Emma and Jake

How We Met

Jake and I met in college while we were both interns at our church. We really met for the first time during the fall of my junior year at a mutual friend’s house. I remember meeting him and seeing him dance that night (he’s a really good dancer and a few of our friends egged him on to do one of his dances) and I thought he was so cute, but I really didn’t see him much after that and I forgot about the whole thing. It wasn’t until April later that year when we really got to know each other.

I worked at the church coffee shop and he, unnoticed by me, began coming up to the coffee shop to order coffee just to talk to me and get to know me more because he had noticed me this time! He says he probably bought $50 in coffee just to talk to me! That was really the first time that we go to know each other, from those conversations and through seeing each other at church. He asked me on our first date after I worked at the coffee shop one day – he and I were cleaning up the church and all of a sudden found ourselves alone. He pulled me to the side and asked me out on a date, I, of course, said yes!

How He Asked

So Jake had told me that we were going to go on a double date with some good friends of ours on Saturday night. Our friend texted us all and said he thought we could all go to this restaurant in downtown Birmingham, but it’s a little bit nicer so that we would need to dress up. Jake proposed since I live in Tuscaloosa and he lives in Birmingham, that we should make a whole day of it and hang out during the day. He told me that he planned and got reservations for us to eat brunch somewhere that morning! I was, of course, excited and asked where; which he told me he wanted to keep it a surprise (really he kept it a secret because he didn’t have a place in mind, it was just a reason to get me to Birmingham earlier in the day).

Emma and Jake's Engagement in Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, AL

So I got to his house in Birmingham around 11 AM and I asked if I could know now where we were going to brunch. He said we were going to eat brunch in the gardens at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens; that they do this once a month and that he got us a special reservation to eat in the gardens! Being the brunch and picture lover that I am, I was so excited! So we got to the gardens, and I really had to go to the bathroom. He took me straight there. I should’ve known it was suspicious that he knew where the bathrooms were as he said he had never been to the gardens before! But he took my hand as I walked out of the bathroom and led me to the door to the gardens. We were walking up to the gardens and he said that the brunch was just ahead in the rose garden. But as we were walking up, I didn’t see any food, tables or chairs. So I said, “Jake, I think we are in the wrong place, I don’t see any food!” He didn’t respond.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, AL

At this point he was leading me up the stairs into the rose garden and he just looked at me and said “You know I love you, right?” My voice went weak as I realized something very serious was happening. All I could get out was a weak “yea..”. He began to walk me towards the awning in the middle of the garden where he had set up a table. He was telling me that he loved me, he knew he wanted to spend his life with me, and many other sweet things. The table was set up with a bible, the ring, and a single sunflower, just like the sunflower he gave me on our first date. On the bible he put “Emma Parks”, my new name. He read to me Ephesians 3:20, the guiding verse for our relationship, and our lives. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

After he read that, I began to hug him and kiss him.

To which he said, “Emma, you have to let me get down on one knee now”. So I calmed down for a second, set down my purse and turned around. He then asked me to marry him, to which I said: “of course!”

Proposal Ideas Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, AL

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, AL

Just then, a few of my friends came our from the sides of the garden where they had been hiding! We hugged and celebrated and smiled in disbelief. My friend and AMAZING photographer, Blaire Blackmon, had been taking pictures during the whole thing. So afterward, we explored around the garden and took some pictures! I will always cherish those pictures and that day!

Special Thanks

Blaire Blackmon
Photographer