Photography: Nancy Ray Photography
After a year of praying, conversations and growth, I was finally ready to tell Jamie that I was ready to get married. Jamie on the other hand had been patiently waiting for me for over a year. On July 4th, 2013, Jamie and I sat on a bench at the beach and I gave him a prayer that I wrote explaining how and why I felt called to marriage with him. From that moment that I shared my feelings with him, I was ready to be engaged. I was so anxious and ready for it to happen but I knew that trusting in the Lord’s plan was the only way that I was going to get through this period of trusting and waiting on Jamie and his timing. What a sweet time of life that was when I was totally not in control.
When Jamie proposed on August 11th, 2013 after an amazing weekend with my best friends, I was completely surprised. I had anticipated that it would not happen until November or December of that year, but he was ready and couldn’t wait a day longer. Blair, Mary Courtney, Rachael and I spent the weekend at Lake Gaston. We ate a lot, laughed even more and baked in the sun until we were forced inside because of the sunset. It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year and I am thankful that the weekend that I got engaged was spent with them. They know me so well – how to distract me, confuse me and keep my mind off of getting engaged but on it enough so that I don’t think something is wrong. What sneaky and amazing friends they are. You see, the whole weekend they knew what would be happening Sunday night and they keep it a perfect secret. I still don’t understand how I didn’t catch on to their sneaky plans of painting my nails, making sure that I was wearing something cute on Sunday and keeping sunscreen on me so that I wouldn’t be sunburned for the pictures (later to find out these were all of Jamie’s requests).
I left the lake refreshed and full. I got back to Raleigh just in time to get to work. Honestly, it was the last place that I wanted to be. Jamie texted me halfway through work asking about our plans to hang out that night, since I hadn’t seen him all weekend. I told him all I wanted to do was relax and hang out at my house but he had different plans for us. He told me that he had a “surprise” and being the brat I can be sometimes, I told him I really didn’t want to go. He then told me “I wouldn’t drag you to do something if it wasn’t worth it. Just trust me.” So I did. I still didn’t think anything of it. He told me he would pick me up from my house after work. We got in the car and started driving towards NC State campus. He was speeding and I remember asking him if we were in a hurry. He casually said “oh sorry, I didn’t even realize I was doing that” (yeah right) As we got closer to the NC State Arboretum, I guessed that we were going there because for the past month or two we had been talking about going and walking around. We had done it a couple time in the past and I loved it so I just thought, “oh that’s sweet, he’s probably just taking me there before the flowers die for the winter.”
We parked on the street and got out of the car and started walking. I noticed that he was walking fast and seemed in a hurry. I said “Jamie, why are you walking so fast? This isn’t fun, you’re not even holding my hand or letting me look at the flowers.” So with his sweaty, clammy hand, he took mine and we continued to walk all the way to the back rose garden, the spot where he had chosen earlier to ask me to be his wife. He was walking in front of me holding my hand and he all of a sudden, he stopped walking and pulled me around so that I was facing him. With both of my hands in his hands he said, “Callie.” It was in that very moment, I knew exactly what was happening and I began backing up, cupping my mouth and crying. I honestly couldn’t believe that it was happening. When I started crying, he got teary-eyed which made me cry even more. My first thought was, “This is it, take it all in Callie. You will remember this moment for the rest of your life.” And that is exactly what I did. I listened carefully to all of his sweet words, even though now I don’t remember most of them but what I do remember is that he told me the sweetest words that he will ever tell me for the first time.
I love you Callie.
He then reached in his pocket for the ring and my heart stopped beating. I was so excited to see the ring that he had picked out for me. But it wasn’t a TV moment. It wasn’t in a glamorous box that opened smoothly, where the ring is glowing inside. Instead he pulled out a small white drawstring bag that was carrying the ring. Bless his heart, he had tied the strings so tight so it wouldn’t fall out and he couldn’t get it untied. So I waited and we laughed. He finally got it out, dropped the bag on the ground and with both of his hands held the most beautiful ring I had ever laid my eyes on. He dropped to one knee and said “Callie, will you marry me?” I sobbed and said yes as he put that ring on my finger. Jamie later told me that because I was crying so hard, my makeup was just running down my face and it looked like a murder scene. Not what I would have planned.
As we hugged, kissed and took in those special moments he pulled back and told me there was another surprise. I turned around to see Will and Nancy pop out of the bushes with their cameras. He had them capture the whole thing on camera. I continued to cry as they came over to us and congratulated us. Nancy told us that she wanted to take some pictures of us around the arboretum. Meanwhile, it was a hundred degrees outside and all of us were so sweaty but I wasn’t going to turn down pictures that I knew I would look at for the rest of my life.
We couldn’t stop telling each other “I love you.” The words that I had waited so long to tell my future husband. The words I had held back from Jamie for over a year. The wait was so worth it and each time made it more real. It was a promise that I will continue to relive each day, for the rest of my life.
After pictures, Nancy and Will told us goodbye. We continued to walk around the arborteum, enjoying each moment and step as an engaged couple. As we began walking back to the car, I started asking all the questions – the process, the ring, did you ask my dad, did you ask my brother, who knows this was happening? The flood of emotions just continued on as I heard each piece of the puzzle. The way Jamie had done everything was so thought through and perfect. When we got to the car, I began looking for my phone. Of course, I wanted to take a picture and it was no where to be found. Unplanned, I realized that I had left my phone at home. Jamie told me we had dinner reservations so we could stop by my house and pick up my phone on the way.
When we pulled onto my parent’s street and got closer to my house, I saw all the cars and I knew. When we pulled into the driveway, I saw a big heart that read “Here comes the Bride” and saw all of our immediate family. How sweet it was for them to be the first people that we saw and hugged. Of course, Nancy and Will were there to capture every sweet hug and interaction with the ones we love so dearly. She smiled a sneeky smile at me because earlier she had told me goodbye. We walked along the path towards the front door and when I opened the door, I was completely shocked. My family had organized everything so perfectly, with Mary Courtney, Blair and Rachael standing on the stairs to be the next people to see, the rest of my family to the left in the office and the rest of our friends in the family room. This could have been some disorganized, overwhelming commotion of people but my family and Jamie planned it so I could have intimate moments with each friend or family who we love so dearly.
In the midst of my mom training and preparing for her Ironman, she had created this beautiful party with so many fun details. Framed pictures of Jamie and I, absolutely beautiful flower arrangements filled with hydrangeas, cupcakes spelling out “like to love” and delicious food catered by Raleigh Country Club.
The night was so much fun and it ended with a sweet, tear-filled champagne toast from my dad. Believe it or not, I cried the whole night. I have never felt so loved and cared for.
After everyone had left, Jamie and I realized that we hadn’t even taken any time to eat. So we got in the car at 10:00pm to try and find something to eat. We found a McDonald’s and laughed so hard that we would eat fast food on the night we got engaged. We came back to my parent’s house and had some time alone where we talked about the night and all of its details, how we couldn’t wait to get married and start planning a wedding and told each other “I love you” over and over again.
It wasn’t until I woke up the next morning, with a ring still on my finger that I honestly knew that this whole day was real. I love you William James Davis. I can’t wait to become your wife on May 3rd!