Kate and Evan

How We Met

The Bride’s Perspective: I was trying out a new church life group in Arizona in November of 2017. I walked up to the door of a stranger’s house and knocked. Immediately the door flung open and there was Evan literally jumping in the air and excitedly exclaiming “WELCOME TO LIFEGROUP!” As anyone who has met Evan can attest to, this level of enthusiasm is pretty standard for him. As those who know me well can attest to, that kind of enthusiasm overwhelms me. This loud and energetic greeting followed by one of Evan’s signature hugs got us off on the wrong foot. And that’s the first time I met my future husband.

Luckily, that wasn’t the end of our story. Even when he annoyed me, I couldn’t shake him thanks to our tight-knit church community. Evan has been my life group leader ever since our fateful meeting in 2017, we went country dancing weekly, and we seemed to be invited to all the same parties. Over time I came to know Evan as a humble leader, a loyal friend, and most importantly a man who submits to God. But I decidedly friend-zoned him.

Kate and Evan's Engagement in Papago Park in Tempe, AZ

It wasn’t until January of 2019 I realized I wanted to be more than friends. One morning I woke up and the first thing on my mind was Evan. I remember feeling a nudge to consider whether Evan may be more than just a friend. It took me a while to come around…three months to be exact. By the time we started dating on April 6, 2019, I was pretty darn sure this was the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

Evan is exceedingly patient and kind. He tells me I’m beautiful every day…especially when I don’t believe it myself. He is a man of vision with the drive and determination to actually put those dreams into action. He is absurdly tidy and makes the best pour-over coffee. He loves that I want to be a therapist and a mom and has fully embraced his title as dog-dad to Shiloh. Most importantly he leads me closer to Jesus every day and I know that he’ll keep doing that for the rest of our lives.

The Groom’s Perspective:

It was a normal night at the life group. One of my co-leaders mentioned that a new girl was joining us. The odd thing: she had never met the girl face to face and the girl had never been to our church. My first thought: “This girl is BRAVE to walk into a room full of strangers!” Later that night I heard a knock on the door, which was uncharacteristic of our lifegroup, so I figured this must be the girl. I opened the door and there was Kate. My second thought: “This girl is BEAUTIFUL!”

I don’t remember meeting most people, but I remember the moment I saw Kate for the first time. I don’t remember most people’s names, but I never forgot Kate’s.

A few weeks later Kate and I found ourselves driving 30 minutes to a church event just the two of us. Our friend had organized for the three of us to carpool but had to cancel at the last minute. On that car ride I remember thinking that Kate was special, but I also sensed that it was not the right season of life for her to be dating. So, I dropped the idea of pursuing a relationship with her.

Kate and I became close friends, and in March of 2019 the Lord brought that long forgotten idea of pursuing her back to my mind. Around that same time one of my close friends mentioned out of the blue that he thought Kate and I would make a great couple. #confirmation!

I prayed about Kate for a few weeks before I was sure she was interested, too. I remember it like it was a movie. She walked into the country dancing and our eyes met across the room. She walked past all of our friends to give me a hug first. At that moment I knew I was going to date her.

A few weeks passed and we became closer than ever. I was scheduled to go home to California for two weeks after graduating from college, but I couldn’t stand to be away from her for that long. After a week of long phone calls and non-stop texting I decided to cut my trip 4 days short to come home and make Kate my girlfriend.

How They Asked

The Bride’s Perspective: I was not easy on Evan. I’ve been dreaming of the day I would get engaged for as long as I can remember, and I had a list of non-negotiable elements that I “needed” him to abide by. I wanted my best friend and dad to be in town, I wanted to be dressed up when it happened, and I didn’t want to be too surprised as I am easily overwhelmed.

We knew we were getting married pretty early on in our relationship and had started making concrete plans for our wedding 5 weeks before he actually proposed. I was eager to get my ring and kept trying to predict when he would pop the question. He let slip that he was making a plan to propose on a Saturday, so I started narrowing down which Saturdays would work.

I was pretty sure that I had figured out that it was happening on October 5th until my best friend lied to me (for my own good) and told me she had a work conference that weekend. I was devastated and may have had a small meltdown on October 4th in frustration over the fact that I wasn’t getting engaged that weekend.

The morning of October 5th Evan insisted that we go out to breakfast instead of making food at home. I begrudgingly put on some workout clothes and got myself out the door. When we arrived I was distracted on my phone as I heard Evan say to the hostess “Evan party of two” to which the hostess responded “Oh, yes, right away.” I was suspicious then…this place always has a wait.

We walk up to a booth and there sat four of my closest friends and future bridesmaids all smiling ear to ear and filming me as I stood in stunned silence before squealing “I’M GETTING ENGAGED TODAY!” Thus started the best day ever.

After breakfast my bridesmaids whisked me off to get my nails, hair, and makeup done. Once I was all ready Evan picked me up and told me that we were going on the “Story of Us.”

Stop #1: He since moved out of the house where we first met, so he contacted the current tenants to ask them a favor. He told them our story and explained that we had met in the doorway of their home two years ago. He then explained that he wanted to wash my feet on their front porch. They graciously agreed to let him do so.

Foot washing is a symbol in the Bible of servant leadership. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet even though he is Lord over them, thus displaying the importance of being servant hearted. In the same way, by washing my feet Evan promised to lead me in our relationship by lifting me to a place of more significance than himself. SWOON.

Kate's Proposal in Papago Park in Tempe, AZ

Stop #2: We got back in the car and drove to the park by his house where we said “I like you” and “I love you” for the first time. This time he said, “I’ll love you forever.” Then he pulled out his guitar and serenaded me with “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” which is a song that has a lot of significance in our relationship.

Where to Propose in Papago Park in Tempe, AZ

Stop #3: As California kids, In’N’Out is practically a love language for us. We’ve spent a lot of time laughing and extending date nights by sitting at the booths drinking milkshakes and pretending that we didn’t have to wake up early the next morning. This time, though, we were both too anxious to eat so we just asked for two empty milkshake cups and asked a stranger to take our photo.

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Papago Park in Tempe, AZ

Stop #4: Next we went to the park by our friend’s house where we had our DTR on May 6, 2019. We walked on the grass and he told me that because this was the first place we called each other boyfriend and girlfriend he found it fitting that it would also be the last. Next stop…PROPOSAL!

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Papago Park in Tempe, AZ

Stop #5: Finally we arrived at Papago Park Lake. The rickety wooden dock was “miraculously” free of fishermen right as the sun was setting. He led me out on the dock and promised to love and serve me always. Finally, he got down on one knee and asked, “Will you marry me?” I screamed, “YES!”

At that moment some of our friends, one of whom Evan had enlisted to take photos, as well as my dad who flew in from out of town popped out of the bushes shouting “CONGRATULATIONS!”

We took some photos to remember the day and then walked back and all got in our separate cars to drive “home.”

Proposal Ideas Papago Park in Tempe, AZ

Stop #6: The sweetest surprise party. When we pulled up to our friends’ house I was pretty sure what was going on, but when I walked into so many of my close friends yelling, “SURPRISE!” I was elated.

The Final Stop: Back to In’N’Out—this time to eat. Let’s be real: every great day has to end with In’N’Out.

This day was more than I ever dreamed it would be. He absolutely nailed it.

The Groom’s Perspective

The day started almost two months before the day… does that make sense? It started with an eager man reaching out to his girlfriend’s best friend to see when she would be able to make it to Phoenix for a proposal. Just to clear up any confusion: the man is me, and the girlfriend is Kate. I texted Kate’s best friend, Rachel, on August 13th to see when she would be able to come out. She was extremely excited to be apart of this day but would not have an open weekend until October 5th. This would be a long two months of waiting. The suspense was killing me to the point that I would eventually tell nearly everyone I know the date, show them pictures of the ring, and detail the day to them. Kate was not a fan of everyone knowing except her.

I planned with two of her best friends and her Dad to fly into town without Kate knowing. Eventually, telling so many people about my plans worked against me as Kate figured out that it would be the 5th. Thankfully, her best friend was telling her that she would be in Ohio that weekend which threw her off the trail. The night before the proposal Kate found herself so disappointed as she was starting to really believe that the proposal was not happening on the 5th.

When Kate woke up on the morning of the 5th she thought the day would start with brunch with me, then we would hang out with a few of our friends for the afternoon, then go shopping a little. She was right about brunch. We arrived at one of our favorite breakfast places for brunch and was escorted to our table to find that two of Kate’s best friends from out of state and two of her best friends locally were there to eat breakfast with us. Kate’s first words through tears and laughter: “I’m getting engaged today!”

We had breakfast then I sent the ladies away to do their girl stuff, and I went to my house with Shiloh (Kate’s dog) to watch football and make last-minute preparations. What a LONG 5 hours that was! I picked Kate up at 4:30. To say she looked beautiful is like saying Mount Everest is tall. She was the most beautiful girl on the planet (she still is!).

We then went to the house where we met. I was leading a Bible study when she found our church and was the first person she met as I opened the door to welcome her to our group. What better place to go to begin the proposal? While there we prayed, and I told her my heart to lead her well. I washed her feet following the example of servant leadership displayed by Jesus. Then we were off to the next stop!

Next was the park in my current house. That park was the place that I originally told her my feelings for her. What better place to share my feelings for a life with her? I played a song on my guitar that held a lot of significance for us: “I can’t help falling in love with you”. We sat at the place that started our relationship momentarily, but we were eager about where we were heading. So, we went to In-N-Out.

In-N-Out is the place that we would go a lot when it was late, but we didn’t want to say goodnight.

The last stop was the park where I asked her to be my girlfriend. I wanted the first place we hung out as boyfriend and girlfriend to also be the last place we hung out as boyfriend and girlfriend. I asked her if she was ready to go, and she said yes. Then we were off to the proposal spot.

I planned to ask for her hand at a place where we had never been: Papago park. We walked out to the lake, and to the end of a dock. We talked for a few minutes as I made sure she was not going to pass out and fall in the water. I then got on one knee, made a joke, then asked her to marry me. She said yes as a group of people we did not know went crazy. We kissed as the final surprise was waiting for my cue. We stood together and when I exclaimed, “WE’RE ENGAGED!” her Dad from out of state stood up and was there with her friends clapping.

We then went to a friend’s house and had a big party! It really was the best day ever! At the end of it, as we’ve done many times before, we postponed saying goodbye with an 11 PM In-N-Out run.

I can hardly wait for our wedding on March 15th.

The End