Kaili Schmelz admits it’s a wacky story, the way she and fiance Aaron Falwell got together for keeps. “It’s really strange,” she said. “This is the part that makes me sound crazy. I can’t not tell this part of the story. It’s the truth, how it all went down.”

Before revealing “how it all went down,” here’s how it originally began many years before: Kaili and Aaron met a decade ago in high school. She was a senior; he was a junior. He was dating someone else, but Kaili says when they passed in the hallways their “eyes would lock.”

Kaili thought Aaron was cute and told a friend as much in a note—a note she asked Aaron to deliver. “He read the letter and the next day had broken up with his girlfriend,” Kaili said.

Fraught with teenage drama, Kaili and Aaron soon broke up. Kaili graduated, moved away, started college, and that was it. Except that it wasn’t.

By 2009, Kaili was back in the area. She was at the Garlic Festival in Amherst, when a girlfriend pointed out an attractive guy. It was Aaron. “He looked the same,” Kaili recalled. “He’s always been handsome. I went over and started to talk to him, and we started dating again.”

Again, they broke up after a few months.

A couple more years passed, and this is where things start to get crazy, or if you ask Kaili, supernatural. Kaili was in the car running an errand one day, when she heard a man’s voice say, “You’re going to see Aaron today.”

The radio was off, and Kaili was sure it wasn’t a random thought. “It weirded me out,” she said, but she shrugged it off.

She was almost back home when she saw Aaron.

“One stoplight from my house, I could see him from a mile away,” she said. “The sun literally had a spotlight on his car. Literally, like a spotlight on his car; it was glowing. I thought, ‘Oh, my God, that’s Aaron.’ Then I got freaked out. Did God tell me I was going to see him? Am I a psychic? He drove right past and never saw me. My mouth was on the floor.”

Kaili called Aaron. She started with “This is going to sound really crazy, but this just happened, and I can’t let it pass,” and continued with, “I don’t know if I need to call you, check on you, say, ‘Hi.’”

She added, “People get placed on your heart for a reason.”

They’ve been together ever since.

“It makes me sound like a lunatic, but it’s the truth,” Kaili said. “He still jokes, ‘Yeah, you called and pretended you had a premonition or God talked to you’ and I say, ‘Trust me, I would have thought of a better reason than that.’”

“I feel like God definitely placed us in each other’s lives for a reason. I feel like He sometimes gives us signs. Maybe I needed something that wasn’t quite so subtle because I’m stubborn.”

When Kaili describes her relationship with Aaron, she doesn’t use words like “mushy,” except to say they’re not. “We have a picky relationship,” she said. “We give each other a ton of crap all the time. We’re not that mushy, saying, ‘Oh baby.’ That’s not us.”

So on Dec. 13, 2014, when Aaron—hunter, fisherman and professional landscaper—carried out a TV-worthy proposal, Kaili was as stunned as the day she heard the mysterious voice. “His proposal was literally the sweetest thing in the whole world, shocking on its own,” she said.

He had it all planned out: breakfast at Market at Main, then shopping, followed by dinner at Veritas Vineyards and one more surprise. As they sat in front of the winery’s fireplace, the waitress handed Kaili a bottle of champagne. The label said, “Will you marry me?” and suddenly Aaron was on one knee.

Kaili’s “Yes” was followed by a flood of tears. “I literally cried and cried and cried, with the biggest smile on my face, but the waterworks were on,” she said. “I cried off and on for the next four hours. I was a big mess.”

“I was so happy. I’ve had a long journey to happiness, and I just never really was sure it was going to happen. It’s just been a long time coming, being happy and building my life to what I wanted it to be.”

Kaili’s “journey to happiness” was a long one. When she was 13, her mother died of cancer. She was a Renaissance woman—among other things, a Class A contractor, lifelong student and artist—and Kaili’s best friend.

“She was such a strong and phenomenal woman,” Kaili said. “She really instilled in me, from an early age, ‘You are smart, you are beautiful, you can be anything you want to be. There’s nothing you put your mind to that you can’t do.’”

At the wedding, there will be a seat with Kaili’s mom’s photo on it. “I would like to be able to see her that day,” Kaili said.

It won’t be the first time Kaili’s mom has been “there” on a special day. Over the years, Kaili said, she’s believed her mom was “in heaven, painting the sky for Jesus,” and sometimes she painted sunsets, just for her.

“There have been spectacular sunsets on very special days, and I’ve just always felt it was a way for my mom to let me know she is still with me, always watching over me,” Kaili said.

It happened again the day her bridal portraits were taken.

“The sunset was nothing short of beautiful—neon pink, lavender and dark blue clouds next to the green mountains,” Kaili said, adding, that while the photographer was setting up the shot, she spent some time alone with her mom. “I told her thank you and that I missed her, and I loved her, too. I took a deep breath and continued on. It was a very special moment for me.”


Bride of the Year Wedding Vendors:
Kaili Schmelz, our 2015-2016 Bride of the Year, received:
• Bride of the Year Photo Session with B Psi Entertainment, $200 value.
• Himalayan Facial from London Salt Spa, $75 value.
• Hair and Make-Up Design for Wedding Day or Photo Shoot from Emily Garbee, $100 value.
• $25 Gift Certificate from Body Works Day Spa & Salon.
• Overnight stay for two from Timberlake Tavern, $150 value.
• A Honeymoon Trip for two from Travel Lovers.
• Bouquet arranged by bloom by Doyles
• Featured in the 2015-2016 Central Virginia Bridal Guide

For more details on how you could win the 2016-2017 Bride of the Year, please visit our website, www.vabridal.com or see our advertisement about the upcoming luncheon on page 65.

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