Who knew in that moment her freshman year of college, Caitlin and Matthew would be here? In the planning process for the day that will change their lives forever! I am not sure anyone knew, especially following that awkward first encounter. However, it was that day that so perfectly has led to this one and will guide them forward to this Fall when the Caitlin Dawn Campbell makes the ultimate commitment to love "all of you" Matthew Ray Arnwine.
Let's explore how these two got here and celebrate them before their big day this Fall.
It took a few months after their initial meeting for Caitlin and Matt to speak to one another again when "we happened to be seated next to each other at a mutual friend's birthday dinner." Caitlin recalls fondly that Matt takes great pride in knowing that he was able to get her to try the meatloaf he ordered because "I hate meatloaf." Shortly after that, Matt asked Caitlin to his fraternity formal with "an elaborate scavenger hunt that ended with a 2 hour talk in a hidden hammock up in the front magnolia tree at Samford." In those moments, their adventure began!
Admittedly, it was not love at first sight for Caitlin. "I thought he was a typical/frat boy and a bigtime player, so I had no interest." Although she adds, this "is a really comical thought to anyone who knows him well." Seeing her care for a friend and observing him support her unexpectedly, these were moments they both found solidified the feeling they were meant for one another.
Having a foundation built on laughter, this was apparent in the moments when Matt uttered those three cherished words, or so Caitlin thought. "We were sitting on the couch at his grandfather's just talking and he suddenly got quiet, and I asked "what're you thinking about?" He responds, "you". "What about me?" "All of you" "What?" "All of you" "I love you too", I whispered!" Its "funny how similar those words sound."
With a shared love for cooking, being active, traveling and exploring new places, it was a trip to Haiti where the two had the privilege to carry supplies to a small village. Caitlin experienced her fondest memories with Matt. To get to the village, "we got to travel on the back of bikes, flying across dust fields, and I just remember a feeling of peace and freedom, as if we were exactly where we were supposed to be." Together!
After nearly five years together, they agree what makes the relationship works is balance, "yin and yang".
So, when it came to planning the proposal, Matt managed to balance the surprise with thoughtfulness and a great deal of detail. Soliciting the assistance of a willing core of people, Matt sought to make Caitlin his bride to be, in style!
It began with the help of Caitlin's friend, Austin, who "tagged me in yet another online model call, which I kindly ignored." "Weirdly enough, the boutique saw her comment and Facebook messaged me asking to do a shoot with a few other girls the upcoming Friday." "I go in to try on clothes, and the manager lets me know I'm the first of the models to come in, so I can take my pick. They pull a couple of things and then give me details for Friday. Of course, I'm asking a million questions to make sure I know what I'm doing... Jenny gives me the details and tells me she'll contact me with the site when they decide."
Surprisingly, Austin is free to accompany Caitlin to the shoot downtown. "We drive up to an adorable courtyard with sculptures and iron gates." Jenny, along with the boutique owner and the photographer, were all on scene. "The other girls shot earlier at other locations," supposedly, allegedly. Once changed into her first outfit and having convinced herself that this is real because "it was cold and they had me in spring wear," Caitlin becomes a model for the day. Once in the last outfit, "they wanted to get a few shots heading down the loft stairs into the courtyard, but as I'm about half of the way down the steps I see fur out of the corner of my eye. As I caught a glimpse of my mom and aunt, that's the moment I realized, and the tears began."
As she rounds the corner, there stands Matt "against a white backdrop with twinkly lights." Uttering the words she yearned to hear, and some she admits she can not recall, Matt says, "All of you, Caitlin Dawn Campbell! Will you marry me?" "Tears. To which I kindly responded with a "Yes, I can't wait to bother you for the rest of your life."
Matt thought of everything! From keeping this a complete surprise from Caitlin, making sure her mother, aunt Mel and cousin Monica were present at the proposal, scouting the location for the precious moment, confirming that Caitlin job did not need her that day, inviting all of their closet friends to join in the celebration at Carrigan's as well as arranging for one of Caitlin's "favorite people", Lauren, to join them at the afterparty located at the Collin's Bar. With tons of tears and plenty of cheers, this one goes down in the history books!
Caitlin tenderly adds, "From the girl that always prided herself on never depending on anyone or getting too attached...thank you for seeing through that charade and showing me love isn't something to be earned."
On November 18, 2017 at the Sonnet House in Birmingham, Alabama, the wait will end and Caitlin Dawn Campbell will marry Matthew Ray Arnwine and commitment to all of him, forever. Caitlin envisions her "bohemian chic" wedding as "simple and slightly non-traditional, very light and airy with muted colors." She is eagerly looking forward to "getting to celebrate with all our family and friends!" But, more importantly, Caitlin is "looking forward to officially starting our life together. At that time, it will be real, and we will be making our next step together as a team."
We will be cheering you guys on!
Images courtesy of The Wildflower Creative