KaLee and Chad

Image 1 of KaLee and Chad

How We Met

It is so beautiful to me how God has perfectly orchestrated Chad and I’s journey thus far. Our story started at the beginning of 2011, although Chad and I had never met. I had been really good friends and attended church with Chad’s sister, Kandace, for a few years at this point. I knew she had a brother, but had never seen/met him, nor did I really know anything about him. Little did I know, Kandace had been telling Chad about me for a few months. Chad had just graduated from college had ZERO interest in meeting “one of his sister’s friends.” However, God obviously had different plans. Later that year Chad started attending church with his sister. One Sunday morning, Chad spotted me from across the room. He turned to his sister and said, “Who is THAT girl?!” Kandace laughed and told him that was the girl she had been mentioning for months. Although Chad wanted to meet me and ask me on a date, he was so nervous and shy that it took him over a year to even talk to me! In 2012, Chad and I went on our first date. We both knew from that moment on this could be something special. We both love sports, dogs, being outside, and traveling. Any time we were together, no matter what we were doing, we always had the best time.

Image 2 of KaLee and Chad

For the next two years, we dated long-distance while I was away at college, but over time things got difficult for us. After a major rough patch, a lot of heartbreak, and many long discussions, we ultimately decided to go our separate ways. Although we didn’t see it at the time, it ended up being the best thing for our relationship and without a doubt allowed us to have the relationship we have today. While we were separated, we both learned a lot about who we are and had the opportunity to “find ourselves” as individuals. Because we lived in different places, we never saw or spoke to one another. Over time our hearts healed and the bitterness of the past slowly faded. We both admit that we often thought about one another during our time apart, however neither one of us believed we would ever get back together.

Image 3 of KaLee and Chad

Again, God [thankfully] had different plans… In the summer of 2015, Chad and I ran into each other at the hospital both he and my mom worked. Initially, it was one of those super-awkward-there-is-my-ex-run-the-other-way kind of moments (ha!), but we ended up talking in the hallway that day for over an hour. As it turned out, Chad had gotten accepted into a doctorate program at a school in the exact same area where I had just accepted my first teaching job! We were both going to be moving to the same town at the end of the summer after a year and a half of neither seeing or speaking to one another. Crazy! A couple weeks after we ran into each other, we decided to hang out. Slowly, God took the broken pieces from our broken relationship and beautifully placed them back together.

Image 4 of KaLee and Chad

That summer we fell in love all over again! All the issues we’d had were dissolved and all the wonderful things were magnified. Obviously we aren’t perfect, but spending that time apart learning and growing to love ourselves first as individuals, allowed us to come back together and unconditionally love one another whole-heartedly. After being back together for almost two years, our relationship has developed into something amazing. Our relationship flourished, our friendship deepened, and our love for one another strengthened. We quickly knew without a doubt that we never wanted to spend another day on this Earth without being in each other’s lives! We knew that this was forever.

Image 5 of KaLee and Chad

Image 6 of KaLee and Chad

how they asked

If you know me well, you know that I absolutely love celebrating people’s birthdays. So when February rolls around and it’s time for my own birthday, I get very excited! I love celebrating my birthday week with all my family and friends. Chad has a history of making my birthday special for me each year, so it was no shock to me that when my birthday came this year he was being secretive about our plans. He didn’t really give me a definite answer as to what we were going to be doing. The day before my birthday, Chad and I made plans to travel to my hometown and have a small and quiet dinner with my family to celebrate my birthday. The night before we arrived, my sister called me and asked if she could take me on a sister date for my birthday when we got into town. She took me to get pampered with a manicure and a pedicure as my birthday present. This was all part of a big plan, and little did I know, Chad was preparing a birthday surprise I would never forget. Later, I would find out that while my sister was keeping me busy that morning, my sweet Chad was having coffee with my dad, asking for permission to marry me! After my sister date, the afternoon was not out of the ordinary for us.

Chad got me my favorite Mexican food and my favorite dessert. And after a fun and relaxing day, I started getting ready for my birthday dinner. Chad told me to be ready to go by 5 o’clock and that my family would be meeting us at the restaurant. While in the car, we were being our normal, goofy selves – singing loudly and talking about random stuff. I wasn’t even paying attention to where we were driving. That is until Chad started pulling into a familiar place – the place where we had one of our very first dates. After we pulled in and parked, he asked me if I would take a walk with him. He led me down a path that we had walked together so many times before, down to a bridge where we had shared many special moments and wonderful memories. The sun was going down and the bridge was illuminated by rows of candles, with a progression of rose petals lining the wooden planks.

Image 7 of KaLee and Chad

Chad walked me to the middle of the bridge and held my hand as we looked out across the water. We reminisced about how some of our deepest talks, biggest laughs, and important moments happened on this very same bridge. After telling me how much he loves me, he told me he had birthday surprise for me.

Image 8 of KaLee and Chad

When I turned around, he was down on one knee, holding up a ring, and said the best four words I have ever heard in my life: “Will you marry me?” Overwhelmed by emotion and excitement, I managed to squeak out a “YES!” and watched him slip that beautiful ring onto my finger.

Image 9 of KaLee and Chad

Image 10 of KaLee and Chad

Two of our friends who are photographers/videographers had been hiding the entire time capturing this intimate and beautiful moment. After Chad proposed, they came out of hiding and snapped some pictures of us soaking up what had just happened!

Image 11 of KaLee and Chad

Image 12 of KaLee and Chad

Image 13 of KaLee and Chad

After grabbing coffee and spending some time sharing this moment together, Chad took me to my next surprise: A disguised birthday dinner turned into a surprise engagement dinner! Chad had invited both our families and our close friends to my “birthday” dinner, but only a few knew he had proposed to me an hour earlier. So not only did they get to see the look on my face when I walked in to see everyone, but I got to see the look on their faces when they found out they weren’t just there to celebrate my birthday, but to celebrate our engagement as well!

Image 14 of KaLee and Chad

Image 15 of KaLee and Chad

We celebrated with dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and were able to share our special night with our favorite people. I thought the surprises were over until… Chad brought me to my parent’s home. When I walked in, everything was fully decorated to celebrate our engagement, complete with cake and gifts! He seriously thought of everything!

Image 16 of KaLee and Chad

Image 17 of KaLee and Chad

I truly could not have dreamt of a more perfect and magical evening. It will definitely be a birthday we will remember for the rest of our lives. I can’t wait to spend forever with my best friend and the love of my life!

Image 18 of KaLee and Chad
Image 19 of KaLee and Chad


Our Video

Special Thanks

Annie Gray
 | Photographer
Shane Gray
 | Videographer