Claire + Chapin met in school through a mutual friend. “Chapin was co-leading a May term trip to Jamaica through the business department. I had just changed my major to Business and was trying to find ways to get involved with the department. I attended an involvement fair, and Chapin was there trying to recruit people for the trip. I started chatting with him and our mutual friend and we ended up talking for so long that we were some of the last people at the fair. Chapin soon started to hang out more with our friend group and before too long we were hanging out one-on-one and soon dating.”
Chapin was especially taken by Claire. “When Claire and I first met at the Business Department Involvement Fair, the first thing that struck me was the charismatic nature about her. I also noticed her big beautiful smile, bright blue eyes, and the fact that she laughed at all of my jokes. That was a plus for sure!” The more Chapin got to know Claire, the more he warmed up to the idea of a future with her. “She always went a step above and beyond to ensure that everyone felt seen, heard, and appreciated. Claire and I were able to attend Chapel three days a week and Pillar Church on Sundays together. This is where I found Claire to pursue the Lord unlike anybody else. It became apparent to me very quickly that I could see a possible future with Claire. I didn’t know what that future held at the time, but I am humbled each and every day by the opportunity to love and be loved by Claire.”
The transition from being just friends to maybe something more proved to be a bit of a challenge. Because they shared a friend group, they were unsure of how their friends would take the news. “We didn’t know how our friends would feel and we didn’t want to ruin anything if our relationship didn’t work out.” They finally decided to move forward with their relationship. Though it was a bit awkward in the beginning, it didn’t take long to get used to their new romantic reality. “We have continued to see ways that we make one another better and I can’t imagine a life without Chapin in it.” This well pondered relationship deserved a well pondered proposal. Chapin had his whole plan mapped out and brought Claire along for a magical ride. “Chapin picked me up in the morning and started the day by taking me to a new coffee shop in Holland I had been wanting to try. We then started driving North.” They drove, ate, and shopped all in their fancy attire. “We both commented that it felt like we were trying to kill time between a wedding and a reception because we were dressed up and doing random things that didn’t require us to be dressed up.” Chapin then took Claire to a gas station. “We had stopped there a couple of years prior with our friends. There’s a wishing well at the gas station and the last time we were there, we all threw in coins and made wishes. Chapin told me that his wish 3 months before we started dating was that everything would work out between us and we would start dating.”
The drive continued, bringing them to Ludington, Claire’s hometown. “As we came into town, Chapin stopped at Dairy Queen, my favorite ice cream shop. He then told me he wanted to go for a walk on the beach at the state park. He got out the directions on his phone, which confused me because I knew the way very well. He told me he had a very specific place he had seen on Google Maps and he wanted to make sure we walked there. We finally got out to the beach and Chapin grabbed a beach bag with a blanket from the back of the car. He told me there was a surprise inside and I couldn’t look. As we were walking he told me he was going to get out the surprise and when I turned around, he was down on one knee. Of course, I said yes!” Hiding in the dune grass near by was Claire’s brother taking pictures of the whole engagement. “Chapin had kept the ring buying process a complete secret and I had no idea he had already gotten a ring. He designed the ring with the jeweler and it was perfect. It is simplistic and elegant, just like I wanted. It was so special to me to be in such a beautiful place for our engagement and a place that means a lot to me.” To further the grand surprise, Chapin had coordinated an engagement party with her parents, siblings, and grandparents all there to help celebrate the big news.
Congratulations Claire + Chapin!