From Hailey: I first met Zach at what would become both of our church home, Living Hope Fellowship. I remember knowing a few things about him: he was a new guy at church, a teacher, drives a big white van, from Kentucky, and quickly became someone that everyone wanted to know. He became close friends with my best friends, Haley and Stephen, who later hosted a friendsgiving where we were both invited and sat next to each other. I asked him if he likes talking about his van in an attempt to spark conversation and he said no. Thankfully, this conversation was redeemed later on in the night! After becoming friends quickly, he asked me to be his girlfriend on January 10, 2021, which is also his birthday! I first knew I liked Zach when he wasn't embarrassed to share with me a clip from New Girl that he found hilarious on our second date. I realize now that he is my favorite person to laugh with and I want to do that with him forever! From Zach: I first met Hailey when visiting our church home- Living Hope Fellowship. I had recently moved to Baton Rouge and, as it were, she and a couple of friends had introduced themselves after the service (she was wearing a cute little purple mask). A few months later, some cool and kind homies- Haley and Stephen Miller- were nice enough to invite this new guy to their Friendsgiving dinner. I got to sit next to her for the dinner, where I clearly won her over with my conversational skills (read above). We were invited over to the Millers a few weeks later to play some more games. They claim to have invited many people, but it ended up just being the four of us (a little suspicious, don’t you agree?). I was drawn to her kind spirit, low-key humor, and subtle awkwardness; which are all very much tied together by her ultimate desire of knowing Christ more in all she does.
We got engaged on March 11, 2023 and let me tell y'all I did not think I was going to be surprised. I woke up that morning, had coffee with my sister, and I asked her how cool it would be if Zach were to propose while both of my sisters were in town. She shut me down in a cool way and told me that if he were proposing that she would probably know about it and I believed this. I had work that morning so I got ready and left. I ended up getting off of work a bit early and I headed to Zach's apartment. (Little did I know his brother and 2 best friends were hanging with him at the apartment and literally pulled out as I was pulling in). I went upstairs and found a present on his table with someone else's name on it; I did think this was a bit suspicious but still so oblivious. He told me he had to drop off that gift to someone who worked at the Burden Botanical Gardens (one of our first dates--still had no clue). But before we dropped that off, we headed to lunch at Elsies (our first date--still nothing) with our closest friends, Haley and Stephen. Throughout dinner I wondered if he would be proposing but at this point, I was reading into everything. After lunch, we went to "drop off the gift" at the botanical gardens. While we were walking around the gardens I told him that I had wished he would have asked me to be his girlfriend there; little did I know, he would ask me to marry him literally 5 minutes later! We sat on a bench and talked about how much we mean to each other and how we make each other better, and even in this moment, I didn't think anything of because we always tell each other this! But then he struggled to get the ring out of his pocket, bent down and asked me to marry him AND I said YES (after a very loud "are you pranking me?") We saw our best friends come out from hiding behind the trees and then went back to my house to celebrate with all of our friends and family.