Eventers Doug Payne and Jessica Hampf announced their engagement on Aug. 19.
Payne, 31, and Hampf, 28, have been together for 2½ years after meeting at what Payne jokingly described as “Monday night bowling at some seedy bowling lanes,” in Aiken, S.C.
Payne got creative in his proposal by involving a running joke between the two of them. “I’m absolutely obsessed with Amazon.com Prime free two-day shipping. Couldn’t be better right?” said Payne. “The running joke was that I was going to buy this ring on Amazon and have it shipped to her. So I ended up buying her a Ring Pop and put the actual ring buried in the packaging. She walked in, saw that she had a package and opened it up, and was all confused. I said, ‘Jess, I think you should look in there a little closer,’ and she said, ‘No there’s nothing in there.’ She dug in, and there it was.”
Payne and Hampf are looking at a possible spring wedding while they’re based in Aiken for the season, but they have no concrete plans at the moment.
They’re planning on relocating their business to an area southwest of Raleigh, N.C., at the conclusion of the spring season next year but haven’t settled on a place yet. They’re currently based in Califon, N.J.
“There’s a huge opportunity there and a lot of horses in the area, [but] not a ton in the way of professionals in that vicinity,” said Payne.
He cited lower living costs and the proximity to Aiken as major reasons for the move. “I’ve been very, very lucky in that [the New Jersey] area has been great,” he said. “Nearly all the horses are going to make the move with us. We’ve been very lucky to have a lot of support in that area. Change is always difficult, but I think in the end, for a whole boatload of reasons, [the move] makes a whole lot of sense.”