She remembers watching him open cards from his high school graduation party. While she took notice of his heartfelt gratitude for the gift inside each card, it was his genuine appreciation for their attendance, and kind words of well wishes written in each card that caught her eye. She thought to herself “He is pretty special”.
He knew she was the one when she cried after (spoiler alert) Anakin killed Padme in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. I realize for some, that is pretty hard to beat, but next in line is her kindness and creativity.
Their journey started in the 11th grade, where Rachal tossed out the first-flirt by writing their characters to marry in a script-writing assignment for an English class. Jon made note of her clever ability to plant the seed and on June 16th, 2013 he asked her on their first date where they walked down the pier on Canal Park.
Then, high school sweethearts, now both finishing up their respective master’s degrees – solidified their future (six years to the day of their first date in 2013). Today they are a 20-something, old-soul couple who love Zeppelin and John Mayer, hiking, fishing at her cabin, Star Wars and Game of Thrones – they have blended each of their passions into an interesting and eclectic couple for the ages.
Before I continue my story about this awesome duo and the ensuing proposal, I feel I should confess my extra-vested interest in Rachal and Jon. My girls (more about them momentarily) have been besties with Rachal since middle-school, and Jon was in the boy-crowd of their circle. Countless sleepovers, sports trips for basketball, volleyball, and softball – you could say Rachal stops minutely-short as a member of our family and her parents are among our closest friends. Even better – Rachal and her amazing photography skills have been accompanying me on recent shoots. In fact, many of her images can be found on Kathleen and Kyle’s wedding blog I posted a couple of weeks ago – check it out! To be included by Jon as he crafted his romantic proposal plan was such an honor and privilege.
Their 6th anniversary (now known as the proposal day) was a warm day in Hudson, Wisconsin. This location was chosen for three reasons: It was a mid-way point between a weekend graduation party and Jon’s apartment in the Cities; Missy, my oldest daughter, works there, and was going to ‘hang out’ with them for an hour before their dinner; and lastly – it has a beautiful pier, reminiscent of their first date. Jon and Rachal had a casual day of hiking, ice crème and hanging out in hammocks before taking a stroll on the pier. Missy was there to lend some moral and organizational support to Jon, and offer teary best-friend hugs when the proposal was complete. Oh, and capture the moment on video. I was able to take refuge behind an amazing family who strategically and masterfully walked at arms-length from the couple as to conceal my presence. They were very happy to be in on the plan, including grandpa in a wheel-chair. About half way down the pier, Jon got down on one knee and simply and sweetly asked his high school sweetheart to marry him. As in true form of their relationship, it wasn’t flashy or splashy, but sentimental, heartfelt, joyful – and artfully ‘them’.
As soon as the tears were replaced with smiles, our small group continued on in the joyfulness of the evening. Behind the scenes and completely unknowing by the bride-to-be, their parents Steve and Mary, and Paul and Jackie, along with my youngest daughter Hannah were waiting for the newly engaged couple inside their anniversary restaurant to keep the celebration going. And celebrate we did. Multiple toasts, tears, laughs, and hugs were had by all.
As previously mentioned, Rachal is an avid photographer and capturing moments play a very important role in her life. Being there to witness and document the beginning of their forever was incredibly special, knowing they will treasure the images themselves, but also knowing the emotion and feelings behind them will be valued for generations. This makes my heart happy!
Congratulations Jon and Rachal. I couldn’t be happier for the two of you and the beginning of a life filled with music, cribbage, exploring, and move of all – love.
(Prom photo courtesy of Jed Carlson of the Superior Telegram)