Our Story: It happened on December 4, 2009.  We attempted to have dinner at O’Charley’s; however, the wait was too long.  We ended up having dinner at Steak-N-Shake. Romantic, huh?  After dinner, we headed back to pick up friends that would be going “ice skating” with us for the evening.  After picking them up and making a few stops, we arrived at Riverside Skating Center; where the magic would happen! ;)   We paid, got our skates, and headed out on the ice just as any other customer would.  After skating a while and stopping for a few pictures, a special song began to play over the loudspeakers in the outdoor skating arena.  It was the song Zach had written early in our relationship.  It’s title – Your Forever.  Rachael recognized the song, saw the smile, and was pretty overwhelmed.  Zach proceeded to reach for his inside coat pocket, smile really big, and get down on one knee.  He pulled out the ring and asked, “Rach, will you be my forever?”  Of course, she said yes.  And so, our story begins….

Our Song: Click play to here our song.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Her Side: Those of you who know me know that I am not really good at not knowing what is going on.  Zach and I had been talking about the possibility of marriage for quite a while.  (Of course, seemed like forever to me.)  Those of you who know Zach know that he likes to analyze most everything he does.  So, for a period of time, I had been trying to get things out of him.  Trying to figure out if this was going to be happening soon and if so, when it would be happening.  Now, I believe that when this finally happened I had been behaving very well.  I’d repeatedly given our relationship and its timing over to God, and I was very content in letting Zach do it when he knew he was supposed to.  Looking back, the Friday this happened had plenty of situations that should have given it away.  Granted, I did think about the possibility at times, but always talked myself out of it.  I had been begging Krista to come up that weekend, but she had been turning me down.  Well, when I overheard her phone call with Kaitlyn (one of the girls I live with) I thought that all the “fishy-ness” was because she was going to surprise me.  Also, the idea of eating out at O’Charley’s gave me a small sliver of hope.  Imagine my disappointment when we ended up at Steak-N-Shake.  (“Because my friends were waiting on us.” Boy was that a cover-up!)  So, when we arrived back at my house to pick up Kaitlyn and Bridgette, I was locked out of my room with laughter behind the door.  I thought for sure Krista was there!  Well, when they finally opened up, disappointment again.  No Krista.  We then headed to the ice rink, Zach rubbing it in by singing, “wouldn’t it be nice if we were older? Then we wouldn’t have to wait no more.”  Now, let me just say, I do not particularly enjoy being extremely cold.  However, I knew Zach really wanted to go ice skating, so I was excited for it.  We were skating for a while, my mind still somewhat holding on to the possibility of  a proposal, when I suggested a stop for pictures.  (Okay, maybe-just maybe, I had the motives of providing him the opportunity.)  Pictures were taken, no proposal.  Can you say disappointment?  Bridgette and I were being silly and doing figure eights, while Zach was just texting away.  Then, Zach seemed rather irritated and insistant that we begin skating again…on the outside of the rink.  So off we went, Bridgette and Kaitlyn skating somewhere behind us.  Not but, maybe, 30 seconds later, the song changed.  The song changed to one I knew.  The voice belonged to a really cute guy I knew.  My words, “Awe, Zach it’s our song.”  My thoughts, “OH!  It’s OUR song!!!” Zach smiled really big, and I knew.  The tone of his voice had never been as sweet or sincere as it was with the question, “Rach, will you be my forever?”  Who could resist that?!  I was in shock for a while, followed by some damp eyes. Then I noticed that Bridgette and Kaitlyn had been photographing and video taping the whole thing!  Explains the awkwardness all evening.  I called the parents and Krista.  (A little sad Krista wasn’t there to share it with me.)  Then, we went for another lap around the rink.  Disbelief still in check.  After the one lap, I saw Krista standing at the entryway to the ice!  I was so, so happy.  Then the tears really came.  Man, how did I get so lucky?  A man who had the whole thing planned out better than I ever could have on my own in my crazy little brain.  And so, our story begins….

His Side: Well, for those of you who know Rachael, you know that it’s practically impossible to keep anything from her. This whole Engagement thing was no different. By the time that I was about to pop the question I found that I was instinctively deleting my text messages and clearing my browser history every night before I went to bed. I’d like to think it worked out as far as surprising her goes. Granted she’s pretty bright so she might have had some ideas but I tried to throw her off as best I could.

So in the words of “Monk”, here’s what happened. I had been contemplating popping the question for quite some time before it actually happened. The ball, however, really got rolling when Rach and I went to Florida during Fall break. I had been checking prices and such at different jewelry stores around Lafayette prior to going to Florida, but hadn’t really came across anything that caught my eye. As Rach said above, I did want to look at everything to make sure I got the best deal, just how I am I guess. Anyway, We were shopping in Florida over Fall break and came across a jewelry store at an outlet mall we like to shop at. We were just window shopping like normal until a ring in the window really caught Rach’s eye, and the price tag really caught mine. So we went in, she tried it on, loved it, and we left, she having a frown on her face the whole way out, of course. At that point I knew I couldn’t pass that up, so we went to the Nike store where I pretended to be interested in shoes.  Secretly I txt’d my Mom who was there shopping with us. I told her: “hey, I found it, the ring, it’s awesome, Can you go get it and I’ll pay you back?” So she zipped over and got the ring while we were in the shoe store. A little while later we left the mall and went back to the condo. Now at this point, since we were on the beach, I really wanted to just ask her right away. However, I hadn’t even asked her Dad yet or anything like that so I didn’t do anything, just tried to act normal. I didn’t end up asking her for another 2 months, which marvels Rach. It was really hard to get home and find a time to talk to her parents when she wouldn’t find out or be around since we live 3 hours away. We had planned on meeting 2 times before we actually did, but things came up and we had to cancel. After I finally asked her parents and they said yes, I was freaking out. I had no idea how I was going to ask her or where to do it at. I had a couple of ideas but most of them being really corny. So I believe a week or so went by and then I saw a Zales commercial about ice skating. I decided that would work because I didn’t have anything better planned that I could afford (Original right?… well I had a trick up my sleeve). I checked into taking a half page ad out in the Purdue Exponent (Newspaper), only to find that it would cost $1800 for a half page in color. So I started planning. For those of you reading who aren’t familiar with the West Lafayette area, there is a quaint little ice skating rink on the “Levy” right East of Purdue Campus. I wrote Rachael a song very early in our relationship called “Your Forever” that I wanted to somehow implement if possible. So I went to the rink with my song in hand and asked if they would help me out. They were delighted to help and I was able to do it exactly how I wanted it. I gave them a date when we would come (later in the week, Friday) and a time frame (around 8ish) for when to play the song while we were out there. Furthermore, I got the phone number of the lady who would be working that night so that I could txt her exactly when I wanted her to play the song. Ok that’s all setup and ready to go. Fast Forward…

So Friday came around (Dec. 4th) and it was day that it was all going down. I was a nervous wreck because I was afraid something would go wrong and she would figure it all out. A couple of days prior I talked to her friends, Bridgette and Kaitlyn, and told them that I was going to invite Rachael to go ice skating on Friday and was going to tell her to invite some friends, AKA… you guys better be there… and bring a camera and video camera. So that was taken care of. I also got ahold of Rachael’s best friend Krista and hold her it was going down so she should come up and surprise Rach. So Rach and I went through our Friday like normal and then I picked her up and 6:30 or somewhere around there. We were off to O’Charley’s. I wanted to take her somewhere decently nice but not nice enough to rise her suspicion. So we got there and the place was packed. Keep in mind I told the ice rink we would be there around 8. So I was freaking out, knowing we would never make it back in time. I opted to go somewhere else, reluctantly Rachael agreed. We ended up at Steak-N-Shake. All the while I was apologizing for not going somewhere nice, but in my head going: “haha, how’s that for throwing you off, she won’t see it coming now.” We finally made our way to the ice rink, on time thankfully. We paid and got suited up and went out on the ice. The place was packed. I didn’t really know where to do it at because people were just everywhere. We skated around for a while and then I just gave up on planning, and winged it. I txt the lady working and told her to go ahead and play the song. We made a few more laps before the song came on/she recognized it. She heard her song and looked at me smiling. I just said: “Now how did they get our song?” I then pulled her off to the side near a corner and got down on one knee, fumbling to get the ring out the whole time. I asked her to be my forever, and she said yes. And so our story begins…

**Mad props to my boy Aaron Rice for proposal and song writing consultation ;) .