Rachel and Jesse
How We Met
Jesse and I first connected on Bumble (yes, those apps actually work!). Once we matched, I messaged him and told him I was going out to celebrate a friend’s birthday that night. So, he decided to meet me out in Uptown Dallas. We were both fresh out of college and in search of a church, so after a few hours of talking, he asked me to go on a church hunt with him the next morning. That night, he went home and wrote in his journal that I had the prettiest green eyes he had ever seen (over the last year this has been a point of contention because my eyes are most certainly blue). On Sunday, he picked me up and we went to a church in downtown Dallas called Antioch. Little did we know, this church would go on to be our home church and where he would propose!
how they asked
Jesse’s Version: Rachel and I had talked about marriage prior to December, but the message to date had been that I was not ready and needed more time. However, in the 3 days I spent apart from Rachel over the Christmas holiday (including Christmas day), it become apparently clear that I never wanted to spend a holiday, much less 3 days, apart from her ever again. On my sketchy bus ride to Austin, Texas to visit Rachel and her family on the back end of the Christmas holiday, I decided this was my chance – I needed to ask her dad for permission. The opportunity presented itself, and I sat with her dad under his cabana expressing my desire to marry his only daughter. We talked about my intentions; he gave me some advice and, most importantly, his blessing. My first two weeks back in Dallas, I was so consumed with the ring hunt, which can be daunting, that I did not give much thought to the proposal plan and execution. After much research, one ring purchased and returned, and some haggling, I arrived at what I hoped was the perfect ring to show my love for Rachel.
With that out of the way, I shifted to engagement planning. I wanted something simple, yet meaningful with an element of surprise and our families to share it with. One version of the story of how we met (the story we tell our grandparents) revolves around us meeting at our now church home, Antioch, in downtown Dallas. Though not entirely true about where we met (cough.. cough.. Bumble), Antioch is where our relationship was incubated for our first 5 months of knowing each other. The church is a beautiful, red brick building in the heart of West End and holds a special place in Rachel and I’s hearts. I met the pastor for lunch and asked him if we could use the sanctuary, which he willingly offered up. I came to find out he is not a fan of having 20+ lit candles on the floor of his 100 year old church where we will be walking (go figure), but with some coaxing he consented with an extra warning of caution to the youth pastor who was helping me plan/execute everything.
I wanted to surprise Rachel, but, being a day before our one-year anniversary, I figured she would be on high alert. Any covert plans to trick her into showing up at the church she would have sniffed out. Therefore, although previously agreeing not to exchange gifts, I gave her a blindfold and instructed her to put it on as we entered the car. After weaving through downtown Dallas, stalling until I got the message the photographer was ready, I finally pulled up to the church. As you can see in the video, the photographer mic’ed me up before I went to open Rachel’s car door. Rachel is the world’s slowest walker when blindfolded, and I guess I could have gave the girl a handrail as we walked up the stairs (sorry), but, after what seemed an eternity, we arrived in the sanctuary. I removed her blindfold, and any doubts in her mind about what was happening dissolved. I led her to the front where I blubbered through a speech that culminated in my asking her to marry me. SHE SAID “YES!” We had a special moment praying together at the foot of the cross before we had our first engaged dance together. As we walked out the sanctuary doors, we were met by both of our families waiting in the lobby. We went on to eat a meal together symbolizing the fusing of the Harvills and Hodges. The day was perfect and made possible by amazing support from our spiritual and biological families. I love you Rachel and can’t wait to spend forever loving and serving you!
Rachel’s Version Jesse and I had had discussed the idea of marriage in early December, but it ended in him telling me that he needed more time. Little did I know, he asked my dad for his permission a few weeks later and it was a plan in the works for almost a month! Two weeks before our one year anniversary, Jesse told me he wanted to take me to dinner to celebrate. I was secretly hoping that he would pop the question, but I had very low expectations since he had previously told me he was not ready. On the morning of the day of the proposal, we went to church together as always. After church, we went our separate ways and I was told that he would pick me up at 5:45 that evening. When Jesse arrived, he asked if I wanted to sit down. Then, he started asking weirdly vague questions like, “how are you feeling?” and “what’s up with you?” I thought this to be a little strange, but I assumed maybe he wasn’t feeling well. (The photographer told Jesse that he needed more time and he needed to stall!) After about 15 minutes of him blabbering on, we walked out to his car where he handed me a gift.
I opened it and inside was a blind fold that I was instructed to put on. I thought I could be sneaky and attempt to navigate where we were going but it was a lot harder than I thought! Eventually, the car stopped and Jesse came around to my side of the car to help me inside. Once we got into the building, I guessed that we were at our church due to the familiar scent and the sound of my shoes on the hollow wood staircase. I was a little scared of falling since I am a tad clumsy, so I MAY have walked a tad slow as Jesse mentioned in his side of the story. When Jesse took off my blindfold, I was in complete shock and the tears started flowing. Jesse lead me to the front of our church where he gave me a speech (most of what I blacked out for) and then he asked me to marry him. Oh, and I said YES! It was so much more than anything I could have ever prayed or hoped for. Jesse and I knelt at the foot of the cross in our church and prayed for our marriage. Then, we walked into the lobby where both of our families had come to surprise me. Jesse is far beyond what I have prayed and wished for in my future husband. He continually puts God first and loves me in a way that is so humbling. I love you Jesse and cannot wait for forever!