Sammy and Joel

How We Met

Sammy and I met in middle school at our church’s youth group. As you hear in the video, I remember that moment quite well. I was in 6th grade and she was in 7th grade, but I thought she had to be at least 18. She was that beautiful. Anyways, a couple weeks later I finally got the courage to talk to her and somehow we hit it off. Then a couple months later we de-hit it off. Typical middle school relationship (weren’t even “allowed” to be in it), we talked every second but after a couple months of hardly seeing each other (due to lack of driver’s licenses and such) things slowed down. A few YEARS went by (4 to be exact) without talking or seeing each other, but I always knew she was someone special.

Fast forward to 2011, she walked back into that same youth room and back into my life. I walked up to her, tapped her on the shoulder, and with a smile and a “long time no see,” everything seemed right again. Even though her mom had forced her to come that first night, there was just something that made her drive herself back every week :) We quickly rekindled and dated for the next 4 and a half years.

Our relationship has been quite the adventure. We’ve taken two trips to Uganda, Africa to work for a non-profit my family is a part of where we learned about service and teamwork. We’ve battled sickness (malaria, Dengue fever, kidney stones, and more), a year and a half of long distance, and perhaps hardest of all having to wait far too long before we could get married. Through it all there’s no one I’d have rather spent the last 4 and a half years with, and I’m so excited to spend the rest of my life with Sammy.

Image 1 of Sammy and Joel

how they asked

Image 2 of Sammy and Joel

November 24th began just like any other day. Okay, not really. I actually woke up at 5am to head to the beach for a sunrise video shoot with my boyfriend Joel and our good friend Seth. Seth had asked me two days earlier if Joel and I were available to be in a video he was making for his church. (I later found out that Joel had actually typed up that message, so sneaky!) Daytona Beach is a special place for Joel and I because we used to go to summer camp there with our church in high school and had a lot of meaningful conversations while watching the sunrise. When we got there in the back of my mind I thought to myself, this really would be the perfect place for him to propose, but he had me beyond convinced that this video was strictly for Seth’s church and nothing else. We had a great morning at the beach getting to run along the shore, wade into the water and sit in the sand watching the sunrise just like old times.

After Seth “got all the shots he needed” we headed to a coffee shop in downtown Orlando called Downtown Credo to shoot some more. Joel and I got to laugh with each other and talk about life all while Seth captured it on video.

Image 3 of Sammy and Joel

After Credo, the boys told me they had a “last minute video shoot” come up that they needed to get to. Of course I didn’t have any reason not to believe them, but later found out they were just trying to get rid of me to go set up what this whole day was about.

Image 4 of Sammy and Joel

Around 4pm Joel picked me up for the final part of our “shoot.” He took me to Little Big Econ State Park. When we got there, Joel led me to an open field where I saw an entire display set up. That was the first time I thought something different was going on. We looked at the special display Joel had built covered with pictures from years passed, special journals and flowers.

Image 5 of Sammy and Joel

Joel knows words are one of the ways I feel most loved so he read me a letter he’d written clearly communicating his love and commitment to me. The most incredible part is that after he read me this letter he washed my feet. This was so symbolic and special to both of us because of our faith in Jesus Christ.

Image 6 of Sammy and Joel

We then stood up for at least a minute, just taking in the moment. Everything was perfect. Then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! Through so many tears I managed to get out a “yes!”

Image 7 of Sammy and Joel

Image 8 of Sammy and Joel

The boy that I had loved since I was 17 promised to love me forever and I couldn’t have been more excited. As if things couldn’t have gotten any more special, after Joel slipped the ring on my finger Robbie, one of our best friends from middle school came out of the woods with his guitar to lead us in two songs of worship. We sang side by side, hand in hand, and it was the most extraordinary moment.

Image 9 of Sammy and Joel

Image 10 of Sammy and Joel

Joel knows me so well and that was clearly reflected in his proposal to me. He knew exactly how I would want to be asked, and he did just that, making it the most special day of my life.

Image 11 of Sammy and Joel

Image 12 of Sammy and Joel

Our Video

Special Thanks

Seth Dunlap
 | Videography
Albert Tong
 | Photography
Joel Kuhn
 | Proposer