Tell us how you met!
Our paths crossed over and over, but we first came in contact with each other during the middle of a Friday night lights local football game. I was 16, Mandi was 15. Those butterflies we’re fluttering in our stomachs. I felt every bit of excitement and nervousness. Mandi will tell you I had a crush on her best friend that she was with.
The reality is, I did everything I could to get in contact with this sweet girl I was so intimidated by. I would even have house parties and gatherings with some of her closest friends, hoping she would show up (she later showed up at a New Years party I hosted in 2010… score!). God works in mysterious ways — and He did some miraculous things during our first moments.
“In this big life, it’s like we’re all climbing our mountain. We can either choose to sing as we climb, or we can complain about our sore feet. A long time ago, I decided that singing made a lot more since.”
How long have you been together?
Believe it or not… 6 YEARS! We’ll be celebrating 7 wonderful years together in June of this year. We’re young, but we’ve always known who we love. I met Mandi when I was whimsical and 16. I knew she was the one the moment I saw her. I’m now 24, and feel even more confident with loving my best friend for life.
Nearly 6 years in and I still haven’t proposed? I think Mandi and I we’re having too much fun attending college at the University of Oklahoma. I remember the night I had the idea of proposing hit me.. literally. While working in Tulsa, I visited Mandi in Norman on the weekends. One night, Mandi went out for ice cream with her friend and I stayed back at home with one of her roommates, Haley, who is now one of my best of friends as well.
Out of the blue, Haley chunked her socks across the room aiming directly at my face, and shouted, “When are you going to propose?!” She was dead serious as she expressed how important this was/is to Mandi. I had no idea these questions we’re floating around in Mandi’s head. So, I got to work! I prayed about it and soon began planning the ultimate surprise proposal.
Give us the details! When? Where? How?
I proposed to Mandi on March 25th, 2016, Easter weekend. It was a big weekend celebration with all of our dearest supporters at a special place we used to visit. Over all the years of knowing each other, I have never been able to surprise Mandi… until now.
The proposal was at our friend’s ranch in a town called Wapanuka, Oklahoma. Even though the town seemed to only have one gas station and one restaurant.. this is such a special place for us as we used to visit this ranch when we first began dating. We used to ride ATV’s, tip over canoes, fish and jump off docks, barbecue, gather around fire pits, and watch the stars from the highest hilltop of the land — all with a handful of our best friends. Every time we would visit this magical place, we were taken on an adventure of a lifetime. That is exactly what I wanted my proposal to Mandi to be. A proposal for a life filled with adventure, happiness, and joy.
We’re believers, dreamers, lovers and best friends to the very end.
The proposal took almost a year of planning. From creating the perfect engagement ring, to figuring out what the heck I’m even going to say to this woman (I think I ended up saying some gibberish because I was so nervous). When it comes to celebrating life’s precious moments, I do it big. I contacted all of our friends who supported us over the years and told them my secret master plan. After months of planning, the big day came. It was the most insane, nostalgic, heart-warming day overfilling with memories.
Here we go! My big moment to prove to Mandi that I’m her forever man. The sun is about to set, all of our friends are in place, and the show begins. Mandi’s car pulled up to my little brother, Tommy, and our friend, Garrett, greeting her. They guided her to a bonfire with a blanket and a laptop where she watched a fun video I made, reflecting all of our cherished memories we’ve had together.
The journey was just now beginning! After the video, she was chauffeured in an off-road Ranger that was taking her up and over this great big hill, which is where I was anxiously waiting for her. The peak of the hill is where we used to sing and shout at the top of our lungs, and watch Oklahoma’s beautiful sun set into a fiery pink sky. As the Ranger made its way down the other side of the hill, there I was, waiting for my best friend. I’ll never forget all the tears of joy rolling down her face as I handed her a bible with her new last time on it.
I got down on one knee and asked the love of my life to be my wife and to celebrate life together until the end of my our days.
We cried, hugged, and took in this gracious moment. My future wife was handed off to me, and we jumped on an ATV to continue our adventure (oh, I’m not proposing just yet!). Directly ahead of us, you can see a dozen of our best friends holding signs up with a quote written by Mandi, which I held on to since the first days I met her. The quote is, “In this big life, it’s like we’re all climbing our mountain. We can either choose to sing as we climb, or we can complain about our sore feet. A long time ago, I decided that singing made a lot more since.”
As we drove past our friends, each person held up a portion of the quote. A headful of memories flushed through our heads as we passed each person — it was amazing! Now it was time to perform my part. After passing all of our friends, our final destination was at this dock we used to jump off of. I had the letters “B” and “G” on each side of the dock. Mandi and I acted as the “I”, spelling out the word “BIG” (our life motto is “Do It Big”).
I got down on one knee and asked the love of my life to be my wife and to celebrate life together until the end of my our days. She said yes! We did it big. I gave a thumbs up to our friends who were at the other end of the pond as they set off fireworks. It was the most magical moment we will never forget.
What has been your favorite experience planning the wedding?
Jake: For me, my favorite wedding planning experience is seeing the way Mandi’s eyes light up when dreaming about our big day.
Mandi: My favorite experience planning the wedding was probably doing venue tours and finding where we wanted to get married. After leaving the beautiful venue, we both immediately knew that’s where we wanted our special day to be.
How do you stay sane under the pressures of wedding planning?
Trusting in the Lord, and playing Mario Kart.
What is your favorite part of using Joy for your wedding?
Joy allows us to not only share information about our wedding, but allows us write out our love story. We also love how Joy lets our friends and family be involved with sharing memories and photos.
What piece of advice would you give couples to ensure that they use Joy to its fullest potential?
We’ve been recommending Joy to many of our friends. Definitely encourage your wedding party to download the app. You’re able to interact in a fun way with pictures and sharing memories together. It’s a great way to get everyone involved and excited!
At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you?
That is exactly why we are drawn to Joy. We’re believers, dreamers, lovers and best friends to the very end. We’ve been blessed to find each other at such a young and fun age. We believe in celebrating life’s precious moments, but also continuing the celebration by living a prosperous life with our savior, Jesus Christ.