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Before I Do

Alyssa + Mitchell


photo | Brittany Clark Photography


I met Mitchell when we were seated next to each other in eighth grade algebra. He was a class clown, and I was a straight A student. As we proceeded to date other people throughout high school, we continued to have classes together. Mitchell always made me laugh, and I always thought that he was special. As we neared graduation and were set to go our separate ways for college (1238 miles apart), everything changed. It all started one Friday night when I was having some friends over for a pajama-party-movie-night complete with Mean Girls and Skittles. One of our mutual friends (now a groomsman), Hayden, asked if he could invite Mitchell. For the first time, we were together outside of the four walls of a classroom, and for the first time, we were both single. We sat next to each other on the couch that night. Years later we discussed the fact that we were both distinctly aware that our knees were touching.

It all started from there. The type of summer that movies try to capture. A group of carefree friends playing beach volleyball, vowing to watch every American Pie sequel before we go off to college, swimming, grilling, roasting marshmallows, so on and so forth. About two weeks in, Mitchell took me out on our first date to Mama’s Daughters’ Diner. Throughout the summer, we ignored the fact that in a few short months, I would be leaving for Texas A&M and Mitchell would be traveling to Florida Atlantic. We ignored the fact that it is a terrible idea to embark upon college with a two-month-old, very long distance relationship. All we knew was that we were going to be together. Our freshman year consisted of care packages, phone calls and surprise visits. Fully prepared to endure four years of missing him, Mitchell surprised me with a phone call towards the end of our second semester. He informed me that after his research, Texas A&M would accept the majority of his transfer credits, and they have an excellent ocean engineering program. Our remaining three years of college, we were together at last.

Again as graduation neared, this time college, our new chapter began. Mitchell and I met our two families at my ranch in east Texas for Easter weekend. Mitchell woke me up on Easter-eve with a basket, inside was an egg. The egg had a clue leading us to find the next. One after another, the clues led us around the property until we arrived upon a beautifully set picnic table with candles, individually stacked s’mores, chocolate covered strawberries and a lit fire pit. This is where Mitchell revealed the final egg that contained a love letter. He then proceeded to ask me to marry him. Thrilled, I said YES! We called our families on the walkie talkies to tell them the news, and they came racing up to the picnic area where we all celebrated over hot dogs and marshmallows.