Long-ago first kiss a prelude to forever bliss

Katie and Mike Stiles married on March 26, 2016, at Homestead Manor in Thompson‘s Station.(Photo: Ian Riley)

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Teacher Katie Egbert, 39, and architect Mike Stiles, 37, have already tackled some pretty awkward moments in their relationship. After all, they first met waiting tables at a Green Hills retirement home while in high school, she at Franklin Road Academy, he at Franklin High.

“Then he got promoted and for a while he was actually my boss,” she says. “We apparently liked each other and didn‘t know it.”

But they liked each other enough to kiss one time — his first ever — before dropping it like it never happened.

“It was high school, this random ‘I like him, he likes me, I think he‘s about to kiss me,’ moment,” she says. “Then we never talked about it again because we were too embarrassed.”

After graduation they naturally parted ways, he attending the University of Tennessee-Knoxville to study architecture, she going to Middle Tennessee State University. They stayed friendly, but never really spent any time together.

Years later they became friends on Facebook, but she wasn’t exactly sure who he was because despite having dozens of mutual friends he had signed up on the social media platform with a different name. Then one day she noticed that the mystery friend had checked into a place right across the street from where she was.

“Literally, across the street,” she jokes. “I had to see who it was.” So she went over there and, happily surprised, hung out with him, and eventually they began seeing each other more and more. But when talk of spending even more time together seemed to always stall out, she called him on it. His response was not anything she expected.

“He said, ‘I don‘t know how I feel about hanging out with a married girl without her husband around.’ I was like, ‘I‘m not married!’”

The proposal

Once Stiles realized the girl he had a huge crush on was actually available, he asked her out. Their first date was on March 26, 2014, for a nice meal at Marche in East Nashville.

The date went so well that exactly one year later — again on March 26 — he prepared to propose. Of course, she didn’t know that.

To keep it a secret, he took her to Asheville for a weekend to celebrate her spring break, alone one night and with friends in a cabin for a few more. Once they were on their way, though, he canceled their inexpensive hotel for a major upgrade at the Grove Park Inn. Then, he suggested driving through Pisgah Forest and stopping to look at the overlooks when most times he prefers to take the highway. And it was at one of those overlooks, where they had stopped for a look, that he pulled out a ring and asked her to marry him.

“He even had a bottle of Champagne ready to go,” she says. “He is a serious planner,” she says. “He asked my dad and he borrowed a ring that was his grandmother‘s to do the actual proposing, because we wanted to make our ring together.”

And one year after that they got married on their special date in front of 200 friends and family members. And it’s a date he’s not likely to ever forget.

“I didn‘t realize he did this for a long time, but the 26th of every month he takes me out to dinner,” she says. “He still does it. He’s sugar coated.”

Teacher Katie Egbert, 39, and architect Mike Stiles, 37, shared a crush in high school but didn't reconnect and begin dating until years later. (Photo: Ian Riley)

Ceremony snapshot

The date: March 26, 2016

The location: The rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception for 200 guests were all held at in Thompson‘s Station.

The attendants: The five bridesmaids and one junior bridesmaid all wore long, purple, strapless gowns from the Bridal Warehouse in Goodlettsville. Underneath, they all wore gray Chuck Taylor sneakers.

The dress: The first dress the bride tried on was the one she chose, a champagne-colored satin gown with white lace overlay from The White Room in Murfreesboro. The back of the dress buttoned behind her neck and then opened into a keyhole shape, and under the dress she was also wearing Chuck Taylors, though hers were purple. She had died her hair purple as well, but decided to cut it all off before the wedding and walked down the aisle with fairy lights woven into her hair, topped with a veil.

The groom: He and his six groomsmen all wore gray suits with black Chuck Taylors.

The music: The house deejay kept the crowd entertained, and the first song the couple danced to as husband and wife was “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys.

The flowers: Homestead Manor created the purple-themed floral arrangements and bouquet.

The food: Catered on site, the meal was served family-style and included pork tenderloin with fig chutney, steak with chimichurri sauce, broccolini and potatoes. Instead of a groom’s cake, they stacked cheese wheels like cake layers. The wedding cake was made to resemble birch trees. The Lego bride-and-groom wedding topper with Lego arch was created by the groom. The couple is even joined by her dog, and she is holding a bottle of champagne.

The memories: The couple honeymooned in the Dominican Republic.

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