There are friends, and then there are best friends.
They ultimately become the family that we choose. They know all of the good and the bad (probably because they lived through it with us). They accept us for who we are and STILL CHOOSE to love us unconditionally.
From the time I was 3 years old, Erin has been my family. We have gone through every chapter of life together from preschool pigtails to college volleyball games and now into marriage. God couldn't have picked a more loyal sister for me. You know the friend that it doesn't matter how much time has passed since you talked last, you can always pick up right where you left off? - That's us. My life would be unrecognizable without Erin.
I still remember when Erin first texted me about "a guy" she had met at a church retreat. I knew deep in my heart that God had just introduced her to her future husband. That intuition was confirmed when I met Ben for the first time.
Ben took Erin on their first date to a frozen yogurt shop. The employees kicked Erin & Ben out when closing time came around because they lost track of time talking for 5 STRAIGHT hours! Both of them found it so easy to communicate with each other. Ben loves how Erin can always make him laugh (one of my favorite things about Erin too). Erin's favorite thing about Ben is how genuine he is. Ben cares so deeply about the people in his life, and it is evident on how he treats them.
After observing Erin's 4th-grade class, Ben knew she was the one for him. He watched how tentative, caring, and loving she was with each of her students. Her servant's heart stuck out to Ben. Erin felt a similar moment when Ben was playing with her niece, Emmy. Emmy loved chasing Ben around, which was unusual because she doesn't like anyone. That was the moment Erin's heart melted.
Ben's pure heart and love for Erin really stood out to me when we began the proposal planning. He chose every aspect of his plan thinking of what would make Erin happy. After the ring & personalize ring box came in, Ben asked me if I could help him with all the proposal decorations-smart man!
Ben's plan for Erin couldn't have been more perfect even if I had planned it myself. He wanted Erin to feel supported, cherished and encouraged as they started their journey together. On the day of the proposal, Ben & Erin went to their church service as usual. He left me a key so while they were gone, I could sneak in and decorate her apartment with all of the thoughtful details Ben had picked out. When they returned, Erin opened the door to see her home filled with photos of them. During a moment alone, Ben asked Erin to be his wife. His favorite part of the proposal was opening the ring box and seeing Erin's face when he asked her to spend eternity with him.
Ben's real tear-jerker detail was the special letterbox, handmade by me, filled with love notes from all her family and friends-even the ones that couldn't make it. There is no question that the letterbox is Erin's top treasured memory of her proposal. Ben combined Erin's love language-words of affirmation-and her love for the people closest to her in something she could cherish forever.
With that detail, I knew that Ben was made to love my best friend.
Their engagement holds a special place in my heart. Not only was my best friend getting engaged, but Ben was our first customer at Victoria Jones Jewelry. Ben picked out a stunning oval solitaire ring set in yellow gold. His favorite part is how the diamond sparkles and that it fits Erin's personality. Erin loves the simple and classic design. She enjoys that her ring matches her style- it can be dressy or laid back.
I adored that Ben asked me to be a part of their celebratory day in so many ways. However, my 3-year-old best friend dreams came true the day I watched Erin & Ben say I do. When I asked both of them what their most beloved memory of each other was, both said the same thing-their wedding day. Holding hands and committing their lives to each other is something they will always remember.
Just like the start of their relationship at that church retreat, God has at all times been at the center for Erin & Ben. Ruth 1:16-17 has always been a bible verse Erin & I use to define our friendship, and it states
“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me."
Both of them are now my people, and I am beyond grateful for their friendship.