Sunday July 31, 2016 - 6:30 PM
Olivia and I had a dinner date at Old Bag of Nails in Columbus. We lived together before I got married in 2015, but, now we have to plan to hang out because our schedules get so full. We live on opposite sides of town, Liv is still in school, I have One Weddings and a husband and our lives are just busy in different ways. We sat outside on the back patio, overlooking the waterfall, commenting on the perfect weather. I knew that in a couple hours Liv would have a ring on her finger. But, during dinner I just asked if she and Evan had discussed engagement any more or if she had any clues that it was coming. Though she knew their relationship was heading that way, Evan had recently thrown her off with "I don't know, Liv. I just don't think my finances are in the right place to buy you a ring now". Olivia was happy to wait on the Lord's timing, but that was growing harder by the day.
Olivia had no clue that Evan and I had met to discuss the proposal over two weeks earlier on July 14th. And even before Evan and I met to plan, he had already designed and purchased her ring and was awaiting it's completion so he could finally make her his fiance.
Though we were chatting between bites, we finished our dinner around 7, but I hadn't received the text from Evan saying we could head to the park. We were so full from dinner, but I had at least 30 minutes to kill before I should expect his text, so I ordered dessert. Olivia and I split a huge slice (more like a huge chunk) of carrot cake, though neither of our stomachs wanted it.
Waitress: Did we save room for dessert tonight?
Olivia: No way.
Me: Uh, yeah, go ahead and bring us the dessert menu.
Thankfully I knew she had no plans after dinner so she wasn't in a hurry. We took much slower bites, but we always have plenty to catch up on so she wasn't suspicious. A little after 7:30, I got the text from Evan that everything and everyone was in place and we could make our way to Franklin Park Conservatory where her scavenger hunt would begin and lead her to her long awaited proposal. I said, "Oh, Liv! I forgot I have something for you!" And I handed her clue #1. I really hadn't read it (which was pretty much torture for the 24 hours I had it, but it was her surprise not mine).
We got in my car and headed to the park to take the "first step". The previous morning, I had walked the park with Evan so we could find hiding spots for the friends and family that would wait with her clues. Thankfully, Olivia didn't question my knowledge of which parking lot to park in, which path to start on, and which direction we should head. I told her, "If your clue is just to go to this park, I'm sure the next one will be obvious enough to find. Plus, it's such a great night for a walk!" And it really was. Evan and I had been praying for no rain - there was a chance of a thunderstorm at the exact time we were to arrive at the park and thankfully it held off until later that night.
Olivia was looking around as soon as we headed off on our path. I kept trying to change the subject for fear she would spot someone she knew.
"Liv, we should come her more often - it's beautiful!"
The first person she found was my mom, lovingly referred to by her and all of my friends as 'Momma Franke'. As I said, Olivia had become a part of our family. She lived with me at my mom's as we planned my wedding in 2015 and I know my mom considers her a daughter just as much as I consider her a sister.
"Momma Franke, Hey! What are you doing here?" Hugs. Clue #2. Kisses. And our journey continued.
A favorite High School teacher of hers and his wife. Olivia is a special part of so many families - and The Coleys consider her a daughter. Hugs. Kisses. Tears. Clue #3.
"Bethany! But you're in Cincinnati!" Her Jesus-loving Best Friend, her college roomate, her accountability partner. So many hugs. Tears and makeup running. We help her wipe it up. Clue #4
Evan's parents. His mom said, "Olivia, we read this clue while we waited for you, so let us be the first to officially say, 'Welcome to the family'". They've considered her a daughter for quite some time now and have also awaited this special day with so much joy. Hugs and kisses and sobbing into her soon to be in-laws. Clue #5
"MOM!" The sweetest moment between mother and daughter. Hugs, kisses, more hugs, and so many tears. Take it all in and pause to read the final clue. He ended it with "Now hug your mom before you go get engaged". Clue #6 and he met her in her middle of the bridge.
Finally, I left her to complete her journey on her own. I (and the rest of the group she had found along the way) watched, sobbed, and praised the Lord for this long awaited time of which they were both so deserving. They have been so faithful to one another and their Jesus.
"She said yes!" I screamed and jumped and ran to hug her. Soon the entire group was on the bridge squeezing them and admiring her perfect ring.
All Photo Credit: Matthew Garsky
Because her rock star fiance had arranged a secret photographer (every girl's dream), they strolled off to take more intimate engagement pictures.
All Photo Credit: Matthew Garsky
Each of the clues were love letters that began with a scripture about marriage, such as this one from Proverbs chapter 5: 'May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth'. In the body of the letters, Evan explained his view of marriage and his hopes and dreams for their future as husband and wife. The letters ended with a sweet note about her relationship with the person who gave her that clue. Evan knows that Olivia's family and friends are so special to her and he wanted her to understand that they have become special to him too.
I'm sure you can tell by now that Evan is a romantic. He adores Olivia and treats her like a Queen. Everything about the proposal was well thought out, completely personal to her and as special as he could make it. And her ring is equally as special as her proposal.
Olivia’s diamond first belonged to Evan’s Great Great Grandma Evans (who he was named for). Their family tradition has been to pass the ring down through women, but when Evan’s mom only had boys, she held it for them to give to their future wives. Evan’s mom wore it as a necklace, but Evan had the diamond extracted and designed a custom ring from the heirloom stone for his Bride. And it is truely fit for a Queen.
Olivia and Evan, I couldn't love you two any more. I'm sure I speak for everyone involved when I say it was a pure joy and honor to play a part in your proposal. Now for even more fun, here's to planning your wedding!