McKenzie and Nathan

How We Met

Nathan and I were set up on a blind date by mutual friends. We both went into the date excited, but without getting our hopes up, since blind dates typically don’t work out too well. My friend told me that Nathan would probably be sending me a text sometime over Christmas break, which was about 2 weeks away. I received a text from Nathan later that night and we talked non-stop throughout the coming weeks, until we got the chance to go on a real date in person. I still look back on those days and smile, remembering how fun it was to get to know him and seeing how far we’ve come since then.

How He Asked

Nathan and I had planned to go to Tennessee over spring break. While there we wanted to do some hiking in the Smokies. Nathan had been super excited about figuring out what the best trails to hike were, and I let him decide what he thought was best. However, the Gatlinburg fires changed our plans several months out. Regardless, Nathan found some new trails and we set off to TN with our friends. We were planning on going hiking on the first full day we were in TN and we planned on meeting my cousin in Knoxville for breakfast on the way.

As we’re getting ready to leave, we get a text from my cousin that they had gotten a table and were waiting on us…but we were still an hour away. We had forgotten to factor in the one hour time difference between where we were staying and Knoxville. So we quickly loaded up and headed out. About 10 minutes onto the highway, Nathan’s car makes a weird rattling sound and dies. He pulls off to the side of the road and calls his dad (a former car mechanic) and a tow truck to come pick us up.

After an interesting ride back to an auto repair shop, a generous driver, and a few more phone calls, we finally arranged to have Nathan’s aunt and uncle, who lived close by, come pick us up and let us borrow their car for the day. The whole time this is happening, I was suggesting that the boys just go golf that day and we hike on another day. The boys, however, were adamant that we hike that day, so I didn’t push it too much, though I didn’t understand the urgency.

FINALLY, around 3 p.m. we made it to the Smokies. Our hike was about 5.5 miles up and another 5.5 miles back, so it was clear early on that we would not be able to hike the whole trail before sunset, but we pushed on anyway. We stopped periodically along the way to take pictures and enjoy the beauty around us. However, we reached a point when the sun was close to setting, and we hadn’t yet turned around. I began getting nervous (and then annoyed) that we hadn’t left when it was going to get dark soon. Nathan, however, kept insisting that we keep going.

The farther we walked, the more frustrated I got, and the more Nathan gently coaxed me along. We finally stopped for more pictures. Nathan and I took a picture side by side. We took a picture where he hugged me from behind. We took a silly picture. Suddenly, I could feel that Nathan was not directly behind me anymore, like he had just been. Slowly I began to realize what might be happening…my heartbeat sped up, I turned around slowly. And there was my best friend, on one knee, smiling up at me, with a gorgeous ring in his hands. The rest, as they say, is history!

Special Thanks

Alison Mae Photography
Photographer