Emily and Bennett

How We Met: Last summer, I had just started a new job as the Children’s Minister at Fondren Church, and Bennett was home in Jackson on summer break from graduate school in Memphis. One morning, while I was greeting before church, I decided to say hello to a tall handsome man with red hair. We then greeted each other eagerly at church for a couple of weeks until fate brought us together again at a community event on a warm summer night in August. We talked and laughed and wandered the streets of Fondren getting to know one another. I hoped that it wouldn’t be the last time I saw him, and he made sure that it wasn’t.

At the end of August, Bennett returned to Memphis for his last year of graduate school. We both despised the idea of a long-distance relationship, but we knew we wanted to see each other again. It started with a constant flow of text messages that led to long phone calls which developed into daily FaceTimes and many drives up and down highway 55. It started off as a slow friendship, but once we decided to date, we both fell hard and fast.  We did the long distance thing as best as we could, but we couldn’t help but dream about the day when we would no longer have to say goodbye.

How He Asked: It was one of those dreaded Monday mornings.  I woke up late and was still adjusting to the world when I walked into my office and noticed a bakers bag with a white balloon tied to it sitting on my desk.  I quickly untied the balloon and found a notecard that read “Clue 1.”  I instantly knew that my life was about to change forever, and I began to scream “Y’all! I’m getting engaged today!”  The clue read,

“Dearest Emily, I love you

It is time for your first clue

The first moment I met you

I knew this love would be true.”

It took me a moment to figure out what it meant, but then I quickly raced down to the parking lot, to the place where we first met. My dear friend Katie was standing in the parking lot, holding another bag and a white balloon.  She informed me that she would be my chauffeur for the morning and handed me the second clue which led us to the restaurant where we had our first date.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I saw Bennett’s dad with another bag and ballon.  I hugged him and screamed “Is this really happening?”  After I deciphered the third clue, I raced to Pelahatchie Shore Park, where Bennett asked me to be his girlfriend.  Out by the shore, I found the last clue that led me to the restaurant where Bennett asked me to be his girlfriend.

I was having so much fun walking down memory lane, and my heart filled with so much joy each time I found a new spot with a new clue.  I could tell Bennett had put some serious thought and effort into this! He installed a GoPro in Katie’s car, and someone took a video of me as I opened each and every clue, so I would never forget how I felt during each phase of the proposal.  I was eating up every moment of it! However, I was sooooooo ready to see Bennett!

As I read the fifth and final clue, my heart raced faster than ever before and I could no longer contain my excitement!  I screamed out my last clue,

“Loving you is oh so fun;

Emily Hood, you are the one,

With you I want to spend my life,

Now come to the place where you’ll become my wife!”

The church!!  So back we raced.  I expected to see him standing outside, in front of the beautiful church steps, but he was not there.  Instead, I saw one last white balloon tied to the front door.  I flung the door open and found Bennett standing nervously on the stage of the church where we will soon be married.  With a racing heart and tears of joy, Bennett managed to get down on one knee and ask me to marry him. I quickly replied, no shrieked with “yes yes yes yes yes yes yes”.

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Turns out that Bennett had been planning the proposal for a couple of months, and even created a google doc of the clues and helper so he could secretly share it with all of my friends and co-workers so that everyone could join in with the fun.  By far my favorite Monday ever!

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