When longtime couple Shayne and Laura Arriola were crowned 2017 homecoming royalty together in Memorial Stadium, the moment marked an unforgettable chapter in their love story.
Little did Laura know, the surprises of that day weren’t over. Just after their coronation, Shayne dropped to one knee and pulled out a ring, asking her to marry him over the cheers of 90,000 Husker fans.
On Sept. 21, two years after that memorable proposal, Laura and Shayne wed in a ceremony at Nebraska’s Newman Center church. They also celebrated their special day with pictures in — of course — Memorial Stadium.
To ring in homecoming week at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Shayne and Laura took a moment to reflect on their college memories and the role the university has played in their relationship over the years.
The couple, both natives of Grand Island, met in eighth grade and remained friends throughout high school. It wasn’t until Valentine’s Day of their senior year that they began dating.
At Nebraska, Laura was a communication studies and history major. Shayne was a marketing major.
“We definitely found ourselves at college, but we still were able to do that and grow together, which was really fun,” Laura said.
After being together throughout all four years of college, both students were nominated to homecoming court in fall of their senior year. The selection got Shayne thinking.
“We were getting pretty serious at that point and knew it was on the horizon,” Shayne said. “It was one of her dreams to get proposed to on the field, because she was a big Husker fan growing up. So when we both got onto homecoming, that was a blessing in itself, and it kind of gave me this opportunity.”
Although the moment came together smoothly on the field, a lot of spontaneity was involved behind-the-scenes.
“It wasn’t until Saturday morning that (someone) messaged me and said, ‘I finally got approval for you to propose,’” Shayne said. “I was only going to propose to her if we both won. It was an all-or-nothing type deal.”
Shayne managed to keep his plans a secret, and the proposal came as a complete surprise to Laura.
“I wasn’t even thinking about the proposal at that point, because he had said, ‘Laura, it won’t happen, I don’t have a ring — don’t get your hopes up,’” Laura said. “That was a couple weeks before, so I wasn’t even thinking about it.”
“It was a super special moment,” Shayne added.
Today, Shayne is a business development manager at NRC Health and Laura is the assistant director of alumni and student engagement at the Nebraska Alumni Association. The two closed on their first house in July.
Although their college days are behind them, both look back fondly at their time at the university.
“Even if you’re from Nebraska, you don’t realize how incredible this university is until you’re here. It’s big enough that you don’t know everyone, which is okay, but you can also make it as small as you want. It’s just a really neat school that I will always advocate for forever,” Laura said.
“I always wanted to go, just because it was our public state school and Husker football is a big thing. But I think now there’s so much more meaning behind it,” Shayne added. “I want my kids to go here, just because of the great experiences I’ve had here, from building relationships with faculty, being involved and the opportunities it gave me, and being able to grow with my significant other. It was a really cool process to be a part of each other’s journey.”