Blanton Museum & Seaholm District Engagement Session with Zach & Noelle

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I am so excited to post this amazing Engagement Session with Zach & Noelle! The Blanton Museum is my favorite museum in Austin & is closed on Mondays each week. Well, these two rented it out for part of our session & when they brought the idea up in conversation, I was more than excited! I am in love with the light blue ombre wall that is in the main grand room at the foot of the stairs of the museum-it almost makes you feel like you're standing at the bottom of the ocean in the Caribbean! These two were so fun to hang out with on our session & I loved being able to hear about how their worlds first collided with the help of a little technology & an updated grasp of what dating really looks like in today's day and age.  

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How did y'all meet and what was your first date like?

Zach - "Noelle and I first met on a dating app., which reflecting back on is still fairly unconventional at this point
in time - but we count ourselves really lucky to have met our significant other in this way.
 
Our first date ended up being one of our most favorite/funniest memories we share with our friends and
new faces when people ask "How did you two meet?".
 
After chatting for a little bit on the app. we decided to grab drinks - Noelle insisted that we had to grab
food if we were going to get drinks, and if we were going to grab food then it had to be tacos. We
decided on a local East-Austin mezcal bar for the first date.
 
We got to the restaurant and immediately hit it off - there was never a dull moment during the date. At
some point during the date we put in our orders: I got fish tacos and Noelle got al pastor. After more
conversation and a couple more drinks our food comes out, but I notice something a little off about the
food. The plates look identical - both fish tacos. The plates are set down and I look over at Noelle:
"Hey Noelle, I don't think that is tacos al pastor. You should tell the waiter and I'm sure he'll change it out
for you."
"Oh no, it's fine. I really don't mind."
"You sure? You should get what you ordered."
"Yah, it's fine."
 
So, I left it at that and we enjoyed our dinner. After I'd finished my plate I noticed across the table that
Noelle had hardly touched her tacos but I shrugged it off as her being nervous and that she didn';t want
to eat a ton of food in front of a stranger. We wrapped up the date with plans made for a second and
said good night.
 
Flashforward about a month and a few more dates. We were driving in my car to dinner and we're
chatting about what our favorite foods are. I somehow get on the subject of salmon burgers and how
much I love them as a quick dinner when Noelle stops me:
"Hey Zach…"
"What's up?"
"I have a confession to tell you…"
"What is it?"
"I don't like fish."
"Wait what?! You ate fish on our first -"
"Yah, I don't like fish at all. In fact thinking about eating fish makes me sick."
"No way - this whole time?! You could have had those al pastor tacos!"
 
We laugh every time we remember that conversation, or any time we drive past that restaurant. I think
that was something that really stood out to me about Noelle - how easy it was for us to make each other
laugh. It's still like that today."

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Noelle - "Zach and I met on Tinder. I had never been on that or any other dating app before, but my cousin and I were bored one night and decided to see what all the fuss was about.  I didn't think anything would come of it but look where we are now.  Zach swiped up on my profile (which I later found it is called a "superswipe"), so I guess he meant serious business.  After not replying to his (or anyone's) messages, he sent over a gif of a guy at a computer waiting for a response.  Over time as the man is waiting for a reply, he turns into a skeleton.  Which of course prompted conversation!

Our first date was in East Austin at a taco bar (I insisted on tacos, Zach insisted on drinks).  We talked for a quite a while and didn't even notice how much time had passed before we decided to call it a night. A funny story that we like to tell people is how the kitchen got my order wrong and gave me fish tacos.  I hate fish.  But didn't want to seem picky so I "acted cool" and ate a little bit.  But it's terrible because Zach loves fish and he was raving about salmon like two months later.  That's when I knew I had to 'fess up. 

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Can you describe the Proposal story?

Zach - "

I began engagement ring shopping secretly around August 2017 while Noelle was on vacation with her
family in Italy. Started off at Tiffany's (yikes), talked to some local Austin jewelers, but ended up going
with an online ring retailer to find the perfect ring.
 
Simultaneously, I got Noelle's cousins involved with ring selection and brainstorming creative ways that I
could ask Noelle to marry me. Poetry or write a song, no not my style. Big gesture, not really my thing
either. Family gathering - bingo. I knew that I wanted to find a way to honor my parents in the
engagement as well, so I decided to "ask the question" to Noelle on the same day that my parents got
engaged - Christmas Eve.
 
Now I just had to get the parents on board to convince her side of the family to be in Austin for the
proposal … while all keeping it a secret. No pressure. I took her parents out to dinner in October while
Noelle conveniently had classes so not to raise any suspicion. The parents and I had a great dinner - I
remember I was so nervous about asking, so I got it out of the way right when we first sat down - "Look
if I don't say this at the beginning I';m just going to be a nervous wreck and I'm not going to be able to
enjoy my dinner - I want to marry your daughter!"
They gave me their blessing and we enjoyed the rest of the night over some cocktails and good food.
 
The ring came in around mid-October and that thing burned a hole in my pocket for almost two and a
half months. There were so many times where I was tempted to not wait until Christmas Eve and just
propose because I was so excited to share it with Noelle. But I waited and I planned.
 
My plan was to present the ring in a sort of Russian nesting doll format, but with boxes. Each box would
sit inside the next with a different present in each. I got Noelle a massage gift certificate, lotion form
L'Occitane, and the last box had the engagement ring box in it.
 
Christmas Eve quickly rolled around the corner and the big night was upon us. The whole proposal was
about to go down in front of her entire Peruvian side of the family. It's tradition in Latin American
cultures that you open presents on Christmas Eve close to midnight, so I'd ask the cousins earlier that
day to help wrangle people into the living room and to take pictures after dinner.
 
Everyone settled in to the living room and all the "kids" began passing present around to everyone. My
heart was beating faster and faster as less and less presents sat under the Christmas Tree. When it got
towards the end I took my presents to Noelle and waited patiently with the ring in my pocket.
 

She was already knew that I'd purchased the lotion for, but I got the massage certificate to throw her off
my tracks - and to my delight she didn't seem to suspect what was in the last box. When she finally
opened the last box and got to the engagement ring she said "What's this?" That's when I dropped to
one knee and popped the question "Noelle, will you marry me?"
 
"Wait, really? … Yes, of course!"
 
It's been a whirlwind of planning ever since!

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These two truly love each other & they shared how much they enjoy reading together, which I thought was amazing. Those who read together, stay together- is that a saying? It should be. I've always been taught to never stop learning & I think that two people who enjoy reading and keeping their minds sharp can only mutually benefit their lifelong commitment towards one another. There is something to be said about this mutual trait they both posses and it is very motivating for me as well to pick up my book currently on my bedside table and cozy up with tea to be brought in to a different world for a moment. 

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I asked the two to send me a few notes with a recap of their story and I was so impressed by what they included. How amazing is it that Zach included specific reasons why he loves Noelle:

"There are about a thousand different reasons that I love Noelle, but here are just a few that I wanted to
share with you, the reader:
 She finds a way to make me laugh. Every. Single. Day.
 We can be goofy as hell when no one is around
 She's always down for a board game

 We love our national parks and have plans to visit as many as we can before we're too old
 She embraces my inner nerd. She even joins in every now and then
 When we disagree, there is always forgiveness and commitment to make each other better
 She's brought me closer to God and supported me to be a better man
 Her family has made me feel so welcome
 Her generosity and empathy towards others (especially those less fortunate) is contagious
 She finds new ways to show me her love
 
It's for all these reasons and so many more that I decided I wanted Noelle to be my wife."

Also, refering to after their first date, Noelle said this:

"We've been inseparable ever since, and have loved every minute of it.  From going to Book People in downtown Austin, walking around the hike and bike trail, rock climbing, and everything in between, we have become best friends.  Zach proposed on Christmas Eve in front of my entire (we're talking 30 people) family, just like Zach's father did many years ago."

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Zach & Noelle really seem to be such a great match, especially because they enjoy so many of the same things. They explained how excited they were for the Astros winning the World Series and sported their Houston pride. Also, Noelle found her favorite words in her book that said "'Though mayest, Thou mayest!'". I love that Zach honors Noelle for bringing him closer to the Lord. That is one bond we all share & it was very encouraging to read that. It was such a joy to spend time with these two and I cannot wait for their wedding in January! Cheers, to Zach & Noelle- May your love be strong and may your faith be great.

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So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
— 1 Corinthians 13:13
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