The 25th of every month is significant to us because we started dating on August 25, 2008. We try to celebrate every 25th in some way.
Greenville, South Carolina is significant because we had our first date there, first held hands there, and had several other dates (25th’s) there.
On May 23rd, Brad told me that there was a possibility that we would meet up with his family in Greenville on the 25th so we could see them and have dinner. He asked me to try and get off work early (around 2pm) so we could get to Greenville by dinner time. I told him Wednesdays were really busy, so it was probably not going to work. But I told him I’d try.
The next morning when I got to work, I asked my boss and asked if I could possibly get off at 2 the next day. She seemed unsure at first, but then said that we could probably work it out so I could get off.
So Wednesday rolled around, and I got off work around 2, went back to my apartment to freshen up, and Brad and I left for Greenville around 3. When we got to Greenville, he said that his parents might not be able to make it to dinner, because Lyndsey (his sister who had sinus surgery a few days before) wasn’t feeling well. He suggested we walk around the park a little while waiting to hear the final verdict from them. After a lap and a half around Reedy Falls Park, my feet were getting a little tired, so I suggested that we sit at some tables and wait. He didn’t want to sit where I pointed out, so we kept walking to find another shady spot. He chose the ledge next to the sidewalk, brushed it off, and we sat down. We chatted a little about Greenville, and then he asked if I remembered the two “obstacles” we had to get through before we could get engaged. We had already talked about the first one, and he said the second one was a question he had to ask me. He asked if I was ready, and I said yes. He told me to stand up. He stood up with me, with his hands behind his back, knelt down on one knee, and asked, “Heidi Louise Bickley, will you marry me?” and pulled out the ring box. I said, “Yes. Of course.” He stayed kneeling and smiling, while people walked around us, and said, “I don’t care if people are walking around us and staring, I want you to know how much I love you.” Then, I asked him if he would put the ring on my finger. He said, “I don’t know if I can. I’m shaking a lot, and I’m not sure it’s the right size.” So, I took the ring, and tried to get it on my finger. I managed to get it over my knuckle, and jammed it on. (I was eager to have it on my finger. Turns out, it was the right size, my hands had just swelled a bit from walking around in the heat.)
Then he asked if I remembered the book I got him a year and a half ago. I had to think very hard, and finally did remember a children’s book entitled, “Where do Kisses Come From?” that I had “given” him while I was in Korea. (We had agreed not to kiss until we got engaged.) He said he couldn’t bring the book, because he had nowhere to hide it, but it was in the car. Then he asked if we needed to read it before we kissed, and I said no. But our dinner reservations were in 15 minutes, so we decided to just get going to the restaurant. Until I changed my mind, and kissed him anyway. :)
As we got up to walk to the restaurant, he pointed across the river and told me to “look over there.” As I looked, I heard cheering and saw his parents coming out from behind some bushes with cameras. I started laughing, and we met them for some more pictures before they went back to Toccoa, and we went to dinner. I was surprised that they had been there the whole time.
We ate at Larkin’s at the River, and they gave us a free champagne toast to celebrate our engagement. We called Lyndsey, and then he told me all of the other details that went into planning the evening, and about getting the ring. After dinner, we walked to Coffee Underground, our favorite coffee shop in Greenville. We were looking for a table, and he steered me toward one in particular. As I got around the corner, I saw Christy Linthicum (a close friend from college who lives in Columbia, SC) sitting at the table. I almost started crying then, and gave her a ton of hugs. We sat and talked for the next hour or so, and then headed back to Charlotte. (We read the children’s book when we got back to the car, and then practiced a little more.) ;)
The most important parts of this story for me are the ones that have to do with keeping it a secret from Heidi because I know she loves surprises so much. It took little things from months and months back to set everything up right like the “2 obstacles” bit in particular. I was trying to think of ways to make Heidi think that there was “no way” that I would be proposing any particular night because we hadn’t discussed everything that needed to be covered before we got engaged; but of course the second question was THE question, she just never suspected that because of the way I phrased it! Another big part of the surprise was asking Heidi’s boss if she could have off early on Wednesday. That meant I had to get off work early, run home and shower and get all the way out to Heidi’s work before she got off (and hope she didn’t get off early!) so that I could talk her boss into letting Heidi go early. I didn’t know if she would be able to keep the secret so I just said we had dinner reservations in Greenville and wanted to get there early; thankfully she said yes she would work it out and asked how she should tell Heidi. I said I’d tell Heidi to ask her for the time off and it worked out great! Although Heidi tells me her boss knew what I was up to and was extra chipper as she said bye to Heidi on Wednesday at 2!! ;)
The actual proposal date was finalized after talking to Daniel Wetmore lots and lots here in Charlotte, a camping weekend with Dad at the end of April (at King’s Mountian, NC), a few days with the fam around Dad’s birthday in Toccoa on May 3rd, and finally an extended (and very crazy) weekend with Heidi’s family in Ohio May 12-15. Once I had received permission from her father and talked to her sister about rings etc I knew I was ready to do it and the 25th was perfect timing! I almost took Heidi to a CATS performance here in Charlotte and dinner at a nice restaurant but as per Hannah’s advice and my own dislike of CATS and not being able to talk and share and laugh the night we get engaged, I decided on Greenville for sure. It was a hassle to find time to plan because when we’re not working Heidi and I pretty much hang out so on Thursday and Friday between visiting Heidi’s family and going to Greenville I did most of my planning. The biggest part of this was going to find a ring with Daniel as my wingman (he kept me sane). It was annoying that most rings could not be ready at such short notice so I ended up getting the free Tiffany setting with the diamond that I wanted and sized 5.5 at Hannah’s guesstimate suggestion. As it turns out, that was the perfect size!! YES!!
Once the 25th actually rolled around I had the whole day off and was just sitting around ready to get the show on the road. Random memories from the day include:
- playing Call of Duty for an hour before picking Heidi up to get my mind off of everything.
- sweating profusely from the heat and pressure (it was 90+ degrees and no A/C in the car all the way to Greenville!)
- thinking that we would have kissed by the time we rode back to Charlotte (and that Heidi had no idea!!)
- laughing to myself at my mom and dad dressed as asian tourists as they hid in the bushes (heidi didn’t see them but i knew right were they were!!)
- being annoyed at some other couple who were sitting at the bench that i wanted to sit on to propose!! arg!! but it all worked out (once i brushed the bug of the rock Heidi and I ended up sitting on!!)
- telling Heidi all about my hard work and preparation for the evening over dinner but knowing in my head that I still had one more surprise up my sleeve!! (meeting Christy at coffee)
- seeing how excited Heidi was that I would finally update my relationship status on facebook (I hadn’t put “dating” or “it’s complicated” or whatever else they have on there)
anyway, those are some thoughts and insights into my take of the day. It was awesome that she said yes. I was glad everything worked out perfectly according to plan. As much as Heidi loves surprises, I love plans. ;) Thanks for reading and we hope to see you in November (or before, that’d be even better)!!
Much love to all,
Brad and Heidi