Katrina and Eric

Image 1 of Katrina and Eric

How we met

Eric and I were just little munchkins, freshmen in high school to be exact. I was an avid churchgoer, any time anyone new came into the Wednesday night youth group I would make a point to introduce myself and try to make them feel welcome. Well, one Wednesday night I got lucky. Two tall, attractive guys walked in together and I almost jumped out of my skin I was so excited. I rushed over and introduced myself. One was a handsome, shy, sweet, Hispanic-looking boy with thick curly black hair. His name was Eric, and one of my favorite features about him was that he was standing at 6’2” as a 15 year old! The other was his cousin. He was cute too, I guess. Obviously Eric and I clicked immediately and became fast friends.

All throughout our next few years in high school, we remained each other’s confidant and go-to person during any time of trouble or turmoil. We would hold each other’s hand through the deaths of family members, surgeries that were done to the ones we loved, divorces in the family, and even break ups with other people. One night, Eric pulled out his ukulele and decided he was going to teach me how to play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Just a disclaimer, I am the one person on the face of the planet who should never be allowed to touch an instrument because I would easily destroy it with how terrible I would be.

Did I ever learn the song? Ehh… Do I still remember it? Definitely not. Was he an exceptionally hot teacher – OH YEAH! As I was watching his skillful fingers pluck away at the strings, playing one of the sweetest songs I had ever heard, something changed inside of me. I no longer saw him as “just a friend” but I wanted so much more. (Side note, apparently Eric was vying for me for almost our entire friendship.) This was the moment I realized I wanted to date this enduring guy. And the rest is history…

Image 2 of Katrina and Eric

how they asked

I just graduated from college this spring – which means Eric and I have been together for close to 4 and a half years. I always hoped he would propose some time around graduation, so clearly I was starting to get a little anxious. Little did I know, Eric had asked for my father’s approval all the way back in December. As of right now, Eric still has one semester of college before he gets to graduate. So, taking two summer classes and working two part-time jobs completely eats up all of his time. I, on the other hand, now have a full time, 8 am to 4:30 pm job, so I am free every weekend. Eric randomly called me up and said he “surprisingly” had the entire weekend of July 4th off and that we must go on a hiking trip. Hiking has always been one of our favorite past times, but being in Dallas, Texas we don’t have too many options around. I was thrilled at the idea!

He decided we should go up to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where my parents have a quaint Victorian vacation home. My brother, who happens to be a seasoned photographer and has recently been breaking into the wedding photography business was invited; Along with Eric’s cousin, who is quite handy with the iPhone video mechanisms. We spent 5 hours in the car Friday night, July 1st, to get there. Then, Saturday , July 2nd, we hit the trails. And let me tell you, it was HOT outside. All of the boys were sweating up a storm. By the time we finished one long hike, at around lunch time we headed back to the house to rest. However, Eric was still incredibly determined to go to Petit Jean State Park and Ceder Falls Lookout. I had never been there before, but Eric raved about how it was the most beautiful spot in AK.

So, once 5 o’clock rolled we decided to head out for another hike. Before we headed out the door, my brother stopped me and told me to go change. He said my Nike workout clothes wouldn’t be cute enough because he wanted me to model for some pictures for him. Photo shoots are a normal occurrence when my brother is around, so I didn’t think too much into it. Now that I look back it is pretty obvious what he was doing. We all loaded into the car, once I changed of course, and road an hour up to Petit Jean. We stopped at one lookout point, but Eric was pacing around saying it just wasn’t very pretty. At the time, I thought he was just being dramatic, I didn’t even realize what was going on! So, we got back into the car and rode up to a trail that lead us to the waterfall. My brother, who is an avid adventurer, led the way on a secret path to the top of the waterfall.

It was incredibly gorgeous! The foliage, and the water sounds rushing by with the sun setting in the distance were breathtaking. I stood on the very edge of the waterfall by myself. Then Eric came up behind me and said my name, when I turned around to see what he needed he was already down on one knee!

Image 3 of Katrina and Eric

Image 4 of Katrina and Eric

I was shell shocked! I was so nervous when I finally realized what was happening! I looked at his sweet face, his eyes were filled with so much love and admiration, I started shaking with joy! At that moment I just squeezed my hands so close to my heart to try to make them stop shaking. He very quietly said to me, so no one else could hear, “Katrina, I know that we have both been waiting for this moment. But I know that you are perfect for me and I have been wanting to ask you this for such a long time… Will you marry me?” AAHHHHH!!

Image 5 of Katrina and Eric

Image 6 of Katrina and Eric

I so wish I had come up with some clever answer, but I was just to overwhelmed I simply whispered ‘Yes”. It was like an out of body experience. Eric stood up, I removed my purity ring from my ring finger and Eric replaced it with the vintage engagement ring. At that moment all of these random people at the bottom of the waterfall started cheering because they watched the entire thing! It was so magical!

Our Video

Special Thanks

Preston Smalley
 | videographer
Clayton Watson
 | photographer