Erin Bormett didn’t know how it would happen. She didn’t know when.
But she knew she and Carter Woodiel would end up together.
It was 2018, and both were graduating from the University of Missouri with degrees in journalism, a field they knew could take them across the country. They’d been dating since freshman year, but they knew their separation after this goodbye was indefinite.
But Erin knew something else. She knew in that moment the goodbye wasn’t forever.
“I don’t care how long it takes for us to reconnect,” she said. “We’re going to do it. I want to be with this person forever. I can’t imagine any possible scenario where us not being together is the preferred option.”
Two years later, the couple was planning their wedding.
Carter and Erin met in the fall of 2014, their freshman year at Mizzou. During their first few weeks of college they ended up sitting next to each other at a volleyball game. They struck up their first conversation when the band played the fight song.
“Erin was like, ‘They’re rushing,’” Carter said. “And I’m like, she’s cute, and she knows how to keep time.”
It took awhile for the two to have their first formal date, but they started hanging out right away.
“I was really oblivious to the fact that he was into me,” Erin said, adding that she wasn’t even sure she was on a date when Carter asked her to an improv show on Oct. 22, 2014.
“I hope it’s a date,” she remembers thinking. “I hope I’m right. And as soon as we got talking, we were both like, ‘OK, I know what this is.’”
They connected immediately, and after that first date, they realized they never wanted to stop spending time together. Over time, their love deepened, and they found their time together was both energizing and relaxing. Erin said she can always be herself around Carter, and he said he feels rejuvenated when he can help her through a hard time or be a listening ear.
“It’s not just that I love you more than I did three, four, five years ago,” Carter said to Erin. “But I (also) feel like our relationship has taken on something more and more special.”
It took a year after graduation for the couple to again live in the same place. Erin moved to Sioux Falls in the spring of 2019, and the two were reunited.
Almost a year later, Carter surprised Erin with an important question at Palisades State Park:
“Is that a bird?"
“There was no bird,” Erin said.
She turned back to find Carter on one knee.
“He asked me to marry him,
please,” she said.
She said yes.
The two plan to wed at the Museum of Visual Materials in Sioux Falls on Oct. 16, 2021.
Their relationship is centered on being attune to one another’s needs and listening to each other.
“It never feels like something we have to do, it’s something we want to do,” Carter said.
And they never shy away from telling each other how they feel.
“We are very affectionate,” Erin said. “We love just looking at each other randomly and being like, ‘You’re my fiance.’”
Both look forward to the years ahead as a married couple. They’ve already seen each other grow and change over the course of their relationship, and their love has only gotten stronger.
“I can’t imagine feeling more love than I feel right now,” Erin said, “but then, another year goes by.”