Part of being a member of the school band at Mountain View High School in Vancouver, WA was participating in the Field Show Marching Band each fall. Austin, a freshman at the time and Stephanie a sophomore, were both members and quickly became part of the same group of friends. Although he never verbalized the words, he knew he had just met his future wife. They started talking and hanging out at every band practice, every bus ride, and every competition. Stephanie always had someone to sleep on during the long bus rides and someone to give her amazing shoulder rubs while they spent hours sitting on the bleachers during competitions. This inevitably lead to spending every second together at lunch and even between classes on a daily basis. Two years later, they finally started dating. One night between texts Stephanie and her best friend showed up unannounced at Austin's front steps. He says he answered the door with a baseball bat ready for a fight but was relieved to see his girlfriend. A week later he took her to the river behind his house where they shared their first kiss. She knew he was "the one" when they could sit at home and say nothing but feel just as happy as when they spent that afternoon at the river. The way young love plays out, they went to dances together, spent all their free time together and even spent holidays with each other's families.
Like any great Nicolas Sparks book, the best love stories have the greatest obstacles. Life set them on different paths which ended in a breakup. Stephanie went away to college while Austin finished high school and went into the US Army. The first call Austin made after graduating basic training was to Stephanie. It was like they picked up right where they left off. They lived and grew up together rapidly in those 3 years before Stephanie had to move back to Texas. All the ups and downs of life deserved a phone call to the significant other. While they remained friends during those years apart, there was always a feeling of love between them. No matter what life had brought them, they were always there for each other and knew they had someone cheering them on. She met him at the airport when he finally made the move to Texas. When they hugged it was like no time had passed at all, and their bond was stronger than ever.
He was nervous and spent moments before pacing around where she was sitting trying to find the right words and courage to get down on one knee. Stephanie's dad was cheering him on, waiting with the camera to capture the moment he had been waiting years for. Stephanie's parents always loved Austin and knew he was special. Austin finally told her that he knew the first time he saw her that he was going to marry her one day. He has unconditional love for her and knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. It may have taken 14 years, but it finally became a reality when he proposed by the pool before her parents and all their close friends. Although she felt it coming, she couldn't help but cry with excitement that the moment had finally arrived. "Everything that happened between the time we weren't together just helped us grow and realize that we needed each other. You hear people say that you sometimes meet the right person but it isn't the right time, and we definitely know how that feels." - Stephanie.
Their friendship kept them in each other's lives, and that's what it's all about. Marrying your best friend.
Austin + Stephanie will celebrate their union in September at CW Hill Country Ranch in Boerne, Texas.