Morgan and Travis

How We Met

There are defining moments in life that will stick with you forever. Unfortunately, meeting my now-fiance is not one of mine. We were in middle school when we first met, so no, time didn’t exactly stand still and everything around us didn’t cease to exist like it does in the movies when you meet your soulmate (haha, sorry Trav!). We were just kids and while our friendship grew, I never could have suspected that the boy who had such a similar spirit to mine would one day be my husband.

Morgan and Travis's Engagement in Bella Donna Chapel at Adriatica in McKinney, Texas

Where to Propose in Bella Donna Chapel at Adriatica in McKinney, Texas

Proposal Ideas Bella Donna Chapel at Adriatica in McKinney, Texas

However, our initial defining moment came a little while later in high school when one Friday night, I was digging through my bag during a sleepover at my friend Kaitlyn’s house and I found a little yellow post-it note with Travis’s number on it. So mysterious… Anyways, Kaitlyn encouraged me to text him that night and the rest is history! It’s funny looking back on it now (almost 10 years ago… like what?!) that what seems like such a small, insignificant moment can really end up changing the trajectory of your life. From the initial surprise of discovering that post-it note in my bag to the surprise of him asking me to be his forever and every beautiful small and big moment in between, it amazes me everyday that each page of our love story gets better and better. I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds!

Morgan's Proposal in Bella Donna Chapel at Adriatica in McKinney, Texas

How He Asked

I woke up the morning of March 10, 2018, completely unaware that my life would be forever changed. It was a normal day. Travis and I watched Netflix (we were finishing up Rules of Engagement ironically), went to the gym (we were headed to Cancun in a week for his brother’s birthday), and we had lunch at Start (my favorite “healthy” fast food chain). In my head, the only thing unusual about this particular Saturday was that it was my 25th birthday. You’d be correct in thinking that I was slightly depressed by the thought of turning 25. All week, we’d been talking about the invisible years: the years after college graduation where it seemed like just yesterday we said goodbye to the University of Alabama, took a leap of faith, said a hesitant hello to Texas, and an apprehensive hello to adulthood. I mean when people ask how old I am at this point, I truly have to think about my answer.

Sad… Anyways, for my birthday, Travis surprised me with a spa package (nothing unusual there), but little did I know the surprises he actually had in store. You see, the night before my birthday, my friends rescheduled my Saturday night birthday dinner to a Sunday morning birthday brunch for various, legit reasons. Although I was bummed we wouldn’t be celebrating with everyone on my first birthday living in the city, in true fashion, Travis found a way to make everything better. The plan was all set. He would drop me off at the spa where I would get the works: facial, massage, manicure, and pedicure. That last detail was pretty clever, so kudos to him. After an afternoon of wine and pampering, he would pick me up and we’d get ready for a fancy birthday dinner supposedly gifted to us by his parents. This was also no surprise because I have some pretty great future in-laws. Seeing as though it was a nice restaurant and I was turning the big “quarter-cent” as he kept teasing me, I took a little more time than usual to pick out the right dress and curl my hair (and I’m certainly glad I did).

Our first stop was an adorable wine bistro called Zen Zen and as we sat out on the patio while sipping from a flight of Riesling, munching on some spinach and artichoke dip, and talking about all of our upcoming travels in the year ahead, I just remember thinking what a gorgeous day it was. When it was time for our dinner reservation, we drove over to Gregory’s in this adorable area designed as a Croatian village on the Adriatic Sea. As we were walking through the village and headed towards the restaurant, Travis told me that he called ahead and asked for a table out on the waterfront. We were headed towards a stunning chapel by the water and there was a sign out front that said “Private Event in Progress,” but it still hadn’t clicked in my mind. I was actually worried we were going the wrong way and would crash a wedding or something. As we walked up to the massive chapel doors, I paused, looked around a little hesitantly, and heard “Marry Me” by Train playing in the background. 

Travis turned to me, smiled with tears in his eyes, and gave me a little nod of his head as if to say “yes, this is our moment”. I can’t even begin to express the emotions that hit me all at once: shock, happiness, love, but mostly shock. He would later tell me that this song was not supposed to be first in the line-up and was meant to play during the actual proposal, but honestly, it was the perfect timing. After all, it was the moment it became real and I realized what was about to happen. Those that know me can probably guess that I was crying at this point, but of course, Travis came prepared with tissues in his sports coat (again, kudos to him). As we made our way down the rose-covered aisle, I will never forget what a sight it was: him warmly leading me in while I’m practically shaking but still trying to take in the beauty of the Bella Donna chapel, which was replicated after a 16th-century Croatian chapel on its own little island. Around the altar area, there were 10 framed photographs of us, one for each year in our relationship, so we started at the first one, and he talked about the meaning behind each picture and the various stages of our relationship and how our bond has grown from friendship to a puppy, high school type-love and finally to a deep and everlasting, forever-type love.

I promise I heard the words he said but at this point, I was still stunned into silence (doesn’t happen too often, am I right?) and was just nodding along to every word. At the end of reliving our most precious memories, Travis guided me to the center of the chapel altar and said something that I’m sure was rather sweet and meaningful, but I was just so caught up in the beauty of the moment of him getting down on one knee and pulling out the most perfect ring I ever could have imagined. I think I choked out a “yes” as he slid the ring onto my finger and picked up a framed picture up off the ground. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself because it was a post-it note that said “Thank you for saying yes” and he and I smiled to each other remembering how our relationship actually got started with a little post-it note that he slipped in my bag our freshmen year of high school. I guess it’s true what they say about it all coming back around full circle.

Now, this story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning how this all happened behind the scenes. It turns out Travis enlisted the help of my friend Melissa on Friday night (way to hold this secret in until last minute) to set up the décor at the chapel and to take pictures from the chapel balcony. I’m forever grateful that he did and forever grateful to Melissa for being there during such a special moment and boy, did she come fully prepared. Two cameras, makeup wipes, concealer for my red eyes, you name it, she truly thought of everything. Everyone needs a friend like her in their life, just saying. As we were taking some additional pictures and she was making fun of how awkward my hand looked while trying to get some ring shots (can’t blame me for still being a wreck of a human at this point), I was starting to wonder if I was actually going to get dinner out of this event, I was starving. Travis said we’d go home to let our dog out and then, we’d take Melissa out to dinner as a thank you.

When we arrived at the restaurant a little later, sure enough though, they had arranged a surprise “Happy Birthday / Congratulations” dinner. Turns out, my birthday dinner hadn’t been canceled after all, it was just reclassified I guess you could say. He really thought of everything. I think even Travis was surprised at how perfect the night went but mainly relieved that he had tricked me so well. To this day, I still think he surprised me with that upcoming trip to Banff as a decoy… So sneaky, but I guess I can forgive him though because he’s now my fiancé! This new relationship status will take some getting used to and in probably another year or so, it will change again when we become husband and wife. I never pictured that cute, smart boy from literature class, the valedictorian to my salutatorian (still salty about this) would be the man that I would share my life with. Crazy how things work out. So even though it was a moment 10 incredible years in the making, it was beyond worth the wait. Life changes you drastically and we had to grow together but we came out of it so much stronger. I enjoyed growing up with him, but I think I’ll enjoy growing old with him even more.

Special Thanks

Melissa Hodges | 
Photographer