Anthony & Kristen

    Our Wedding

Anthony Howell


Kristen Bailey

March 26, 2023

Chattanooga, TN

How We Met: His Story


I was looking through profiles on E harmony and was having no luck so I expanded my search parameters beyond Virginia. I was pleasantly surprised to find an amazing profile of a woman who shared many similar interests like nature, poetry, movies, and religion. I was interested so I sent her a smile. Little did I know the events that would be set into motion with that smile. The very next day she responded by sending a smile back. Through the app our conversation was limited to sending premade questions through E harmony since Kristen wasn’t a paid member. But I wanted to talk more so I found a clever way to sneak my email address into one of my answers to a question she sent. Fortunately, she was clever enough to pick up on the plan and emailed me. Now we could talk more freely. The emails we sent were very long as we both wanted to learn more about each other. But after a while emails weren’t enough. I wanted to hear her voice. The next email I sent started “Interested? What starts with 5 and ends with 4? Keep reading to find out.” Of course, the answer was my phone number! I was so overjoyed when I saw I had a text message with a TN area code! That email sparked our first conversation later that night and we talked for over 5 hours!! About a month later I knew I wanted to ask her to be my girlfriend and decided it was time to make the 9-hour drive to TN to meet her in person. On 08/09/19 I drove to TN after work. When I saw her step out from her car, I couldn’t help telling her how beautiful she was! We had pizza hut for dinner that night at her place (which was much nicer and cleaner than the hotel I rented). We talked and talked until I finally asked her to be my girlfriend. We had so much fun that weekend I knew I wanted to make that trip as many times as I could to spend more time getting to know her.

How We Met: Her Story


After many years of singleness a friend convinced me to try E harmony. I protested, but finally gave in to peer pressure, deciding "whatever, I can just create an account and never use it." This plan worked flawlessly for years as I ignored any attempt by anyone to communicate because I had already decided online relationships were doomed to fail. One day, I opened my phone to see I had received another such correspondence in the form of a single smile from some guy. I rolled my eyes dramatically because I was already convinced an internet relationship could never go anywhere. I prepared to delete the message reminding myself, as I had several times before "no point responding. It will never go anywhere." But before I could do so, for the first time, something told me "You don't know that. Just see where things go." I wrestled with this thought for nearly 24 hours before I finally decided to reply and so I replied with a smile. Imagine my surprise when our texting turned into talking for hours at a time getting to know one another. We had so much in common! It didn't take long for me to realize God had been telling me to give this a chance because this "random guy on the internet" was the most amazing man I'd ever met. He was genuinely kind, sweet, funny and hard-working. We also connected on a deeper spiritual level, often talking about God and praying with each other. I quickly found myself falling for him. I was so nervous when Anthony finally said he wanted to meet me--what if he didn't like me in person?! But I agreed and we met in person for the first time on 08/09/19 when he drove 9.5 hours after working a full shift to meet me. The first words he said when he saw me in person were "you are beautiful." It took no time at all to realize we were just as compatible in person as on the phone. We talked late into the night and just after midnight on 08/10/19 he asked me to be his girlfriend.

The Relationship

08/10/2019 to present

Long-distance is hard work! Only people who have been through this really KNOW. Finances, work schedules, Covid shut-downs, car troubles and so many other obstacles were thorns in our sides as we tried to plan trips only to have something fall through. It was discouraging and frustrating to be apart when we wanted nothing more than to be together. But, we learned through these long periods of separation to truly value each moment together. We learned to never take that precious time together for granted. Since Anthony moved to TN, there have still been difficult times, but usually, no matter how bad things get, one of us eventually says "but at least we are TOGETHER!" With long distance there isn't much you can do but talk. And oh, how we talked. So many hours were spent talking about anything and everything, laughing, encouraging each other, studying the bible, or just goofing off! Sometimes when things got busy we wouldn't even talk because we were both involved with some chore or task, and we could have just ended the call, but even in silence it was just nice to have the other person "there." In a way, long distance forced us to have the "tough talks" that often get pushed aside in favor of lighter topics. It forced us to learn how to communicate our love, our concerns, our joys, sorrows...everything. Long distance taught us many things, and, in its own way, helped us create many lasting memories, but nothing compares to finally being together!! For the last year we have made many more memories and have grown so much together. We can't wait to spend the rest of our lives getting to know each other better and growing to love each other more and more!

The Proposal


Anthony took me to the TN Riverwalk to "take pictures". It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed walking and talking. After a while he pulled me aside. He told me he had written a poem and he wanted to know what I thought about it. He seemed pretty nervous, which I thought was odd, but, somehow I didn't put two and two together. He took my hand and began reading the most beautiful poem beginning with when we first met and moving on to our relationship together over the last two years. I will never forget the last lines as he read "these last two years have kept me high as a dove, and for the rest of my life I want to give you all of my love." My heart raced as he knelt down on one knee and removed a beautiful, jeweled rose ring box and asked me to marry him. Of course I said "YES!" My engagement ring was specially designed with my favorite photo of us inside surrounded by the words "I love you" in 100 different languages. Every time I look into the ring I am reminded of how much he loves me and of how much thought and consideration he puts into our relationship. For this reason, and so many more, I can't wait to say "I do!"

The Best is Yet to Come!


03/26/23 we will begin writing the next chapter of our love story! Wedding planning is tough, but an amazing bonding experience and we can't wait for our BIG DAY! We hope to see you all there!

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