Luke and Gracie

How We Met

Luke and I met in our 8th grade English class. We sat next to each other and became best friends immediately. We had several classes together, but that English class is where we became the closest. Our moms both told us that we should date even back then. We remained best friends throughout high school and college. Aside from regular classes, I was a student athletic trainer and Luke played football in high school, so we spent a significant amount of time together. We went to separate colleges that were 30 minutes away from each other, and we continued to see each other frequently there as well. After we graduated college, Luke decided to pursue me, and we both knew even before we started dating that we were going to get married.

Where to Propose in Maryville, Tennessee

How He Asked

Luke graduated college early and enlisted in the Army soon after. This did not stop us from spending every minute that we could together once I had graduated college and moved back home. 4 months after we started dating Luke was deployed for 9 months. This was the longest and most stressful 9 months imaginable, but if we could make it through that then we could make it through anything. His return date came and passed, and he was still deployed. Then is soon looked like he would not be home for Christmas. Or so I thought. On December 15 his mom texted me and told me that she had made Christmas candy for my family and was wondering if I could stop by to get it. I did not really think anything odd about it. So I went to their house at 5:15 as requested, and when I got there his dad asked me to ride down to one of their ponds to feed some of their fish with him.

It was pretty cold, and I was not dressed for it, but I told him that I would go. When I got down there, his mom, both of my parents, his brother and our friends Ben and Abbey and their baby were down there at a bonfire. They told me that they wanted to have a surprise party for me since my birthday is on Christmas and that it looked like Luke wouldn’t be home for Christmas. I was kind of confused by it all, but I believed them, because as far as I knew, Luke was still overseas. A few minutes later he came out of the woods and surprised me with his homecoming. I was shocked because I didn’t even know he was in the country. He had actually been in Delaware for the last 3 days, and he rented a car and drove to Tennessee that day. Speechless and freezing I told him that I wanted to stand by the fire with him, but he told me that his mom had made me wassail, and he lead me over to get some. When we were walking over to the table he took me out onto the pond dock and proposed to me right then.

Luke and Gracie's Engagement in Maryville, Tennessee

I was already speechless, but this added to it even more. I yelled out “YES!” and accepted my dream ring that he picked out himself while he was deployed. I found out later that night that he had sent Ben, Abbey, and his brother to look at the ring while he Facetimed them at the jewelers. I get to spend forever with my best friend since I was 13, and I still can’t figure out how I got so lucky.

Special Thanks

Ben Abbott | 
Photographer
Geri Arthur (Gracie's mom) | 
Planning
Rita Eldridge (Luke's mom) | 
Planning