Not many five-year-olds can select an appropriate outfit, so how can a five-year-old possibly select his soul mate? I’m not sure, but that’s what happened to me.
It all began at Pine Grove Swimming Lake where we met as five-year-olds taking swimming lessons. Even then, I knew that I had met my soul mate. The hard part was convincing her. We are both native Greenvillians, and grew up in the small community of Taylors where life revolved around the First Baptist Church of Taylors. We dated in high school but went separate ways to college.
Separate, but not separated … for I kept hanging around. I didn’t want her to forget me, because I certainly could not forget about her. After college graduation, I finally convinced her of what I had known all along: she was my soul mate. Proposing to your future wife is one of the grandest, greatest, and most stressful things a young man will ever do. And the ring? It’s the most important ingredient. But in addition to being in love, I was also just out of college, had only a part time job, and plenty of bills to pay.
“Where do I go to get an engagement ring?” I asked my soon-to-be-fiancé.
“Hale’s,” was her only answer.
Little did I know that walking into Hale’s would change my life. Not only did I get a beautiful engagement ring, I also got a job, which quickly turned into a career. Thirty-eight years later, my wife is still wearing her ring, and I own the jewelry store. Hale’s not only gave me my future wife; it also gave me my future life. I thank God every day for how truly good He has been to us during our thirty-seven years of blissful marriage. We have also been blessed with a wonderful son, a lovely daughter-in-law, our grandson Parker, and another grandchild on the way.
So while my five-year-old self might not have been trusted to pick out a decent outfit, I sure picked an amazing wife.
When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was put puzzles together. I enjoyed it most when I challenged myself to put the whole thing together without looking at the box. I did it so much that it eventually became an obsession of mine, and I refused to look at the box whenever I put one together.
Knowing this, Brad has given me sections to a giant puzzle that’s a collage of various pictures of us, over the past two and a half or so years of dating. For each special event (birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc.), he would take a section of the giant puzzle, put it together on his own, write a super cute little note on the back of all the pieces, take it all apart, and put it in a ziploc bag before giving it to me. When he gave me each section, he would help me put it together (since he knew what it looked like and I didn’t) and we would try to ever so carefully turn it over without breaking it so I could read the note on the back.
This past Christmas, Brad gave me another section of the puzzle with an extra note inside. We put the puzzle together and I read the cute note on the back. Then I read the extra note which said that I’d be getting a photo session with one of our friends, Alyssa. So, on Saturday, January 14th (which happened to be the day after Brad’s birthday) we went up to Glassy Mountain Chapel at the Cliffs Community in Greenville, SC to get our pictures taken.
Alyssa did a great job distracting me with lots of pictures as we made our way down to a little bench on the side of the cliff. While we were sitting on the bench, Brad pulled out a giant gift bag and said it was one more Christmas present. I immediately got excited because I had thought of the possibility of engagement before we even got to Glassy, but I chose not to think about it because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. The first thing out of my mouth when he brought me the bag was, “It’s _so_ big!” since I knew it was too big to put a ring in. He helped me pull a big picture frame out of the bag and made sure that I looked at the back of the picture frame first. Under the glass (which Brad managed to get on both the front and back of the frame) was the back of the center section of our puzzle with a note written on it as usual. It said,
“My love, my life, my friend,
Here is to the woman who captured my heart – The one who stole my heart so innocently with every laugh and smile. You’ve taught me to love and to be loved, because love is a choice. You’ve taught me that love can be given a second chance and you have become the best friend I’ve ever had. We’ve been through joy. We’ve been through pain. But I know by the way you look at me that you will love me forever.
Jessica…[turn over to other side]”
On the other side of the frame was the collage as usual and one big picture in the middle which said, “Will you marry me?” Then he pulled out the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen and asked me to be his bride all while Alyssa was taking about a million pictures. He designed the ring all by himself and had it special made by Lucian at Hale’s Jewelers. I was so happy I couldn’t stop smiling, and every time Alyssa asked me a question about taking more pictures, I had to think for a few seconds before I could answer her.
I feel like the luckiest girl on the planet. I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend by my side.
Spence and I met through a mutual friend at Furman where we both went to undergrad. Furman tells you during orientation that something like 60% of Furman students marry each other, and we were not immune. Spence is two years older than me so by the time I graduated in May 2011 the questions were starting about when we would get engaged. We went to Disney after I graduated, no proposal. Christmas came and went and so did our anniversary. I told him I never wanted to get engaged on a holiday but after both of those had passed I gave up on expecting an engagement anytime soon. For Valentine’s Day Spence sent me two dozen red roses, my favorite flower, so that basically confirmed my assumption that no engagement would be in my near future. Little did I know he had been planning an engagement for months.
From February 15-18 I was attending a conference in New Orleans (SEPA). I saw Spence on Valentine’s day and he dropped me off at the airport the morning of the 15th and told me he would see me Saturday. Thursday, my friend Alyna and I spent all day going to different Psychological events. We were at the last event which ended at 3:50 and Alyna told me she had gotten a text from her aunt saying we need to go to Jackson Square. I told her it sounded like fun but we should probably change before we go. Alyna said we didn’t have too and that she was fine in her business attire; I just went along with it. Little did I know she was in on the whole proposal surprise.
While we were walking through New Orleans, Alyna asked for my camera because she wanted to take pictures. She had already told me she forgot her camera so I didn’t think anything of it. She kept taking pictures of the scenery, buildings, etc. We got to Jackson Square and I asked her if she wanted to go in. She said yes but that she was going to call our friend Kim first and tell her where we were (in reality she was calling Spence), so I took the camera and started taking pictures.
Alyna got off the phone and asked for the camera back and told me she wanted to take a picture of me in front of the fountain. I thought this was kind of weird and told her that I didn’t need a picture in front of the fountain by myself but she insisted and said “My dad is a photographer, I like taking pictures.” As I was sitting in front of the fountain I saw Spence out of the corner of my eye. I jumped up and started yelling “What are you doing here?” It sounded like anger, as Spence and Alyna say, but I was just confused and I really do not like surprises. I was asking him how he got here and he said he drove (it’s a 10 hour drive from Greenville to NOLA). I was like “Why are you here?” and he said “Well I have to ask you something” and started reaching into his pocket. At this point I knew what was about to happen so I started to cry.
Spence got down on one knee and grabbed my hand. I was shaking and crying and he was telling me to calm down (a typical thing for Spence to say to me) and that everything was okay. I don’t really recall all the words he said to me but I remember him saying something on the lines of “Jess, you know I have loved you since I met you…You complete me…Will you marry me?” Of course I said yes!
It was so romantic and completely unexpected. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect way to be proposed too. I am truly blessed to have found such a wonderful man in my life and the fact that I get to spend the rest of my life with him is even more amazing.
We met 4 years ago when I was in college cock-tailing/serving at a swanky restaurant in downtown San Diego. Joel stayed at the restaurant until we closed so that he could ask me if I wanted to grab a drink with him. He wasn’t very discreet about it either… he sat next to the server area where we would pick up drinks at the bar and some how managed to make me laugh every time I came close. He lived in a condo above the restaurant and I ended up spending most of my time in that condo or at work as we got more serious.
Two years later we moved to South Carolina together so he could pursue his career in as an Engineer in the development of Electric buses. I became a project manager for a web design firm and built the fabulous website that you’re looking at! I became friends with a few of the ladies at Hales and of course found an amazing ring there that just happened to end up in the hands of my fiance (thank you Tara!).
Fast forward another two years to him popping the question. We had decided to start looking for positions back in southern California and I just happened to get an offer first. So I moved to San Diego over Christmas and we were meeting his mother and grand parents for dinner in downtown San Diego. He told me that we were meeting his friend and the restaurant that we met at and that I used to work in an hour before we were due to meet his family. I didn’t really think anything of it… as we were walking to the restaurant that we hadn’t been to in over 3 years tons of memories started to flood back into our minds as we passed all the places that we used to walk by/ eat at/ shop at etc. When we finally arrived at the restaurant we sat at the bar (where he first asked me out) and reminisced about how we met, all of the great things that had happened since and how we’ve come full circle… and then he got down on one knee. I never would have thought that getting asked in a restaurant would have been my romantic proposal story but it was kind of perfect. He asked during our Christmas holiday and the best part about it was surprising our families with the news during the holidays. And now we’re planning a wedding in Maui!
Last year Ed and I launched a wedding photography business and things picked up quickly. I was ecstatic to receive an e-mail inquiry for something a little new for my business, a surprise proposal photoshoot!! His name was Spencer and after a few chats we had it all planned out. Spencer wanted to propose to his girlfriend in Falls Park on a Wednesday evening; we would meet before she arrived and finalize the details. I told him just how exciting it is to be able to capture a proposal, so many girls would love to have photos of that moment !
So here I am on Wednesday, I arrive 20 minutes early just in case and wait on Main St for Spencer. At 6:30 on the dot, Spencer arrives wearing a purple polo and jeans just as he had told me the night before on the phone. We meet and talk for a moment and I can tell he’s nervous. We had 15 minutes until she would arrive and he wanted to go and find a nice quiet location by the waterfall. So we start walking through the park and I’m looking for benches, bushes and rock walls to hide behind so she wouldn’t be suspicious of the girl following them with a massive camera….
We walked down to the water and around a rock wall and Ed was standing there… My honest first thought was, Ed is here to help me shoot, Great!, but my instinct is to stay with ‘the client’ and not rudely go talk to Ed. Spencer sees that I’m not leaving and suddenly receives a “phone call” and walks away. Then it hit me as Ed got down on one knee, this whole photoshoot was for me! After I cleared the confusion I walked up to Ed, he told me I was the woman of his dreams and I of course agreed to spend the rest of my life with him.
After a few moments Ed explained to me that there was indeed a photographer hiding out capturing my confusion and excitement and that Spencer was the husband of Tara from Hale’s jeweler. I’m absolutely stunned at how they went above and beyond to make this such a great experience and huge surprise!
Some meetings are too striking to write off as mere coincidence. For two years while Elise and Geoffrey were students at Clemson, they went to the same hairstylist, who insisted on setting them up. The would-be couple wasn’t interested, but Geoffrey and Elise would cross paths nonetheless at a party hosted by another mutual friend. The couple dated for four years. On a weekend before Christmas, they decided to see the Biltmore House in its holiday glory. After a tour of the house, the couple went to explore the grounds. With the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Biltmore as backdrop, Geoffrey asked for Elise’s hand in marriage. The couple was married at Westminster Presbyterian Church and held their reception at the Poinsett Club.
“Brittany and I love spending time at Kiawah Island with friends and family, and we especially enjoy watching the sunset from the porch of the Ocean Course clubhouse. I knew this would be the perfect place to propose. Last Thursday we spent the day on the beach and went to the Ocean Course for sunset. Instead of going straight to the porch as usual, I took her on a walk on the beach and that’s where I asked her to marry me. After sharing laughs and tears on the beach we made our way back to the clubhouse where our family was waiting with hugs and champagne. Thanks to Russ and the incredible team at Hales I was able to give Brittany an amazing oval diamond in a stunning Tacori setting. She hasn’t stopped staring at the ring that we both love. We both thank the Hales family for being part of our special day. Cheers, Sloan Ellis.”
Rebecca and John met in downtown Greenville during the fall of 2014 with a little help from friends and a lot of help from coincidence. Through some fierce determination and a very cute mini golf date, John won Rebecca’s heart (although she wouldn’t tell him that for at least 6 more months). They discovered a mutual affection for all things related to Disney, Star Wars, and Scary movies.
By the time that Spring rolled around, both Rebecca and John knew that they were perfect for each other. They decided to go ring shopping together so that John could pick out her dream ring. After a few trips to different chain stores, Rebecca ended up in tears because she couldn’t find anything she liked. Luckily, her parents had used Hale’s for their engagement ring 38 years earlier, so Rebecca and John decided to go visit the store. Tara listened to what Rebecca wanted and immediately set to work helping them design the perfect, one of a kind, ring.
When John and Rebecca decided to take a last minute trip to Disney World in June of 2015, John knew there would be no better time to propose. He frantically contacted Tara to see if he could get the ring earlier than planned, all the while telling Rebecca that their custom made creation was still being crafted by the jeweler. Rebecca’s dad helped John (a Disney World first timer) to plan the perfect morning proposal under the guise of breakfast reservations in the Magic Kingdom. When John asked her to pause and take a picture in front of Cinderella Castle, she was wondering why he was talking instead of smiling for the photographer. It wasn’t until she saw him down on one knee that she figured it out. It was the perfect proposal for this Disney – loving couple!