Annie and Jay

Image 1 of Annie and Jay

how they asked

The first thing anyone should know about Jay is that he is a hopeless romantic. He is the most kind hearted, thoughtful man I have ever met, and he spares no expense or detail when it comes to putting a smile on my face.

Image 2 of Annie and Jay

Whenever we first started dating over two years ago, I knew he was the one. As cliche and ridiculous as that sounds, I came home after our first date and told my mom, “I’m going to marry that man”, and she said, “ok honey” as if I had just told her I was going out to grab a carton of milk. Well, not long after that we were watching a movie at his apartment and he looks over at me and says, “I know exactly how I’m going to ask you to marry me”. Oh yes, he went there! Out of the blue! He brought up that whole marriage thing first (whew)! Then, after almost uncontrollably containing my excitement, my curiosity level skyrocketed. What could he possibly be conjuring up? Where are some of my favorite places to go and what are some of favorite things to do? Gah there were so many possibilities, but he had one idea, the perfect idea, and I had absolutely no clue. As time passed and life become more and more exciting, the whole popping the question thing sort of evaded me.

Work was hectic, we were immersed in our best friends’ love stories traveling across the country for their weddings, and I put mine and Jay’s happily-ever-after in the backseat. But every now and again, at the most random moments, he’d ask, “how do you think I’m going to do it?” I know…such a tease. I would throw out little half-baked suggestions here and there; Oh you’re going to do it on that bench at the beach we love! Nope. Maybe you’ll do it in my hometown where I grew up with my entire family around…Not even close. Then more time passed, and I began to wonder if he really had any idea at all, or was he just having a little fun watching me squirm. July 28. We closed on our house! The most important day of our lives together. We found a beautiful brick house we wanted to make our home. A forever home. A place where we would make countless memories together with all our loved ones.

And guess what? We still weren’t engaged…Well, in my mind this was it. It was happening. I knew it deep in my gut, this was when my very best friend was going to ask me to be his wife. I could envision it perfectly, going from room to room just day dreaming about starting our engaged, then soon-to-be married, lives together right here in our home. This was his perfect idea. The one he had been planning all along. I had renewed and restored faith in him. All the waiting was finally coming to a close (literally), and the butterflies in my stomach were in full force. It was the perfect opportunity. We had our eye on this house for months, then fate worked its magic and we bought our dream home.

What would go quite nicely with buying your dream home? Getting engaged to your dream guy, right? Wrong. It didn’t happen, he didn’t ask and I was crushed. Trying not to show how unbelievably foolish and slightly disappointed I felt, I grew quiet, and the excitement slowly drained from my face and faded away. Well, Jay isn’t the oblivious type, and it didn’t take him long to ask why I wasn’t jumping for joy. Naturally, I gave him the stereotypical “I’m fine” response and he didn’t push any further. He knew…which made it even better. The very next day we were scheduled to go on a friends weekend up in Asheville, North Carolina. The agenda consisted of vegging out in a vintage cabin for a few days and appreciating God’s beautiful creation.

As you can imagine, a very long and intense week had just come to a close and Jay was NOT up for going anywhere. Still feeling the effects of my almost-maybe-definitely-didn’t-happen-engagement, I could have used a little getaway. After thirty minutes of begging on the phone, he told me to pack him a little bag and we would hit the road for the mountains. The car ride was less than pleasant as I was getting teary-eyed in the front seat explaining why I wasn’t my cheeriest the day before. Jay being the sweet man he is stayed quiet and let me say my piece. He said, “I promise I won’t let you down” and asked me to stay patient. So I obliged. We finally made our way up the mountain and were greeted by some of our favorite people in the world.

Burgers and hot dogs were already being charred on the grill, and I started on my more than full glass of wine. Boys went with the boys and the girls caught up on all the latest news with each other. I felt so happy. Relieved really. Our time would come eventually and it would be worth the wait. So we woke up extra early the next morning to get ready for our big day of hiking up Mt. Mitchell, the tallest peak east of the Mississippi. Breakfast consisted of bacon, eggs and biscuits and we were ready to to go. First, we went downtown Asheville to the get the full experience. There was a huge food and beer festival going on right in the middle of the streets, and needless to say we enjoyed quite a few hand crafted brews. Why not? We were going to burn it off here shortly anyways.

After some delicious tacos and one too many drinks, we began our car ride back up the mountain…and the heavens started to pour… Again, the boys rode in one car and the girls followed in another. We had an hour drive ahead of us and we could barely see 20 feet into the distance. Mother nature wasn’t taking it easy on us it was raining so hard. Now you might ask, “Why in the world were we going to go on a hike with the weather like this?” Trust me I thought the exact same thing. It made absolutely no sense. But we had been planning this hike for months now and we were already almost there, no point in turning back now. As we approached the parking lot the rain subsided to a slow drizzle. Bearable. BUT it was 62 degrees…in the end on July…in the south…MADE ZERO SENSE.

To anyone who lives where it gets quite cold…62 degrees means sweatpants and a jacket to me! There was a quaint little shop at the bottom of the mountain, and I took it upon myself to buy a hot chocolate before we started up the mountain. Just as we made our first few steps up the infamous Mt. Mitchell, the skies parted and sun shown its most beautiful shine. The winding roads, the pouring rain, the thunder and lightning, it was totally worth it. We made it to the summit in no time, and I had never seen anything more beautiful. The sky was clear, and I could see for miles on end. We were high above the clouds, and I felt like I was on top of the world with some of my favorite people. I thought it couldn’t get any better…and then it did. Jay hit his knee in the clear blue sky with white puffy clouds beneath us, our friends surrounding us, and my breath was instantly taken away.

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The perfect idea became a reality, and it was the most magical moment of my life. I literally was in heaven with the most amazing man I’ve been so blessed to love and he chose forever with me. Seriously, talk about being on cloud 9.

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But he wasn’t done yet. Newly engaged, we trotted down the mountain so excited to call our friends and family, and then I see my parents, little brother and his mom and dad eager to greet us. He had my family there, and the tears came rushing down. It really was the perfect day. But again…he wasn’t finished. Our bags were packed in the back of my car, and he drove down the mountain somewhere special. What more could he have possibly done to make this day any better? Well, about 20 minutes later we pull into the Grove Park Inn (one of my favorite places in the world), and he tells me to be ready by 7:45. He had planned a sunset dinner on the terrace with our friends and family to celebrate the start of this whirlwind adventure.

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Jay and I walked into our suite adorned with red rose petals, plated cheeses and enough champagne to last a month. It was 5:30 pm which meant I had plenty of time to call EVERYONE. Well, time of course did as it usually does, and flew. We left our room with the stunning view and had our first dinner as an engaged couple as the sun was setting right before us. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect day if I tried. He did it all. The ring, the proposal, all the little details…it was worth the wait. And Jay being the man he is, did all that just for me. From day one, he’s done everything in his power to make sure I am always smiling and this was no exception. The perfect idea turned into the perfect proposal with the most perfect man, which makes for the perfect beginning to our little love story.

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Special Thanks

Carrie Turner
 | Photographed the big moment