Karly and Parker

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How We Met

Parker and I both grew up outside of Atlanta, GA. He and I actually grew up a few miles from one another and have many mutual friends from our childhood and high school years. Despite all of our connections our paths never crossed. He played football at Florida State and I played Softball at Georgia Tech.  He graduated the summer before me and was already working back home.

The weekend before we met, I had just walked across the stage at graduation, and was moving out of my apartment downtown. I also just signed a contract to work for a private Christian school in the fall and my mom wanted me to come to dinner with her and her lifelong family friend Kim. They wanted to go out to eat, celebrate my graduation, my new job and catch up on life. Shortly after agreeing to join them for dinner my mom asked me if I would be interested in meeting a young guy that Kim called one of her “adopted sons”.  Kim’s oldest son is my age and Parker is one of his best friends. The next thing I knew they started sending me pictures of Parker, telling me all sorts of information about him. Where he went to school, what he did for a living, and every detail that they could think of. Little did I know they were doing the same exact thing to Parker. The moms both asked if we could exchange numbers and if we would like to meet for dinner or coffee. I reluctantly agreed and wondered why my mom and Kim were trying so hard to make this happen.

That night he texted me and said he would love to join us at dinner that next week. He also apologized for everything that they were saying about him and that he had nothing to do with it.  We texted well into the night sharing stories, learning more about each other and correcting some of the mom’s comments about us from earlier.  We spoke on an off throughout the weekend and I found myself getting more and more excited to meet him at dinner later that week. Slowly, the day came. I had spent all day moving and trying to get my stuff back home, but made sure that I left enough time to get ready and look cute in the off chance that Kim and my mom actually picked a keeper.  Afterwards Parker told me that he left coaching football practice early to run home and get ready so that he would be looking as good as possible for when we met.

We were going to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, Parker is especially happy about that because his parents met on a blind date at a Mexican restaurant and have been happily married for 27 years. Our whole group was waiting outside for a table when he came walking up. I couldn’t believe how tall and handsome he was. He immediately walked up and said hey to everyone. I was so nervous because I didn’t know if I should shake his hand or hug him because we had spent the entire weekend before talking with each other. The next thing I know he was hugging everyone like we were all best friends saying how happy he was to see us.

The whole dinner was a blur; I spent most of the night listening to everyone talk. Parker would chime in with a story or would ask my mom a question. He would lean over and ask me questions throughout the meal. I was so nervous and so excited to finally meet him. I couldn’t believe how adorable he was and how confident he seemed. He assures me that he was so nervous to meet me and was afraid he was going to make a fool of himself. We all sat there for so long we were asked to leave the restaurant because they had already cleaned the whole place and were ready to go home. So we decided to keep the conversation going outside. Parker and I talked about school. About our plans for the summer and even laughed about how weird it was that my mom and Kim set us up on a blind date. As we were about to leave Parker asked me if we could go to dinner later that weekend and that he would love to see me again. I was so happy and relieved that he wanted to go out again because that was all I could think about the whole night.

After that, we hung out and dated all summer long and spoke every single day. We went to the movies, bowling, golfing, and spent a lot of time with friends. Every time I was with him I just kept pinching myself because he was the sweetest most respectful guy that I have ever dated. He always made sure that I was taken care of, and would always treat me so well. It became very clear to me that this relationship was different and I knew very early on that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. To Parker, he says he knew he was in trouble “Night One.”

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How He Asked

Parker and I spoke a lot about our future, mostly just brainstorming ideas and fun thoughts about life together. He hinted early on that he would love to be engaged before another friend’s wedding this summer. I of course wanted to know when it would be happening and what plans he had and what he was thinking. His friends always joked that we were going to wait for 10 years before getting married. As a school teacher I was hopeful that he would ask me before summer break. But as we got closer to the end of school I couldn’t figure out what he was up to. Maybe it wasn’t coming. Maybe he was waiting.

Mother’s day weekend we had plans to go out to celebrate our friend Michael’s college graduation. He was headed back into town and wanted all of us to get dressed up for dinner and drinks around town. We had plans to go eat at Ponce City Market and then make our way to some of our favorite places around Atlanta. We all jumped in the car to head to dinner, yet Parker was extremely quiet. Throughout dinner everyone else was talking and he was just sitting there looking outside. I figured that he was tired.

We finished dinner and all discussed where we wanted to go to next. We all shared different ideas, but everyone knew the plan and agreed to head to Park Tavern right next to Piedmont Park a couple miles down the road. Parker was still oddly quiet. Normally he is laughing and always sharing stories, but he was just letting his friends carry on about graduation and life. Parker sat there not saying much, but kept looking outside. He then leaned over to ask me if I wanted to take pictures later. I was confused because normally he isn’t the one jumping at a photo opp. We finished our drinks and walked outside. He took my hand as we all walked around the park with the Atlanta skyline in the background. He kept saying that he wanted to find a good spot to take pictures, and everyone was fine with walking around so I didn’t think anything of it. When we found the right spot I didn’t think that anything was out of the ordinary. Parker took pictures with all the boys. We even took group pictures. When I asked for one of just us too I had a sense that something was up. I could feel how warm he was and could feel his heart racing. He made the comment that he didn’t like the way our pictures looked. He then backed up, reached in his jacket and got down on his knee. He let me know how much he loved me and how he couldn’t wait to spend life with me by his side and said “Will you marry me?”

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It was the most incredible moment; I couldn’t stand up straight and was overwhelmed with joy. People around the park were clapping and cheering and our friends came rushing in to give us hugs. Nothing could have prepared me for the moment that he got down on one knee. Now that it’s over, I wish that I could go back and stay there forever.

Parker wasn’t finished. We celebrated at the park, but then quickly got in the car to head off to the next surprise. He even took my phone so that we could share stories during the ride home together and so that I could hear all of the work and planning that went into it. As we pulled up to his house there stood my family, some of our dearest friends, and my best friends from school all ready to celebrate this moment with us.

It was the most wonderful night getting to share my excitement with them. I cannot believe how many people knew what was happening and yet I had no clue. I found out that Parker had been planning for months on how he wanted to ask me, he had asked my parents permission well over a month before and even asked my three sisters for their permission as well. My oldest sister is deaf and he learned ASL to communicate with her and even asked for her blessing in sign language.

This amazing man put so much thought and effort into the perfect engagement. He listened to everything I liked and didn’t like, he asked everyone around me what would make me the happiest, and he completely surprised me.

Now I get to spend forever with him.

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Special Thanks

Caroline Santorum, Michael Aleman, Hunter Boone, Lee Ayres | 
Planning
Kurt Stoffer | 
Pictures