Love is in the air: Simpson students consider tying the knot

Love is in the air: Simpson students consider tying the knot

by Hannah PickettStaff Writer

In a time of economic distress, research indicates an increase in engagements and marriages. The correlation is linked to individuals clinging to tradition and values in a time of economic downturn. Whatever the reason, Simpson students don’t seem to be bucking the trend.

Take seniors Brenna Abel and Justin Stoffa, for example. The couple met their freshman year during finals week, playing a game of sardines with friends. Nearly three years later, Abel and Stoffa are preparing for not only graduation, but upcoming nuptials.

The couple got engaged in Abel’s hometown Aug. 29, the Friday of Labor Day weekend.

“I wanted to do nothing more than go horseback riding, so that’s what we did,” Abel said. “After riding for about half an hour, Justin told me he needed to get off his horse to stretch, Abel said. “Once he got off, he walked over to my horse and told me he had something he wanted to ask me. I was very reluctant at first, but I eventually got off my horse, and he got on one knee to propose. After saying yes, we literally rode off into the sunset to tell everyone the exciting news.”

Since their engagement, Abel and Stoffa have been finishing their senior year at Simpson while competing in sports – Abel plays basketball and Stoffa plays baseball.

Abel says that juggling school, basketball and wedding planning can be difficult at times and she constantly has a to-do list, but she really enjoys it.

“I just try to do everything early allowing a lot of extra time for any unexpected surprises,” Abel said. “I try my best not to get stressed. Justin always reminds me that we ‘get to’ do all of this, not ‘have to.'”

Abel, a corporate communication major, and Stoffa, a business management major, will be married July 25 at Smith Chapel. The couple plans to find jobs and live in Des Moines.

The trip down the aisle isn’t as close for junior Curtis Barber and his girlfriend of nearly four years, Kylee Sawyers, a DMACC student. He and Sawyers met in high school and started dating during their junior year. Barber says they are definitely on the track of engagement, but it’s not going to happen just yet.

“We are waiting to get engaged because we both want to graduate, have jobs and an adequate income,” Barber said. “Plus, I want it to be the right time and the right place.”

Barber currently wrestles for Simpson while pursuing a degree in environmental science. He says that it’s difficult to juggle sports, school and a serious relationship because each thing takes up so much time and effort, but is worthwhile in the end.

Another couple planning an engagement, but concerned about the current economic situation is senior Jen Cornwell and her boyfriend of three years, Matt Connelly. The couple met on MySpace in December of 2005. From there, their relationship flourished to the point of moving in together in December of 2007. An engagement is now being discussed.

“We made a choice when we moved in together to combine our finances. So since he doesn’t have money of his own anymore, he can’t just go and drop money on a ring,” Cornwell said. “So, we haven’t gotten engaged yet, though he says I may get lucky at tax time.”

Cornwell will graduate in May with a degree in corporate communications. Connelly works for Mediacom in Urbandale.

Whether Simpson couples are ready to head down the aisle, headed in another direction or caught in the middle, engagements still seem to be growing more popular, despite the economic downturn.