When Chris Rives, 31, first locked eyes with Laura Ferguson, 26, he knew he had to meet her. What followed was a first date where both felt they had known each other forever—and once their pet Labrador dogs became best friends, they knew it was meant to be. As the pair gets ready to tie the knot this autumn, they cannot wait to become a family, pups and all.
Photos by Rebecca Long Photography
How did you two meet?
C: I first saw Laura at an Iron Tribe competition and was completely blown away; I thought she was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. I immediately started asking my friends who this girl was, and a few months later, some mutual friends helped set us up at a birthday party.
L: I distinctly remember all the wonderful things I had heard about Chris from everyone I knew at the gym, but I didn’t connect the dots when we first met at the birthday party. It wouldn’t be long before I realized that evening was destiny in the making.
What is your favorite thing to do together?
C: We love our pups, so we like to take them walking all over Birmingham. Whether it’s Railroad Park or Jemison Trail, we like being outside with them. It is also a great time for us to unplug and talk.
L: We love to be with our dogs. I have a chocolate lab named Tigger, and he has a black lab named Molly. I think they love each other almost as much as we do!
Tell us about your most memorable date.
C: For me, it would be our first date. We went to Carrigan’s for a drink and dinner. We were able to get a table up on the rooftop overlooking the city, and we sat for up there for hours talking like we’ve known each other for years.
L: My favorite date was when we were down at Seaside for New Year’s Eve. We watched the fireworks from a rooftop balcony with our arms around each other, and I knew in that moment that I would never forget that evening.
C: Honestly, I knew she was the one the moment I met her. Something spoke to me and told me that this girl was different. I started falling hard for her—I knew that this was something I couldn’t give up on.
L: I knew Chris was the person I wanted to spend forever with during a disagreement, believe it or not. I don’t even remember what we were discussing, but he handled the situation with such compassion and grace that I fell completely in love with him.
Tell us about the proposal.
C: I knew I wanted our dogs involved, so I decided to have them set the stage for my proposal. The day before, I had written notes for each of the dogs to have around their collars telling Laura to meet me at the Botanical Gardens, where I was waiting for her. As soon as I saw her walking towards me, my heart was beating out of my chest. We walked down a pebbled path, where we found a swing to sit on and I popped the question. It is a moment I will never forget.
L: Oh, the proposal! I told Chris ahead of time that I would instinctively be able to tell when he was going to propose, because I know him so well. Well, I was wrong—he completely threw me off. His proposal was so genuine and straight from his heart that we were both fighting back tears by the time he dropped to his knee.
What was your experience like shopping for the ring at Diamonds Direct?
C: I can’t imagine having the same experience anywhere else. When I walked into the store, I glanced around at all the different designers but kept coming back to Tacori; the details in the settings were stunning, and I knew Laura would love that. When I came back a few weeks later to pick up the ring, I was blown away by how perfect it was.
L: My ring is perfect in every way. The intricate details and etching in the ring give it an almost vintage look, and the center stone is absolutely stunning.
C: You can’t make things happen according to your own timeline. You have to have faith and trust in God’s plan for your life. His timing is perfect.
L: Don’t settle for someone just because you are a certain age or because you have been in a relationship for a certain length of time. Wait until you find that person who changes your heart and helps you to reach your potential every day.
What are you most looking forward to about spending the rest of your lives together?
C: All the ups and downs and blessings that marriage brings—I wouldn’t want to go through it with anybody else.
L: Sharing everything with him. The wedding will of course be exciting, but I’m even more excited about beginning our journey together as man and wife.