Alright – so I’ve got some news to release to y’all… I’m engaged! Yep, Jordan Tickle dropped to one knee and asked a girl to marry him! (who’d-a-thunk, right?) Well I did, and let me tell you something – it was definitely THE best proposal that I’ve ever heard about… Read the rest of this post and I’m sure that you’ll agree with me. (Really – it’s pretty awesome!)
So, let’s go back about 18 months… Heather and I were introduced through a mutual friend of ours and we began talking/texting for a month or so. Finally I decided that I needed to meet this girl for real and take her out! To Lynchburg, VA I went. (She was in nursing school at Liberty University, and I live in good ol’ Summerfield, NC.) Two hours later I showed up at her apartment. As I walked up the stairs my heart was beating faster than it ever had. I was nervous… SUPER nervous. (I thought that it was the most nervous I’d ever be, but here recently I found that out to false.) Anyway, I knocked on the door and THE most beautiful girl I had ever laid eyes on opened it. WOW – talk about a heart skipping like nine beats!
I gained my composure, as any fella would do, and we went off for coffee and pizza. Heather and I found out early on that each of us has a love for coffee that surpasses most others, so she decided we should visit this small, eclectic café in downtown Lynchburg – The White Hart. (Little did I know that this was the start of something that would change my life!) We ordered our coffees, took a seat, and began talking. We finished our coffee… and we were STILL talking. Literally – more than two hours passed there in that café, but it seemed like mere minutes. We finally left and went to supper at a wonderful pizza place right down the street called Waterstone. (The Portebella/Sun-dried Tomato Pizza is *the* best!) Spent the rest of the evening talking and I sadly headed back to NC. It was a phenomenal first date though – one that neither of us will forget.
Now, we’re back to present day. (Well sort of. More like this past October.) One day after leaving Va for the long ride home, I decided that I was 100% sure that Heather was THE girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with – plain and simple. Crazy thing is, I used to flip out when I thought of “forever,” but that cold, October day, all the fear disappeared. I knew that this was what I was born to do!
So, I went ring shopping!
If you know me at all, you know that I’m just not satisified with the “same-ol-thing” that you see everywhere. I have a tendency to make sure that just about everything has something special about it – like everything! This was in full-swing when I started thinking about the engagement ring. I’ll not bore you with all of the ideas I had, I’ll get right to what actually happened. I had about 35 rings I was in love with that I knew Heather absolutely adored, so when I showed my jeweler he quickly told me that I needed to narrow it down just a little. (I’m also bad at narrowing things down. haha) I worked like a crazy man and finally dwindled my selection down to five rings that I loved. I still didn’t know how to create THE ring that I was looking for though, so I called one of my best friends – Caleb Harrison. He’s a phenomenal artist and I just knew that he could make my vision come to life. I lied to Heather and told her that he and I were just going to Starbucks to talk and cath-up, but in reality we sat there with our coffees and my iPad planning and plotting how to create the ring of Heather’s dreams. After a few days Caleb sent me some sketches of his first concept and I was in LOVE! I immediately sent them to my jeweler and he began making THE engagement ring!
(Side note: Mark Holder was my personal, custom jeweler for this. Check him out! Mark Holder Jeweller)
Alright, now we’re to the point where I have to figure out how to “pop the question.” Again, I have this inherent need to make things thoughtful – ESPECIALLY the proposal. After bouncing around a few ideas I settled on what is quite possibly THE best idea I’ve ever had.
Let’s talk about the date first – December 12, 2013. See, Heather was in the midst of her last semester of nursing school it was definitely one of THE hardest times in her life. I didn’t want to side-track her from her finals by throwing a ring on her finger, so I waited until after she took her last exam. She was graduating on Friday the 13th (bad luck, I know) and I knew that there were two things that needed to happen after the proposal. First off, she HAD to be able to show the ring to family (especially her mother) ASAP, and I knew that she’d want to show it off to her nursing buddies too. Well, the 12th was the best day for all that. See, she didn’t suspect anything because it was on a random day, and we didn’t even have supper planned. ( I mean I had planned Waterstone for months, but she thought it was spontaneous.) Then the next day her family was coming in and she was graduating – kind of killed lots of birds with one stone! (See the pun? ha!)
Alright, now we’re to the 12th… (*Thursday* the 12th. Like the day I’m supposed to propose!) We went to dinner at Waterstone and shared the same pizza we shared on our first date. (Let me clarify, I didn’t really even eat anything. I was scared to death – really. Luckily I convinced her I just wasn’t feeling well…) Then, after supper was over she began talking about what we should do next… A movie, maybe ice cream? Then I chimed in, all causal and what-not, and suggested coffee at The White Hart. She thought that was a grand idea! “Yeah! It’s like we’re on our first date again or something… How sweet.” (If only she knew what as about 10 minutes from happening, right?)
We left and headed to get coffee. Here’s where it gets crazy. As we walk in she doesn’t really see what all I have set up. Let me give you the details. First off, it’s the same coffee shop we had coffee at on our first date. Then I have two people there to sing “our song” to us, (Dave Barnes’ “Until You”) but not just two random people with beautiful voices – two of our VERY best friends. Yep! Massive brownie points, right? (I’m thinking that if you’re a girl you probably just got some goose bumps. Am I right?) Among the “strangers” in the café were two more of our very best friends to enjoy the moment with us. Oh – and I hired a photographer and two videographers to drive up and capture the moment too! (photos and video are below)
So, we walk into the coffee shop. She is 100% oblivious. I ask her for her coat and she hesitantly begins to take it off and hand it to me. About this time she turns to me and says, “Is that girl over there taking pictures of me?! Jordan! What is going on?!” I smiled and grabbed her hand to lead over to where our friends were gathered… Annie began playing her guitar and the tears started flowing. We stood there through the first few verses of our song listening to our friends sing to us and thinking about how special the moment was. Soon after the song started it was as if all time stood still for a moment. The café got quiet and people began watching. Phones were out recording and photographing us. (We showed up on random Instagram and Facebook accounts! How cool is that?) As the song neared the end, on the last chorus, I turned to face Heather and sang the rest of the song to her. (I’ll admit, I had to push through the tears) After the song was done I took a few minutes and told Heather just how much I loved her. (I had a “cheat sheet” in my wallet that I had made the night before so that I could practice. haha) To end my speech I said this: “Heather, I’ve spent my whole life looking for someone JUST LIKE YOU, and now… Now that I’ve found you, I’m not letting you go.” (Super sweet – I know. I’m pretty proud of that one!) Then…
Wait – let me fill you in on something real quick. My life-long best bud Caleb (not the one that designed the ring) was there and I had him hold the ring, in the box, for me so that I wouldn’t have to dig in my pockets when the time came. I handed it over to him when we walked in the café that evening. Seems harmless and a like a smart idea – right? Ummm, just keep reading.
So I’m done talking… We hugged for a few moments and then I motioned to Caleb for the ring. He handed it to me and I drop down on one knee. I open the box and *luckily* I glanced to make sure the ring was looking good. What happened next will NEVER, EVER be forgotten. The box was empty. Yes, totally empty. I turned to look at Caleb with a look that I promise could melt steel. I was literally more scared, mad, embarrassed and confused that I’ve ever been. (for like 3.2 seconds) Then that goof-ball cracks a cheesy grin and holds the ring up between his fingers. OH. MY. WORD. The entire café burst into laughter, as did I. It was absolutely hilarious! It helped lighten the mood and knock the anxious edge off of things…
I got the ring and placed it back in the box (where it was *supposed* to be) and got back down. I asked – and she said YES! Best moment of my life… Period!
We spent a few moments hugging and crying with one another, then we were congratulated by our best friends. The videographers and photographer spent some time with us to catch the moments right after our engagement, and they’re simply priceless!
Advice to anyone out there that is planning a proposal – pay for a photographer or videographer! Better yet, hire both! I know that everyone is trying to watch their money (especially after buying a ring), but it’s literally some of the best money I’ve ever spent. That night was SUCH a special time in our lives and I am ever so glad that I have the video and images to show to our children one day!
Shout out to my amazing crew! Nathan Harrison (my crazy hair-stylist friend) and Annie Joyce (Heather’s best friend and roomie that helped me keep every bit of this a secret. I’m talking she straight up lied for me so that we could pull all of this off! Annie, I owe you big time!) not only provided the beautiful music, but they also showed up early to decorate the café with lights I wanted and clear the area where I popped the question. Plus these two were my sounding board for all the ideas and they helped me keep my sanity when things were a little stressful with the planning. Also, Caleb Brooks was the good-ol-pal that stole the ring and gave us all a memory that we will hold dear for years to come! Hannah Parnell and Paul Booker (one of the sweetest couples ever) were a huge help in helping me choreograph the whole thing and keeping Heather in the dark. Plus, Paul has let me sleep countless nights on his couch – for that I owe him my life! Really though, never before have I ever realized just how blessed I am to have true friends. These friends of ours did more than I could ever begin to describe to make this night happen. I’m talking about tons of miles driven to be there and re-scheduling their own plans to be a part of it. To each of you five, I offer the most sincere, heart-felt gratitude! I seriously could not have pulled this off without each one of you!
My photographer, Liz Grogan with Liz Grogan Photography, did an AMAZING job on the photos and was such a joy to work with!! My videographers, Matt & Aimee Nelson with Matt Nelson Films, were the ones that rocked out the video you see linked below! Thanks to all three of you – I know that 4 hour drive (late at night) wasn’t the easiest, but I am so thankful that I had y’all there to capture the moment! Y’all are the best!
Now take a few moments to watch the video and browse through the photos below!
[Click the images to make larger and view gallery style]