Romantic rivals: Two young Kansans plan to marry
- Jul. 8, 2013
- 1 Comment
It’s tradition for Emilyjane Pyle’s family to go caroling every Dec. 23. However, last year after the fourth verse of ‘Joy to the World,’ she had an unexpected surprise.
“He was standing there next to me singing, and he was shaking like a leaf,” Pyle, a junior from Dodge City, said.
Her boyfriend of four years, Brett Eichman, got down on one knee.
With all eyes in the room on her, Pyle remembers being “hot and excited” in the first few moments of her engagement.
“I knew that it was what I wanted, and I knew it was supposed to be,” she said.
According to “Knot Yet,” a report by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, the average age to get married is at a historic high — 27 for women and 29 for men. Most who wait to get married do so because of economic and cultural reasons, but that’s not stopping young couples like Pyle and Eichman from breaking the mold.
Pyle didn’t know she would marry the boy she sat next to in World History on her first day of high school. After being cast opposite in the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” when she was a junior, things clicked and they started dating.
“It just made sense,” Pyle said.
She never questioned it, even when Eichman, a senior at Kansas State, moved to Manhattan.
Eichman said he had known that he wanted to propose for most of the fall semester, but he wasn’t sure how or when. In fact, he didn’t have a finalized plan until a week before.
After clearing it with her parents and getting the ring, Eichman realized caroling was the perfect opportunity to pop the question.
“The stars aligned, and all of my family, even extended family, and all of her family was going to be there,” he said.
Pyle said her parents love Eichman and are supportive of her decision.
“They know that I’ve never quite been the average kid; I’ve always kind of done things my own way,” she said. “This is again another instance of me doing something off the beaten path.”
However, Pyle remembers one family member made the proposal slightly comical.
“My whole family knew, yet my sister let me wear the ugliest Christmas sweater ever,” she said. “It was teal, with a Santa that lit up.”
The Big Day
Since she was a little girl, Pyle has always wanted a Christmas wedding, and Eichman wanted to do something different than his parents, who got married in the summer.
They’ve set a date for Dec. 21, 2014 in Dodge City. Both will finish the semester on that Friday and tie the knot on Sunday.
“Which is terrifying and possibly stupid,” said Pyle. “But whatever.”
They expect K-State football to head to a bowl game in early January, which means Eichman, who is a drum major for the band, needs to have those weeks clear.
“We’ve been squeezing stuff in between KU and K-State schedules for the last few years, why not squeeze this in, too?” Pyle said.
But they have plenty of time to get the finite details in place. Eighteen months out, they already have the dress, the ceremony and reception locations, the bridal party, the cake, the Kansas/K-State-themed rehearsal dinner and the New York City honeymoon planned.
“All that time just really takes the pressure off,” Pyle said.
It’s been tough to plan from three different locations, though. They credit their helpful and creative moms.
“We’re both oldest children and perfectionists. I honestly think the most daunting part for us will be letting the day happen,” Eichman said. “The most important thing that we keep having to remind ourselves is that at the end of the day, we’ll still be married. All of the details are important to us, but that’s not what’s the most important thing.”
Happily ever after
After things settle down, the newlyweds will move to Lawrence so Pyle can finish her music therapy degree and Eichman can student teach in the area.
It will be the first time the couple will get to live together in their relationship — a long-awaited milestone.
“Our wedding kind of marks when we get to live together and really start our lives,” Eichman said.
“You’re just excited you’ll live with someone who will do your laundry,” Pyle joked.
For the first time in five years, Pyle won’t have to split her time between the University and K-State.
“I’m so excited to have home base where he is,” Pyle said.
They’ll just have to get through the whirlwind wedding between finals week and bowl games first.
“I think the only sacrifice being made is time,” Pyle said. “I’m pretty happy with things the way they are. I’m sure portions of the wedding might be different if we were 27 or 30 years old, but I’m living in the moment and really loving the way things are working out.”
Emma LeGault is a freshman from Emporia majoring in journalism. Read more from Emma LeGault.