Rachel and Christopher

How We Met

Christopher and I met May 29, 2015 working at a Christian summer camp in Arkansas called Camp Ozark. We spent the summer getting to know each other and developing a deep friendship. By the end of the summer, we couldn’t leave Arkansas knowing that we wouldn’t see each other again. Two weeks later, after he’d gone home to Louisiana, and I’d gone home to Texas, Christopher asked me on our first date. On July 30, 2015, we drove over two hours each from our perspective states to meet in the middle for our first date in Livingston, Texas. Christopher had planned the perfect date where we spent most of our time talking by the lake as the sun went down. By the end of the day, we both knew that this was just the beginning.

Rachel's Proposal in New Orleans, Louisiana

Where to Propose in New Orleans, Louisiana

Our second date, August 11, 2015, Christopher and I had a conversation about us really dating. We both wanted the end goal of our dating to be marriage, if that’s what God had in store for us. After months of dating long distance, we didn’t officially become boyfriend/girlfriend until November 1, 2015. From that moment on, the next two years included a lot of joy, patience, time, sacrifice, faith, dates in the middle of no where, and thousands of miles traveling between states. In these past two years, we have walked through so many different highs and lows of life together.

No matter what came our way, Christopher always patiently pursued me and pushed me towards Christ. I’ve known since the moment that I met Christopher that there was something special about him, but I had no idea how truly incredible he was. He makes me happier than I’ve ever been. He’s my very best friend and I do not deserve him. I feel very blessed that he chose me, and we will continue to choose each other for the rest of our lives. God’s plan for each of us has been so much greater than anything we could have ever dreamt for ourselves, and I know that it’s just the beginning as we start our life together!

How He Asked

I just got home from Nashville last week, so I asked my mom to help me move into my new apartment this past weekend. She came on Friday night, we went to the movies, decorated my apartment a little bit, and went to sleep. At 6 AM, my mom came in room and turned on my light. I was extremely confused and felt like I was in a dream. She told me that the day that I had been (im)patiently waiting for was finally here. Christopher was proposing. She told me to get dressed and get ready, we were leaving by 7:30 AM to drive to the airport.

I was in complete shock. My mom handed me a letter from Christopher explaining that the day we had been waiting for was finally here. He explained that since we were six hours apart, he knew he wouldn’t be able to completely surprise me, so he told me he had planned the perfect day for me and that he would see me that night. It was all surreal. It was finally happening!!! My mom drove the two of us to the airport, but still had not told me where we were flying to. On the drive, she told me about her and Christopher’s conversation of when he asked her permission.

As we drove, my mom handed me a really sweet letter expressing how happy she was for me and how much she loves Christopher. When we got to the airport to check in, I found out that we were flying to New Orleans! It was a really special moment figuring out the destination because Christopher and I were in New Orleans the first time we ever said that we loved each other. When we landed in New Orleans, my best friend, Emily was at the gate. I couldn’t believe she had flown from Houston to surprise me and be a part of the special day. In the car, Emily handed me her letter and I read it as we drove to our next location. We ate brunch on Magazine street just the three of us. From there, we headed to the nail salon to get our nails done before he popped the question.

When we got there, one of my other best friends, Carly, was standing there, holding a wooden basket with my new name on it, filled with ring dishes, a candle, nail polish, a bridal magazine, and other goodies. I was absolutely shocked to see her standing there! I had no idea that she knew any part of Christopher’s engagement plans, much less being such a huge part of them!

I hadn’t seen her in a few months, so it was really special catching up and having her there such a special day. Carly told me that my other best friend, Madi, was supposed to be at brunch, but had gotten a stomach bug that morning. I was sad that she couldn’t be there, but touched that my friends had made such an effort to be apart of Christopher’s proposal, and loved that he’d included them. Carly handed me a letter from Madi, as well as letters from all of Christopher’s family that I read while we got our nails done.

Everyone’s letter was so meaningful and touching, and really brought what was happening into perspective. It was comforting to have the love and support of our closest family and friends on such a special day. Everything was starting to feel really real, and I was so excited! From there, we went to Sucre, a delicious little dessert shop. They had a gift for me wrapped with coffee, a mug, and macaroons to remember the day by. We got ice cream and headed to the hotel to change clothes and get ready! Emily did my hair and makeup as we let it soak in that it was really happening. My legs wouldn’t stop shaking. My mom and I left the hotel to head to our final destination: seeing Christopher. We pulled up to this beautiful park, with huge trees covered in moss. It looked like a fairy-tale.

We pulled up to see Christopher’s cousin, and my dear friend, Tyler at the curb. He directed my mom where she was supposed to go, and talked to me for a minute. When my mom was out of sight, Tyler gave me directions to meet Christopher. I could see him on top of a bridge and it took my breath away. I made my way to him, trying not to trip in my heels. Christopher met me at the bottom of the bridge, and walked up with me to the spot that he had prepared everything. He had roses in a vase, a bible with my new name engraved on it, a wooden heart ring box, and a silver platter with a D engraved into it.

He read me his final letter, and we were both giddy and shaking. He picked up the ring box, and he actually dropped it on the ground because his hands were shaking so much. It was honestly such a typical thing that would happen to us, we couldn’t stop laughing.

After recovering the box, he knelt down on his knee and asked me to marry him. I’ve never said a more confident “Yes”! After letting everything sink in, he explained to me the significance of the ring box and the platter.

The ring box had been hand-carved by his grandfather who passed away when Christopher was in high school. He had made the ring box for Christopher’s older sister, Carrie, and had given it to her as a gift. She had been saving it to use when she got engaged. When Christopher told Carrie his plans to propose, Carrie selflessly offered the ring box that her grandfather had made her, to use for me. It was one of the most touching acts of selflessness and made the moment so special. The silver platter was an engagement gift from Christopher’s other set of grandparents. It was a tradition in their family to have them made with the date of the engagement engraved on the back. Christopher’s grandmother was diagnosed with cancer in October, and passed away one week before the engagement.

Having the platter there was even more sentimental and special knowing that she had made arrangements to have it made for us before she passed. After Christopher proposed, his brother and sister, who had been taking pictures, came to be with us, along with my mom, Christopher’s parents, and his cousin. Having our family there made it all really surreal and unforgettable.

After we left the park, we went to pick up my friends and head to dinner. We ate at a beautiful restaurant downtown that the Dodson’s had reserved for us and decorated to celebrate our engagement. It was the perfect way to end the perfect day. I’m so thankful for everyone who was a part of such a special day, and so grateful for my fiancé for planning such a thoughtful, meaningful, and perfect day. We are so excited for our future together, and overwhelmed by the community that has supported and loved us from the beginning.

Special Thanks

Carrie Dodson
Calligraphy
Carly Freels
Designs