A Hiking Weekend Turned Into A Surprise Sunset Marriage Proposal

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How We Met: God has perfect timing. Never too early. Never too late. It takes a little patience and a lot of faith. But it’s worth the wait. Our story starts three years ago. September 11, 2011.

I was a reporter for WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, and Matt was a firefighter for Station 11. I was what they call a “one-man-band” which means I shot, wrote and edited my own stories. On Sept 11, I was shooting a story at the Duke Energy building in remembrance of the first responders killed in the terrorist attacks 10 years earlier. Firefighters, EMS, Police and others climb the stairs of the Duke building twice, to symbolize the height of both Trade Center towers. Firefighters make the climb in full turnout gear. My goal — to get amazing sound to make a good story for the 11 o’clock news. To do that, I needed not only compelling interviews but what we call in the news business, “nat sound.” So I set out to find a firefighter putting on his gear before the climb.

Out of the hundreds of people there that day, I caught Matt putting on his gear and asked if I could get a couple of shots for my story. He obliged. I got my shots and started walking away. He called out after me “Hey, aren’t you Kay?” (my TV name) and I turned around to say that indeed I was. Usually I get “Hey, aren’t you that news lady?” so I was a little taken aback by the fact he actually knew my name. It turns out Matt and I had met earlier that year when I was at the fire headquarters interviewing the Fire Chief on a story about smoke detectors. Matt was on light duty because he hurt his ankle in a nasty fall answering a fire call. I remember briefly chatting with him while I waited on the chief but have no idea what we talked about other than exchanging pleasantries.

After our meeting in September, I emailed the Public Information Officer for CFD to ask what Matt’s name was so I could tell him thank you for helping me out on my story. I gave the PIO a description of Matt and told him he had 11 on his helmet. The PIO wrote back — That’s Matt Yost. He works at Station 11 ;) (note the winky face). I found Matt on Facebook and wrote “Hey it’s Kristen from WBTV. I just go by Kay on air. Hope you had fun at the climb yesterday and it didn’t hurt your leg too much!”

Fast forward THREE years later. September 26, 2014. I see the little red marker that alerts you to a message on Facebook, click to open it and find a message from Matt. “Hi Kristen! Sorry for missing this message. I had no idea I had an “other” folder. Anyway, thanks for reaching out. Hope you’re doing well.”

Was I surprised? To say the least. After a few more exchanges on Facebook, Matt asked me to dinner on October 14, 2014. That night Matt would tell me he had been engaged before and I would say I had been as well. Turns out, we both got engaged in the same month and were set to marry in April 2014. But God had other plans.
Over the next couple of months our relationship would be tested to the max. But in that time, we both fell deeper into our relationship with God and ultimately each other. By April we were talking about marriage.

how they asked: Pretty…pretty…good. More like great. Wonderful. Amazing. Matt planned the proposal to a tee. Not surprising being the planner he is :) I knew we were going hiking (one of my favorite things to do!) in Linville for the weekend, but that is all I knew. And side note: Before you say I had to know he was going to propose, Matt actually told me not to be disappointed by the weekend and his mom told me the ring wasn’t even back yet. Sooo there’s that.

I didn’t even know where we were staying. Matt kept teasing me about camping but I didn’t see him pack a tent in the car so I was praying we wouldn’t be roughing it on the side of a mountain for three days! When we arrived on Grandmother Mountain (that’s right — Grandmother — did you know such mountain existed? She doesn’t get the credit she deserves!), we pulled up to a GOREGOUS home. The view was incredible!

On Sunday we went on several hikes — Table Rock and Flat Rock — all around the Linville Gorge area. At one point I turned around to see Matt down on one knee giving me this “look,” acting like he was tying his shoe and I knew he was teasing. SO mean right??! Just for anyone reading this who may propose — No, a guy CANNOT bend down to tie his shoe on top of a mountain! The whole hike I was trying to see if he was hiding anything in his pocket. He kept patting the sides of his pockets like he didn’t want to lose something. A ring perhaps?? No. Remembering what Matt said about not being disappointed, I tried hard not to be but I really kind of was.

Matt said we had dinner reservations at 8 p.m. Sunday so we got back from the hike and got ready to go. Then he tells me he misread the reservations and they were actually a little later so he suggested we sit on the porch and watch the sunset. At one point, right before the sun was setting, he grabbed my hand and led me off the porch onto some massive rocks that line the back of the house.

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I thought it was to get a better view of the sunset. (I swear I’m not usually so naïve). And that’s when he gets down on one knee.

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We both start to tear up, I had to hold back “the ugly cry,” and then he begins to read me the most beautiful letter. I’ll keep the details private but at the end he asked me to be his Co-Captain for life. Of course I said YES :)

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Matt hired a photographer to capture the moment. After taking photos, we went to a fabulous dinner at the Artisanal Restaurant in Banner Elk. Complete with our own driver to and from the venue. (Matt thought of everything!)
To say it was the best day of our lives so far would be an understatement. I get to marry this incredible, thoughtful, man-of-God and I couldn’t be more excited about that fact!

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Photos by Tracy Brewer Photography