Tanner Ball & Erin Wentworth
How did you meet?
Erin and I were both involved in a campus ministry all throughout college and had been around each other for several years without interacting much before we really got to know one another. This past Spring, we both signed up to go on a month-long trip to China with the ministry where we would be teaching conversational English and building relationships with students at a university there.
On our flight from Boston to New York, one of our many connecting flights on our trip to China, I was assigned a seat next to Erin. I had never really had a full conversation with her, and I've honestly never been all that great at first conversations with people I don't know well, so I might have been a little nervous; however, that nervousness quickly subsided when I sat down next to her and saw her holding a copy of David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Ever since high school, I've loved reading Gladwell's books, and I hadn't read David and Goliath, so I was excited to talk to her about it. I don't remember everything that we talked about on that flight, but I remember walking through the airport in New York to our next flight thinking that this girl was special.
When you're in a foreign country on a team with only 7 other Americans, you get to know all of them very well very quickly. In the evenings, several of us would gather to play cards, watch something on Netflix, or just to talk. I was blessed to spend a lot of time around Erin in that month. As our time in China progressed, I began to realize more and more how much I enjoyed spending time with her. One day, I was out eating dinner with a student at a mall about a mile from the campus we were working on when I got a text from Erin saying that she was on the campus and would need someone to come walk her back to our hotel in about an hour. As soon as I got the message, I texted her back saying I'd be glad to come walk her back. After finishing dinner with the student, I walked over to campus to meet her. I got to the building where I was supposed to meet her and she was nowhere to be found. I texted her and got no response. I called her and it went straight to voicemail. After waiting for 15 minutes or so, I started to get a little nervous. I decided that, since her phone wasn't working, I would go find her. I walked around campus for almost an hour looking for her before I got a text from another member of the team saying that he'd found her. Fortunately, she had just had a longer meeting than expected in a place where she didn't have cell reception, but the joy and relief that I felt when I found out she was alright made it all the more obvious to me just how important she was to me. Three weeks or so into our time there, at which point I was very interested in Erin, I volunteered to babysit with her just so I could spend more time with her. In fact, during the last two or three weeks there, I was quietly manipulating other people on our team and volunteering for things to make sure that I got to spend more time around her. She's told me since then that she thought it seemed like we spent a lot of time together toward the end of the trip. That wasn't an accident. About a week before we left China, I was determined that I needed to ask this special girl on a date. After talking to a couple of people on the team about it and devising a plan, I walked into her room one afternoon, almost shaking with nervousness, and told her that I liked her a whole lot and would love to take her on a date when we got back to the States. After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only 2 or 3 seconds, she told me she'd love to.
How did you propose?
To say that Erin tried her best well ahead of time to figure out how, when, and where I would propose is a huge understatement. After a session of pre-engagement counseling, it was abundantly clear to both of us that it was coming soon, so I knew I'd have to work hard to actually surprise her. I started planning about a month ahead of time, conspiring with her roommate, coworkers, mother, and friends, as well as my parents.The date I had set was Friday, December 18th. I had planned a trip back to Chattanooga for that week, and I convinced Erin that I was going to be getting back late that Friday night, going so far as to put a fake appointment in my calendar and pull out my calendar in front of her so she could see in passing that I truly wouldn't be back until late that night. In addition, I made sure that she made plans to go to a Christmas party with her coworkers that evening.
I actually arrived back in Lexington at about 3 that day and got everything set up for the proposal. She was planning to go the Christmas party that evening in Georgetown and wasn't planning on coming home before it started, but I needed to make sure that she got home so that plan could begin to unfold. Catherine, her roommate and coworker, had set up a plan with her other coworkers to make sure this happened for me. That afternoon, Erin got a text from the host of the party saying that she would have to cancel because of a small electrical fire in their house, but suggested that she, Erin, and several other coworkers get together in downtown Lexington later that evening. Erin surprisingly bought it and headed home to get ready for the party. On her way home, she called me. When I saw that she was calling, I was terrified because I didn't know if I was going to actually be able to passably act like I was still back in Chattanooga, but, after a short conversation where I made plans with her for late that evening once I got back, she still had no idea what was coming. When she arrived at her house, Catherine and Faith, one of her best friends who had come in from out of town and had been hiding in their house waiting for Erin's arrival gave her a note that I had written which explained that it was a big day and that I was going to send her to have a bit of fun before I asked her an important question. She was then handed a clue, the first of four in a scavenger hunt I'd set up for her, which led her to Barnes and Noble. While Barnes and Noble doesn't have any particular significance for us, it has become clear over the course of our relationship that we both love coffee and books, both of which can be found there.
At Barnes and Noble, I had arranged for her to be able to hand the barista a token and receive a vanilla latte, which I had paid for ahead of time. Unfortunately, that didn't work out as planned, but Faith stepped in to purchase the latte for her on my behalf. The clue I had given her included a code that she had to crack using books in the store. After locating the books that she needed, she sat down at a table with Faith and Catherine, and figured out the message hidden in the code, which led her to her next clue.
The next clue led her to Saul Good, a restaurant of significance to us since I've taken her on a couple of memorable dates there. When she arrived there, she was directed to the bar, where she met up with two more friend, Mary and Tara, who I'd gotten in on the plan. She then got to hang out with them for a while and grab a drink before receiving an envelope containing her next clue, which led her to The Village Idiot, a restaurant that's important to our relationship since it's the place I took her on a date the night I first told her that I love her.
Mary and Tara dropped her off at the entrance to The Village Idiot, where her friend Monica, her sister, and my sister were all waiting for her with a bouquet of roses and an envelope with the next clue. The clue pointed her to Triangle Park, a small park in downtown Lexington that was decorated with a giant Christmas tree for the Christmas season. Once she came across the street to the park, I came out from behind the Christmas tree, told her how much I loved her, got down on one knee, and asked her if she would do me the honor of becoming my wife. Thankfully, she said yes! After I proposed, we went back to The Village Idiot to celebrate over a good dinner with our families and friends. While I was pleased that Erin was actually surprised by my proposal, the most exciting outcome of this arguably overly-complex proposal is that I get to spend the rest of my life with Erin, my best friend and the most beautiful, caring, thoughtful, godly, wonderful girl I've ever known.
The Faithful Platform
Working with the Faithful Platform was a joy! There are so many options out there and so many people trying to convince you to buy their rings that I don't know how anyone navigates the market without having someone with experience who is on their side helping them through the process. Faithful Platform was able to do just that for me, guiding me all the way from the beginning, to looking at my options, and to purchasing the perfect ring.