Becoming “The Parkers”

How We Met

I’m from Texas. Brad is from Illinois. So, how did we meet? There are a couple of versions to the story (mine, his and our friends’). But basically, in early April 2006, while I was living in Peoria, IL and working for Caterpillar, I traveled with friends to Purdue University in Lafayette, IN for Grand Prix (an annual event on campus). In true “Breakfast Club” fashion, we had a fun morning partying, while Brad was refereeing youth soccer back in Peoria. At the time, Brad and I had not met, but were (unknowingly) at the same going away party for a mutual friend the night before.

At the last minute, Brad made plans with two friends to make the road trip to Purdue to catch up with everyone later in the day. We all met up at a BBQ and that is where Brad and I were first officially introduced. He claims it was love at first sight and proceeded to try to get my attention by making fun of me ALL AFTERNOON. Needless to say, I found this extremely irritating, but since we had mutual friends, we ran into each other often in the next several weeks. I resisted the teasing and flirting at first, but after hanging out with him a few more times we started to become friends. It wasn’t long before I  fell for him too. Within a month after meeting, we were pretty much inseparable and made our relationship “official” about 3 months later.

Dating

After we started “officially” dating, we only lived in the same city for about 3 months before I started a series of work rotations in Miami, Singapore and Hamburg (Germany). Although it was difficult at times, we had a blast when Brad came to visit! We traveled a TON, ate exotic food, met awesome people and saw some really amazing places.

Before we knew it, almost two years passed and it was time to settle down “permanently” (or for 3-5 years, which is Caterpillar’s version of permanent). We were super excited to find out that our new home would be Greenville, SC. Brad helped me pick out and buy a sweet condo and he slowly transitioned to living in Greenville over the next year or so. It didn’t take long before we were settled, started making great friends and got accustomed to being in a “normal” relationship again. Although, anyone who knows Brad, knows that normal is not really his style :)

The Proposal

In August 2009, we travelled to Santiago, Chile to visit great friends (see identical twins in party pic above and at the bachelorette party here), go snowboarding and to drink tons of Chilean Wine go wine tasting.

On the second day of the trip, we went snowboarding at Valle Nevado Ski Resort. After lunch, Brad insisted that I wait for him to get on the lift while the rest of the group went up to the top. About half-way up the lift, he told me he wanted to snowboard with me forever and asked me to marry him. After I asked him repeatedly if he was serious, he asked again and I (of course) said yes! Brad proposed with a simple silver band (as he said he always would) and once we arrived at the top of the lift, our amazing friends were waiting with cameras and bottles of champagne to celebrate!

After a great (and a little fuzzy, after all the champagne) day snowboarding, our AWESOME friends surprised us with roses, chocolates and more champagne back at their house, then arranged a celebration dinner at a Thai restaurant. While at dinner, Brad shocked me again by presenting me with the “real” ring! He designed it himself with his family jeweler and it couldn’t have been more perfect!

The Wedding

We had a crazy, whirlwind 5 month engagement…Brad flew to Costa Rica (I was out of vacay) and picked out our wedding location, I ran my first marathon, we traveled to Peoria for Thanksgiving and a shower, to Houston for Christmas and another shower, back north to Wisconsin for a New Year’s ski trip and hosted a pre-wedding party in Greenville! Finally, on Wednesday January 13, 2010, we flew Liberia, Costa Rica and arrived at the beautiful Hilton Papagayo Resort!

We were blessed that 25 of our closest friends and family were able to travel to Costa Rica and spend this amazing week with us. We spent the next 3 days fishing, zip lining and spending time with our favorites!

 And on January 16, 2010, I became Mrs. Parker!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything about the day was absolutely perfect! Everyone at the Hilton Papagayo Hotel, especially Andre, our wedding planner, was fabulous. It was beyond anything I ever dreamed of and I can’t express into words how happy we were!

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