Reagan and Trace

How We Met

Trace and I met on December 3, 2015 in the lobby of the freshman dorm at East Texas Baptist University. I looked a mess with my hair in a bun, no makeup and my PJs on. I was working on a paper for my English class with a few people. Trace was just a cute guy I had seen here and there around campus. He had just walked into the lobby after an intramural game and one of the guys I was with called him upstairs. He walked up and sat right in front of me. I paid him no attention while I continued to work on my paper. The guys began talking about how the game went and who won. After a few minutes he left and I thought he wouldn’t come back so I went back to writing my paper. To my surprise he came right back upstairs. We started making small talk and making jokes to each other. We stayed upstairs till 2 in the morning that night and we just hung out, talked, and I showed him embarrassing photos of me. I thought maybe he would ask me for my number or something but when we said goodbye, nothing! I was conflicted on what to do. What does any girl do in this situation, they call their mom. I explained what happened and how I thought we clicked. We had a mutual friend and I decided to reach out to her. I sent her a text that just read “I think one of your friends is cute”. She immediately texted back “Trace?”. I was shocked that she knew who I was talking about.

She gave him my number and told me over and over again that he just wants to be friends. I said that’s all I want too and left it at that. A day went by and NOTHING. All of the sudden he texted me while I was cheering at a basketball game. He asked me to meet him downtown because some people were going two-stepping! Long story short he didn’t dance with me until the last song and I poked him in the eye. I was so embarrassed and knew he wouldn’t talk to me again. He actually texted me again asking if I wanted to go out to the lake with some friends. I said of course, and I met him in the lobby. Once I got down there I asked him where everyone was at. He said they were already there and it was just us two going together (talk about major freak out!). We just hung out with our friends until midnight and decided to head back. Once we were parked I started to grab my things, but he just sat there staring at me. I realized maybe he wanted to talk some more. Before we knew it, it was 7 in the morning and we had just talked all night long with not one silent moment. To this day we both know that night was the turning point in our relationship. A few days went by and he finally asks me to go on a date to Cheddars and to Santa Land (this Christmas light trail).

I was so nervous and very anxious on the day of our date. I tried on like 10 different outfits and redid my makeup twice. All I can say is that it was one of the WORST first dates of my life. At the restaurant I ordered the biggest plate of fried chicken strips and I was so embarrassed. Next, we were in the middle of the Santa Land and me just trying to be cute said “look at that fish jumping in the water” (which I knew was not real) with the most serious face all he could say was “it’s not real”. Look I wasn’t looking for anything special but like come on!!! Then we go star gazing and I just knew he was going to kiss me. When he finally makes a move, we have our first KISS! But it was the worst:( Once the date ends I was so upset and thought maybe it was too good to be true. We met up the next day and it wasn’t awkward at all. We laughed and joked around the entire time. I could tell he wanted to kiss me again, but I just knew it was going to be bad. I gave him one more chance and… it was GREAT!! I was shocked. We realized that we had put too much pressure on our first date and were trying to force something we already knew we had. A few weeks passed and on January 6, 2016 in the small town of Pittsburg, TX Trace asked me to be his girlfriend:)

How They Asked

About 2 years had now gone by and it was getting close to our finals week. I mentioned to Trace that it would be cool to go on a date before finals. He looked on his calendar and saw that December 3 (which is the day we met in the lobby) was on a Sunday. He suggested that we go to a winery called Los Pino’s in his hometown on that date. Little did I know he, my mom and his mom had this planned for months. My mom then took me to pick out an outfit for our date. Since it was at a winery, I didn’t really have anything that fancy, so I thought nothing about it. I had been wanting to get my nails done so my sister asked me to go two days before the big date. Everything was planned, my nails were done, the outfit was picked out, and the restaurant was chosen. The night before I wanted to change everything. I wanted to go to a different restaurant (Outback to be exact because it is my favorite). Trace got so angry with me for trying to change the plans. I had no idea he was going to propose, or I would have never tried to do that. Anyways, with my family’s help they convince me that we needed a romantic night.

Proposal Ideas Los Pino's

The day came, and I began to get ready just as I had for every other date we had gone on. Little did I know these were the last few moments of my life I was going to be considered a girlfriend. We pull into the restaurant and began to walk in. A photographer walked up to us and said, “Los Pino’s needs to update their website, would y’all like to take some photos?” (I still am clueless at this point). We go out by this gazebo and started taking some posed photos. She then told us to turn around and look into the distance.

Reagan and Trace's Engagement in Los Pino's

Next, she pulled Trace out and said to me “say turned around I just want a few photos of you”. So, I stood there thinking “this is cool we are going to be on a website”. Then she told me I could turn around and there he was… on one knee and he said to me “Reagan Mackenzie Neel will you marry me?”. I was in shock. All I could say at that point was “YES” and I ran to him. I had almost forgot he had a ring for me. While he was putting it on I could not stop shaking. The ring was GORGEOUS!! I looked in the distance and mine and his whole family were in the background. They witnessed the whole thing and that made my heart explode. That was the best moment of my life.

He is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I treasure our story because the journey to get here was full of long talks, many laughs, and never-ending love. I love this man with everything I have, and I cannot wait to marry him!!#becomingaburns

Special Thanks

Amy B photography
 | Photographer