Stacia and Zachary

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How We Met

I met Zachary on May 31, 2016…. No, wait- it was actually several weeks before when he came in with his buddy, my co-worker Aaron, to eat at the restaurant I was serving at. I made eye contact with him, I thought “out of my league” and dismissed the blue-eyed perfect man who I would official meet a few weeks later. It was a Tuesday, and I had planned a hiking trip with Aaron. When he asked if he could bring a friend, I was annoyed, thinking that I’d be downgraded to third-wheel, however when Mr. Blue Eyes came strolling up Aaron’s driveway, my heart skipped a few beats. We were both shy, but I knew if I didn’t make an attempt at some conversation, it would be an awkward day.

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Zac and I spent the day talking about our love for Jesus, rap music and tattoos. He harassed me with questions about my vegetarian lifestyle, and opened up about his past with addiction, recovery, and how Jesus had turned his life around. I ended up devising a plan to get his number without actually divulging my massive crush for him. I think it was probably the 4th or 5th night in a row of “hanging out” till sunrise when the kiss finally came. To me, it was every 80’s romance movie condensed into the most magical season of my life. I was a 24-year old, adventure-seeking, mountain-climbing gal stuck in the suburban outskirts of Cincinnati, who finally met the man who could come alongside me and embark on this massive expedition of life.

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Fast forward, four incredible months of living life with my soulmate. We knew after a few weeks that the searching was over and marriage was on the horizon. Zac is the most selfless person I’ve ever met. He surprises me with coffee at work when he knows I’m tired. He cooks for me, goes to the gym just to look good for me, and sacrifices his own activities to do the things that he knows I enjoy. I think that his character really shines though, by the way he treats others. He’s always smiling, telling strangers hello, giving to others and respecting each individual he comes in contact with. He walks me to my car and opens my door no matter what. He is a true Prince Charming, and though I don’t deserve Zachary’s love, it reminds me of the underserving love we receive from Christ. All I can do is thank God every day and cherish the greatest treasure that I’ve ever been given.

How He Asked

Halloween 2016 was just like any normal day. We were on a trip to the Gatlinburg/Asheville area to hike and relax. The previous night, I had talked Zac into buying Halloween costumes so we could do a photoshoot on top of a mountain. I knew that Zac was going to propose eventually but we had gotten a call the day before we left on the trip that the ring would be at least several more weeks before it was ready. Patience is a strong suit of mine, so I didn’t think much of it, other than knowing I wouldn’t be getting a ring on my finger during that trip. I’m pretty low maintenance but for some reason I’ve always been infatuated with a good engagement. I told Zac, “As long as I’m surprised, there’s someone there to take pictures, and it’s creative, I’ll be a happy girl.” In hindsight, I realize now how much that is to truly ask.

Zac talked me into packing our Halloween costumes that day, rather than wearing them. Thank Jesus I abided- or else I’d be wearing a cow suit when I said “yes”. I was particularly ornery and indecisive that day. Though we had planned to go to Craggy Rocks Pinacle near Asheville, I started insisting we stay closer to Gatlinburg to hike. Luckily, when Zac asked if he could plan the day- I agreed. We started the morning in a campground in Cherokee, NC. While I was taking a cold shower, Zac was practicing getting down on one knee. I laugh at how oblivious I was through the whole process. We ate brunch in downtown Asheville at this incredible organic cafe, and while I was devouring a falafel sandwich, Zac was setting up the final details with Erik, the photographer he had hired. We left Asheville, and for the second time on the entire trip he let me drive his car.

Autumn on the Blue Ridge Parkway is visual ecstasy. I was getting irritated after about fifteen minutes of Zac playing on his phone and finally asked him what he was doing. “Just texting my Dad”. Really, he was communicating with Erik about the location. When we arrived to Craggy Rocks, packed up the costumes and headed up the .6 mile trail to the summit. The photographer in me insisted on taking our sweet time up to the top, harassing Zac to pose every few seconds with the twisty trees that lined the trail. Finally at the top, I forced him to sit on a rock hanging over the cliff, and when I went to sit down next to him, he insisted that we move to a flatter, more stable area to “set up my self timer so we could get a couple’s photo” AKA “so when I propose to you, we don’t fall off this cliff together”.

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We moved to the “safe zone” on top of Craggy Rocks Summit and Zac asked me to set all of my stuff down. As he was turned around fiddling with his backpack, our speaker started playing “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis (One of my favorite songs). Before I could say “AWWW”, Zac had turned around with a white box, was down on one knee and I had plum lost my mind.

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All I could think was “How?? The jeweler said it wouldn’t be ready for weeks!” My sneaky boy had called them and asked if they could fake call us and push back the date so that I wouldn’t have any suspicions… which worked. Not only that, but he had hired a photographer from Atlanta to capture the greatest moment of our lives.

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Thank you Zachary Andrew Engelhardt for loving me so well, so fiercely and relentlessly pursuing me. I can’t wait to spend every single day forever in your arms.

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Special Thanks

Lunalee Photography
Photographer