Katie and Corey

How We Met

On a rainy Wednesday in January, I was working overtime for an event held at the Civic Center in Redding, CA. I administrate a ministry school of 800 students, and they were there attending a conference all week. I popped home for a few minutes to throw on a sweatshirt and pull my hair back in a ponytail so I could push through those final hours. Let’s just say, I wasn’t looking about-to-meet-my-future husband cute.

Corey saw me talking to a mutual friend in the lobby, and came over to introduce himself. He was the Events/ Marketing Director for the conference that was happening. I shook his hand and thought to myself, “I think this is the most attractive man I’ve ever seen.”

I left that night and couldn’t stop thinking about him. He only came to town, for this event, once a year. He lived in Harrisburg, PA at the time and was meant to fly back first thing Saturday morning. I saw him again on Friday, and we talked for about 20 minutes in the lobby while hundreds of people buzzed feverishly around us.

I was enamored. In that moment I felt as if it were only him and me.

We messaged back and forth a little bit that evening. In my boldest attempt, I wrote, “Too bad you are leaving tomorrow, or I would say we should get coffee or lunch. Maybe 2018.” He responded, “Are you serious?”

Then, he changed his flight to make all of my coffee dreams come true.

The next afternoon we spent an hour at coffee, then the whole rest of the weekend together. I showed him around all of my favorite spots in my tiny Northern California town.

At the end of Sunday night, before he left on Monday morning, we shared our last supper in his hotel room (In-N-Out, of course). He told me, “I don’t know how, but I’m going to do whatever it takes to make this work.”

He really meant it.

He came back to visit a month later and asked me to be his girlfriend, only after enduring a few vetting meetings. We officially started dating on February 13 (can I get an amen for a non-Valentine anniversary?)

We then dated from opposite ends of the country for the next 4 months. We tried to see each other every 3-4 weeks, locations including: New York City, Nashville, the Redwoods, Denver, the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Los Angeles, and many rest stops in between.

At the end of May, Corey quit his job, packed up his truck + trailer with all of belongings, and drove across the country to move to Redding. We now work only hundreds of feet away from each other and live a two-minute drive, door to door.

Katie's Proposal in Mt. Tamalpais

Katie and Corey's Engagement in Mt. Tamalpais

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Mt. Tamalpais

Where to Propose in Mt. Tamalpais

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Mt. Tamalpais

how they asked

I had planned a girl’s day in San Francisco with one of my best friends, Clare Murwill. We had been planning on the date for a while, but to be honest, I was super tired that week and did not want to go. It’s about a three and half-hour trek to the city, and all I wanted to do that day was lay in bed and answer emails / catch up on Scandal.

Corey, encouraged me to be a good friend and not bail. So, I went.

Clare and I went to lunch, drank mimosas, had coffee, did a little shopping, you know – all of the San Francisco things.

Around 4pm, I was ready to get something small to eat, then head back to Redding. I insisted that we drive to the other side of the city (the complete opposite direction of where we needed to be) to go to one of my favorite places, and close to the interstate so we could leave soon after.

We arrived at what I thought was our final destination, and Clare turns to me and says, “I need you to give me the keys and trade seats with me.”

My heart was pounding. My hands were shaking. I knew what was coming.

Clare tells me that we have about 50 minutes until we get to wherever she is taking me and that my only job was to pick the soundtrack. I put on some of my favorite worship music and just started becoming present and mindful of the moment that I was in -the biggest moment of my life up until now.

We drove to Mt. Tamalpais, which is just north of the city. As my little Honda Civic climbed up and up the mountain, I watched the sun weave through the trees and tried to take as many mental photos so I wouldn’t forget anything about that day.

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Mt. Tamalpais

After what felt like an eternity, the car pulled to stop. Clare escorted me down a hill – heart pounding, hands shaking, eyes searching for a sign of him. Then finally, Corey comes over a grassy knoll, silhouetted from the hazy sunlight behind him. Full on Pride and Prejudice vibes.

He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes.

Then I saw him motioning behind me – and my mom, dad, sister, and tiny niece come walking down. I dropped to the ground, like the true dramatic that I am. They flew all the way from Nashville just to be there. I couldn’t believe it.

Corey had dinner reservations for us, my family, Clare and her boyfriend Peter, who are very close friends of ours. Then he reserved an AirBNB for us all that night, so we didn’t have to drive back to Redding.

The next morning we got breakfast, drank mimosas, had coffee, did a little shopping, you know – San Francisco things. Then headed back to Redding.

In all ways, it was magical. From the lighting, to the scenery, to the man on one knee. It was more than I could have ever dreamt up. Whenever I had a relationship end in the past, I would always reassure myself my writing in my journal, “One day, this will work out for me.” I’m so glad that day is here. I’m so glad that person is Corey. It finally worked out for me.

Also, side note – a week before, Corey was on a work trip in Virginia, and told me that he was at a church service in DC that morning before coming home. But that little sneak! He flew to Nashville to ask my dad. I had no clue, and neither did my dad. He not only got to surprise me, but surprised my family. In every way, he’s the best.

Special Thanks

Lucas Sankey
 | Photographer