Polaroids and Clothespins; a Creative Proposal in Oxford

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HOW WE MET

Yates’ perspective:
If you ask Kara or me how we met, you would get two very different responses. Kara would like people to think that we met through a “mutual friend.” But if asked who that friend would be, you will get a girl lost for words. Not being one to easily get embarrassed, I will proudly tell you that we met on ChristianMingle.com. I guess you could say we met through a mutual friend in Christ. Although we only had a simple interest in a website, God had our soul mate logging on at the same moment many miles away. The rest is history.

THE PROPOSAL

Yates’ perspective:
I wasn’t nervous when I asked her father’s permission and blessing to marry his daughter. I wasn’t nervous going to pick up the ring. I wasn’t nervous one bit until two days before my proposal when my perfect plan was engulfed by the perfect storm. I had been planning this moment for months.

Day after day, I cleaned and prepped the proposal site at Lassiter Mill Waterfall. I removed dead trees, clipped low hanging branches, and even raked the pebbles clean of trash. Little did I know, God had a different plan in mind.

Two days before my proposal, Tropical Storm Andrea dumped nearly half a foot of rain across North Carolina. My perfectly manicured proposal site went from majestic falls to roaring rapids. The site was left 20 feet under water.

I quickly headed to my family farm in Oxford, NC and…

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Kara’s perspective:
I was heading to what I thought was Yates’ grandparents’ anniversary party. After having not seen Yates in over a week, I was looking forward to spending the afternoon together. The three-hour drive would be worth the reward.

Yates called several times to monitor my progress and to inform me that, due to a sudden illness in the family, the anniversary party had been cancelled. He assured me that the white sundress I had donned for the party would be just fine as we hung out, instead, at the nearby family farm.

When I finally arrived, Yates eagerly greeted me at the front gate, arms open wide. While I had expected his whole family to be sitting on the back deck, there wasn’t a car or a person in sight. Little did I know…

Yates’ perspective:
I had strung black and white Polaroid photos with clothespins from tree to tree in a shady area on the farm. Photos from the first day we met to the last time we were together. I set up an antique wooden table passed down from my family in the center of the patch of trees. I placed a leather Bible I had engraved with her first name and my last, on top of a white lace tablecloth on the table.

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As I guided Kara to the site, she noticed the lanterns and candles lit all around and kept asking, “What is this?” and “What is going on?” I just kept saying, “You’ll see!”

After sharing a few memories of our relationship and stressing the importance of Christ in our lives, I got down on one knee, and asked Kara Ellen Pickeral to marry me. She was so taken aback that she merely nodded enthusiastically, not even able to say the word, “Yes.”

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The first thing Kara could gather words to say was, “Does my mom know about this?” To that question, I innocently responded, “Your mom?” Then, shouting to our secret observers, “Everybody come out!” That is when my family and hers jumped out from behind barns, wood piles, and trees, to shout, “Congratulations!!!”

Kara’s perspective:
I was speechless. Smiling, I shook my head in disbelief. All the people I love were there to share this beautiful moment with us. In the days to follow, I slowly absorbed the events that had unfolded that afternoon and relished the gift God had given me in such a thoughtful and creative future husband. It is a moment I will never forget and a story I will someday share with my grandchildren.

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Yates’ perspective:
All the planning and effort was worth that little nod of the head when SHE SAID YES!

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Photos by Renee Sprink Photography