She Said Yes

The leaves may be changing, but that doesn’t mean love isn’t still in the air. This fall, two of Strong’s digital team members popped the question and set a date. Their stories, while composed of different times, faces and places, share the same raw emotion that anyone getting down on one knee can’t help but feel.


Always one to practice what he preaches, Joey Tichenor harnessed the power of digital technology to find eternal love. Tichenor met his fiancée, Anna, via a dating app last spring. The two had their first date at Cahaba Brewing in April of 2017. Ever since, Tichenor has known that Anna was the one.

With Anna being of Polish descent, Tichenor suggested that the two visit Poland as a late summer trip. While there, Tichenor would have the opportunity to meet his future fiancée’s extended family and practice nodding blankly while they spoke to him in Polish.

Everything coalesced in Tichenor’s mind. A foreign destination, a family gathering, a first-time adventure… it was the perfect place for a proposal. There was only one problem. Anna’s cousin’s wedding was taking place during the trip. Not wanting to steal her thunder, Tichenor had to wait.

The day after the wedding, Anna and Tichenor took a sojourn to a mountain resort town near the Czech border. Tichenor described it as a “Polish Gatlinburg.”

His original plan was to hike the town’s mountain and propose at the top, but once he fully realized its height, he knew neither would be in a condition to be photographed once they reached the summit.

Instead, Tichenor spotted an enchanting garden in the courtyard of the hotel. There was lush vegetation, a koi pond, a quaint little bridge – the perfect spot.

“Let’s take a walk in the hotel garden before dinner,” Tichenor suggested.

As they walked, Anna questioned why Tichenor was unusually silent. She brushed it off as pre-dinner peckishness. Little did she know, Tichenor’s hand was placed over his pocket the entire walk, fearful of misplacing the ring that he had so masterfully hidden for the duration of their trip.

As they stood on the bridge and gazed out at the water’s rippling surface, Anna turned to walk away. Tichenor knew it was now or never.

“Anna, wait!” he called.

She paused and swiveled. As she cast her gaze back toward the other end of the bridge, she found Tichenor kneeling before her, ring in hand.

After a heartfelt proposal and a resounding “yes” on his fiancée’s part, the two eagerly informed friends and family back home before continuing on to the night’s dinner.

The couple is set to wed on Saturday, June 1, 2019, in the ballroom at Roots and Revelry.


Mary-Kate Laird and fiancée Savannah’s meeting was somewhat by chance.

Seated at a table at Café Dupont, Laird was surveying the room when she stopped for a double-take. One diner, in particular, looked strikingly familiar. Pulling out her phone to check, Laird recognized her as someone she had seen on a dating app. She sent a message calling out the dinnertime coincidence to the girl and carried on.

As it turned out, Laird was mistaken. The girl from the app was not the girl in Café Dupont. Rather, she was a few blocks away at Ghost Train Brewery. Nevertheless, the two connected and found they had much in common.

Fast forward almost one year later, and the two are preparing to attend their one-year anniversary celebration dinner at The View.

What better time, what better place, Laird thought, than here to ask.

In preparation, she had asked a former co-worker, Colin, to perch behind the columns outside and capture the moment on camera. Her father and Savannah’s mother attended clandestinely as well.

“Let’s take a minute to go to The Grill and see the skyline,” Laird suggested to Savannah.

As the two made their way outside, Laird paused, searching for a pre-determined bush. The family, unbeknownst to Savannah, was lingering just out of sight on the balcony above. They watched as Laird produced a small, wooden box. In it was the ring.

“We had talked about it before,” Laird said. “She told me that I have to tell her I’m about to ask an important question. I had an entire script written but could only get out, ‘Okay – I have an important question… You know I love you, right? And I want to be with you forever. So, will you marry me?’”

Savannah nodded tearfully, and Laird pointed to the balcony to reveal her mom while Colin emerged from behind the columns. It was a joyous moment with family and friends that she will never forget.

The couple is set to wed Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at Barnsley Gardens in Georgia.

Kiara & Lindy: Strong’s February Fiancées

There’s nothing like an engagement to bring people together in joy and jubilation. Already this year, the Strong family got to celebrate two new engagements not far from one another.

We asked Lindy McCullers and Kiara Cooper to share a piece of their engagement stories with us here.

Lindy’s Story

McCuller’s love story completed its circuit when she went on what was ostensibly a normal evening out at Gianmarco’s. Two year’s prior, she and her now-fiancé Archie had their first date at the same restaurant. As they walked out through the bordering garden, Archie paused to pick one of the blossoming flowers and gave it to McCullers as a token of affection.

Fast-forward to February 19, 2018, and they once again were enjoying dinner at Gianmarco’s. On their way in, Archie paused. McCullers, confused, implored him to continue into the restaurant. But he insisted that she take a look at the flowers near where he stood. When she acquiesced, he turned to face her – on one knee and ring in hand – and proposed in the same place where their love had first blossomed.

McCullers and her fiancé are set to wed on August 11, 2018.

Kiara’s Story

Cooper and her fiancé Jeffrey got engaged on February 23, 2018, the same day as Cooper’s birthday. Their wedding date is set for October 7, 2018.

The following is Cooper’s own account of her story with Jeffrey.

How We Met/Started Dating

Jeffrey and I met one fall Sunday in 2016. He came to visit my church with a mutual friend, and I was introduced to him after service ended. The group then went to grab lunch and, what do you know, he was there. Our mutual friend had just started a discipleship group, and I had made plans to be a part of it. During lunch, I discovered that Jeffrey was already part of the group, so we would be seeing one another every now and again – at least for the next couple of months.

Needless to say, Jeffrey and I became close friends throughout our discipleship. I really admired his wisdom, his eloquence, and his desire to help others as he strengthened his relationship with God.

We lost touch for a couple of months once the discipleship had ended, but he reached out to me on my birthday (February 23, 2017) and we reconnected. This time though, he made sure that I was aware that he wanted to turn our friendship into a relationship. After a couple months of courting, we officially started dating on April 18, 2017.

The Proposal

Jeffrey is a stickler for planning – which I absolutely love. So, naturally, he plans all of our dates. When my birthday came around, we both took off of work for the day and he was in charge of deciding how we’d celebrate. Of course, in typical Jeffrey fashion, the details of our date were a surprise. (I love surprises, but I always try to figure them out. I can’t help it.)

The day started off pretty normal. I spent the morning talking to my best friends and I hung out with my mom for a while before deciding what I’d wear for my date that night. (I was casually told to dress to impress, as we would be celebrating at a pretty nice place later in the evening). I’d suggested that we both wear all black, so I sorted through my wardrobe to find the perfect outfit. Once it was time for our date, we took my car and went to see a movie.

After the movie, he drove us to my favorite place, the Botanical Gardens. We walked around for a bit. Then, we went and sat on a bench near The Rose Garden and talked. He was acting a little weird, so I thought, “Is he about to propose right now? Hmm… This would actually be a good time.” (He didn’t). We left and headed to our next destination.

He had made reservations at Habitat Social & Feed. #Fancy! As soon as I set eyes upon this stunning restaurant, I was instantly taken aback. We sat down and enjoyed an absolutely amazing meal. At some point before we were seated, he had informed the managers of it being my birthday, and they were (in my opinion) being unusually nice to me. So again, I was thinking, “Okay. It’s definitely about to happen now. Someone’s probably going to bring out dessert or something with a ring in it.” (Nope – that didn’t happen).

He asked me to check the time and then quickly paid for our dinner. We had somewhere else to be and he was in a hurry. As we got to the car, he realized that he had left his personal set of keys at the Botanical Garden while we were there earlier, so we needed to rush back and get them before our next reservation. We drove back, and as we were pulling in, we noticed that the lights were already off and they were closing! We jumped out of the car and walked hurriedly toward the entrance. There was a security guard there preparing to close the gates, so our fast-paced walk turned into a run as we raced inside and headed toward The Rose Garden.

We got up the steps to the garden and my jaw dropped as I noticed the trail of candles leading toward its center. As we walked down the pavement hand-in-hand, I realized that there was a guitarist seated at the end of the trail, playing soft music. By the time we made it to the center of The Rose Garden, I was freaking out. It was really happening, and he’d actually caught me off guard! Then, he started singing our song! (Always and Forever by Heatwave). I heard footsteps behind me and he turned me around to see our friends, also dressed in all black, holding sunflowers (my favorite). The guys joined in to sing backup for the song. Then, they each handed me the sunflowers that they were holding. I turned back and Jeffrey was on one knee. He proposed!

My response? “Of course!”

Love From Strong

Everyone at Strong would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to our two newest brides-to-be. We look forward to celebrating again at your showers!