Raychal and Jud

How We Met

Jud and I met in Starkville, Mississippi, as students at Mississippi State University. He asked me to dance to the song “I’ve Had the Time of My Life,” and we performed the infamous lift as featured in the movie Dirty Dancing. The rest is history as we have shared countless memories through years of college and beyond and now starting our life together as the future Mr. And Mrs. Jud Roberts.

Raychal's Proposal in Veteran's Memorial Rose Garden on the campus of Mississippi State University

Where to Propose in Veteran's Memorial Rose Garden on the campus of Mississippi State University

My time spent with Jud thus far has truly been the time of my life, and I cannot wait to see what is in store for our future together!

How He Asked

Our Engagement Story 3-11-17 Our engagement story began when Lauren Hall designed a fake invitation to mail to Raychal’s house, inviting her to “Claire’s Engagement Party” on March 11, 2017. Meanwhile, Lauren Hall, Olivia Porter and Claire Porter were all in a secret group message with Jud planning a dream proposal and surprise party to follow with their closest family and friends. The group was well-hidden on Jud’s work phone, entitled “Coal Mine” so that Raychal would not be suspicious. Throughout the months from January-March, Jud was busily getting things into place. The week of the proposal, Jud and his mom and dad made numerous trips to Tupelo to pick out a Bible for Raychal and to purchase last minute decorations. Jud had been in contact with Peter from Peter’s Pottery located in Merigold, Mississippi, to try to find a highly coveted discontinued handmade lily vase to use for the proposal because lilies are Raychal’s favorite flower.

Luckily, Peter found one of the vases and signed and dated it for Raychal and Jud. Jud also met with his pastor, Brother Greg Spencer to pray over the Bible created especially for Raychal and to talk with him about the proposal. The week of the proposal was very busy for Jud and his parents as they frantically prepared the upstairs ballroom at State Theater in Starkville, Mississippi with Peter’s and McCarty pottery and vases with hydrangeas and lilies, black and white paisley table cloths, and gold picture frames, which captured moments throughout Jud and Raychal’s 3 1/2 years of dating. The day of the proposal began with Jud and his mom, dad and grandmother preparing food and decorations and praying together at the party venue with lots of laughter, hugs and tears of joy. The day of the proposal was very cold with highs in the mid 50s and rainy. The rain was coincidentally perfect, considering that it rained on Jud and Raychal’s first Valentine’s date, which was supposed to be outside.

Raychal spent the day preoccupied by her friend Alyssa Pearson in Starkville, eating lunch at Stromboli’s and shopping for what she thought would be the outfit that she wore when Jud proposed, following Jud’s previous invitation to Nashville in the upcoming weeks. Jud tracked Alyssa’s location throughout the day to avoid running into them downtown, especially when Raychal and Alyssa shopped at Aspen Bay and Deep South Pout. Family and friends were also on alert to avoid Raychal. Matthew Berry almost blew his cover when he and Anne Caroline (hiding in the car) came in to Stromboli’s to pick up food. Anne Caroline even created a fake Snapchat to send to Raychal with a Birmingham filter to make it look as if she were still in Alabama. Meanwhile, Jud and his brother in law TJ Roberson were busy decorating the gazebo for the proposal site.

Raychal was clueless as she even went to Lowe’s shopping for home appliances with Alyssa and her husband Hayden. Raychal went to change clothes at Alyssa’s sister’s apartment to get ready for the “engagement party” where she ran into her waiter from earlier that day who happened to be a roommate of Alyssa’s sister. She also had to keep the secret by avoiding Raychal at the apartment. Although 4:30 was quickly approaching and no sign of Jud, Raychal continued to get dressed. Jud called Raychal to tell her that “his car had broken down” and that he “didn’t know where he was.” Raychal proceeded to tease her hair and went to pick up Jud. Raychal became suspicious when the location that Jud sent her took her to the Veteran’s Memorial Rose Garden on Mississippi State University’s campus, where Raychal and Jud met in 2013 and graduated in 2014. As Raychal approached the garden, she noticed her friends’ cars, Jenna Cialone and Lauren Hall.

At this moment, Raychal knew she was about to get engaged. Jud made his way across the bridge connecting the parking lot and the rose garden and met Raychal at her car with an umbrella to keep her from getting soaked in the pouring rain. Jud and Raychal approached the gazebo with cameras waiting from Lauren and Jenna while Micheal Joslin, Jud’s childhood friend captured the moment on video. Jud led Raychal around the gazebo to see hundreds of pictures of the couple, reminiscing over many memories. Jud then led her to the table he had set up with the Peter’s Pottery lily vase holding beautiful blooming lilies, the customized Bible with the name “Raychal Roberts” engraved and another piece of pottery (borrowed from Laurie Ledbetter) chilling a bottle of champagne. The champagne was meant to represent the same champagne in which the couple shared over a Bateaux dinner cruise in New York on the trip that the couple took in October to pick out their engagement ring at Lauren B Jewelry. Jud got down on one knee with tear-filled eyes and proposed to Raychal. When he opened the box, there was the brilliant 2.4 carat oval diamond with a 3-row pave yellow gold band that Raychal and Jud had custom designed. The ring was absolutely stunning. The ring included an engraved JDR and RAR with a hand-engraved heart, joining the couples’ initials.

Raychal of course said, “Yes!” Jud then read verses from Philippians and prayed over the engagement. Philippians 4:4-9 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Following the prayer, Jud and Raychal rejoiced with their friends in excitement. Jud popped open the bottle of champagne, which was adorned in colorful painted lilies, and the two toasted with glass flutes to a lifetime of happiness together. Jud then led Raychal to the surprise party that awaited at State Theater and the couple rejoiced with family and friends, some traveling as far as Arkansas and even Georgia.

Jud’s mom and dad put many hours into the preparation of the food with the help of their friend Robin Chapman, who added a special touch to the decor including her strawberry and bell pepper sliced arrangements. The guests enjoyed a menu of chicken salad on croissants, ham and biscuits, tenderloin on rolls, fruit and cheeses, as well as dips including spinach and artichoke and corn dip. Desserts included specially designed engagement cookies by Endville Bakery, chocolate chess squares and lemon rounds all prepared by Jud’s mom. The guests enjoyed wine and beer for refreshments. The couple enjoyed visiting with friends and family until late into the night. However, Jud and Raychal were so busy during the party that they did not eat very much of the delicious food. Thus, they had a celebratory meal of Papa John’s pizza to end the night.

Special Thanks