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Tanner and I grew up 20 miles apart from each other. We didn’t actually meet until we both moved to Omaha and I took a job at the same Best Buy in which he was working. He’s a bit shy, so it took a while for our friendship to start. I first knew he was interested in me when he came in during his night off, with a few buddies to “pick up” some things he had forgotten. I called him out on it later, by saying I knew he was bringing in his buddies to see what they thought about me. Shortly after that he asked me if I’d want to hang out after work some night, I told him I’d love to… but it would be kind of hard to get ahold of me if he didn’t have my number (which of course he never asked for).

Our relationship started slow, as neither of us was looking to settle down. We hung out a few nights watching movies and just getting to know each other a little more. I think it all changed the night of Halloween at a party at his place. We had such a great time together just laughing, dancing and playing drinking games. Even in a house full of guys, he was the only one I was drawn to. Toward the end of the night I made the move and went in for a kiss. After that night I knew he was someone I wanted to be with for the long haul. As cliché as it sounds, it was one of those you just know when you know kind of things. Two years later we moved into together. We just purchased a home together this year.

The thing I love most about him is how calm and laid back he always is. It also annoys me to no end, but I think it has the most to do with why we have made it so far. My family has always said it takes a special kind of man to put up with us hard-headed women and Tanner is an expert at dealing with my crazy. He just gets who I am without me having to explain, and that’s something I’ve never had in previous relationships. I like to think that I’m able to deal with his crazy as well, although mine seems to surface a bit more. We both have that small town upbringing which is important to us; we just complement each other very well. We make sure to do things that each of us enjoy as our interests are very different. We really just enjoy each other’s company, even if it just a lazy night on the couch catching up on our shows.

Tanner proposed to me on February 9th after a day of house searching. That weekend we were planning to spend the weekend at a friend’s place and were packing a bag together. He packed while I finished getting ready. As I was putting my last few items in our bag I opened the lid and found the engagement ring sitting in the opened box. I couldn’t believe it. I instantly started crying and jumped on him and hugged him. I couldn’t stop looking at how beautiful it was. I’m not sure he actually even asked me to marry him but it was evident that the answer was a yes. I later found out that he had the ring made and the center stone was from his mother’s ring. She passed away when he was in high school. I know how much she means to him and that just makes this ring so much more special. I know how much he really does love me just by knowing he wants me to have something of hers. When I asked him why now, he told me that it’s been wanting to do it for a long time and was trying to find the right way to ask. He knew I wouldn’t want something huge and elaborate, just a simple way. He said he knew I would want to share this with my closest friend and since we were heading there it was his perfect opportunity. He just knows me so well. We are really excited to start the next stage in our relationship.

tanner and i

Preparing for a wedding has been really stressful and we haven’t even really dug in yet. We decided we wanted to wait until we got moved into our new home before we started. But being a girl I couldn’t wait, so I’ve been looking in a few things. The most fun part to me has been picking out our colors and deciding what our wedding party will wear. We are doing an outdoor wedding and a little more casual than most. As fun as it was to put together a guest list, it’s got us both a little stressed. We have large families and this wedding is going to be a lot bigger than we expected. It will be about half our budget just to feed everyone! The expenses part has been stressful, but thankfully, with the help of some friends we have learned ways to cut costs anywhere available. The bridal fairs here in town are really helpful as well. You get to meet different vendors, caterers, photographer, dj’s, etc. all in one place. They have drawings for grand prizes which has helped us with some of our planning. After winning a prize for Tip Top Tux, it made the decision for us on where we are getting our groomsmen dressed.  The rest of the planning will be put on hold until we move. But the thing I’m looking forward to the most is the dress shopping and to spend that time with my mom and sisters.

Speaking of the Bridal Fair. While I was looking at different vendors that were there my friend talked me into signing up to be the next Billboard Bride. I was reluctant at first but she insisted. I joked with her that of all the things I signed up for, this would be the one thing I win. As luck would have it, I’m currently in the top ten. Voting starts this week to narrow us down to three. From there we will go through an interview process where they will choose the winner. I’m not exactly sure what all this responsibility entails, but what I do know is that I will be featured on the Billboards to promote the upcoming bridal fair in August. I will be on some other promotional materials as well as walking in the fashion show.

Becoming the next Billboard Bride did start out as mostly a joke to me. However, now that I’ve made the top ten I’m eager to win it. I think it would be an amazing experience and from what I hear from the past few brides they loved every minute of it. I would appreciate any help with voting I can get. To vote, you will go to Omaha Bridal Showcase Facebook page where they will post a voting link starting on Sunday, April 14th. Voting will run until Saturday, April 20th and you can vote once a day. A new link will be posted every morning during the contest at 8am.

tanner and meWritten by Katelin Samek

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