I can't believe it's already been two weeks (tomorrow) since Jeremy and I's engagement. It's been a whirlwind to say the least and before I forget all of the special details, I wanted to type out our proposal! So, if you're here for business tips, I apologize! ;)
First things first. One of the questions I get asked the most is "how did y'all meet?". Jeremy (or J as I like to call him) likes to just say, "we met online.", but I always chime in and say, "No, it was much worse than that.". I don't know if y'all have heard of the phone app Tinder or not but that's how we met! Their tagline is "Any swipe can change your life." and in our case it couldn't be more true! I don't think I'd recommend the app for someone looking for love, but, ya never know, it worked for us! I would use Tinder before I went to bed and I liked to count how many matches I could get in a row. I never talked to anyone on there, but for some reason, when J reached out, I responded.
We talked for an entire week before we decided to meet up for the first time. Still to this day I can't believe I actually followed through with our date. I had not been into dating for quite a few years and the idea of trying to get to know someone new did not sound appealing. But, I drove the hour down to his neck of the woods anyway. (Yes, an hour! I wanted to make sure we didn't run into anyone I knew! Ha!) I was so nervous I almost felt sick, but the moment I saw him in the parking lot and he greeted me with a big smile and a hug, I felt at ease. We had the best time and I can honestly say it was the best first day I have ever been on in my life. J and I live about an hour apart and technically should not even have matched up through Tinder. I put my radius limit at 10 miles and his was at 15. We are 40 miles apart. Thank you, Tinder and your mediocre technology! ;)
Date night in Cincinnati, April 2015
J and I had had plans to go camping in the Smoky Mountains (His parents go for a few months each year and we stay with them in a camper. Thank goodness!) for months and though we have been talking about marriage for quite some time, I honestly was not expecting it so soon. I was anxious for it to happen but I was trying to be content in our season of life. I had actually told J that there was no way he could surprise me completely. That no matter what, I would know when it was coming. He said he took that as a personal challenge and boy did he complete it!
Our first full day in Tennessee (it was Saturday of Labor Day weekend) we decided we were going to take a drive through Cades Cove (an isolated valley located in the Tennessee section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) - one of my favorite things to do! There are lots of old churches and cabins and you usually see quite a bit of wildlife. It was pouring down rain when we left and looking back, I should have been wondering why J was SO anxious to drive through Cades Cove in the rain. Lucky for him I didn't think anything of it and off we went!
As we were driving to the Cove, we started talking about our potential wedding. J said, "what if we had our wedding here?". Like I said, we've been talking about our wedding/marriage for quite some time so this was not out of the ordinary. I thought for a minute and the more I thought about it the more it just felt right. I was born in Nashville, Tennessee and my family has been coming to the Gatlinburg area every year for Christmas for years so this was definitely a special place to me. J and his family have been camping in the National Park since he was a child and it's such a special place to him as well. We had talked about a destination wedding in the past but none of the places we talked about felt right. So, with this new thought in mind, I said, "let's stop at all of the churches in Cades Cove." J was thinking "thank ya Jesus" because it went right along with his plan.
The first church we came to was the Primitive Baptist Church (the only church I had previously walked through). It's down a long lane off the main loop through the Cove. We walked in the church and started talking about what it'd be like to have our wedding there. J waited until the church cleared out (luckily it wasn't too busy that day!) and as we were standing in the front of the church he grabbed my hands. He said, "we'd be standing just like this." He then told me how much he loved me and at this point I was still clueless. I said I love him too and gave him a hug. J started pulling away from me and was talking SO fast I could barely keep up. All of a sudden, he was down on one knee. I was completely shocked! I kept saying, "oh my gosh, is this happening?". He asked me to be his wife and of course I said YES! When J was trying to put the ring on my finger (that I hadn't even looked at yet - it's a beauty!) he started to put it on my right hand. In the middle of saying oh my gosh, I can't believe it I yelled, WRONG HAND!
I didn't notice this at the time but afterward J told me a man was starting to come into the church but when he saw J on one knee he started saying "proposal, proposal" with his hands up and he wasn't letting anyone else come into the church. I thought that was super sweet, though in that moment there could have been 100 people in that church and it still would have been just J and I. Once we got outside I was so excited and what had just happened was still sinking in.
But, it didn't stop there! As we were leaving the church J said we were going to dinner at a special place. We agreed we would wait to call everyone (because there were a lot of people to call and we wanted to soak it all in) until after dinner. J was kind of acting like he was lost and I thought he was turning around in this cabin's driveway. There were a bunch of cars so I was embarrassed that he was pulling all the way in! I was thinking these people are going to be wondering who's pulling in their driveway.
Then I started to recognize some cars. I looked at J and he says, there is one more surprise! We walked into the cabin and our families were there waiting for us. It was so special to have my family there to celebrate with us and there are a million reasons I love J but his thoughtfulness has to be in the top five. All of the planning he put into this day to make it special and memorable was just amazing. It was the best day ever!
And for those of you interested, here is my gorgeous ring. He did such a great job picking it out (even though he was so stressed about it!). I couldn't love it more, and even though I'm probably biased, it's the prettiest ring I've ever seen (there is a collar of diamonds around the solitaire that you can't see in this photo). It couldn't have been more perfect if I had picked it out myself! Thanks to Anita at Yelton (in West Chester, Ohio) for helping him through the process! :)
Being that it's only two weeks into our engagement, we don't have very much planned. But we do know it will be next May and we will be getting married in the same church we were engaged! I'm so excited about this next phase of life and even more excited for J and I to start our lives together. He truly is a gem and I thank God for him every day. Thank you so much for all of the calls, texts, emails, Facebook/Instagram comments and cards! The love and excitement shown to us so far is so appreciated!
Below are some photos from a wedding held in the same church. I get so excited for our special day just looking at them!
Photos by Dixie Pixel