Catherine and Tim

How We Met

Catherine and I met while working together at a Smoothie King in Raleigh, NC throughout high school. We started dating our senior year, and ended up going to colleges in different states. Catherine went to UNC-Wilmington to pursue Nursing, and I moved off to Nashville, TN to go to Belmont University to try and become a musician. We did the long distance thing, and kicked ass at it.

Fast forward five years later. Catherine got hired as a Neuro ICU nurse at Vanderbilt here in Nashville, TN, and while in college I made a tech startup that was doing well enough to keep me in Nashville. Catherine made the move to Nashville, and I simply couldn’t wait any longer to ask her to marry me.

how they asked

I have to lay some groundwork first before the actual story – All throughout college Catherine would come and visit me every few months. There was one trip where she and I decided to go to this park called Radnor Lake, and while we were about halfway into the hike I remember thinking “I’m gonna marry this girl”. Now I can get on to the proposal story!

So anyways at this point Catherine had already moved to Nashville. I knew that I was going to propose, the big question was just when I was going to do it. I had the ring for a pretty long time before I actually proposed, I just really wanted to plan out something special for Catherine, so I pretty much made the proposal almost a week long event.

The first step was to figure out how I was going to get Catherine to get her nails done before the proposal. Catherine is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, so it’s not uncommon for people to ask her to model or just take pictures. So with the help of Catherine’s roommate, we told Catherine that she was going to be doing a photoshoot at Radnor Lake for a store opening in East Nashville. Catherine’s roommate got Catherine to get her nails done for the photoshoot, and while she was doing that, I was prepping for the proposal.

I had an idea in mind of exactly what I wanted the proposal to look like and I had planned that part out really well. There is this perfect spot at Radnor Lake, where the trail kind of dips into the lake like a small boat ramp, and that was going to be my spot. I had even talked with the Radnor Lake park rangers to make sure no one was doing park work in that area on our proposal day. I bought between 30 and 40 roses, and used them to create a trail of roses leading from the main trail to the spot I was going to propose. At the end of the ‘rose trail’, was a small side table that I had placed a scrapbook Catherine made of our relationship on. On top of the scrapbook I had written a small note saying to read every page until the very end and to take your time. At the very end of the scrapbook was another note I wrote saying “It’s time for us to write the next chapter of this book, turn around”.

Image 1 of Catherine and Tim

When Catherine and her friends finished getting their nails done, they came to Radnor Lake for the ‘photoshoot’. One of her friends was texting me the whole time to keep me in the loop. The photographer was pretending to take pictures of random stuff around the spot, and I was hiding behind a pile of mulch. Not the best idea I had, but it was the only place I could think of to hide because of how nervous I was.

It took them forever to walk to the spot on the trail. When they got to the start of the ‘rose trail’ I had made, Catherine apparently said something to her friends like “Whoa we can’t take pictures here! Someone’s about to get engaged!!” Her friends had to brush it off and just told Catherine to walk down to the boat ramp and wait. Catherine started walking, and she had no idea what was going on until she saw the scrapbook.

At that point she knew she was right that it was an engagement, but it was actually her own. She was starting to read through the scrapbook, so I walked up and stopped about 10 feet behind her. Once she saw the note at the end saying to turn around, she did, and I started walking the rest of the way to her. Neither of us can remember exactly what I said, but I’m confident I referenced this being the spot where I first knew that I was going to marry her. I asked her, and she said yes!

Image 2 of Catherine and Tim

Afterwards we took a ton of pictures and got one in particular of Catherine with the most amazing facial expression you’ve ever seen. It is literally the picture description of happiness.

Image 3 of Catherine and Tim

So while the proposal part was done, there was still a lot more to the surprise. Catherine and I were supposed to fly out for a week long vacation to Keystone, Colorado the next day. However, family is absolutely paramount to both of us. After I proposed, I told her that we were taking small detour on the way to Colorado, and we are actually going to be flying in to our hometown, Raleigh, NC, because ‘some people’ want to see us. After celebrating with friends at Nashville’s Homestead Manor that night, we flew to Raleigh and were immediately greeted by our families at the airport. We had a small engagement party at my parents house, drove to Smithfield, NC, to see Catherine’s grandparents, drove across town to see my grandparents, and we even had a small surprise lunch with some of Catherine’s friends from college. We pretty much did all of that in 24 hours, and it was exhausting, but was arguably the best weekend of my life.

I proposed on Friday, flew to Raleigh on Saturday, and we flew out to Colorado for our vacation on Sunday. Super busy. But I think it was worth it.

Special Thanks

Walker Leigh Chrisman
 | Walker Leigh Photography