How we got engaged - From Brad's View
I decided I was going to propose to Allie one night in December. The idea popped into my head and I tried to avoid it for a long time. We had only been officially dating for less than seven months and I had only been living in Richmond for two months. The purpose of my moving to Richmond was to give Allie and my relationship a chance to either sink or swim. We had never been "in a relationship" while living in the same city. We had been best friends in the same city, but only dated from a distance.
The first person I called was my brother, Matt. He answered and I just said "I think I am going to propose to Allie at an Auburn football game next year." He couldn't have been more excited and told me he thought it sounded like a great idea. He thought we were perfect for each other and knew how happy she made me.
So, I began to toy with the idea as well as try to decide if it was actually a realistic goal. Over the next few months, our relationship only grew stronger and more and more my idea was beginning to be reaffirmed. The idea of spending my life with this girl became less and less a crazy far fetched idea and more something I couldn't imagine not happening. I knew I could never move to another city without her much less spend more than a day or two without her. I began to plan and try and figure out a way to pay for the ring. The whole time I was planning, Allie would say things like "We are never going to get married" or "We are going to be really old before we can afford to get married." Every time I would say "Not today, but someday" and downplay her wedding ideas. She had no idea what was waiting just a few months down the road.
Due to some unexpected circumstances, I was able to save some extra money and begin realistically looking at rings. One night, Allie and I were on the website bluenile.com looking at rings just for fun. I told her to design her ideal ring and we joked about how expensive it was. The crazy part was I had already designed her ring secretly and the one she designed on her own matched it exactly!
While her family was at the beach, I sent a facebook message to her dad asking if we could meet for dinner when they got home. He didn't see it and I got very nervous. I called and left a message at their home and finally set up a time to meet for dinner while Allie was having dinner at another restaurant with her friends. I met her parents at our favorite restaurant, Italian Kitchen. I couldn't have been more nervous. I wrote down everything I wanted to say and practiced it in my mind. I got to Italian Kitchen a few minutes early and anxiously sat at the table waiting for the Butterworths. Once they arrived we made small talk and ordered our food. Finally, I got up the nerve to say "Ok. Let's get down to why we are really here" and I spit out a string of words and sentences. Even though I am sure they already knew what was truly going on, they were kind enough to listen to my babble. We talked for well over an hour and I left with their blessing. A few days later, I ordered the ring and had it shipped to the Butterworth's.
Allie had planned a trip to visit Auburn and Nashville for Labor Day months in advance and I had planted the seed about going to the game, etc. She thought it was all her idea and had no clue what I was planning.
The ring arrived in early August and I hid it in a shoebox in my closet for a full month before Labor Day. My biggest concern was how I was going to get the ring to Auburn. I came up with the idea to hide it in my camera case inside of my suitcase. Allie even packed my entire suitcase, but I slipped the ring into my luggage the morning we were to leave. I was very nervous about getting stopped at security and my secret being found out. Luckily, no alarms were set off and we flew to Atlanta where my parents picked us up. That night after Allie had gone to sleep I showed my parents the ring and we crafted a plan. My mom could barely stand still and both were beyond excited.
We woke up Saturday morning, ate breakfast, got dressed, and prepared to head for Auburn and tailgating. My biggest hurdle was trying to get the ring to Toomer’s Corner. My dad and I came up with the idea of using an old binoculars case to transport the ring case. I asked "Hey Dad, do you still have those binoculars" in front of Allie and my dad made a show of going to find it in a closet. I slipped the case in there and put it in the car right before we left.
We parked over a mile away from campus and as we began to get the things we needed out of the car Allie said "I think you should just leave those binoculars. You don't want to carry those around all day. Just leave them." I finally convinced her that they could come in handy and I didn't mind carrying them. We walked through downtown Auburn to our tailgate spot. We met up with Allie's brother, Conner, and walked down to the baseball field to meet up with Allie's childhood friends, Zach and Laura, who happened to be in town the same weekend. Even though the time was getting closer and closer, I didn't say anything and finally Allie made the decision to leave on her own. We got back to the tailgate and ate some BBQ and hung out for a short time. My dad began to text me to tell me they were in place and ready to take pictures. I leaned over to Allie and said "Will you go with me to meet Steve at Toomer's Corner in a few minutes" and she said she would. When the time came we stood up and I grabbed the binoculars case. Allie said, "Why are you taking the binoculars?" and I said "Steve is going in to the game and I am going to let him borrow them till we get in there." She told me she wasn't comfortable letting someone borrow my great grandpa's binoculars and made it clear I should just leave them. I finally convinced her to let it go and we began the 50 yd walk to Toomer's Corner. (SIDE NOTE FROM ALLIE: I am stubborn. How he convinced me to drop it, I'll never know.)
The second we left the tent, our best friend Fran (who has made several appearances in the STROUSE HOUSE CHRONICLES) walked up to our tailgate. I was so excited to see her, but also worried because I was already beyond nervous and this was just a kink in the plan. What horrible timing! We talked for a few minutes and I tried to wait for a break in conversation. Finally after enough subtle hints I managed to steer Allie away and we began to walk towards Toomer's. As we walked hand in hand, Allie talked the entire way. I didn't hear a word. I was walking with one goal in mind. Reach Toomer's Corner. As we approached I tried to look around for my parents, but the crowd was too large for me to pick them out. The last thing I heard Allie say was "Where is Steve?"
I put the binocular case down and in one motion grabbed both of Allie's hands and dropped down on one knee. I had written out my speech and practiced it many times, but as I began to speak my mind was totally blank. Words were coming out of my mouth and I think some of them were ones from my page, but there is no way of telling. The entire time I was on my knee all Allie could say was "WHAT ARE YOU DOING! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!" Fire trucks were going past, people were talking and walking past, but all I could think about was getting to the end of my speech. Finally I said, "I just have one question I want to ask" turned to the case, unlocked it, and pulled out the ring. I opened the case and said "Will you marry me?" She pulled me up off my knee and gave me the biggest hug I have ever been a part of. As we were hugging, I whispered in her ear "You didn't say yes or no" and replied with a resounding "YES!!". The first question out her mouth was "Do my parents know?" immediately followed by "Is someone taking pictures?" I assured her that the answer was yes on both accounts and then my parents walked up. People were clapping, cars were honking, and finally I could relax.
You can see on Allie's face she's basically saying WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Here's Allie calling EVERYONE in her phone book.
The Sneaky Photographers - Brad's Parents.
Allie called Conner and told him to come to Toomer's. I called Fran and told her to come over and my parents took pictures. Then Allie called and texted almost every single person in her phonebook. We enjoyed the moment with our friends then went around campus visiting other friends and showing off the ring. We ended up spending the rest of the game by ourselves at various bars watching the game and just enjoying our new relationship status. We ate a celebratory dinner at Amsterdams and then met many more friends downtown. We hoped the night would never end, but eventually we gave in and headed for home.
The next morning we celebrated with my parents and Conner with brunch at Arricia and then we headed for Nashville. On the drive we called both sets of my grandparents as well as Allie's parents to tell them the good news and repeat the story in detail. We made a quick pit stop in Huntsville to give the good news to Allie's grandparents in person and get some home cooked dinner then drove the rest of the way to Nashville.
However, that wasn't the last big life change of the week. Find out what ELSE happened after we got engaged in the next installment of the #strousehousechronicles!
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