Give us the proposal details! When? Where? How?
Andrew proposed on April Fools day 2017! He knows I am a master at sniffing out surprises and he blew this one out of the water. I had a hunch it was coming up, but I thought it was going to be at the end of April when we were supposed to go to New York City together, so I was not expecting anything. Andrew is a graduate student at the School of Dentistry at the University of Michigan, AKA, he has no social life. In those busy times of his schooling, I typically saw him once a week and pretty much said yes to whatever he suggested doing just because I wanted to spend time with him regardless of the activity. The night before the proposal, he told me the Spring Game for the MSU football team was happening the next day and wondered if I would be interested in going. All of our other alumni friends were planning to meet up, tailgate and hang out. I thought it sounded like a blast and agreed immediately. He had me over to his condo for dinner and afterward asked if I would help him pick out his outfit for the next day, which was super strange. Andrew is an avid reader of GQ and has fantastic taste, he rarely asks for my styling help unless it is for special occasions. I thought it was strange and called him out on it, “Wait, what? We are going to go drink beer in a parking lot, why are you worried about your outfit?!” He persisted, wanting to make extra sure his look was on point. Still confused but delighted he wanted to look polished, I helped him pick out the clothes. The next morning, as I got dressed, I remembered what he had picked out and decided to wear something similar. He was going to be wearing his crisp (always spotlessly cleaned!) black and white high top Vans, fitted jeans and a nice top. I had just gotten a pair of floral high top Vans and thought those would be a cute his/her look without being too matchy-matchy. It was a crisp spring day so I threw on my late grandmother’s trench coat and my signature heart-shaped sunglasses. He picked me up and we started the drive to East Lansing. The whole way we blasted happy music, the weather was gorgeous and we were both in a great mood. About 20 minutes away from campus, I got a Snapchat from my mom saying she and my step-dad were also headed to East Lansing today to have lunch with my older brother who lived in town. I turned to Andrew laughing. “How weird! They are coming to Lansing too!” I thought nothing of it, as they do that roughly once a month.
Meanwhile, Andrew was having a mini-heart attack terrified I was going to put the pieces together. We made it to campus and decided to park on the far end so we could enjoy the weather and walk along the river trail. Before we headed off, we stopped at the art museum to use the restroom and grab a snack. Andrew was taking longer than usual (I now know he was frantically texting my step-dad to make sure my mom didn’t blow his cover) so I decided to check in with my mom. (Andrew was smart enough to coordinate with my step-dad and not tell my mom, so the day was also a surprise for her.) We laughed and chatted about how hilarious it was we were both in town today, she offered for us to join them for lunch which I politely declined as we already had plans and would see them the following weekend for Easter. The call ended with us wishing each other a happy day and seeing each other soon- much sooner than we thought! As we walked out of the museum, I recounted the call with my mom and told him we would just see them next weekend. Playing it super cool, Andrew just agreed it was a funny coincidence and hoped they had fun with my brother. We walked through our favorite parts of campus, the sun was shining, the trees were just coming into bloom and we reveled in the beauty of the place where we met all those years before. Andrew asked if I wanted to walk down by the water and we made our way down the River Trail running along the Red Cedar River. I love walking the trail because there are always lots of students, squirrels, ducks, and nature to take in. It was a beautiful morning and the sights did not disappoint! As we rounded the corner under a bridge across from the stadium, we saw a girl with a camera sitting up on the river bank surrounded by squirrels and ducks. I burst out laughing, pointing to Andrew telling him to check out “that Squirrel girl!” I started talking my head off about my photography class I took where we had an assignment to photograph nature on campus and how that girl must be in that class now. I was so excited and kept talking about how lucky she was to get so close to the squirrels, “her photos are going to be so great, ugh the shallow depth of field is going to be killer!”
My mind returned to my body just as he pulled out the ring and asked me, “Kelly Mackie, will you marry me?”
As we got directly in front of her, Andrew swept me up in a Sneak Attack Kiss. That is what we call a kiss where he scoops me up into a big romantic embrace and lifts me up in the air. I was totally caught off-guard as he usually only does that when we are alone and during the kiss, all I could think about was the Squirrel Girl and how weird it was that he did that in front of her! He put me down and I was looking at the girl in shock. When I looked back at him, he was down on one knee! I jumped back and screamed something along the lines of, “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!” Andrew had to scoot forward and pull me back to him so he could say what he needed to say. As he was pouring his heart out and saying probably the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me, I had a total out of body experience, my mind totally blacked out and I have no recollection of a single word. The entire time he was talking all I could think about was that dang Squirrel Girl! We had talked about how we wanted to get engaged just the two of us, not in public or with other people around. I could not wrap my mind around why Andrew had chosen this particular spot, why he thought the Squirrel Girl was endorsed to be the audience to this extremely special and private moment in our relationship. I looked at the Squirrel Girl and she had turned her lense to us, snapping rapid-fire. It was at that moment it all clicked, “She isn’t here for the squirrels! She is here for us!” My mind returned to my body just as he pulled out the ring and asked me, “Kelly Mackie, will you marry me?” He opened the robin’s egg blue box to reveal the most beautiful Art Deco-inspired ring custom made from my favorite jeweler, Heidi Gibson. *Side note*: I have been following her for years and when we started to talk about getting engaged Andrew asked if I knew what kind of ring I wanted. I laughed and said, “Yeah, I’ll send you some links!” And that was that. I sent five and he picked the one! It was super special because he got to work directly with Hiedi to make the ring and get it just right. Highly recommend her!
Back to the proposal.
After I said yes, I realize this was the moment where I finally have to move my turtle ring to my other hand! Since I was 11, I had a turtle ring I wore on my left hand and vowed I wouldn’t stop wearing it until I got married someday. I remember moving the ring in a daze and thinking, “Wow this is really happening!” With the ring on and the Squirrel Girl revealed, she jumped and ran over to us. She was the first to congratulate us on our engagement and proceeded to do a mini photoshoot on the river bank with us. After we wrapped up with her, Andrew turned to me and said, “We have to keep moving!” Confused I asked, “What? To where? Isn’t this the reason we came today? What else do we have to do?” He said, “We are going to Brody! Our families are there and they are waiting to celebrate our engagement with us!” It was at that moment I broke down crying, I could not believe how much work he had gone through to get both our families there! We are both so close to our families and it meant the world to be able to share the news with them in person. We walked the rest of the way through campus to Brody Dining Hall to find everyone at the front door. Andrew’s grandma came running out first and wrapped me in the biggest hug. She was wearing an identical trench coat to mine and I started to cry because it was like both my grandma and she were hugging me at once. After all of the hugs and congratulations with the rest of the family, we headed into the dining hall to eat. Andrew’s family had gotten a big table and decorated it with balloons, streamers, a tablecloth, candy and fake champagne. I was totally floored at all of the surprises that just kept coming. If you know me, you would know that I LOVE to eat. I had skipped breakfast in preparation to come to eat at Brody, their food is amazing and I was ready to eat my weight in foodie goodness. Our favorite venue is the Mexican cantina and it felt fitting to eat a celebratory taco. Except I was too excited to eat! I took two bites and couldn’t even think about finishing because my adrenaline was pumping out of control. Andrew’s dad noticed and shouted to the whole group, “You know Kelly is excited, she can’t even eat!” Everyone died laughing and the fun continued on. As the meal came to a close, we opened cards and took turns hopping around the table to talk to all the family who came to share in our special day. Best day of our lives…so far!
What has been your favorite experience planning the wedding?
Planning tons of little surprises and special moments to honor our family and delight our guests!
Some examples include:
1. Wearing my grandmother’s 60 yr old wedding dress
2. Restoring my grandfather’s 1961 Starlight Blue Thunderbird. He will be driving us to the reception in it!
3. Doing a first look with my maternal grandfather, I am wearing my late grandmother’s dress so he can see me first and we can honor her memory
4. Flower-grams and Ring security! Asking our grandmothers to be our flower-grams and the grandfathers to be our ring security.
5. Having a secret reception dress I will be changing into! It is a vintage dress I bought in 7th grade for $72 and on the day I bought it, I told my mom I would wear it to my wedding. She looked at me like I was crazy, but here we are!
6. My two younger sisters are going to sing our first dance song, “Beyond the Sea”
7. My maids of honor and I are going to learn Beyonce’s End of Time dance and perform it during the reception.
8. I am making our wedding cake and the topper will be a replica of the Thunderbird we were driven into the reception with.
9. All of our decorations at the reception will be family themed. All of the tables will have wedding photos of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. The ice cream taco bar will have images of our family enjoying food, eating ice cream and more.
10. Surprise giveaways, multiple times throughout the night we are going to do giveaways of items like a cookbook of shared family recipes, actual family baked goods or special items to commemorate the night.
11. I designed all of our wedding printed materials! My fiance and I letterpressed them together and even had a documentary made about us detailing the whole process. It was super important to me that I got to design the printed materials for our wedding because as a designer, I would never have forgiven myself for walking into our special day looking at someone else’s work when I knew exactly how we wanted our vision executed.
How do you stay sane under the pressures of wedding planning?
By staying organized! My mom and I created a shared folder in google drive with a massive spreadsheet encompassing all details of the wedding. We have time on the calendar each week to tackle specific items and keep each other accountable for what is up next. Otherwise, I meditate on a photo I have of my great-grandparents that hangs in my parent’s house. It is the only photo from their wedding day. They got married on the side of their parent’s house, wearing their work clothes, and not a penny to their name. The unabashed joy and excitement in their eyes remind me all of the details don’t matter at all, it is the union of two families becoming one and having the best time with those people that matter most.
What is your favorite part of using Joy for your wedding?
Joy has been a fantastic platform to build our site. I am a UX designer, so I get paid to design and develop websites all day long. I didn’t have time to make my own site, so Joy was the perfect solution! I have been impressed by the feature flexibility, the customer support, and how well this tool caters to the needs of your users. Great UX!
What piece of advice would you give couples to ensure that they use Joy to its fullest potential?
Do your research and explore each feature. Look at the example sites and see all of the possibilities you have when making the site your own.
At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you?
Could not agree more! Joy is an extremely important word and theme in my life. I am actually changing my middle name to Joy when I get married. My grandmother’s middle name was Joy and she was the physical embodiment of the word. I always admired how she made every person she met feel special, seen, and loved. She was so full of life, energy, and excitement and I look forward to living out her legacy every day.