Kaitlin and Chris
August 3, 2013
The first night we met, Kaitlin was convinced by her roommate (my friend & classmate) to leave her studying behind for the night and go out with some of her friends. She seemed shy as she stepped into my dorm room in Walsh Hall. We all sat around by my desk as I awkwardly tried to make conversation. I'd crack jokes and Kaitlin seemed totally uninterested. I was outnumbered....no wingman, just myself, a friend who happened to be a girl, and my future fiancee. We decided to go out and enjoy the night life of the University of North Dakota, something which I actually despised. Ironically enough, Kaitlin didn't seem too thrilled either. We were both the quiet kids at the party, and that gave us something in common. Simply put, we hit it off in the basement of a bustling frat house....classy, I know, and yet, I wouldn't have it any other way.
I used to joke with Chris that he was one of the only people I could hang out with for an extended period of time and not get sick of. Over three years later, I still get excited every time I'm on my way over to his house. Absence has definitely made the heart grow fonder, as we are spending most of this year on opposite sides of North Dakota. The strength of our relationship and his constant support has helped me develop into a self-assured individual with the good fortune of having a partner I can always rely on. Don't let our playful bickering fool you; that's just our way of flirting. I've never been able to show every side of myself to anyone else. He's my biggest fan when I enjoy successes, and he doesn't bat an eye at my weaknesses - only helps to make me stronger. I'm often baffled by the countless things that went right in order for us to meet each other.
According to Kaitlin: My freshman year of college, I was kind of lame. I stayed in most weekends and did homework. My roommate, Alex, convinced me to go out with our suitemates and a couple of her friends from class. One of them was Chris. We didn't really talk for the first half of the night. I couldn't read Chris at all and wasn't sure if he was flirting or just being obligatorily friendly. Somehow we ended up striking up a conversation in the dingy basement of a frat house, our last stop of the night. I don't remember at all what we started talking about. I only remember thinking that I just had to know more about this guy. As we became more comfortable with each other, we ended up taking "engagement-style" pictures together, which completely baffles me now. We spent the entire night talking and getting to know each other and planned to meet for lunch the next day. I couldn't wait to see him again, but was still nervous that he might not be looking for a relationship. (I honestly wasn't at all, but my mind was changed the instant I met him.) When I was getting ready to meet him the next morning, I found a sticky note he had hidden for me that simply said, "I'm so glad I met you." I think that's when I fell in love. I still have the note on my wall.
According to Chris: I remember my friends leaving for the weekend and jokingly saying, "You better take this chance to meet a girl." They then threatened some horrible repercussion if I didn't get three girls' phone numbers. I laughed but figured I might as well make the most of their absences. I talked to a friend in one of my classes who I later learned happened to be Kaitlin's roommate. They both came over and instantly I was attracted to Kaitlin, however it seemed like she was having none of me or my jokes, and I instantly thought she was way out of my league. We ended up at a frat house, where a guy she'd met a few times before was trying his best to hit on her. I really didn't think much of the guy, and it didn't help that he challenged me to a chug off - Me drinking rum & coke and him drinking his Twisted Tea. Anyway, I was glad Kaitlin didn't seem too into him. At the end of the night, I was the one who ended up with Kaitlin's number and, luckily, she turned out to be more than just a phone number that would keep my friends from giving me a hard time.
The biggest hurdle to overcome was gathering the courage to ask her father. I knew that he was a traditional man who also happened to be one heck of a shot with any firearm ... Intimidating. Getting his permission was important to me, and without it, my proposal was dead in the water. I had several chances to ask him, but every time, I froze. One day, he was stopping through Grand Forks on business, and I was determined to finally muster up the courage to ask, but I was foiled by a work promotion and my future fiancee. Her dad had recently gotten promoted and received a new phone for work...along with a new phone number. I had no chance of calling him and arranging a meeting before he left town. After meeting with him and Kaitlin for a quick lunch (and getting his new number), I decided to wait outside and catch him in the parking lot ... However, Kaitlin decided to hang around, too. I was stressed and thought of several other last-ditch efforts, including flying across the state to meet up with her father. Then, Kaitlin said he would be through the area later that week, so I waited ... only to have his trip canceled. The day we met three years earlier was approaching, and I had already put together a photo book full of memories from the three years we had spent together. On the last page was a heartfelt paragraph, and the last sentence read, "Kaitlin Amanda Ring ....... Will you MARRY ME?" (covered by a sticky note pull tab, of course, to keep Kaitlin from reading ahead). I was told that getting her father's permission was so 1950s and unnecessary, but I knew it would mean a lot. My chances to ask in person before the date I planned to propose were gone. So, I picked up the phone and called him. To my relief, he gave me his blessing, and I was able to put my plan into action. I had the whole thing set: Pick her up after her long day at work with flowers and the photo book and sweep her off her feet. But she never called, so I took a nap, thinking she was stuck at work. I had the photo book and the ring on my desk. I was awakened by her voice as she came into my room and turned on the lights. I panicked and bolted up to throw my jacket over the ring and book. I had to improvise because this was not part of the plan. I got my roommate and groomsman, Elliot, to run out and get me flowers and a nice gift bag. I had him leave the house and leave the bag on the porch. I picked up the package and surprised Kaitlin in my room with roses and a photo book. The second she opened the book, her eyes were filled with tears, but she swears she still didn't suspect anything. When she reached the last page, she saw the pull tab and asked if I'd made a mistake and tried to cover it up. I told her she needed to pull it off. That was my cue. I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me.
Maiden of Honor
I remember when Shannon was born, holding her and thinking, "She's the cutest most perfect thing in the world. I'll never fight with her." Being the built-in babysitter for the remainder of my preteen and teenage years, that promise may not have held true but, being 10 years older than Shannon, I've always wished I could be more present in her life. That was part of what persuaded me to take a job in Williston, so I could spend one last year with her. It's also why I couldn't imagine going through one of the most important days of my life without her by my side. (Additionally, she's wanted to make sure I include that she loves cats.)
Lifelong Friend and Bridesmaid
Adeline is one half of the dynamic duo I spent almost every minute of my childhood with. Adeline, Veronica, and I had sleepovers nearly every weekend in the summers and had so many adventures -- Spending afternoons at the horse ranch down the street, going swimming in nearby Spring Lake, and rollerblading with their dogs, just to name some. Adeline was also one of the only people I could indulge my guilty pleasure of playing Barbies with long after we were considered "too old."
Maid of Honor
Our friendship grew stronger through the craziness of the guys we love. Although, cocktails, dinners, Teen Mom nights, shopping trips, and wedding shows on TLC didn't hurt either. And I don't think anyone else appreciates the awesomeness of the statement, "I don't know what to do with my hands!" Matt and Lindsey are honestly the couple equivalent of mine and Chris's "other half."
Lifelong Friend and Bridesmaid
I was so lucky I got to have two people to call my best friends growing up. Veronica, Adeline, and I would ride our bikes for miles and think nothing of it. (I wish I could still do that.) We'd head to their family's restaurant for breakfast, to Wal-Mart, the Mecca of Williston, to get ice cream and swap flavors a third of the way through. All of my favorite memories growing up star Veronica and Adeline.
Friend, Roommate, and Groomsman
Groom's Brother and Groomsman
Brother of the Bride & Groomsman
Lifelong friend and groomsman
House Mountain Inn - Lexington, VA