Former Campus Life editor getting married

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KAYLA LAWRENCE, Staff Writer

What do you get when you take two unsuspecting employees, a pile of unused Chick-fil-A sauces, a scare in a bathroom, a global pandemic and a seemingly innocent bike ride that ends in the most memorable way? This is one riddle even Google won’t know the answer to. It’s the story of the Northern Iowan’s own former campus life editor, Sofia Legaspi and her fiancé Ian Dickens, a couple who couldn’t be more excited for their upcoming wedding on Sept. 19, 2020.

Theirs is a classic and timeless love story. They met working at Chick-fil-A during the summer of 2019. But unlike in the movies, their hands didn’t accidentally brush as they both reached for a napkin, and one didn’t slip on freshly mopped floors into the arms of the other, who stood seemingly ready to catch them. No, they shared their first conversation over unused sauces they were tasked to sanitize. Very much like in the movies, one conversation led to another which led to many, many more.

Seated comfortably close to one another, Legaspi and Dickens seemed at ease in each other’s presence as they told the story of their relationship through a screen. Even Zoom was unable to hide what was plainly clear: they were crazy about each other. Dickens had a warm and knowing smile, and Legaspi’s demeanor was chipper and affable as she recounted the story of the couple’s chance meeting.

“I was working there; it was just a summer job. I was there regularly for three months, I think, and then after that I worked sporadically during school breaks. But that was our three-month window to meet,” Legaspi said. In those three months, Dickens acquired Legaspi’s phone number under the guise of her sending him a picture she’d taken. Just the next day, the two began their conversation anew, which continued almost nonstop until the day Dickens shocked Legaspi by asking her out as she cleaned the women’s restroom.

It should come as no surprise that when finally a year later it came time for Dickens to ask something of Legaspi again, he reached out to friends and family to surprise her. At this point his clever schemes had become something of a pastime.

“I was not very good at being subtle about it,” Dickens said, admitting that this time around the element of surprise wasn’t entirely successful. However, on May 30, 2020, when he suggested they take a bike ride up to High Trestle Bridge in Ankeny, surprising her became entirely unimportant.  There among nature, friends and strangers, he got down on one knee and proposed.

“We were going on a bike ride supposedly,” said Legaspi with a laugh, “but we didn’t bike for very long.” The proposal, though expected by Legaspi, came as a complete surprise to her mom whose reaction was astonished but happy.

“I Facetimed my mom after and she was like, ‘What! You didn’t tell me!’,” Legaspi said. Dickens jumped in then, defending himself good naturedly, saying that like Legaspi, her mother knew the proposal was impending, but only he knew when or how it would happen.

After that, the couple were launched into wedding planning in earnest. They’d begun planning even before their engagement, but that made it only slightly easier as they found themselves having to account for COVID-19 at every turn. When they eventually had to distance themselves from each other to protect their families, they relied on technology. They made the most of their situation using shared Google sheets and docs for planning. When they couldn’t see each other in person, they used Facetime for some semblance of normalcy. Even when it came time for Legaspi to find her dress, she ordered some dress options online and held her own virtual “Say Yes to the Dress” moment.

“I ordered, like, six different dresses online. Then I did a Zoom dress try-on party with my bridesmaids and some family members,” Legaspi said.

The list of their clever workarounds continues, including their couples shower, which became a drive-by event where they took pictures with visitors in their cars, a Zoom bridal shower and ultimately their final wedding plans which includes an ingenious livestream.

The modest 150 person wedding they’d been planning turned to talk of something smaller that allowed social distancing. Their wedding became a small ceremony in Dickens’ parents’ backyard, with about 50 people. Their guest list includes close family, friends that make up the bridal party and a photographer. However, they plan to livestream the ceremony for Legaspi’s family in the Philippines and those friends and family unable to make it. In total, about 300 people should be in attendance. But Legaspi, who’s no friend of the spotlight, said there’s one thing that hasn’t changed.

“The theme is very lowkey. I do not enjoy being the center of attention,” Legaspi said. “We’ll have the ceremony and that’ll be livestreamed like normal. But for the reception we’re not doing anything big. We’re just going to have food and doughnuts and a bonfire. No speeches or first dances or anything.”

For their honeymoon, the couple rented an Airbnb in Tennessee by the Great Smoky Mountains. They plan to enjoy newly married life by hiking and enjoying the outdoors and each other’s company. Those here at the Northern Iowan wish the couple the best on their wedding day and in their journey of love and faith.

If you’d like to know more about the couple’s journey, visit their website at theknot.com/sofian.