Great Smoky Mountain NP Proposal | Emily & Jon




Jon asked Emily to marry him on a sunny evening in the snow, in a quiet corner of Newfound Gap – an overlook and trailhead in the Smoky Mountains. I’ve been dragging these two into the Smokies to hike since we were in high school, and this was the most perfect and gorgeous mountain proposal that we could have asked for. It was Leap Day, the roads opened up just 2 hours before we set out to drive into the freshly fallen snow, and now I’m set to have a brother in just a few short months. See their snowy photos and hear a bit of the proposal story (with all of the sass that a sister should have) below!

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I present you with the most informal, stream-of-consciousness wedding photography blog that I’ve ever created. (Because Em’s my sister, if you didn’t catch that part yet.)

Where to begin? Everyone knew that Emily, a good 20 months younger than I, would be married before I was. And really we’re just surprised that it hasn’t happened yet. Emily and Jon (and me and both of our families) met many many years ago at our church in Knoxville. I can’t remember when, and I have more vivid memories of Jon’s older brother on mission trips than I do of Jon, but by the time we were in high school we were all pals. For their formal engagement session I’ll tell the story from their perspective, and dig out all of those great photos from middle and high school, but for now, here’s my side of the story.

To be honest, I can’t really tell you when it began. Jon a few of the other guys in his and Emily’s grade were some of the most reliable people in our church. We went on all of the mission trips together, led a weekly morning of prayer at our public school, and I dragged them on as many weekend hikes as I could. At some point along the way someone starting liking someone and then the other someone somehow started liking someone too, and around the time I was beginning college, Emily and Jon were finally dating. Two years (maybe?) in Knoxville together, and now 3, almost 4 years long-distance as Emily went to school in North Carolina and Jon went down to Chattanooga.

So the proposal…

Emily told me about her Leap Day plans at least 3 or 4 months ago. She wanted to go to Sevierville and Pigeon Forge to do all of the weird things that people don’t normally do, like WonderWorks.

Jon texted me January 29th and asked if I would be free the following month. I assumed I knew why he was asking, and was correct, so I came home for a conveniently already scheduled engagement session (Brianna and Dillon, thank you for throwing Emily off the scent), and tagged along for their Smoky Mountain adventure with their friend Sydnie.

After a day of wandering in and out of Gatlinburg stores, we drove up into the mountains and started down a trail in the snow. Sydnie and I slowed down, I asked a sweet older couple to hang back with us for a moment, and Jon said something along the lines of, “Um, I don’t know how to do this… Can I ask you a question?” (what a romantic proposal). Then he knelt in his olive pants and Blundstones while Emily stood in her olive overalls and Blundstones, and he pulled out a gorgeous rose gold ring, with diamonds that look like a rose. Finally, the pair that everyone’s been rooting for forever, will be making it official this fall.

We wandered through the snowy Smoky Mountains taking engagement photos and throwing snow, and when we finally went back to our parents’ house, they had ordered a cake and decorated the kitchen and saved us leftover Zoe’s Kitchen from their dinner 2 hours earlier.

Everything was just as low-key and mountain-centered as I would have imagined for Emily and Jon’s proposal. Just wait until I pull out all of the old photographic evidence of their love in its beginning stages. There are some real gems. Congrats to two of my favorite humans.


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