Honestly, I’ve never really thought about my wedding.
I mean, I did enough when I was younger to decide that my older sister, Kristen, would be my maid of honor. We decided that really early on, because we both knew we did not want to deal with having to choose between our friends.
So, when Jonathan asked me about a year ago what kind of ring I wanted, I realized that I had no idea. We went ring browsing at the mall, and I didn’t like any of them. They were all too shiny, or too big, or too diamond-y. I couldn’t see wearing any of them for the rest of my life. The only thing I knew for sure about the entire wedding process, was that I wanted jade involved. My father passed away in 2006, and the last thing he ever gave me was a jade jewelry set – a beautiful heart necklace with matching rectangle earrings. I wanted to base my wedding around that. So that’s what I told him. “I don’t know, something with jade.”
In late September, I started receiving mysterious letters in the mail. At first, I was kind of freaked out. They were found letters from a professor in North Carolina, and for some reason he knew who I was and claimed I had been looking for these letters. It wasn’t until I saw the postage stamp – Nashville, TN – that I realized Jonathan was up to something. Jonathan is an extremely creative person. He likes surprising me with fun little things, so I thought this was another fun little thing of his. A mystery to be solved. I had been in kind of a slump recently, so I thought it was a pick me up.
In the days leading up to my trip to go visit Jonathan, the letters came daily. On the last day I was in Kansas City, they alluded that the male of the relationship – Philip – had been lost at sea and never reunited with his love, Olive. However, when I woke up Saturday morning in Nashville and Jonathan was making breakfast, I left the room to find him gone, and another letter next to my plate. It was from Olive, and she hadn’t given up on Philip. There were coordinates on the letter.
I punched them into my GPS and ended up at a really adorable, locally owned art gallery in Nashville – The Art & Invention Gallery. It took me awhile to catch on with what was happening (I was looking all over for Jonathan and his roommate, Josh), but Jonathan was sending me on a scavenger hunt. And the first letter was waiting for me here.
After some assistance from the extremely kind shop owner, I opened up the envelope. Another letter, with more coordinates…and a ring.
I was flustered. I had been talking to one of my best friends, Erin, earlier in the day, and I wondered aloud to her if he was planning on proposing. She brushed it off, saying it wasn’t that and it was just something fun he had planned for us (Which I later found out was a ruse of hers. She was asked by Jonathan to keep tabs on me and keep me off track, as needed. ;3). With her help, I convinced myself that a proposal was not ahead of me (how on earth could we afford that, anyway?). But this ring set something off on me. I had no idea what was going on.
The ring was beautiful. It was a simple band, with a cobblestone pattern and two small jade stones. I left the store immediately to head to the next location. This ended up being the only picture I took of the day, because I was so flustered and excited the rest of the time that I wasn’t even thinking about photos, despite having both my phone and my Nikon d40. But after a couple more beautiful spots, I ended up in a Nashville park with a large staircase, and the final letter.
“It was just like the sun, but more like the moon.”
Reading that line in the final letter sent me into tears. I knew, for a fact, what was happening. Those are lyrics from Mae’s “The Sun and the Moon”, which is the song we had decided to have our first dance to. I raced to the final location, a Nashville lake, and found Jonathan waiting for me.
There was a record player playing Mae’s album, “Destination: Beautiful.” Their song “Runaway” was playing as I approached him. He told me the end of Philip and Olive’s tale, got down on one knee, and asked me to take the fall with him (another Mae lyric reference. He hit all marks on this Mae themed proposal!). Through hysterical sobs, I said yes, and we became engaged.
He explained everything to me – the rings are based on Mae’s album “The Everglow”‘s cover art (above). The ring I found in the day’s first letter is my wedding band, and the jade stones in it represent my father. Each letter contained a Mae lyric. Everything was based on this wonderful band that I loved so much, and this beautiful album that has always been close to my heart, and the only thing I knew I wanted – jade, for my father.
Jonathan worked with a custom designer on this ring. It took a lot of work, and a lot of back and forth between them, but they finally created something absolutely perfect. The jewel is a tri-color sapphire, which changes between blue and green, depending on the light. Blue and green have always been our colors, so that’s another personal touch he added to it. Behind the “fences” on the ring are two small diamonds, which Jonathan’s mother gave us. I am thrilled to have representation from both families in my ring – diamonds for his family, jade for mine. It couldn’t be more perfect.
Jonathan graduates with his Bachelor’s Degree in May, and that has always been when we knew we would be together (and when I thought we were getting engaged! (: ). So our wedding is most definitely not going to be an immediate thing. There is money to save, family to meet, and ideas to be had! Between his extremely creative personality, and my Bachelor’s Degree in design, it is going to be an exceptional wedding. As long as we give ourselves the proper time to make it so. 😉
I am so excited to share this journey with my family and friends, and to have a space I can go back to and relive this process for as long as I want. There’s going to be a lot of DIY projects (successes and failures), concept ideas, photos, music, photos and more photos! Designing my wedding is something I never realized I wanted as much as I do. And I am, so so excited.