Katy and Austin met at work back in early 2016. “I remember the first time I saw him,” Katy recalls. “He ran into the break room to clock in and I turned to a coworker and said, ‘Who was that???’ I just knew I needed to get to know him.”
“Katy and I were talking at work (I’d been lightly flirting with her for about a week at this point), and she told me she had a date with a guy from Tinder that night. Being the sarcastic person I am, I joked with her that I hoped she wouldn’t be murdered that night, but deep down, I was disappointed because I had been trying to get up the nerve to ask her on a date. When I got off work that day, I added her as a friend on Facebook and I was going to wait until I assumed her date was over to message her (making sure she didn’t get murdered, obviously), but she ruined it by messaging me first to tell me that she made it out of the date alive. That was my first major clue that I had found someone special. We never stoped talking after that. I do feel bad for that guy though because she completely ghosted him.”
I don’t get to Ames often, but every time I do, I’m reminded how beautiful Iowa State University’s campus is! I met up with Katy and Austin this past Saturday (it was an away football game day) and we got some photos at the Jack Trice Stadium (Katy is a marching band alumni there!) and then walked all around the campus, finding nooks and crannies as well as hitting up the more popular areas. We had so much fun together and they sent me home with a dozen cupcakes so, needless to say, my weekend was a big hit.
Austin describes the proposal: “I had to get it right because I had made her wait 5 years for it and she was so patient. I wanted to make it special, but she really doesn’t like being the center of attention so I couldn’t do anything in a big group of people. Every year for our anniversary, we do an escape room. We have done one every year since anniversary number one, but we had to miss the one in 2020 because everything shut down eight days before our anniversary. There is an escape room in the mall I work at and I had started to befriend the manager there, so one day last year, I brought it up to him to see if he could incorporate a proposal into a room, to which he told me he definitely could.
“Something to know about me is that I procrastinate everything, not necessarily on purpose, but I just get busy and forget to do things. So it was around February when I started to make plans with Max (the manager), figuring out what room would be best for a proposal, etc. I wanted to do it for our anniversary because she wouldn’t see it coming and I wanted it to be a surprise. Even though I had been looking at rings online, I waited to actually go ring shopping until it was almost too late. I went in the the jewelry store one night and the cool thing is that I got to design the whole ring and there isn’t another out there that is exactly the same. Neither Katy or I are huge fans of diamond rings so I walked in there knowing that I wanted a solitaire ruby ring, and was able to build the perfect one, but there was only one problem: I had almost waited too long to go in, as the ring wouldn’t be done until 2 days before the proposal was supposed to happen, leaving no time for delays. Thankfully, they were able to finish on time, and I was able to drop the ring off to Max the following day so that he could get everything ready for the escape room that Thursday. Knowing that we had to get to the end of the room, Max and I agreed that if we got stuck on anything for too long he would just nudge us along a little to make sure we got to the final few steps (I didn’t want to know how anything in the room worked, because I had to solve it for myself).
“We were getting closer and closer to the end, and at one point I could see the ring box with the black light (a ring box is part of the room itself, so it worked seamlessly). Once I knew we were on the clue that would get us into the box where the ring box was hiding I had to get there first. I was able to completely surprise her and solve the room, all at the same time. It was everything I hoped it would be, and I’m pretty sure it was for Katy as well.”
Katy adds that “looking back, I should have had some inclination that it may be happening. The room was somewhat wedding-themed, but I was oblivious!”
I’m so excited to celebrate their wedding next year! I got to photograph Austin’s sister’s wedding years ago and it is always an extra dose of exciting to get to be back with the same family again for another marriage celebration!