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Just Engaged: A Perfect Pair

Sara and her twin sister crashed Clifton’s family reunion for a little fun, but she wound up walking away with a new boyfriend. Now the happy couple is engaged!

The Lucky Lady: Sara Renae Ward, 28, Attorney

Her Leading Man: Clifton Walker Cotten, Jr., 28, Assistant Director in Environmental Services

The Big Day: November 2, 2013

Wedding Location: Oxford, Mississippi

Where and how did you meet your man?
We met on June 10, 2011 in Jackson, MS. I was visiting Jackson for the weekend to share in my close friend’s wedding joy and after the wedding, my fellow Ole Miss classmate, who is Clifton’s best friend, suggested that my twin sister and I attend Clifton’s family reunion events. Little did I know at the time, what I thought would be a random summer night of laughs and fellowship ended up becoming the beginning of a lifetime commitment.

Were you looking for love at the time?
Absolutely not! I was preparing to sit for the Alabama State Bar and love was the last thing on my mind.

What was your first impression of him?
I remember thinking that it was really nice of him to allow my twin and I to crash his family reunion. He was laid-back and a real gentleman.

What was his first impression of you?
“Thank you, Lord!” (Laughs!) I’m certain that Clifton was relieved when he met me.

What do you two do together for fun?
We both love a good meal, so indulging in local restaurants for date nights or entertaining friends and family at home are some of our favorite things to do.

Weirdest date you’ve ever been on?
During a Magic City Classic weekend in Birmingham, my best friend and I decided it would be fun to have a double date night out with our beaus. Toward the middle of dinner, we noticed that my best friend’s date was fairly quiet, not really chiming in on the conversation any longer. We look over at him and realize that he had actually fallen asleep at the table. Since he continued to drift in and out of consciousness, we ended dinner so that he could get to bed. Weird!

How did he pop the question?
Clifton proposed in front of the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion on March 16, 2012. We’d planned a trip to Little Rock, Arkansas for Spring Break to celebrate recent events, such as me sitting for the bar, Clifton’s previous football season accomplishments and mostly a break from our reality. Before our Friday got started, Clifton told me that he’d made plans for the evening. We met in the main house of the bed-and-breakfast (The Empress of Little Rock) and were greeted by a horse drawn carriage. We rode around the historic district of the city and enjoyed a great tour of mansions on a gorgeous spring night. As we approached the Governor’s Mansion, we asked the driver to park and allow us to take photos. I asked if she could take a photo of us. As I was looking around, making sure we were centered in the spotlights and background, Clifton started serenading me with Whitney Houston’s “I Believe in You and Me.” He ended with getting down on one knee and proposing. The carriage driver was in on the proposal and recorded it for us. The moment was was absolutely priceless!

What was really going through your mind as he proposed?
I distinctly remember focusing in on this gorgeous, shiny ring in a nice polished, oak box and thinking, that’s for me? Did you talk to my Daddy? I think I actually said that out loud. (Laughs.)

Photos: elle Danielle Photography