I've been lucky enough to recently join the Simply Blue team in hopes of bringing to you the step-by-step process of a bride planning her wedding in Northern Michigan.
But before this all begins, before the planning and stress and excitement, I'd like to take a moment to introduce myself, my fiance, and my plans.
I'm a true northern Michigan gal. I was born in Traverse City and haven't gotten that certain 'bug to leave' that most Northern Michiganders tend to come down with. I love everything about Traverse City and surrounding area. From cruising the winding, tree-canopied roads that cut through the thick woods of Glen Arbor, to the seemingly limitless horizon seen from across the vast vineyards of any winery on Old Mission. Peninsula to peninsula, I love it all. These places also encompass my meeting of Pieter.
Although Pieter is not from Northern Michigan directly, his journey from Grandville, Michigan, brought him here to attend the Great Lakes Maritime Academy where we met in the fall semester of 2006, in a library. He told stories, I laughed, and our friendship was truly a bond. But after a couple years, we drifted apart. It wasn’t until November of 2009 that a chance reconnection arose, when we decided to meet for a couple of beers in Grand Rapids, where I was attending Kendall College of Art and Design and he was visiting for the holidays. It didn’t take much to remember why we had been friends for so long.
The holidays came and went and our friendship continued to strengthen. In May of 2010 we realized we held deeper feelings for each other. We dated until March of 2011, when Pieter took his first job after graduation as a 3rd Mate on a Great Lakes ship. Although we were unsure of how long he would be gone, we both felt it was a great opportunity, and so he left. He was gone for 112 days and we only saw each other for about two weeks of that entire time period. To say it was rough would be like saying Captain Crunch only SORT of shreds your mouth to pieces. The rough patches faded, and soon the countdown ran its course. His arrival home not only meant that he'd be mine again for at least a month (his allotted time off) but also that we could continue our relationship like 'normal' people.
He was home for only ten days when he decided to ask me on a full-day-date; we would do everything we loved to do in Traverse. On the morning of Wednesday, July 13th, we woke up, jumped on our tandem and headed out. We headed to Espresso Bay to grab coffee and sped to the Farmers’ Market to make sure we’d get the good scones. After taking most of the day pretty lazily (the best way to spend a Traverse City summer day), Pieter mentioned going to dinner. I chose Amical, but first, Pieter insisted we go to Left Foot Charley's for a glass of my favorite cider: Cinnamon Girl. We arrived, once again on tandem, at Amical for our 7 o’clock reservation. We enjoyed a delicious dinner, as you can only expect from the incredible menu, on the patio. *I’d like to take a moment to say how oblivious I was all day, because Pieter is just this sweet and thoughtful on every other day.* After dinner I suggested we watch the sunset at Clinch Marina.
After leading me up past the path to a grassy area, my confusion wasn’t attributed to why we were off the path, but to why Pieter didn’t realize I was wearing heels. Grass and heels… do not mix. My oblivious state continued as he turned his back on the glittering bay, faced me, and whispered into my ear that I ‘would always be his home’. (Once again, Pieter’s always sweet...I was epitome of clueless). It wasn’t until he knelt down onto one knee that I truly grasped what was happening.
This moment that I experienced, that so many couples experience in their own way, will always be held so close to my heart. I think I’ll forever remember exactly how the wind felt against my cheek as we cried and kissed and cried and laughed and cried a little more. I'm engaged... and I can't wait for the future.
Oh, and yes, the ring looks amazing with every outfit.
Photos courtesy of Alicia Magnuson