Jeff and Katie
how we met – Katie’s side
It all started my junior year of college at East Tennessee State University. Jeff and I were highly involved in campus activities as well as Greek organizations. Just before fraternity recruitment, I was delivering my mom’s famously delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies with my Kappa Delta sisters to the Lambda Chi house. We wanted to wish them luck with rush, little did I know I was about to meet the future love of my life. I was not familiar with the brothers of Lambda Chi at the time. In talking to one of the brothers Jeff, being a senior and member of their leadership at the time, came into the room asking that I leave. The following day Jeff messaged me on Facebook letting me know that he was sorry if the conversation came across as rude, assuring me that it was necessary at the time. Although this is what he told me, we all know this was really an excuse to get to message me and somehow “realize that we didn’t have each other’s phone numbers!” Upon exchanging numbers, we talked constantly, one thing led to another, and here we are happily engaged!
how they asked – Jeff’s side
Understanding that mine and Katie’s families, a photographer, and our dog had to be included in the proposal, per Katie’s request, I knew it was going to be more than your standard “nice dinner” proposal. Being a somewhat seasoned event coordinator, I set out to enhance my skills in order to provide a memorable moment for the woman of my dreams. First priority to me: location. Being from East Tennessee, Asheville, NC continues to be our favorite “close to home” vacation spot. We find ourselves going there for a variety of activities: food and dessert, golf, entertainment, and now a proposal venue. Nestled in the downtown of a very busy city is Pack Square Park, the perfect location. Along with my best friend, Nils, we sought after a spot that showed the gorgeous scenery specific to Asheville while also being secluded enough to ensure little interruption. Oh and the easy part; a place to hide eight family members and a dog…
Boom, there it was. The perfect spot, gorgeous mountain scene in the background, directly under a distinctly colored small tree, away from the hustle of the park, with a staircase hidden by bushes and flowers directly behind it! Since I had found the location to accommodate such demands it was time to coordinate “the surprise.” Getting 9 family members (yes, I included our dog, Everly), to a city over an hour away without her knowing as well as convincing her that going to Asheville Saturday is the best use of our time. Although the second part sounds easy, for some reason Dollywood sounded like a great idea to Katie the day before; which I promptly persuaded otherwise. After showing up and hearing that her mom and sister were going shopping that day in their hometown (she thought) we were off to Asheville. With a big thanks to everyone involved I ended up pulling it off! We got to Asheville as planned, shopped, and I stalled for enough time to get her family and the photographer there and in place. Once they were set, Katie’s sister sent me a text message (with her name disguised as my best friend’s) saying we’re good to go.
Thank goodness I got that text because Katie was becoming quite hungry by 1:00 PM, which was resulting in increased difficultly in stall time. On the way to “the spot” we passed our photographer, Joe Mackey, who was taking candid photos. Upon arrival we turned to each other, grabbed hands, and I asked her to take her glasses off. She was wondering why we were walking past our favorite restaurant, Packs Tavern, instead of going inside; but, with the family hidden, I began my spill. When I came to the phrases, “I have sought approval from my family” – cue my family walking up from behind cover, “your family” – cue her family walking up from behind cover, and even “little Everly” – cue Katie’s sister putting Everly on the ground where she ran up to her parents full of joy (this was the point at which it was really sinking in to Katie that this is a proposal and not just me being sweet.)
Something was different about little Everly though? Ah, yes, a ring bag attached to her collar. Upon acquiring the ring bag from her collar and the ring from the bag, Katie’s sister took Everly and joined the family. In comes the photographer, and down I go to one knee. After a few more caring sentences I closed with, “I am ready to build our relationship, build our family, and build our legacy in this world, Katilyn Elizabeth Buchanan, will you marry me?”
After an emotional yes we joined with the family, took fabulous photos throughout Pack Square Park, and came together on the patio of the previously reserved Packs Tavern where we enjoyed each other’s company, lunch and drinks, and the process of making phone calls to our closest friends and families informing them of the much anticipated good news.
P.S. I really think Katie had no idea until we were in the moment!