How PJ won over Sarah | Elmhurst Engagement

Written by Amber -

Sarah was attending Elmhurst College four hours away from her best friend who was attending Western Illinois University. In August of 2008, Sarah made a visit to Western and the two girls indulged themselves in a night out on the town together. It was serendipity that later on, they ended up meeting PJ and his roommate outside her apartment. They all enjoyed a fun, memorable evening together. Several months passed and when PJ ran into Sarah's best friend again one night, he asked her to tell Sarah to come back for another visit. He said, "We are in love, she just doesn't know it yet." Two months later, Sarah came back and the two hit it off. The rest is history!

As you look through these image highlights of PJ & Sarah's Elmhurst, IL engagement session from this summer, I hope you enjoy the details of their love story...

When PJ ran into Sarah's friend again that night on campus, he knew his comment to get Sarah to come back for a visit was bold. "I don't know how it worked, but it did!" he smiled. "My dad always says, 'Men are hunters, girls are gatherers.'  I guess I took my time with getting Sarah to come down to Western so we could hang out. All I needed was one weekend and I knew she would start coming down more often!" he laughed.

This is the very place where PJ and Sarah will be married this June—the Elmhurst College Chapel. I love that they had their engagement session in the same location! It was such a happy, foreshadowing moment for them. They spent a great deal of their relationship living four hours apart. "Excitement" over getting married & being together is probably an understatement.

The first time PJ met Sarah, he was in a relationship with someone else, but he admits that she did intrigue him. "I told my roommate, Pat, that he should hit on her since she was good looking!" he now laughs. "But as soon as my previous relationship ended, I remember thinking I wanted to get to know Sarah better. Because she went to another college, I began thinking of strategies to somehow convince her to come hang out with me."

PJ remembers thinking how innocent and attractive Sarah was. "She seemed very mature and quiet, so I thought maybe she would be attracted to a weirdo like me, since maybe it would be out of her comfort zone." PJ said. "As I began to get to know Sarah more, I started to see how intelligent she was and how effective she was at getting things done. If you give Sarah a task that she wants to get done—it'll be done in a couple hours whether you like it or not!"

Now that PJ has gotten to know Sarah, he says she's not as shy as he originally thought she was. "She's very outgoing and she has a very close group of friends and family which she depends on to keep her momentum in life going," PJ said. "For a long time, it's been her dad, who is much smarter and more handy than me, so it'll be hard for her to transition me into that 'man' role! I'm taking tips from him and my dad every time I'm with them!"

Sarah's first impression of PJ hasn't changed one bit since she's known him. She smiled as she said, "He was very funny and playful, and of course good looking." His sense of humor is still Sarah's favorite thing about PJ. Regarding PJ's "cute quirks," Sarah quickly responded, "Just ask him to dance for you!" …Can't wait to see this at the reception!  ;)

"We like traveling together, doing things to decorate and fix up our new home, walking our dogs, and having movie nights!" Sarah said. They absolutely LOVE sharing each other's company. They are "true life partners" PJ says. "We like to do anything and everything together—except shopping. That's miserable." Haha!

"Romantic" is the name of the game for these two. One time in December of 2011, PJ took Sarah skiing—it was her first time. They stayed in a fancy Lake Geneva hotel with a  beautifully cozy fireplace. Another time PJ put together a short slide show for their one and two year anniversaries. "I just love watching them!" Sarah said. "I would say the most romantic thing we've done together would be our trip to Door County when we got engaged."

"We were in Door County for a quick getaway trip," Sarah said. "We were walking along the dock of this really pretty lake, we stopped to sit on a rock, and that's when he asked!" she gushed. PJ went on to explain, "I had asked her Dad the week before, and right after that I purchased the ring. So needless to say, I was very anxious to give her the ring." Since he had been working 12+ hours a day at that point, this was a perfectly timed, relaxing and laid back weekend. "We went to breakfast at a Swedish place downtown and then out to the pier," he said. This lead to a romantic proposal from down on bended knee—and the best weekend ever.

I asked Sarah how they keep their relationship alive. She responded, "You have to have a great love for one another, outside of that it just takes hard work and being able to adjust to change," Sarah said. "Compromise is a big one, too!"

As advice for other couples, Sarah encourages, "Always be willing to compromise for the other person and find a way—or make a way—for you to both be happy. Also, communicate!" PJ adds simply, "Don't hold grudges, don't be stupid, be logical—not emotional."

PJ's favorite thing about what he and Sarah have is that he always feels like they're progressing. "Even when we have an argument, I think it helps us move forward in our relationship, whereas in the past, arguments may have led to regress or destruction of a relationship," he said. "It's always as if no matter what, we're making progress." Love it!

When we asked them what they were most looking forward to about marriage, PJ exclaimed, "That she'll officially be Sarah Celaya!" Sarah's answer was, "Raising kids with PJ is going to be so much fun! Also just having him always there to support, love, and have fun with me!"

Around the time they got engaged, Sarah had just started grad school, so planning was a little stressful at first. Sarah and PJ are using our amazing friend Leanne Valdes through You Name It Events to plan all the details. ...In other words, these two are SMART—they have absolutely nothing to worry about in the days leading up to their big day or on the day. And when the day arrives, Elmhurst Chapel and their beautiful Drury Lane reception venue will be absolutely perfect!

CJ's thankful for Sarah, Sarah's mother and You Name It Events for taking care of most of the wedding planning. He says, "I do know that everyone there is going to have a good time!" Also, they are both very much looking forward to their 10-day honeymoon in Hawaii where they'll spend time in Maui and Kauai. How exciting!

PJ told me that the first time he told Sarah he loved her, he said, "I love you, and I know you love me too, but you don't have to tell me yet." Who doesn't LOVE a love story that leads to wedding bells? In this pretty shot, the sun is setting behind them over the very place they'll soon be married. The sun will certainly rise over their relationship for many more days to come.

To see all of PJ & Sarah's engagement session images, check out their full gallery here »