Courtney and Tanner
How we met, Courtney’s side: We met on March 20, 2013 at CrossFit Wild West in Lubbock, Texas. We knew within that first month of knowing each other that we did not want to miss out on the opportunity to do life with one another. I knew I would be moving to Austin, TX for grad school by May 21st, but Tanner would assure me again and again that we would be okay and that he wasn’t worried. By August, Tanner made the move to Austin to not only be in the same city as me, but to earn his EMT certification and attend fire academy in the Austin area.
We have truly become each others’ best friend throughout our year and a half in Austin. Together, we moved to a city we knew little about, knowing less than a handful of people, and experienced a little culture shock (keep Austin Weird, right?)
Our life in Austin has been spent growing together and individually in the Lord, attending minor league baseball games for the Round Rock Express, and enjoying all that Austin has to offer– P. Terry’s, jogs around Town Lake, SXSW, and Texas football games!
As with (literally) anyone who meets Tanner, I quickly fell in love with him and my feelings have only gotten deeper. He has the most genuine, pure heart. He is kind to everyone he meets, puts his faith entirely in the Lord, and loves me unconditionally. From friends to my boss to my family, everyone who makes his acquaintance later tells me, “Tanner is SO SWEET.” If I meet friends for dinner or drinks without him, it is always “where’s Tanner?” or “Is Tanner coming, too?” I feel blessed to have a fiancé whose light is seen by everyone he meets; a fiancé who everyone tells me is a “total catch.” He reminds me of the important things in life and encourages me in my faith in God. I know he will fulfill his role as the leader of our home and as a loving husband.
How he asked: Tanner’s side: After exploring Austin and making memories with the woman of my dreams, it wasn’t long before I started to contemplate a proposal– I knew I wanted (and still want) to spend the rest of my life laughing, making memories, growing spiritually, and just plain, having fun with Courtney.
In late July, I started the search for an engagement ring. After multiple stores and multiple hidden-text-conversations with friends and family members, I was able to find a ring that would entice her to say yes ;)
Once I found the perfect ring, I began the next nerve-wracking task on my list…..I wanted the blessing of her parents. Unbeknownst to Courtney, I made arrangements with the mother of the soon-to-be-bride to meet for lunch on a Saturday afternoon in Fulshear, while I was “at work in Austin.” Once I received her parent’s blessing, the last sequence of stressful planning began to unfold…the proposal.
I knew I wanted the proposal to take place in Austin– hopefully somewhere iconic– in the city where we had enjoyed so many memories. I came up with the idea of incorporating the Austin city skyline, and with further preparation the full thought came into focus. Karla (Courtney’s mother) and I had been calculating on exactly who to follow through. I would have Courtney’s family make a surprise visit to Austin and we would meet them in Butler District Park before dinner. Little did Courtney know, I had not only coordinated with her family, but I had also made arrangements for my family, as well as two of Court’s best friends to camouflage themselves behind the hills of the park. On November 29, 2014, the full plan was set into motion. After a morning packed full of anxiety, I received the text from my sister, Ashleigh, that everyone was in place. Simultaneously, Karla was texting Courtney asking if we could go ahead and meet in the park.
Once we arrived at the park and started walking to the hill, as choreographed with my boss the night before, I could see the photographer taking “candid” pictures of a family in the park; however, she was pointing the lens just beyond the family so as to snap a few shots of us walking to the hill. We made it to the hill and I advised that we walk up the hill to get the vantage point to more easily find her family. Courtney, wearing heels, resisted at first and asked if we could walk on the level pathway; but then, like she has done time & time again, she put her trust in me and walked atop the hill. Nathan (her little brother) was waiting on the other side of the hill with a sign enlarged from a receipt I had saved from one of our first dates that read, “I adore you!” While she wondered what he was doing with this sign, I quickly dropped to a knee. With the Austin city skyline in the background and our family and friends watching from the bottom of the hill, I quickly said the words, “Courtney Elizabeth Stimach, I adore you. Will you marry me?” (at the speed of light). She said YES!
With the nerves taking over my body, my shaky hands were still able to place the ring on that long-awaited-ring finger. In the heat of the moment, I managed to lose the wedding band that was also in the box. Life threw me a little curveball. Not all was lost, as my mom was able to find the wedding band in the grass! (Thanks, momma!) Just like with finding the wedding band (with tons of help from friends, family, and God) the proposal went off without a hitch!
I am super blessed to get to marry this fantastic, hilarious, Godly woman. She is my absolute best friend and will be for as long as we live & after.
Photos by Ziem Photography