The Day We Got Engaged: Zach’s Proposal

The Day We Got Engaged: Zach’s Proposal

Here is a little flashback to probably the happiest day of my life. The day Zach and I got engaged. Well…it was actually a weekend long event.

Zach and I officially became boyfriend and girlfriend on Feb 5th 2004. I moved to Valdosta that May. Yes, only three months into it!

That summer his mom and I actually went and looked at wedding rings. We knew pretty early on that this was a done deal for us πŸ˜‰

Or at least I knew it. Zach was wiser than I was…although I couldn’t see it at that time. I was a college girl who just kept thinking “I WANT TO BE ENGAGED!!!”

Zach was patient. He wanted to be 100% sure that he wanted me to be his wife before he made that step. 

Every year I make a list of yearly goals (resolutions if you will) and when 2006 began one of the items on my list was to either become engaged or accept the reality that maybe Zach and I weren’t matching up our paths.

I knew I wanted to marry him. Spend my life with him.

If by the end of 2006 he didn’t feel the same way then I needed to re-evaluate our relationship and our future together. Who knows if I would have followed through with it or not but I had it as a resolution anyway πŸ˜‰

For our one year dating anniversary Zach surprised me with a camping trip (which would also make a great flashback story…camping…in Feb…and he forgot warm blankets…) so it wasn’t totally off-base for him to surprise me for our two year anniversary.

He made me ride with a blanket OVER my head the ENTIRE way. It was a four hour drive haha. He even drove all over Valdosta beforehand to get me good and confused.

Part of me thought we were going to Melbourne but another part thought maybe Atlanta. I ended up sleeping most of the drive. I mean what else can you do with a blanket over your head?!?!

It was thoughtful of him to plan the trip! When we got there the weather wasn’t so great but we still hit up my favorite spot (Bagel World) and went and saw a movie (what movie? I have NO CLUE).

We also went by my mom’s house to visit with her πŸ™‚

During that time my dad was married to a woman named Stella but he was in Alaska for business.

She was living in their home also in Melbourne (my parents lived less than a mile apart! So ironic!) so we stayed with her for the weekend and bought her some flowers to thank her for hosting us.

It was so thoughtful of Zach to arrange the whole trip with her before bringing me down!

Our actual anniversary fell on a Sunday (Superbowl Sunday to be exact) so we went out for a fancy date the night prior. Zach, again, made all the plans.

Most girls who were itching to be engaged would probably suspect something was going on. But honestly. I had no clue.

The kid had been leading me to believe I was getting engaged for over a year.

Like he’d tell me “you are NOT allowed to open my glove box” (when in reality he didn’t have the ring in his possession until the week he proposed) and the summer prior we were in Maine on a romantic canoe ride and he said “Man! I wish I’d brought the ring, this would be the perfect proposal spot.”

Most people would surprise you by proposing sooner than expected. Not my man. He waited longer.

I was actually to the point of being bitter about not being engaged.

All his little hints and jokes kept getting my hopes up only to let me down when it didn’t happen.

We opened gifts prior to dinner and I had put a good bit of thought into mine.

Zach had always said he wished he had a place to keep his keys and wallet and such so I got him a super nice wooden box to keep on his dresser (which we still have on our dresser today).

 I also bought him a Kenneth Cole watch

Y’all read my blog. You KNOW we take our gift giving pretty seriously.

For our one year dating anniversary, Zach bought me diamond stud earrings.

I had pretty high expectations for our second anniversary!

Imagine my SHOCK when he carried in this big Pier 1 shopping bag and just handed it to me.

No wrapping. Nothing. Just a big bulky bag with a picnic basket inside. Seriously???

Not that I’m materialistic but two years of a relationship and I wasn’t even worth wrapping the present?

I tried REALLY hard to be nice about it (check out that fake smile I’m sportin’) but I was TICKED.

Here I was ready to MARRY this guy and he got me a picnic basket.

It was a NICE picnic basket but still…how many dang picnics can you go on?!?!

When we rehash our proposal weekend the ONE error I think Zach made was opening gifts prior to dinner.

We ate at the Melting Pot (for the first and probably last time haha that junk is EXPENSIVE).

It was one of the fanciest meals we’ve ever had.

But I wasn’t able to fully enjoy it b/c I was so caught up with the picnic basket debacle.

I was doing the typical girl over analyzing thing and was trying to break down what it meant and like debating our entire relationship haha If he’d waited to do the gifts after dinner I would have enjoyed dinner more for sure!

Before dinner

I was so distracted in my thoughts that when we sat down at our table at the restaurant I didn’t even NOTICE the beautiful long steamed roses Zach had waiting for me at the table.

Like 10 minutes into our meal Zach said “GAH that was a WASTE of money!” and it took me even LONGER to actually realize what the waste of money was. haha

What’s even funnier is that he has done the whole flowers at our table thing another time since then and I didn’t notice them then either!!!

I guess I’m pretty focused on the menu when I go out to eat and not on my surroundings πŸ˜‰

The next day was our official dating anniversary.

Zach suggested using my wonderful new picnic basket to go have a picnic at our spot on the beach.

Our spot is special to us because it’s the place Zach took me one night when we were visiting (it was after my cousin’s wedding the first year we were dating) and told me that he knew I was the one for him and that we’d spend forever together someday.

We made an effort to go to our spot every time we were in town so I still had no clue that this picnic would be anything out of the norm.

We rode through KFC for our food and on the way to our spot Zach’s dad called him.

I thought it was odd but he’s close with his fam so I brushed it off (in reality Mr Rusty was calling to see if Zach had asked me yet haha).

We pulled in the parking lot and some RANDOM guy came up to us talking about the Super Bowl and Zach was internally FREAKING OUT.

He had my ring and was trying to be sneaky about getting everything just right and the guy was throwing him off.

We got to our spot and set everything up.

Zach then told me to get out all the food to serve the meal.

Um. What?!?! I was ticked.

I was thinking “you’re supposed to be romancing me here buddy.”

When I opened the picnic basket to get out the food I saw a box from Steel’s (our local jeweler).

Even seeing the box I STILL didn’t think it was a ring.

My first thought was that it was a make-up gift for the stupid picnic basket.

I turned towards Zach while saying “what did you do???”

And found him like this (and yes, this is a re-creation I did NOT have camera in hand during the actual moment…and if there are any takers on the puka shell necklace I’m pretty sure he’d be willing to pass it your way…haha):

My first response to seeing him? “SHUT UP!!!!”

He then simply said “will you marry me?” And I said “ARE YOU KIDDING ME???”

Like I probably said a combo of “shut up” and “are you kidding” at least 100 times. Haha.

Duh. I said yes (I mean spoiler alert my last name is now Parker and I have two kids with the guy…I think my answer was obvious…).

I bawled like a baby and didn’t even NOTICE the ring (in Zach’s version of the story I was Ron Burgundy in the phone booth style crying).

Zach later told me the fact that I didn’t even notice the ring, didn’t even look at it.

That meant the most to him during the entire proposal because he knew I was excited to be marrying him.

Can you tell I was SO HAPPY!?!?

Horrible picture (I mean this was pre-nice camera days people)

In case you were wondering not too much of the picnic got eaten. Like I didn’t eat a THING.

I was wayyyyy too pumped up to eat. I’m sure Zach ate…as he’s not one to turn down any food but especially not food he had to pay for πŸ˜‰

Our first picture as an engaged couple…this is seriously one of my most favorite pictures of us EVER. Every time I see it I am taken right back to that moment πŸ™‚

You know how I roll…I had some random lady take a pic of us πŸ™‚

Don’t you miss gauchos being in style? Gah I loved those…

It really couldn’t have been a more perfect proposal. I was COMPLETELY in shock.

And that’s hard to pull off as I’m an over-thinker.

I really had no clue and it was such a perfect location, perfect weather, just perfect day.

It especially meant a lot to me that he proposed down in Melbourne (technically we were in Satellite Beach).

Not only is it where I’m from originally but it’s also a special area to Zach and I (and we ended up getting married down there too!).

Even more than that though it was SO special to be able to tell my mom in person that I was engaged.

We went to her house first and I busted in her door shouting it out haha. We then called Zach’s parents on our way to see Nana.

I loved getting to go to her house and share such exciting news with her.

It brings tears to my eyes remembering spending quality time at her kitchen table filling her in on every detail. So thankful for the times we got to spend with her πŸ™‚

I remember spending the four hour ride home SO excited about our future together.

We called close friends and told them the news (a much better ride home than being covered in a blanket…)

And when we got back we drove straight to his parents house to show them the ring and fill them in on the details.

My football obsessed husband loved me enough to propose to me on Superbowl Sunday and not even watch any of the game πŸ˜‰

I truly love, love, love our proposal story.

Zach put so much thought and effort into it. Every detail he did COMPLETELY on his own.

He even designed my ring with the jeweler to make it exactly the way he envisioned.

I was SO surprised and happy.

I went from being ready to dump him over the picnic basket to being his bride in less than 24 hours, if that’s not an emotional rollercoaster I don’t know what is!

It’s so fun to look back at that time in our lives.

We both wanted a long engagement so we got married in May of 2007.

Our engagement started 6 1/2 years ago…SO much has happened since that day. I’m so grateful that he knew I was the one he wanted to spend forever with.

That he was patient in that decision (even though it annoyed me to death to wait so long!) and that he chose ME!!! 

It was the happiest day of my life…I know many people say it’s their wedding or the birth of their children.

And don’t get me wrong, those were SUPER HAPPY days.

But this day was the best of them all.

I put SO much planning into my wedding day, of course, some things went wrong that disappointed me.

The days I gave birth? Have you given birth?

It’s a super exciting time but it’s also pretty dang painful.

Our proposal day was perfect because I had ZERO expectations.

I had no clue it was happening.

There were zero disappointments. Zero regrets. Just pure joy the entire day long with the man I love!!!

I hope you enjoyed a little peek back into my life prior to blogging!


  1. Crissy
    September 28, 2012 / 12:16 pm

    first thing I thought was GAUCHOS! I loved mine!!!great story, that Z is a keeper for sure :)love having you guys in our lives!of course you could've included his "fake proposal" at my wedding THAT truly tricked me and we have it on camera, hahaha

  2. Seth
    September 28, 2012 / 3:13 pm

    Sooo… my favorite part was that Zach proposed while wearing that necklace. hahahaha

  3. Danielle Eckerle
    September 28, 2012 / 3:44 pm

    Emily, such a cute story! I wish I had pictures from Josh and I's engagement. I guess I'll be the first person to steer the boat away from that topic. Rachel, you blocked [made private] your blog πŸ™ How am I supposed to see your adorable kids now?

  4. Robyn Mullican
    September 28, 2012 / 5:56 pm

    Such a great story! I wish I had some pics from our engagement, but I have NONE! πŸ™ Isn't that horrible??

  5. Sara Watkins
    September 28, 2012 / 8:04 pm

    Jay and I got that same picnic basket as a gift at our wedding! Loved the story! Way more romantic than mine and I am also picture-less as far as our engagement goes.

  6. Katie Roberts
    September 28, 2012 / 9:42 pm

    I want to hear about this fake proposal! I totally forgot about gauchos…those things were so comfy! Looks like a perfect day!

  7. Sandi
    September 29, 2012 / 1:56 am

    This is fun Emily. (I hope that the story of your engagement photos is on the list of future topics!)

  8. Nicole Santoro
    September 29, 2012 / 7:58 pm

    This link up idea is such a great one! Also, your engagement story is sooo sweet! Zach really did great with all the details. And you got so many pics!! That is definitely the one thing I wish I had more of for my engagement…but glad to see I'm not the only one who doesn't, haha. πŸ™‚

  9. Chelley N
    September 30, 2012 / 2:38 am

    Great story. . . I even told my husband! He was soooo interested, haha! I'm dying to know how you and Zach met. . . maybe that can be a Flashback Friday topic??? I so want to participate in this, so hopefully next time!

  10. Rachael_Copponex
    October 5, 2012 / 4:24 pm

    Send me your email girl!! I can add you no problem!

  11. Margie
    May 27, 2019 / 4:51 pm

    I just live your stories!! ❀️

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