Going to the Chapel

The Camp Pinnacle Chapel
(Photo Courtesy Kaitlin Rachel Wood)

Kaitlin sent me this photo last Saturday. It was my first glance at the chapel where were are getting married. My immediate thoughts were that it was perfect. So perfect. It seemed surreal, at that moment, that we are getting married. It’s really really exciting, but also really surreal. It’s something we’ve been waiting for and working towards for a long time, and it’s actually happening. The chapel is booked, along with the reception area next to the lake. The rooms are booked for us to stay in the night of the rehearsal dinner. The honeymoon is booked. I have a solid job to provide with. It’s happening. It’s really happening. Its so exciting!! I could cry just thinking about it.

We drove up the following Monday to see everything in person. Y’all, this chapel really is the most beautiful and perfect in the world. I don’t care where you have been, there is no place I’d rather get married. The whole campus is bursting at the seams with God’s love and spirit. It’s so evident everywhere. The chapel looks so amazing. And the whole time, I couldn’t help fast-fowarding to June. The next time I see it might be the day before the wedding. So cool and surreal. The empty (yet still elegant) chapel will soon be full of people and joy (and, inevitably, stress and probably a little chaos, but still!).
These pews will be filled with loved ones
She’ll be walking down the aisle, beautiful as ever, in white
That’s my bride! She got her hair done while we were up there and it looked so gorgeous (though, it is impossible to mess up her naturally beautiful hair). It was another little piece of what the wedding would be like (that I was surprised to be able to preview, but hey, I’m not complaining!). I can’t wait to stand in front and wait for her to walk down that aisle. I’ll be so nervous and excited and happy.
God instituted and ordained this and I can’t wait for him to lead our wedding and our marriage. I know it’s going to be perfect. This is happening! It’s really happening. =]
in His grip,
Zack
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Our Engagement Story

CAUTION: The following blog post may contain content that is mushy and/or lovey-dovey.

So as I sat on a futon in Kaitlin’s apartment, typing that last blog after my quiet time, I felt her head rest on my shoulder while she read her book. In that moment, I experienced rest. It was quiet and we were just sitting and not really doing anything important except relaxing and enjoy eachother’s company. It felt warm and peaceful and there was this closeness to her and to God that I had needed all weekend. I continued with a great big smile on my face and pressed “publish,” posting not only my first blog of the year, but also my first since last September. At that point I realized that I clearly left out some pretty big updates that are very blog worthy, namely that the beautiful face that rested on my shoulder belonged to the woman that I am now engaged to be married to, and have been since November 5th, 2010. I just cannot post another blog without sharing the story of one of the happiest days of my life.
It was the day before the Zeta Tau Alpha semi-formal, and I had asked her earlier that week if she wanted to have movie date or something. Not like a movie theatre date, because nothing good was out. A redbox movie date, so we could just relax on the couch and watch something together and pop some popcorn that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. That kind of movie date. It didn’t really matter, though, because I secretly just asked her that so that she would keep the night open and not plan anything else. I didn’t want her to expect anything suspicious.
I had been looking at rings for a while and I knew the one I wanted to get. I didn’t want to get it too far in advance, though, because (1) I tend to be impatient and I would probably get too excited and spontaneously propose to her, and (2) I was paranoid I would lose it. Luckily, she wanted to nap after class so I picked it up while she was sleeping. It was also a good thing that she wanted to nap because I was really nervous. Excited, but nervous. Not nervous in an omg-i-hope-she-says-yes sorta way. Nervous as in lots of butterflies in my stomach and in a i-hope-i-do-this-perfect sorta way. In a this-is-really-happening kind of way.
She woke up from her nap later that afternoon and, with the ring tucked in my pocket, I cooked her favorite meal – chicken parmigiana. Then I asked her if she wanted to go to Berry and have a bible study in Frost Chapel and share a dance with me. She said yes (which was a good sign, right?). After we drove into the campus, we met some deer on the road to Mountain Campus, so I pulled over so we could see them. Partially because I wanted to see them and try to touch them, but mostly to stall because I was nervous.
When we arrived, there was a man standing outside the chapel and I thought, “Great… way to ruin everything, sir!” I was kidding. Sorta. So Kaitlin suggested that we just do our bible study on the stone wall, because there was probably something going on in the chapel. I knew there couldn’t be, because I called beforehand. So I gently insisted that we go at least look in the chapel window to make sure no one was using it. As we were walking towards the chapel door, the man who was standing to the side came towards us and said:
“Hey, my brother is proposing to his girlfriend in the back room, so if you don’t mind, just please don’t go in there.”
“Oh! Okay! Is it okay if we go in the chapel?” I asked, trying to soak all the irony in.
“Yeah! That’s totally fine,” he said.
The room he was talking about was separated from the main chapel. He was free to steal my idea in peace as long as he stayed over there. Just kidding. Sorta. Anyway, so we went inside and sat down in the pew and opened our devotional to the chapter we left off on last time. If I’m going to be honest, I don’t think I focused very well, if at all, on the devotional. I was too busy practicing in my mind what I was going to say and how I was going to do this.
When we had finished, I stood up, reached out my hand, and, smiling excitedly, asked her, “Would you like to dance?”
“Yes,” she replied, also smiling.
So I held her close and we danced without music for a few minutes, and I looked her in the eyes, telling her how wonderful and beautiful she is, how much she means to me, and how thankful I am to have her. Then, with my heart beating so fast that I’m surprised I didn’t pass out or something, I knelt to one knee, took the ring out of my pocket (which was velcro, by the way, so it echoed loudly off the walls of the chapel as I opened it) and asked her if she would marry me. After the initial shock wore off, she finally said “YES!” I stood up and we held each other tightly in our arms for a while before making our way back to the car.
And now, almost two months later, we have a date and a time and a venue – June 18th, 2011, 2pm, at Camp Pinnacle in Clayton, Georgia. I could not be more happier or excited, and I can’t wait for us to begin our happily ever after.

in His grip,
Zack