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Our story, as told by Brandon: Hopefully the reasons why I proposed to Lauren are pretty clear. She's beautiful, she's awesome, and she's a once-in-a-lifetime catch so I probably do not have to go into these further. Instead, I am going to pick this story up from when I first decided to decide to ask the big question. For those of you who do not already know, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps last summer. On July 18, I shipped out to boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina for 13 weeks of, let's face it, Hell followed by X number of weeks of follow-up training. Unfortunately, this also meant leaving Lauren for an indeterminate amount of time. Such a long period of separation for a new couple is taxing to say the least and, at the time, there was no guarantee that the we would make it through as a couple. However, Lauren sent me letters every day to keep my spirits up and she even drove down to South Carolina to attend my graduation. After 2 weeks of R and R, I had to leave again for training in San Diego and again, Lauren, wrote me letters, texted me, or called me nearly every day. Her ongoing commitment convinced me she was the one. I wanted to marry her. Now with that decided, how was I going to pop the big question? My first step was figure out what ring to get. Vanessa, who had conveniently gone with Lauren on a prospective ring shopping trip to Fink's Jewellers, was able to funnel me information on what rings Lauren had liked. Apparently, Fink's of Fredricksburg had a ring that Lauren liked which was all well and good save for two problems. The first was that there were no Finks' in California and second, I was in California. I was now faced with the prospect of buying an engagement ring from 3000 miles away. Oh, also, I had no guarantee of phone usage or Internet access. However, with the amazing help provided by the staff of Fink's Fredricksburg, who I could only call on the weekends, I found a beautiful ring that Lauren admits she likes even more than the one she picked out. Now with the ring bought, where and when to pop the question? As timing would allow, I chose New Year's Eve because I had a romantic image in my head of proposing at 12:00am. I thought this would be a) romantic and b) since we were on the East Coast, a 12:00 proposal would make me one the first guys to propose in the New Year in the United States. So, I took Lauren to a fancy dress party at the Lincoln in downtown DC, ring tucked into my suit pocket. We drank, we danced, and then at 12:02am, I popped the big question. And guess what, she said yes! So that's the short story of the engagement. Now comes the awesome part: planning the wedding. We will keep you all posted as it develops.
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