Emily and Jeff

Emily and Jeff's Engagement in University of Alabama Arboretum

How We Met

Summer camp. Praise the Lord for summer camps! I mean, I am thankful for the opportunity to have been a camp counselor for SO many reasons… amazing friends, a great suntan, a deeper relationship with Jesus, a life-guarding certificate, and A HUSBAND. Of course, this last part was never part of my plan; it seems that these types of things usually don’t follow “our” plans. But, oh, am I thankful for life not always following my plan. I worked as a lifeguard on a small man-made lake while Jeff worked the zip-line that allowed littles to fly over said lake. He and I interacted some at camp but not much. He made jokes, I giggled from afar, we would talk some in passing, but we did not really think of ourselves as a potential couple.

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He was from Pennsylvania and I was at school in Alabama. We didn’t see a relationship budding. I did not even know that Jeffrey was interested in me at all until the week after camp had ended! Then I got a phone call. A phone call from an unknown number at 8:30 in the morning. This phone call forever changed my life. This man has forever changed my life. I am so blessed to have met this tall, goofy guy in the hot Texas sun. I don’t deserve his faithful, thoughtful, patient love; but, man, am I lucky to have it.

How He Asked

I’m late to everything. I might possibly be late to our wedding, so I’m counting on someone to hold me accountable to the clock. That is exactly what my friend Rachel was in charge of on March 5th. Poor gal… Rach and I had planned on having a girls’ day all day long and then getting all dolled up for dinner. She suggested that we swing by the Arboretum (my most FAVORITE place in Tuscaloosa) to take some cute photos around sunset time. I agreed, obviously, because I love the Arboretum, Rachel, and photography. The only problem was that getting dolled up takes time, and I’m late to everything. All day I had a terrible headache, and I just wanted to take a little nappie. Rachel, however, would simply not allow it. “Oh I have some medicine!” and “Do you need some more pills?” were phrases that I heard multiple times throughout the afternoon. “No, Rachel! I just need a nap,” I thought. But no, we just kept on getting ready for our photo session and dinner plans. I love Rachel, but she sure was bossing me around! (hehe later I would understand why!) When we finally got to the Arboretum (not too late, might I add) she was booking it out of the car and through the trails.

She led the way through the winding trees and we ended up at the tree platform. My favorite spot. Where I feel most at peace. I saw little mason jars filled with lights lining the walkway, and I immediately turned and slapped Rachel on the arm. I knew then why she had been rushing me! My heart. Oh my. I walked alone now towards the platform. That is when I noticed the photographer, the perfect cafe lights strung meticulously and beautifully, and my Jeffrey. He wasn’t even supposed to be in town until the next day!

I walked as quickly as possible to him. What he said then was kind and genuine and loving and mine. I listened intently to every single sound. Wow I do love him. As soon as he knelt down on one knee and held out the ring, I said, with as much enthusiasm that is within me, “YES YES YES!!” I love this adventure.

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Special Thanks

Ashley Irvin
Photographer
Madalynn Young
Photographer