wedding - engagement story

it's wedding week, guys!
this time next week, jared & I will be spending our 2nd October 24th together as married couple.
I'll be posting our invitation suite later tonight,
 but I figured it was only right to start off with how this whole wedding began...

the following is the "official engagement story" that I shared on facebook
once we got home from what we now lovingly call our engagement trip, Christmas 2009.
& now, a little story that begins in Fredericksburg, Va,
with a seemingly innocent visit to levi & heather's for a couple days of r&r...

"Where to begin? Jared & I have always known that we were dating with the intentions of marrying one another, knowing from the beginning that we had been deliberately brought together for a wonderful purpose that God had for us, even if that didn't end in marriage. (Although we hoped it did!) The plan had always been what I call "The Four Year Plan," which was centered around my parents' only stipulation: finish college.

Around September, I sat Jared down & explained to him that even though I COMPLETELY understood that we may not realistically be able to get married in 2010, my heart was maybe going to hurt a little still. He completely understood & I set to praying very hard for a peace about the timing of it all. Which, I am happy to report, God was really giving to me.

We had planned a trip to visit Jared's brother & sister-in-law in Fredericksburg back in November, hoping to get in some good family lovin' with some relaxation and general DC frivolity. Was I thinking that this would be a GREAT proposal opportunity? Sure, the thought crossed my mind! (Um. But that happened every day. So...) But like I said, I was positive that I was supposed to be patient & tried not to presuppose anything. And besides, I knew that we were picking up a golden doodle puppy for my mom's Christmas present. I kept telling Jared that it was going to be the best weekend ever, simply because of the puppy. He knew that there was at least one other reason why I might think so, too.

Monday, the 21st of December, we set off for DC from Levi & Heather's home in Fredericksburg, only to be met with hours of holiday/snow induced traffic on what was supposed to be a 45 minute drive - Max. We left at 1p.m. and arrived in Georgetown around 5, both of us tired, hungry & mildly testy. Determined to make the most of our day in the 'city,' we walked around Georgetown for a while, then settled in a little Italian restaurant for dinner. I'd say we sufficiently calmed our stomachs and minds while we were there. Looking back, I was getting love-eyes from Jared all night, & he was saying sweet lovey-dovey things that made me forget all the traffic-y frustrations of the day. Gee, I love him :)
what I thought was going to be my most overwhelming moment of the evening - my first Anthropologie STORE visit
our Italian dinner

After dinner, we went to a little shopping center ice-skating rink & got our skate on. Again, was I thinking that this would be a perfect proposal opportunity? Maaaaybe. But we turned our attentions to not falling and soaking up the end of 'our day.' DC traffic scared us off from going into the city to skate, so we settled for this cozy little rink outside of the City.

The rest of the story requires me going back a bit. Sophomore year, Jared was bringing me home for Christmas break from GMU. The entire drive back, we were driving under a meteor shower on 295, & had our foreheads glued to the windows to watch all the shooting stars. Jared declared that "there was something wrong with the tire" & that we needed to pull over. I was clueless. We ended up in a parking lot, where he put on Norah Jones' "Peace" & we danced under the meteor shower. (Oh, there was nothing wrong with the tire.) It was a moment :)

So, we leave the rink to head back to Levi & Heather's. End of the day, right? Yeah, I thought so too. We're driiiivin', listening to Christmas music, taaaalkin'. Suddenly, we need gas. According to Jared. From the way he's acting about this gas crisis, I'm thinking we're going to end up on the side of the rooooad, stranded for hours in the snow... We pull off at an exit & desperately seek out a gas station. The only one we found, of course, was only the convenience store part of a 7-11. I'm saying things like, "Well, now what do we do!!" & Jared merely pulls into a parking lot with snow everywhere, under a street light.

I'm a smart girl. I know what's going on. He wants to dance with me, just like two years ago.
"Iiiiiii'm onto your game. But it's like 18 degrees outside. & SNOWING!"
"Just dance with me."

& I did.

Norah Jones is playing, a song that we both love, & I'm shivering. I say something about how wonderful the day was, no matter how wonderful it wasn't. He's pretty quiet. Then he stops. & looks down. & I'm sticking my face in his saying, "Are you okay?"

He looks up at me & struggles for words & all he spits out, I kid you not, is:
"In life..."

I looked at him, mildly confused, & then he starts saying all these wonderful things about love, & us side by side, & God blessing us &... Well, that's about all I remember before I start putting it all together. I think it mostly started coming together when his hand reached into his pocket. Neither of us can tell you what he said - It was such a blur. My hand goes over my mouth & a thousand things are going through my mind. But then he goes down to one knee, & there's something REALLY sparkly in his hand (Thank-you, streetlights!) & says those blessed words: Will you marry me?

He's sitting right next to me & he says all I said was "Yes! Yes yes yes! Yes!" & I believe him.

We just stood in the parking lot, smiling & hugging. & no, I didn't cry. Crazy, right?? I was in utter disbelief & just couldn't stop staring at him. He finally said, "Kelsey! You're getting married! To me!" We just started laughing & I somewhat realized we were actually engaged. We got back in the car & I started the "WHO? WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? WHY?" questioning before I realized that we hadn't taken any pictures of the 'where.' So, we turned around & took pictures.

I finally cried once I started talking to my mom & spoke the words, "Jared proposed!" I called him my fiancé for the first time during that conversation. I had prepared myself to wait for a lot longer to actually hear a proposal, so I was completely shocked. My cheeks hurt so badly from smiling. He picked out the most PERFECT ring & isn't just me, or my style. It's us. I have to stop & smile at him every once in awhile while I write this. It's too surreal. Jared Bethune is my one & only! & I'm marrying him!

We're getting married! & I could not be happier!! God has used every last minute of the last 3 1/2 years to build up to this 'engaged' period of our lives. Yeah, I'm excited about the wedding, but I am even more excited to know that instead of counting up to when we finally get to be engaged, we're counting down to the day that we actually get to be husband & wife. & that date will be revealed in a bit, I promise :)"

-  -  -  -  -  -  

some extra photos from our return home, when we surprised my sister + grandparents with an engagement announcement,
then the whole family (minus dad) with the puppy we had stashed at the neighbors' house while we shared our news.
looking back, I'm a little amazed at how big of a night it was at the Essmann house!

I bet you didn't realize that our engagement story is also our Ellie story, huh?

 it was really wonderful reading back through all this & reliving the pictures from that fantastic week.
if you know me, you'll know that I adore sparkly things, puppies, Christmas & weddings...
so you can imagine the cloud 9 that I was floating on, both of us using the word fiance/fiancee every chance we got.

although we both agree that "husband" & "wife" are much more fun to say ;)

xo, kelsey

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because lezz be frandz.