Chandler and Jonathan

Image 1 of Chandler and Jonathan

How We Met

Jonathan and I met at Appalachian State University. I was sitting at the bus stop reading a book for one of my history courses and minding my own business. He was sitting with a friend next to me bantering back and forth. I was aware of his presence, but did not expect him to come over, strike up a conversation, then ask for my phone number. But he did! I was so flattered but unfortunately at the time this happened I was not in a place to date. I was giving myself time to be single so I remained relatively unresponsive towards his texts and pursuit of me. However, just a few months later he ended up at a hotel for a friends party, and it just so happened I was working the front desk night audit shift. That night he asked me to get coffee, it was definitely divine intervention. I knew that I was now ready to date and I prayed about our meeting and felt like God was giving me the go ahead. We had our first date on January 19th, 2016. After that coffee date I knew almost immediately he was the man I had been waiting my whole life for. Only a month later on February 19th, 2016, he asked me to be his girlfriend in a private wine cellar in Blowing Rock NC, and on February 19th 2017 he asked me to marry him, and I said yes!

how they asked

Jonathan David Thornton asked me to marry him on February 19th, 2017. Currently, we are living 3 hours away from each other. I am finishing my bachelors degree at ASU in Advertising with a Minor in Non profit. Jonathan graduated from ASU with a bachelors in Communication, Public Relations with a minor in Religious Studies this past December. Since then he has moved to Southern Pines, NC to work as a student pastor while also pursuing his masters degree at Regent University. We have been navigating long distance for about 2 months now. Naturally, since this date would be our 1 year anniversary we planned for me to come to Southern Pines to celebrate. I would stay at his parents home and we would enjoy spending time together all weekend doing things we love together.

Because it was such a big weekend already I really wasn’t expecting an engagement. Everyone had told me it wasn’t happening for awhile so I believed them and went into the weekend just wanted to celebrate a year with this amazing man. Sunday rolled around (February 19th, our one year) and he had planned a slow morning. We would do devotions together and then he planned to take me horse back riding. This was something I grew up doing and he knows I love it so much so he arranged all the details and we went for a beautiful back country trail ride in Seven Lakes, NC. It was perfect. We then spent the afternoon sitting on a dock in the perfect 65 degree weather staring off into the lake and reminiscing on our relationship. We also stopped by the train station in downtown Southern Pines to exchange gifts. Both gifts just so happened to be little scrapbook story compilations of our year together which was so sweet. He had told me that dinner plans were a surprise. Which didn’t shock me or tip me off whatsoever. He loves surprises so this was to be expected. He just told me I had to be ready at 4pm and we would go grab a drink at the club then would be off to enjoy our surprises. I could tell he was acting a little nervous at the club but still did not assume an engagement. 5pm rolled around and we were off to the long awaited surprise dinner. Before I knew it he was pulling into an airport. AN AIRPORT! The Moore County Airport to be exact. I was so shocked.

He introduced me to a beautiful couple whose wedding anniversary was that very day, 40 years. They would be flying us. We entered a four seater plane and were off into the air to watch the sunset from a birds eye view. It was truly magical. 6:30pm came quickly and the plane was headed down to land. It rolled up to the area where it was supposed to park and I saw a beautiful set up, an antique Persian rug adorned with rose petals and champagne and then I knew.

Image 2 of Chandler and Jonathan

We exited the plane and I noticed his sweet sister taking photos, as well as a journalist! But it was only an after thought. My eyes were locked on Jonathan as my hands shook he took me gently over to the rug and as tears welled up he said, “just give me one second”. And this was the moment I loved most. We just stood there staring at each other while the whole world fell away, taking in the moment for what it was while we sniffled and tears began to fall.

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What seemed like an eternity later (probably only a minute) he began his beautiful speech. He spoke about how God sent his only begotten son to die for us in the most impactful love story there ever was. God showing his love for us through Jesus dying and raising again to life and how as Jesus waits patiently for his bride and seeks to pursue her everyday, so would he do the same with me. He said “No depth, no height could keep me from pursuing you the rest of your life Chandler.” And after that he knelt and asked me to marry him.

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I said yes immediately and barely caught the sparkle of the ring out of the corner of my eye because all I could do was tear up and kiss him and hug him and just enjoy the moment.

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Immediately after we hugged, a rush of people came from the door, his entire family, our best friends and even my mom all the way from Atlanta, GA. Our fathers were unable to be there but the rest of the family made it and it was such a joyous moment. Following this amazing reunion was a surprise engagement at Jonathan’s parents house complete with beautiful gold and silver balloons, a wedding cake, and plenty of food and wine. It was a magical evening and I know that I am truly a blessed woman. I cannot wait to marry this man. Here is the publication in the Pilot newspaper.

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Special Thanks

Rebekah Peterson
 | She took the photographs!
The Pilot Newspaper
 | Wrote a story on our engagement