Our Wedding Story
Date: May 7, 2001
Time: 9:15 a.m. (EST)
Place: Pretty Place in Greenville County, South Carolina (a.k.a. Symmes Chapel)
Time in the Making: Over 2 years! We started dating January 12, 1999.
Leigh Ann’s Version:
After almost 2 years and 5 months of dating Matt and I finally got engaged on May 7! I had been hoping for this day for a long time…Matt always has more patience than me. 🙂 Here’s my side of how everything happened.
A while back Matt and I had one of those heart-to-heart talks about our future after he had just made the decision to go to the University of Illinois. That night we knew for sure we wanted to be together forever! Immediately I did the only natural thing a girl could do and started talking about a wedding nonstop. Finally, I decided to try not to think about it so I wouldn’t ruin the surprise of it all. But, as days came and went the anticipation was killing me! I was constantly checking to see what Matt was doing to try and figure out some clues.
Then exam week rolled around, and I had my mind on school for the most part. The Sunday of exams week I was at my apartment when I got a call from Matt, all he said was “check your email.” So of course I did, and the email said “be at my apartment at 6:00.” Well, by the time I got the email it was already 6:15, so I rushed right over to his place. When I got there he opened the door and told me to close my eyes. He was dressed nice, and he smelled really good! He lead me back to his room where he had music playing and a candle burning. He told me to open my eyes, and when I did he was down on one knee! I didn’t know what to think! (Actually one thought racing through my mind was the fact that I was all bummed out and looked yucky from laying around my apartment, and I shouldn’t look like this at such a special time.) So then, he held out a ring box and said, “Leigh Ann….will you read this piece of paper?” Hehe. It was a surprise! There wasn’t a ring in the box, but rather a piece of paper. (Shew, I didn’t get proposed to in bummy clothes after all.) Then he explained that to really surprise me, he was going to do something like this everyday, and I would never know if it would be the real thing or not. I didn’t know if this was sweet or impish. 🙂 The paper that was in the box told me to be ready to leave the next morning at 7:00.
That night I didn’t sleep! I kept tossing and turning just contemplating what might happen and what we might be doing. Finally at 5:00 a.m. I got out of bed and started getting ready. At 7:00, I was waiting by the door for Matt. We left and we started going one direction (towards Seneca for you South Carolina folks), and so I started thinking of all the places we might be going. But really Matt was just going to get gas, and we actually started going back the other way (towards Easley). So then I was thinking of places that were that direction. I thought we might be going to Pretty Place, but I wasn’t sure. So we drove, and we drove, and we drove. By this time I was really confused because we had never been this way before, and I was sure we were far away from Pretty Place by now. But all of a sudden, we were at Pretty Place! Matt had just driven around and came in from the opposite direction which is the reason it took 2 (anticipation filled) hours to get there.
We got out of the car and I took some pictures of the amazing view and of the chapel. Then we were standing by the cross and Matt said that he wanted to read me something. He got out a piece of paper, and read a passage out of the Princess Bride (which is my favorite book and sort of mine and Matt’s own fairy tale). I was thinking it was really sweet, and I felt like crying, but I didn’t because for all I knew this was another joke. Then Matt got down on one knee (I still wasn’t sure what to do), and held out the ring box. But, I STILL didn’t know if this was real or not! My mind was racing. Then he opened the box and said, “Leigh Ann….will you marry me?” And there was actually a ring there! I couldn’t believe it! I was in total shock. So of course I said yes, and then I had to tell Matt to put the ring on my finger. 🙂 We were both shaking. We spent the rest of the day emailing, calling, and visiting people to spread the news and show off my ring. It was the most exciting day ever!
Leigh Ann and I arrived at the fact we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together shortly after I decided to go to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for graduate school. So she kind of knew it would be coming, and both our parents knew as well.
I went shopping with Leigh Ann’s mom to pick out a ring the week of finals. Leigh Ann didn’t know because I told her I had an exam that evening (which I really did, but I exempted it!). Her mom and I found a nice ring at Phil’s Jewelers in Anderson. The next day I called to get them to go ahead and mount the diamond on the band he had shown me. That was Monday. On Friday, it was finally ready. I picked it up without Leigh Ann knowing and it was beautiful! I also asked her dad for permission to marry her that Monday I went shopping with her mom. He said yes…so that was one positive answer down, one to go.
The following Sunday I told Leigh Ann to come over to my apartment at 6 p.m. She came over and I was all dressed up. I told her to close her eyes and I led her back to my bedroom, where I had a candle burning and romantic music playing. I got down on one knee, told her to open her eyes, and opened the ring box. However, instead of a ring, all she found was a piece of paper which read, “Meet me at 7 a.m. in the morning”. I told her I was going to do one of these false proposals everyday of the week and she’d never know when the real one was coming.
At 7 a.m. Monday morning, she was ready to go. She of course had no idea where we were going. I drove up a different way to Pretty Place, it took almost 2 hours to get there (yea, it’s really up in the hills of Greenville County). We got there about 9 and we were the only ones there. It had rained most of the morning, but thankfully it was holding off for the time being. I took her down to the altar and read a passage from the Princess Bride (which is also in this section). Then I got down on one knee, opened the box (with the real diamond this time), and asked, “Leigh Ann, will you marry me?” She gave me and excited yes! Now, I’d like to take a moment out of this excitement to make a note for all the guys reading this.
Evidently, when you do this thing, you are supposed to place the ring on the girl’s finger. I never knew this and no one told me, but Leigh Ann had the wits to remind me in this moment of excitement. This is something you never learn in school and the part you probably fell asleep during in every romantic movie you’ve ever seen. I just wanted to offer this word of advice for all fiance’s to be.
Okay, back to the story, we hugged and kissed. We took some pictures. Shortly after, some other people arrived and they took some pictures for us also. Then we headed back to Clemson and Anderson for a full day of spreading the news and showing the ring. Another note for guys, don’t plan on doing anything else the rest of the day but being paraded all over town and given many hugs and congratulations.
Princess Bride Passage:
I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body.
I have lived my life with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction.
I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my ribcage.
I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep.
There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids.
Date: June 15, 2002 (Matt’s grandparents 56th wedding anniversary!)
Time: 2 p.m. (EST)
Place: High Praises Church of God in Anderson, South Carolina
Preacher: Stuart Hayes, a preacher at Downtown Community Fellowship (DCF),
a non-denominational church that Leigh Ann and Matt have attended together for the past two years.
Maid of Honor: Lisa Sowell, Leigh Ann’s friend since they were babies
Best Man: Eric Miller, Matt’s younger brother and an all-round decent guy who I always bonded with each time our family moved. I have always admired his amazing combination of both compassion and competitiveness and his dedication to self-improvement. Watch for flying bottles at the wedding…I love you, bro!
- Kelly Coker
- Amanda Knight
- Kerri Myers
- Julie Patterson
- Michelle Zeglen
- Jared Buchanan, Leigh Ann’s little brother and guitar player extrodinaire. He always puts forth a tremendous effort in all his undertakings and it shows. Quite a brain too, he’ll probably eclipse all my academic accomplishments someday. I’m wishing you much success in high school and college, Jared!
- Kevin Couch, a high school buddy whose devotion to Christ has been an inspiration to many around him. He also has incredible skills in German as well as many other things, he’ll be a success in whatever career direction he chooses. Hopefully one day his racquetball game will reach the level of his other talents 🙂 I hope you and Heather had as much fun planning this wedding stuff as Leigh Ann and I had (they were married June 1, 2002).
- Mark Menees, a middle-school, high-school, and college buddy who was even crazy enough to let me spend my senior year of high-school with his family. Truly magnificent in whatever he gets into, whether it be basketball, tennis, music, or card tricks. If it can be taught, he’ll learn it! I know you’ll be an excellent engineer where ever you end up going.
- Elliott Southard, a friend ever since Home Ec. in middle school. He was also my roommate for the first two years of college…and there’s no way to sum up the joy he brings others in a few sentences. I’ll just say he can entertain like no other, whether it be dropping peanut butter jars, providing freezy pops, or using catch phrases (“I’m blowing up!”, “DuFrane, party of four!”, etc.). I’m going to miss you, bro…I’d send my kids through your classroom any day.
- Jon Terrell, my cousin who was practically like a brother when we were young. Another one of those with a great sense of humor that could take the teasing just as much as he could dish it out. He always has a calm, un-worrying demeanor about everything he does…the epitome of laid-back, yet hard-working. I know you’ll do well in grad school or whatever you choose…and you’ll make a great catch when you finally find a girl who appreciates everything you are!
Bride’s Parents: John and Judy Buchanan (Anderson, SC)
Groom’s Parents: David and Charlene Miller (Pickerington, OH)
Location of Reception: Anderson College