How We Met
When I, Katie, went to college at the University of Texas, I knew I needed to get out of my dorm room and make friends (my Mom even told me so on the first day!) so I joined a campus organization. A Christian student organization that I had met over the summer had welcome week activities planned and I decided to join them. On my second day of college, I went to a Round Rock Express baseball game with the BSM. I sat with a group of students on the lawn and Timothy happened to be amongst them. I distinctly remember that he was bold, likable, and had a particular sense of humor. One of our friends said that night, “I like Katie. She doesn’t put up with Timothy’s crap.” The next day the same group went out to go Texas two-stepping and I went even though I had never been to a dance hall, let alone country dancing. Timothy offered to teach me how to two-step and while we were dancing boldly said: “You know, you are the most beautiful dance partner I’ve ever had.” I awkwardly said, “Uh I have a boyfriend” and began avoiding him for the next little bit.
Soon enough, I was involved in the BSM and had made friends in college and had them all over at my apartment. Timothy was good friends with some of my friends, so avoiding him wasn’t really working out. Through our friendship, I began to realize that his first impression was REALLY strong, but he was a great guy. During my sophomore year, my boyfriend and I went our separate ways. After an appropriate amount of time, Timothy began pursuing me and getting to know me more. Due to how tight-knit our friend group was, we didn’t want to chance openly going out on dates just to realize that this wasn’t going to work out. Thus, we went on secret dates. We went on dates all around the Austin area to determine whether or not we were going to date and tried to avoid people we knew. Sometimes this worked; more often it did not. The first time it did, we traveled 20 miles to the fourth closest Chuy’s to our houses. We ordered, ate our food, and then the waiter brought us the check. Timothy and I decided we didn’t want this to be our first official date (I was wearing Nike shorts!!) so we were going to pay separately. The waiter, though, only brought one check and without hesitation said: “I just assumed this was on the same ticket.” Timothy looked at me and said, “This was one great first date.”
As we began going on dates, Timothy would reference the show, How I Met Your Mother ALL THE TIME! I had not ever seen the show and didn’t understand any of his references. Slowly, but surely Timothy convinced me to watch the show. I was absolutely sure that I would not enjoy it, but I actually adored the show and have watched it several times now. How I Met Your Mother became a huge constant in our relationship; we referenced the drum roll episode for our first kiss, stealing a whole orchestra for one another, and adore Lily and Marshall (I’m going to be a teacher and Timothy’s going to law school this fall!).
how they asked
I had asked my best friend (who is also named Katie!) to brunch at Irene’s in downtown Austin because it had been a while since we had seen one another and she had just gotten back from a trip! Knowing that I wanted my Irene’s pic, we coordinated outfits and decided on wearing dresses together. Oblivious to any other plans, I got ready and Katie picked me up for brunch. Shortly after finishing our meal (a very speedy brunch…Katie arranged for that!), Katie told me that she had a surprise for me and proceeded to drive us to a salon in downtown Austin. I got to get my nails done and enjoy some pampering time! We then went shopping to find the perfect outfit. The entire time I kept asking “Katie, is this what I think it’s for???” and she would respond “I don’t know what you’re talking about, today is just a fun day!” I tried on dress after dress until we found the right one, Katie clipped off the tag, we paid for the dress, and I walked out of the store with it on! I didn’t know people did that in real life, I only thought it happened in the movies! How fun!! At this point, it became real that Timothy and I were getting engaged today, not later sometime this week!
Katie drove me to the UT campus and walked me to the tower where we found Timothy waiting. He was as dressed up as I was and we proceeded to stroll around campus and see the places on the 40 Acres that are quite significant to us. Some of those places included our dorms on campus (we lived across the street from one another!), the turtle pond, DKR stadium, where I chose to come to UT, some picnic tables behind the PCL, the Union, and some other places on campus.
***It was a tad bit warm outside, so we cut through some buildings. At one point, we cut through the Jester dormitory and I was thinking “OH NO, OH NO!! PLEASE don’t propose in Jester!!!” Thankfully, he didn’t!*** Next, we walked over to the BSM and reflected on a lot of funny stories with friends and mentors. We drove around west and north campus and talked about the different places we lived, the people we lived with, and how much God had used those people to shape us into who we are today.
After an unexpected and **incredible** stop at Sonic for something cold to drink (this really threw me off and I began to think that we had hours to go until the real proposal!), Timothy said “Let’s drive to your house” and began driving north. Soon, I realized that we had missed the exit for my house, but figured we would go to his house…until he missed that exit too! It began to hit me as we drove into a lush, wooded area that I had never been here and that THIS WAS HAPPENING!!!
We pulled into St. Edward’s Park and got the spot closest to the trail entrance when Timothy pulled out a bag with my handy Teva’s and asked: “Do you trust me?” I answered yes, we both changed shoes, and I began to follow him down a trail. We were all dressed up and kept passing tons of families that had obviously found a good swimming hole somewhere in the park. Timothy casually said, “I didn’t think these many people would be here”, but onwards we went. Soon enough we descended down the trail and into the popular swimming hole with lots of people cracking a cold one and enjoying their Saturday afternoon in Austin! I noticed some friends doing crowd control on both sides of the water saying “ey, if you could move out of this shot, something REALLY important is about to happen!” Timothy went to our friend who was taking pictures to make sure that everything was in place and I stood there and took in the scenery. We were in the middle of the woods and there was a small waterfall flowing from the river, lush greenery, rope swings, and more. I started thinking “Oh my gosh, this is happening. Adjust your hair, get yourself together, and REMEMBER WHAT HE SAYS IN HIS SPEECH!!”
Not a minute later, Timothy comes back and guides me down this rocky path and brings me into the middle of the water. He helped me on the rocks out into the middle and then asked: “Are you stable?” After I said “Yes, I’m stable” he grabbed my hands and began to tell me the most wonderful things. He spoke of meeting me, knowing that he was going to wait for me, my character, and how he has seen me say yes to Jesus time and time again(He definitely added in “I hope you’ll say yes in a minute!!”), and how he wants to spend the rest of our lives together. He asked “Katie Leigh Burkhead, will you marry me?” I’m crying and shouted “YES!!” and the crowds of strangers on the water banks began cheering and clapping for us! It was a beautiful and sweet moment and it was fun that some new friends got to share with us!
Our friends had made chalkboard signs and a letter board sign with our dates on it to celebrate our engagement with proposal photos! It was so much fun and before I knew it, Timothy was whisking me away for surprise dinner at my favorite restaurant in downtown Austin, Moonshine’s Patio and Grill! After enjoying the dinner for just the two of us (fried green tomatoes, chicken fried steak, and pork chops YUM!!), we headed to Timothy’s house where our friends and family were waiting with a surprise engagement party! We celebrated with people who had been around me all week long and had not spilled the beans and we got to FaceTime so many people in our life that are out of state/out of the country! Yay for technology!
I must say, the hit of the party for me was looking over to our photo booth and spying a yellow umbrella alongside a blue french horn that Timothy made for me. Any How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) fans in the house!? Later I found out that he had bought a french horn online several months before and had made sure that our favorite show was a part of our special day.
Honestly, Timothy and so many people in our lives went above and beyond to make sure that each and every detail was taken care of. It was one surprise after another and the day that we got engaged is a day that I won’t ever forget.