Kelsey + Paul
For those of you who are single in today’s society you may understand the world of online dating a little better than when Paul and I signed up for it. We’ll both tell you we joined to see if there was anyone else in our small towns that we didn’t already know and a way to meet new people, but we would have never imagined it’d turn out the way it did. Paul, being the sales rep for only Montana and Wyoming, was asked by a co-worker to cover a case in Bismarck, North Dakota for him. Paul will tell you he’d maybe gone to Bismarck once back in college for football but otherwise had no intentions of ever going back. I was living in Bismarck but had planned to move to Fargo in a couple weeks so the fact that we were both in the same place at the same time to connect on an online dating app, still feels like fate to me. That, and the fact that I had never once been to Montana or ever thought I’d even visit that state in my life.
It wasn’t until after he’d driven back to Billings that we struck up a conversation; a conversation that would continue for the next 4 months while living 11 hours away from each other. I guess we decided we liked each other too much to stop talking before we’d ever actually met in person so we both made the drive back to Bismarck in December and had dinner + drinks downtown. Even though we’d just shared 4 months worth of our lives over the phone, and I wondered what else we could talk about, everything felt easy and we laughed until the bar made us leave. I remember wondering if Paul would look different in person and if it would be awkward but he was even cuter than I could have imagined (if possible) with a smile that lit up the room. Paul went back to Billings, and we continued to visit each other as much as we could until I finally took the plunge to pack up my things and move to Montana. We’ve been through it all with navigating a new relationship, a new city, and dividing time with our friends + families, but it’s continued to make us stronger every step of the way.
Knowing that my love of hiking outweighs anything else we could do together, I think Paul understood how much it would mean for him to propose while we were out on a hiking adventure. It was the day after celebrating my birthday in Red Lodge (and we’d already went on a hike the day prior for my birthday gift). I was a little hungover and still in my pajamas, when he asked if I wanted to go on another short hike before heading back to Billings. Surprisingly, I didn’t want to because I felt gross and just wanted to go home, sit in the hot tub and watch Netflix. He kept saying it would be a good workout for us and for our pup to get some exercise before the drive, which I agreed. He asked if he could stop at the gas station first (in the complete opposite direction) for a Red Bull and I told him it would waste time and we should just get going so we could get home. Well we got the Red Bull and we went up to the trailhead to start the venture up. We got halfway up and it started to snow and I kept saying maybe we should head back, but Paul insisted we “make it to the bridge and then decide.”
A part of me thought that was suspicious but then I remembered again I was in my pajamas, wearing Paul’s beanie to cover my greasy hair, with no make up on, and couldn’t imagine he’d pick this time to propose. We made it to the bridge and per usual Kelsey fashion I took a couple photos of the snow falling. When I turned around, Paul was on one knee and I started crying hysterically. I don’t remember all of the words because I was just so happy I kept saying “Yes” but I do remember his promise to always support me and be my biggest fan and partner in life and to be the best dog dad and future father someday. We snagged a couple selfies and made our way back down. Paul pulled out a mini bottle of champagne from his backpack (hence the gas station visit we needed to do prior, sneaky) and we popped the bottle on our way down. I loved the intimacy of it all, but sometimes wish there was a video of that moment because that is a feeling I want to remember for the rest of my life. There is no greater feeling than when the person you love wants to continue to love you until you’re old and grey.
– Bride, Kelsey