They’ve been together for a long time–since they were young highschoolers–and if you’ve spent any amount of time with them, it’s easy to pick up on their deep level of friendship and love for each other. They first spotted each other when she was a freshman, he a sophomore. “I was quite smitten with him because he was a cute, older boy,” she said.
It happened to be on Valentine’s Day when he first asked her out. One of Carolyn’s friends invited her boyfriend, Carolyn, and Marc over after a basketball game on a Friday evening. “It’s hard to remember, but I’m fairly certain Marc and I had never hung out or even talked much before this night. The house had a mini movie theater downstairs and we were hanging out when Marc asked me to go upstairs with him. He grabbed a few things from behind a chair and asked me to be his girlfriend by giving me a rose and a burned CD of Tim McGraw’s greatest hits. He actually made his own cover with the songs handwritten and the cover colored with blue crayon because that’s my favorite color.” Her parents came later to pick them up in their minivan (“Ah…young love,” she said) and Marc added, “That’s as close to a ‘date’ as we could have at that age.”
I absolutely adore these two. We spent the evening at Elmcrest Golf Course for their engagement session and we spent a considerable amount of the session laughing, which just goes to show how easy is it to make friends with them. I’m so thrilled to be part of their wedding in the spring and I already am itching to get them back in front of my camera because, duh, look at them and also, I can’t wait to hang out with them again.
When I asked how he proposed, Marc filled me in. “This part was stressful, but I nailed it. After 13 years of dating, I had to do this right and I wanted to maintain some element of surprise…but she didn’t make it easy. She told me she didn’t want me to propose on or near a holiday or in front of anyone. She also has a soy allergy, so restaurants/trips are pretty much ruled out. I got the ring in November of 2015, just in time for crappy weather and the holiday season. On top of that, we had only been back in Iowa for a few months so we didn’t have any ‘special’ places that weren’t associated with high school.
“So, I let the holiday season pass. The first week of January I contacted one of her friends at work and had her plan ‘to get drinks’ with Carolyn on Friday night. We checked out a couple wedding venues in the area already and we both really liked the Palmer House Stable in Solon, but it was going to be too small for our party. So I set up the proposal there. Carolyn’s friend picked her up that night to get drinks at the Solon brewery down the road from the stable. They pulled up to the stable and I was waiting for her.”
Carolyn added in a few details from her perspective: “My friend, Sarah, picked me up and we went to get pedicures before heading to Solon. I told her I wanted to show her Palmer House Stable because it was right down the road from Big Grove Brewery. As we passed it, she pulled over and stopped and I was like, ‘Okay, that’s weird. She really wants to see this place.’ There was a man standing on the corner right in front of us, but I didn’t pay attention to him at all. Side note: I lived in NYC for 3 years and in the time learned to master blocking random people from view, so honestly, had no clue who the man was. Until…my friend said, ‘Carolyn…look!’ And it was Marc. Dressed in a suit. Standing outside on one of the coldest nights of the winter. He opened the door and I stepped out, completed shocked. Sarah was like, ‘Byeeeeee’ and took off.”
“I took her inside…had ‘our songs’ playing, candles lit, and the champagne on ice,” Marc said. “We danced to a few songs and I popped the question on a knee. Then we went downstairs and I had a very nice candle lit dinner catered and served by The Bread Garden…soy free of course. I had our parents join us for dinner because family is very important to both of us, and we wouldn’t have made it that far without their love and support. I’m very proud of this night as you can tell. Gold star for Marc.”
“Since we started dating when we were so young, I don’t know that there was one moment when I knew he was the one. More likely, there were a whole bunch of small moments that happened that led me to believe we would spend the rest of our lives together. I think a huge part of our relationship has been growing up together. We started out as 14 & 15 year olds who were just starting high school. … Each time our relationship overcame a challenging situation (college, traveling abroad, living in separate places), we became more solid and it was clear we were meant to be together. We have transitioned through one life phase to the next over the past 13 years. That’s how I know we’ll make it through the rest of our life phases together.”
I asked what they’re looking forward to most about their wedding day and Carolyn said it will be a culmination of 14 years together. “In many ways, Marc and I already feel married, but this is still a big step for us and will be a new beginning as husband and wife. I’m looking forward to marrying my high school sweetheart surrounded by our family and friends, old and new.”
“I’m looking forward to sealing the deal…[like] putting a stamp on everything we’ve been through together,” Marc said. “I will be celebrating our past and present relationship as much as our future together. I think we’ll both be thinking, ‘I knew we could do this.'”