CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (BP)–Lamar Overby didn’t fall in love at Baptist Book Store in Chattanooga, Tenn., but his devotion to his bride-to-be certainly blossomed there.
Citing frequent enjoyable visits to the store, Overby, 28, chose Baptist Book Store as the memorable location for his recent proposal to an astonished Heather Ely, 25.
Manager Tim Burton said the store was packed on Saturday, Jan. 23, when Overby and Ely walked in.
“We were afraid we were going to give the surprise away because we were grinning and watching them while they shopped.”
Overby had asked permission earlier in the week to propose at the store, so the entire staff knew about the event.
“I thought it was a prank call at first,” Burton said with a laugh. “Apparently Heather was in the same area because he was whispering when he phoned.” Behind the sales counter, Overby’s mother placed a white T-shirt airbrushed with a special message: “Heather, will you marry me?”
His intended was in the dark until she stepped up to the register and her boyfriend asked if the shirt “was in.” Onlookers said when Overby unfolded the shirt and showed her, the woman spun around with a look of surprise, but was affirming in her answer when he dropped down to one knee and proposed.
“It was the furthest thing from my mind,” Ely admitted. “We’d talked about it, but I had no idea. We were looking at gifts, and now I understand why he wasn’t paying much attention.” The couple met last May at Temple Baptist Church in Chattanooga and will marry there April 17.
Burton said the couple enjoyed spending time at the store.
“It’s one of their favorite places. Lamar told one of our staffers that on the day he would propose, he would do it in front of God and everybody.”
The Chattanooga Baptist Book Store is part of the 81-store LifeWay Christian Stores, owned and operated by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. The store will begin using the name LifeWay Christian Store in May.
Harper is communications coordinator for LifeWay Christian Stores.