#howheasked: Shanise + Jake

This next proposal is near and dear to my heart. My absolute best friend in this world got engaged and gets to continue our #howheasked holiday series!

I remember the first time Shanise told me about this guy at the gym she had a crush on. Fast forward 4 years and I knew from conversations that I had with her that a proposal would be happening soon (as in the next year). So one day, I dragged her into a jewelry store so I knew what kind of ring she would want in case Jake called me. She fell in love with one particular one and I knew Jake has to see it. I’ll let Shanise take over with this sassy story.

December 20, 2015 will now be a day we will remember for the rest of our lives. Once a month for about a year now, we plan a “date day” which means one person gets to pick what we do together for the whole day. December was his month to pick what we would do and it just so happen to fall on the day he wanted to propose. On that morning he asked if I would like to have breakfast at Cracker Barrel knowing it was my favorite place to eat! As we are eating at Cracker Barrel, he says he would like for us to go over to his parent’s new house. I had been there once before but never inside. So I said ok but asked what else we would do for the rest of our date day. He continued with saying we could rent the new Minions movie and have a Sushi night! I told him I would rather not rent the Minions movie because little did he know I had already gotten that for him for Christmas. We finished our meal and headed home to pick our dog Sam up to take over to his parents.

We got to his parents and I was greeted by a new puppy they had just gotten! His mom showed me the house and pictures on their camera , and she told me she was planning on making a scrapbook of before and after pictures. I found out later that was just a cover up for her randomly taking pictures of us before Jake proposed. We had been there for a while and I was ready to go because I wanted to finish our date day, but Jake said we couldn’t leave. I thought he was being rude and just didn’t want to have to do anything else for our date day. So I said fine and walked back into the house while he stayed outside to help his dad in a barn they’re redoing. After I was done pouting in the house (ha) I came outside to see the progress.

Jake said before we could leave he wanted to put Sam in the house so he could hide a few deer antlers in the yard for him to find since that’s what he’s been training him to do. I said okay and started heading into the house when he “acts mad” saying I NEVER do anything with him! He then asked if I would walk around with him while he puts the antlers in the yard. We put one in the front yard and made our way to the backyard. Jake said he wanted to put a few antlers down at the pond down there so I stood at the top of the hill forgetting that earlier in the day I had asked to go down there. He stopped walking, turned around to me and said, “Well don’t you want to come down to the water with me?” Of course I said, “Oh yeah!”

We walked down to the pond, and Jake put one down. He asked if I would take the other one he had in his hand around to the other side. With attitude, I said, “Sure if you want me to,” as I was thinking, “Stop being lazy and do it yourself !” Ha! He handed it to me and I took a few steps before he stopped me and said, “That’s a really special one because it was the first one I ever found, so put it somewhere good.” I responded with, “Okay, I got it,” and kept walking. He stopped me again and said,” But really Shanise it’s special. Look at it and make sure it’s okay” I was about to take one more step away from him when I looked down at the antler and saw the words”MARRY ME?”

Jake asked Shanise to go hide this antler for their dog Sam to find.

Jake asked Shanise to go hide this antler for their dog Sam to find.

At that moment I felt like everything was moving in slow motion. I turned to see him down on one knee. All I remember is saying “No way…really!?!…YES” He claims, though, that is said, “Stop it,” but I don’t recall that 🙂

This was taken by Jake's mom just before Shanise read what was on the antlers.

This was taken by Jake’s mom just before Shanise read what was on the antlers.

After reading "Marry Me?" on the antlers, Shanise turned to find Jake down on one knee.

After reading “Marry Me?” on the antlers, Shanise turned to find Jake down on one knee.

She said, "Yes!"

She said, “Yes!”

They were soon greeted by their dog Sam.

They were soon greeted by their dog Sam.


Shanise's one-of-a-kind ring.

Shanise’s one-of-a-kind ring.

His mom was standing on the hill capturing every moment which I found out after his dad let Sam out of the house, and he came running down to us! From the moment I read ” MARRY ME” to Sam running down the hill, I was only focused on Jake. There could have been rainbow unicorns flying around us during that moment and I would have never known. We spent the rest of the afternoon with family then made our way back to Jake’s house. We ended what was the most excited day of our lives with a cup of hot chocolate and a round of Mario Kart.”

I am so excited to get the planning underway! Congratulations to my best friend and sister and my soon-to-be brother-in-law!


#Howheasked: Anna + Jake

We continue our #Howheasked holiday series with the very recent proposal of Anna and Jake in Nashville, Tenn. Jake and Anna knew of each other through mutual friends in college but didn’t actually meet until the first semester of their junior year when they had a class together. Their first date was to Jake’s fraternity Halloween date party when they went as Johnny and June Cash. They knew there was something special between them, and it took
less than a month to make it official.
Jake & Anna's first date at a fraternity Halloween date party dressed as Johnny and June Cash.

Jake & Anna’s first date at a fraternity Halloween date party dressed as Johnny and June Cash.

Jake & Anna's first date at a fraternity Halloween date party dressed as Johnny and June Cash.

Jake & Anna’s first date at a fraternity Halloween date party dressed as Johnny and June Cash.


Jake planned quite the proposal on November 28 to surprise his (hopeful) bride-to-be! Anna says:
“Jake and I traveled to Memphis for the week of Thanksgiving. I was a little bummed that I was going to miss Thanksgiving back in Nashville with my family for the first time, but I was excited to spend time with his family. Plus, my family was supposedly going to the University of Tennessee football game in Knoxville that weekend anyway. We came back to Nashville that Saturday morning after Thanksgiving to go see the Grinch at Opryland. After the show, Jake suggested that we go watch the University of Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt game at Barlines (a bar in the Omni Hotel downtown). As we were driving up to Barlines, Jake pulls into the valet of the Omni and says, ‘Surprise, we are staying here! I felt bad about you having to leave your family for Thanksgiving.’
Jake and Anna celebrated Thanksgiving in Memphis with Jake's family. It was the first time Anna was away from her family for the holiday.

Jake and Anna celebrated Thanksgiving in Memphis with Jake’s family. It was the first time Anna was away from her family for the holiday.

I was obviously shocked and excited but thought well, that’s a big surprise just because he felt bad. We walked into the hotel and got our hotel key, and I soon found out that it was a key to a huge suite on the very top floor overlooking the entire city. It was beautiful! I immediately exclaimed to him that he did not need to spend all this money and he was crazy. We walked over to look outside the window at the skyline when he said, ‘Stay right there.’ 
The view from Jake & Anna's suite at the Omni Hotel overlooking Nashville.

The view from Jake & Anna’s suite at the Omni Hotel overlooking Nashville.

I was a wee bit suspicious, but I had thought this moment was coming many times before and it hadn’t so I didn’t want to get my hopes up. So, I stared out at the view then I heard ‘Anna,’ turned around and he was down on one knee saying all sorts of things that I cannot remember to this day. I said “YES of course!”

He then proceeds to pick up his phone and call my mom. When he says to her ‘Okay, come up here,’ all I could say was ‘WHAT?! I thought they were in Knoxville.’ It was at that moment I realized there were flowers, chocolate covered strawberries, champagne and wine all in the room. The rest of the night was spent celebrating the engagement with my family in the most beautiful suite while cheering on the Vols. I couldn’t have dreamed of something so special and perfect for me. And I can say the same thing about my new fiance, Jake.”
Anna & Jake 1
Anna & Jake 3
Jake and Anna celebrating with Anna's parents.

Jake and Anna celebrating with Anna’s parents.

Anna celebrating with her brother Logan.

Anna celebrating with her brother Logan.

Anna celebrating with her sister-in-law and Phi Mu sorority sister Valerie.

Anna celebrating with her sister-in-law and Phi Mu sorority sister Valerie.

Jake and Anna are busy planning their October 2016 nuptials at Gaylord Springs in Nashville. We wish you the best! Congratulations and Merry Christmas!

#Howheasked: Rachel + Chris

We’re kicking off our #Howheasked holiday series with the beautiful story of high school sweethearts Rachel and Chris Zotti’s 2014 proposal!

Rachel said:

“Chris proposed to me the night after Thanksgiving in 2014, which just happened to be the night before my 23rd birthday. When he took me out to a nice dinner in downtown Franklin, Tenn. at the Cork & Cow I was thinking it was just an early birthday celebration. They sat us upstairs by ourselves where we could look out over the rest of the restaurant. It was so beautiful and romantic, and I thought we had lucked out by having them sit us at the best table. Of course, I found out later that Chris had a hand in that.

After dinner, he suggested that we walk through downtown Franklin to go get some coffee. There is a coffee shop right past the Franklin Theater, which is where we have “our bench.” It’s the spot where Chris first asked me to be his girlfriend, way back when I was a freshman in high school. It’s always been a spot that I loved to look back on and remember that awkward, sweet moment when we were sitting there waiting for our moms to pick us up from our date. We passed by the bench, and Chris asked if I would like to sit down for a minute. It felt like a movie because downtown Franklin is so beautiful, especially during the holidays. The little stores had their Christmas trees and lights up, and everyone was out and about shopping. We talked for a little bit, and then I noticed Chris seemed nervous which is when it dawned on me that we were sitting in this special spot. Before I knew it, he knelt down on one knee and asked “Will you marry me?” and it was absolutely the most exciting moment of my life!

All of the Stars Photography


All of the Stars Photography

Of course I said yes, and then out of nowhere, I heard cheering, and across the street I saw our families! They had gotten to witness the whole thing. After he put my ring on my finger, we ran across to them and got to hug and celebrate. It was such a special moment! I should also mention – Chris also had photographers secretly taking pictures of this the whole time which was so amazing, because I can look back on those and remember that night just as it was forever. (Especially because I was in so much shock, everything seemed like a blur at the After taking pictures, Emily – his sister and actually my Little Sister in my sorority – suggested that we go back to their house to celebrate with champagne…which led to another surprise waiting on me! Chris and I stopped in at The Bottle Shop in Franklin where we bought a bottle of champagne, which was so much fun because people were congratulating us everywhere we went. We pulled up to his parents’ house and Chris led the way into the house where ALL of my friends and family were waiting and cheering! It was SUCH a huge surprise! It meant so much to me that Chris had included all of our family and friends, and the whole night was a huge celebration. It was absolutely perfect.”

Chris, hat’s off to you! He thought of it all and included personal touches that meant so much to Rachel. I love how clueless Rachel was about what was happening! She thought they had lucked out with the nice table at dinner and was so completely in the moment and didn’t recognize Chris’s nervousness until just the right moment. I believe when a woman isn’t expecting the proposal it makes it so much better.

Chris and Rachel were married on November 14, 2015 at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Nashville and celebrated with family and friends with a reception at the beautiful Loveless Barn. Thank you for sharing your story Mr. and Mrs. Zotti!

Madi Flournoy Photography

Madi Flournoy Photography