Melissa and John

How We Met

John and I are technically high school sweethearts, but just barely! We began dating the last half of our senior year in 2009, but we should have never met. John was held back in elementary school, and I graduated high school a year early. It’s fate that we met. John actually thought I was stuck up and annoying when he first met me! But I fell head over heels. He was different, and quite handsome. ? I hinted, and hinted, and hinted, and hinted some more that I wanted him to take me to Prom. He did not. I thought of every reason to get him to dance with me. Finally it worked! And we had our first kiss at Prom. We took a few days to figure out what it meant to us, and decided to make it official. We became very serious, quickly. It ended up scaring me into doing something dumb, and breaking up with him. But he was patient and understanding. He waited for me to come around and apologize a few months later. We have grown together; changing in the best ways.

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Cummins Falls State Park

We have supported each other through the worst times, the hard times and the easy times. John joined the military and went away for training for months. This was anything but easy, but we grew stronger through the separation and made our limited communication count. (I had to relearn how to write a letter!) John supported me while I followed my dream of becoming a mental health therapist. He got me ice cream on the long nights of studying. He comforted me and encouraged me when I doubted myself and almost gave up. When John decided to become a Memphis police officer, I did not hesitate to return the support. Flashcards and study nights returned to our home, and I comforted him when self doubt crept back in. We love each other in a way I could have never imagined. We are best friends. We are each other’s biggest supporters and cheerleaders.

Melissa's Proposal in Cummins Falls State Park

We do anything we can to make each other’s lives the best they can be. I am incredibly lucky to have found a man who is passionate about serving others the way I am. Who is not afraid to be himself and fly his geek flag. Who loves my friends and family as much as I do. After 8 years of dating, we continue to encourage, challenge and support each other. We love experiencing and learning new things together. We have created a close group of friends who love and support each other, and have welcomed two new little friends into our group that we are ecstatic to play Aunt and Uncle to. We enjoy playing with our two rescue cats and our Husky buddy, watch movies, and play board games. We both work to serve our community and spend any spare time together or with friends. We have a simple, but beautiful life together. I am so excited to spend the rest of my life and begin a family with this man.

How He Asked

About a month or so before the proposal, all our friends were hanging out. One of our friends brought up a waterfall in Georgia he wanted all of us to go to. This quickly turned into making plans for a weekend trip. I pointed out that Georgia was pretty far for a weekend trip, and that we should go to this place John and I had been to just a few weeks ago. Everyone agreed and we later came up with a date to go. Little did I know, John had spoken to everyone before that conversation and told them his plans! So they staged the conversation for me to make it seem spontaneous. John and I had visited Cummins Falls a few weeks prior with our new puppy as part of my goal to get back to camping and hiking. This was something I used to LOVE doing, but stopped doing because of college and grad school.

We spent the weekend hiking and camping and vowed to come back soon. John later told me that he decided that weekend that he would propose to me there. So, we planned a trip with some of our closest friends at the end of July. John booked this amazing Airbnb that had the most breathtaking view of the Cumberland River. Saturday we hike to the falls, and realize we got too late a start because the park was closing soon. All day, John had been insistent on going to the top of the waterfall. So rather than take the hour long hike back up, which would have meant the park closing, we took the short cut. The short cut is a steep climb (literally like a rock climb up) that only takes about 15 minutes. My best friend had my 7 month old best friend strapped to her back made that climb so we could get to the top of the waterfall before the park closed. She’s amazing.

We finally get to the top, and John takes my had to lead me to the edge. He’s so excited. I got excited because I saw a group of butterflies! (Long story, but they are very dear to my heart, so it made what happened next even more special) John led me to the edge of the waterfall so we could look down, and then got down on one knee. But, I didn’t see it! A park ranger yelled from below to get away from the edge, and John tugged my hand with a “Babe”. I turned and saw him down, and couldn’t believe it. Then I looked and saw he had a Ring Pop. I began laughing and shaking and asking if he was serious. He said yes and threw the ring pop down, then pulled out the most beautiful and perfect ring I could have ever imagined.

A friend recorded the whole thing, took photos, and the park-goers below all cheered for us! I was shaking so badly, John had to move me away from the edge. I told my friends they were sneaky, sneaky people as the whole plan was revealed to me and I cried a little. We returned to the Airbnb to call our parents, where I found out that John had called my father to ask permission and told them the whole plan. For me, this was the most perfect proposal. The woods is my happy place. Hiking is my favorite thing to do, and I was so incredibly thrilled that my friends (who are not hikers) had agreed to come hiking with me. We got to revisit an amazing waterfall, spend a beautiful day in nature, and my butterflies were there. He could not have planned anything more perfect.

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