boardwalk which has this really cool wood sculpture overlooking the Chicago skyline and I knew that would be the place.
Proposal Moment: After two months of phone calls and Skype meetings with the incredibly talented Tedi at Flytographer and photographer Michael, our Chicago trip was here. My mom traveled with us from Memphis to go visit her friends which helped because I was able to hide the ring in her luggage without Lacey finding out. This was it.. the moment I knew she had waited her whole life for but had no idea was coming this weekend. Our first day in Chicago, we landed super early so our day full of sightseeing was jam-packed and at every moment I was paranoid that she’d find out the plan. At dinner Saturday night, we decided for a casual night at Gino’s East, so she could try Chicago deep dish pizza. We’re prosecco-holics so we ordered a bottle with our pizza and being the paranoid person I was, I thought for sure that night she had figured it out, especially when our shared iTunes playlist seemed to be the restaurant’s background music (three songs in a row even made me suspicious...) On Sunday morning, I told Lacey we had a full day ahead which included brunch at the Walnut Room inside the State Street Macy’s, a Christmas tradition for thousands each year, a trip to Lincoln Park Zoo and then some other things were in store. After our brunch at the Walnut Room, we slowly made our way to the zoo where she mentioned that it seemed silly how dressed up we were to be at the zoo. At this point, I was trying to hide the ring and ring box in my blazer so I kept to the left of her at all times which included a few awkward moments of her wondering why I was always on the same side. I was running thirty minutes too early from what I told Michael, our photographer, so we made our way through the hot as hell indoor conservatory which was like a sauna and didn’t help with my nerves. After I pretended to be interested in thousands of fern species, we made our way to what I called “my favorite spot to take a Chicago selfie” and took our pre-proposal shot. Since I was still a few minutes early we made our way through the nature boardwalk and stopped just before the wood sculptural education pavilion. The photographer and I made eye contact and she turned around before I could ask her to take a picture of the skyline. I told her we needed to move inside for a better shot and then got on one knee and said, “Our love is the greatest adventure we could go on. Let’s start our next chapter and get married. Lacey Lee Wheeler will you marry me?” Shocked and in total disbelief, Lacey finally said “yes” as I pointed that Michael, our photographer caught every moment on camera (a must for planning a proposal). After our engagement shoot with Michael (which I highly recommend), and an exciting FaceTime call with her parents, I had one more surprise in store. For the past few months we had been eating at Maggiano’s in Nashville, a premonition to our engagement dinner. Growing up, Maggiano’s was the place my family celebrated special moments and family get-togethers so when we arrived my Aunt Cathy had planned a huge surprise engagement dinner with my family which was the perfect way to begin our new crazy life together and a glimpse of what it’s like to be a part of my family.