Mariah and Anthony’s engagement session was full of fun and brilliant fall color.
We first met through mutual friends in college. Mariah attended the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and AJ attended Nebraska Wesleyan University. We came to know one another through one of our mutual friends who AJ played soccer with. We knew one another for a few years as acquaintances, never really knowing much about one another. Years passed, and we ran into each other again while with friends, and the rest is history. Mariah says the first thing she remembers about meeting AJ was his kindness and his ability to make everyone around him laugh.
When we think of the foundational pieces of things we have in common, we think of three things. First is our love for family, second is our never ending love for concerts, and lastly is our passion to serve others. On our first date, we both recall that most of our conversation revolved around our families and how these individuals shaped who we were then. Time flew that night and it was evident that we shared this commonality of valuing family. It was easy, and we knew immediately that we were on the same page that we wanted a family someday. Secondly, we both love to attend concerts. Our ideal date night is being in the crowd of a concert with a cold beer in our hand. We’ve lost count of how many concerts we’ve been to, but we can’t wait to continue making memories and crossing artists off of our bucket list together. Third, our passion for helping others. We both feel that it is important to put one another first, however, we value taking care of those around us both personally and professionally.
Mariah – I knew AJ was the one very early on in the relationship. I remember his actions speaking volumes about his kindness, his compassion for others, and his ability to make anyone laugh around him. These things didn’t necessarily tell me he was “the one”, but it reinforced the idea that he could be the person I spend the rest of my life with. Although I had many clues that he was wonderful throughout our time dating, I do recall a specific moment when I did know he was the one. While at church with his family on Easter, he reached over and grabbed my hand as we listened to homily, and for some reason in that moment I remember thinking I could never let this man go. It was from there on that everything just seemed to make sense… as cheesy as that sounds…but I guess it is as the saying goes….”When you know, you know”. AJ- We were at the Easter Vigil Mass at my home parish with my parents, siblings, brother-in-law and grandmother. I have always known from our first date that she was the one but I didn’t know that I was in love with her until that Mass. It was with the priests homily, sitting with my parents and family knowing how much they care about her and how she makes me a better person. I knew that I could not live my life without her and it was then I knew that I loved her and that she was my forever.
It wasn’t until just this last year that we both realized that we felt the same thing, in the same moment. This day will forever hold a special place in our heart.
Mariah and I spent two years apart as she was working to complete her Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I unfortunately went through some health troubles that put our proposal on hold. Mariah came back to Lincoln, NE after graduation and from there I knew I wanted to propose to her as she stood by my side through the hardest times that most wouldn’t. I asked her mom and dad for their blessing. I went several times to customize the ring for Mariah because I wanted it to be perfect. I planned the proposal with my sister and my mom for about 3 months. I met with my cousin, Andrea, who is a professional photographer and planned the proposal at The Holy Family Shrine. Mariah and I talked about taking a trip to the Shrine together for 2-3 years, little did she know that is where I would propose. Mariah can always tell if something is off. I knew I had to have this proposal planned perfectly. My sister lives out of state and she informed Mariah and I that she was “coming into Omaha for a bridal shower”, or so Mariah thought. She asks us out to eat since we haven’t seen her or my niece, Laila in awhile. As we were getting ready to go my sister texted us last minute saying that she got done early and went to the outlets in Gretna to do some shopping. She wanted to meet us there for lunch. This worked perfectly for throwing off Mariah as she is a planner. The Holy Family Shrine and the Gretna Outlet mall have the same exit. We were running a little late since we had the late notice and we both had stressful weeks. I turned off the exit and took a right and observant Mariah ask where I was going, insisting that we needed to hurry to meet my sister. I told her I thought it would be good to stop to pray at the Holy Family Shrine since we both had tough weeks. She encouraged me to call my sister to tell her we were going to be late and luckily Natalie didn’t answer. She didn’t question anything after that. Andrea and her husband were there waiting for us as they captured our special moment through pictures and video. After I proposed to her, I gave her the letter I asked her dad to write, telling Mariah why he gave me his blessing to marry his daughter. She was so excited to tell our parents and friends that we rushed back home. I asked if we could stop by Hillcrest Country Club to grab a drink with my parents before we went to spend the rest of the night with her family. It was tough keeping her from calling her mom and telling her the news. When we arrived at Hillcrest I had 40 of our closest friends and family waiting for us to celebrate our engagement. It was just what we both wanted. Luckily she said yes.
The ring is made up of a princess center cut diamond surrounded by a beautiful diamond halo setting on a pavé band. AJ added in a personal touch of adding his birthstone, a ruby, to the inside base of the ring.
It has been so exciting to plan the music at our ceremony, our first dance, and special gifts for our bridal party and parents, and so many other little details in between. However, we have had an interesting journey with wedding planning. We are almost through the wedding planning process as we are a month away from our wedding date, for the second time. We were originally supposed to be married on May 23rd, 2020, but due to COVID restrictions, we had to postpone our wedding. With that being said, there have been many curveballs throughout the wedding planning process, at times making it stressful. Despite these difficulties, the twists and turns of wedding planning, we have been able to refocus on the most important details. With that being said, the most exciting part of wedding planning has been anticipating the day we get to become Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. We look forward to FINALLY being husband and wife, celebrating with our closest loved ones, and starting the next chapter of our lives together. As much as it is incredibly fun to plan what flowers we want, the colors, and the food…we realize the important thing to plan and look forward to is being surrounded by those we love as we say “I Do”. These are the details that we will get to remember for the rest of our lives.