The Bates Family

Zach Pops the Question!

by Kelly on September 24, 2013

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  Zach wanted to surprise Whitney… He had already let the cat out of the bag that he had a ring, even though she hadn’t seen it! So she knew the big day was coming, she just didn’t know when or how!

  Zach had been planning for weeks. He had coordinated with her parents to have an overnight bag ready and waiting. He had arranged absences with her work and college.

   On an early, unsuspecting Wednesday, Zach was waiting on Whitney’s porch as she was leaving for school. He told her he wanted to take her for breakfast. The surprise breakfast turned out to be a drive thru breakfast, because Zach told Whitney he was late for an appointment! That appointment was our airline ride to Orlando, Florida! (Zach had found a bargain $59 flight!) 6516_10151487580248603_734273456_n

  When we arrived, we took a ride to see dolphins on the Little Toot boat in Clearwater, Florida. Dolphins followed the boat, jumping in and out of the wake for miles. Then we stumbled onto a pod of about 15 dolphins and their babies. It was an absolutely unforgettable ride!! That evening we found a church to attend, then settled in so we could prepare for the next day’s exciting events!

DSC06951  On Thursday morning, September 12, following lunch, Zach took Whitney to have her nails done. This gave us just enough time to search out a private proposal spot on the beach to fit the description Zach had given us. After looking at 3 spots, we thought we wouldn’t be able to find the ideal place he had envisioned, but someone directed us to SDSC06969myrna Dunes Park. After about a mile and a half walk along a beautiful boardwalk, the dunes open up to reveal an inlet with a lighthouse in the background on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.

  Zach proposed in a gorgeous setting, and I don’t know if they cried more or laughed more. Their hearts were so filled with joy! They ate a steak dinner together on the beach while they watched the sunset, and a new chapter in their lives began!! (She said, “Yes!”)

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{ 412 comments… read them below or add one }

Khiana September 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Congrats Zach and Whitney. Such a beautiful engagement setting. I especially love the heart drawn in the sand with flowers and candles. Did they set a wedding date yet?

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Kelly September 24, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Dear Khiana,
December 14! Love, Kelly

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Khiana September 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Wow! You have two weddings in the same year to plan for. Will Zach and Whitney wedding be filmed?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Dear Khiana,
I think our old producer, Matt Hightower, might be planning to film it. Love, Kelly

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Symphony October 5, 2013 at 12:02 am

yay! hope you can put it on this blog!=)

Amanda September 24, 2013 at 7:55 pm

that’s my baby’s 1st birthday!

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Anali October 5, 2013 at 2:45 am

That’s my baby’s 2nd birthday :)

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Rene September 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos of such a special time in Zach & Whitney’s journey towards God’s amazing ministry of marriage :-) so lovely to see their love & happiness shine through in the photos. Are they looking at getting married next year? God’s blessings for you all :-)

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Kelly September 24, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Dear Rene,
They’re planning on 3 months from now – December 14th! Love, Kelly

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Denise Johnson September 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Oh wow this must be so bitter sweet for y’all! Both of your children are getting married and moving out! But it’ll be ok I promise, aww you and Gil must be overly relieved and over joyed! How long have they been courting?

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Kelly September 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Dear Denise,
They began courting July 1st. Our family spends a lengthy getting-to-know-ya period now, so that there’s a little more stability and certainty to move forward into courtship and engagement. So, the get-to-know-ya stage might be longer than the courtship and engagement stages. After past experiences, this works better for us because they really try to develop a strong friendship before moving forward. Then courtship, for us, is really a time to learn to share their hearts and learn to do the romantic, thoughtful gestures that say, “I love you!” And engagement comes quickly after all those “I love you’s”…lol… for us, engagement is the wedding planning stage when they’ve already decided to pick a date and plan a wedding. This probably varies greatly from family to family. We know some families that don’t allow close relationships to form before courtship. They use the courtship as the get-to-know-ya phase. For us, that wasn’t as practical, and we see a lot of broken courtships due to lack of really knowing each other and growing as friends (through thick and thin) beforehand. Love, Kelly

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Alisha October 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm

you see courtship the same way me and my parents see it….
i’m so happy for zach, whitney, chad, & erin!
when are chad & erin getting married….will it be filmed?

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Kelly October 13, 2013 at 3:47 am

Dear Alisha,
Erin’s wedding date is Nov. 2nd, and they are planning to film it. Love, Kelly

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Lori Mitchell October 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Yeah! Im so proud for your family, a true blessing. Ya’ll will be very busy the next few months. Thank you for sharing.

Alexandra October 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm

I’m so glad that the wedding will be filmed. I hope Zach’s is filmed as well!

Will any of the Duggars be in the wedding party?

Hannah December 31, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Mrs. Bates,

I just want to say how encouraging this comment was to me. I like what you said, “try to develop a strong friendship before moving forward.” As a single young lady with a strong desire to marry someday (if it is the Lord’s will) this comment was a good reminder to become good friends first. I’ve yet to meet a man following strongly after the Lord (at least non that were for me), but I know I can trust the Lord.

Your family is such an encouragement to me. Thank you

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Mallory Devine September 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Oh, how precious!!! Sharing tears of joy with you all– and praying for the days & months ahead for Zach & Whitney, and both your families, as you prepare for a wedding! May God bless, direct, and keep you all! Loved the photos! The last ones are especially beautiful– a tresure for many years to come! Thank-you for sharing your joy!

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Alexis September 24, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Dear Kelly,

What joyous news!!! May the Lord richly bless Zach and Whitney in this new stage in their lives…. May He also give you and Gil strength and peace with two weddings in the works :) . Have they set a date yet? Please let us know when/where they register.

Love,
Alexis

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Kelly September 24, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Dear Alexis,
They are going to get married Dec 14th. Love, Kelly

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Alexis September 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Dear Kelly,

There seems to be a registry at Target for them. Is this accurate?

Love,
Alexis

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:51 am

Dear Alexis,
Yes, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t feel the need to buy. Both couples only registered because they had some relatives that really urged them to. They are very grateful for the comments and prayers they’ve received…and that truly is a gift! Love, Kelly

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Alexis October 9, 2013 at 8:05 am

Dear Kelly,

They are tokens of love and hope for them. I am on my knees for you and your family. May you enjoy having all your “little ones” under your roof for these last few days.

Love,
Alexis

Vanessa September 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm

This is such wonderful news! I just know they are excited! That was such a beautiful setting! God Bless

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Tashia September 24, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Congratulations!!!! Love the pictures! Such neat ideas!! God bless!

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Sophie September 24, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Congratulations!!! What a wonderful couple and beautiful pictures!

God bless,
Sophie

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Heather September 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Congrats to them!!!! Very beautiful pictures! Zach did a great job. Will they also be saving their first kiss for their wedding?

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Kelly September 24, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Dear Heather,
Yes, they will wait til their wedding day. Love, Kelly

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Jessica September 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Beautiful couple!!! What adventures for your family. Precious. May the Lord bless this sweet couple!!! YAY!!!!

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Kari September 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Congratulations! What a lovely proposal and wonderful pictures!

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Judy Smithmyer September 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Kelly,
Such a blessing to see Zach so happy. The Lord truely blessed him through the tuff season he had last year. You and your family are such an inspiration to many, including myself.
Blessings,
judy

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Kelly September 24, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Dear Judy,
It’s always hard to see God’s hand when you’re hurting, but looking back you can see how He was using everything for our good…molding us and growing us and guiding us. After coming through the valley, we can say we are so very grateful. Whitney has brought a smile to Zach’s face again! And they are so well matched! God knew exactly what He was doing! Love, Kelly

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Cathy September 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Wow! God is soooo good! Your home is surely beaming with smiles. I know you are excited to add another son and daughter to your family. Congratulations to you all!

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sara karr September 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm

wow congrats this is so exciting for all and sure its a very busy time as well thinking and praying for you May God continue to bless you and your family richly and use your family for Him

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Leah September 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Congratulations Zach & Whitney!

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Janet September 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney! Wow, such a quick courtship too! Then again, when you know, you just know, so why wait :) . Looks like you’re going to be busy the rest of the year from Erin’s wedding and now Zach’s! Pretty soon, it wouldn’t surprise me if you end up announcing regarding Alyssa’s courtship..that is, if they’re still planning on being in a courtship.

Are Zach and Whitney going to have a website?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 6:11 am

Dear Janet,
They’re working on a blog or website now :) Love, Kelly

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Bethany J. September 24, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Congratulations! That is so exciting! God bless you both!
I guess y’all will be busy for the rest of the year preparing for TWO weddings!

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Ellen Smith September 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Congratulations and best wishes to Zach and Whitney! How great is our Heavenly Father to have brought them together! May He continue to bless them richly in the years ahead!

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Pam A. September 24, 2013 at 2:31 pm

What a another pretty setting for an engagement! I’m partial to the ocean and beach; so I was extra happy for them! Congratulations!

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Sandra Toews September 24, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney! May the Lord Jesus bless them and you all as you plan for the upcoming wedding. Beautiful pictures! How exciting!!!

Sandra from Canada

P.S. I have been to that spot at Smyrna Dunes myself. It’s beautiful.

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Kaylee September 24, 2013 at 3:06 pm

What a beautiful moment! How precious the love their share- you can see it. :) Congratulations to the Bates family!

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Natalie September 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Congrats!!! You guys are so sweet!!! Kelly, if you need help with anything, the blog or anything, give me a call. If you need my number I can e-mail it to you! And by the way, I just e-mailed you about something I found that I think Chad and Erin would like!:-)

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nicole September 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney! I am so happy for both of them. How are you and the rest of the family feeling about have 2 move out so close together?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 6:09 am

Dear Nicole,
Well, there have been some tears…but mingled with joy! Love, Kelly

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Caryn September 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Dear Kelly,
How very exciting for your family! Such wonderful news & what a beautiful proposal!!!! I would love to send a gift as I did for Erin & Chad, are they registered anywhere yet? Lots of love to you all!!!!! Caryn

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 6:07 am

Dear Caryn,
That is too sweet… but they would want me to remind that you really don’t have to! I’m sure they will be grateful for even the thought. They are registered at Target and Wal-Mart. Love, Kelly

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Joy Duggar September 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Oh My Word!!!!! I’m SO excited for them!!!! They are the Cutest couple:D
Tell Zach “congrats” from me:D Praying for yall:)
Love,
-Joy Duggar

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Amy S September 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Congratulations to them both!! They are adorable together!! Do they know where they want to get married?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 6:05 am

Dear Amy,
At a church in Lake City. Love, Kelly

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Michelle September 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Oh my goodness! Tears of joy for this beautiful couple. I think I’m on a “Bates emotional roller coaster!” lol

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Teboho September 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Dear Mrs Kelly

Wow, congrats. I am so happy for Zach and Whitney as they enter a new phase in lives all for the glory of God. Mrs Kelly thank you for sharing your family journey with us, it is such a blessing and an encouragement to all of us. I live in South Africa and my cousin and I love your family( and the duggars) so much.

God bless

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Anna September 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm

How exciting! I know this is a wonderful time for your family! What is Whitney in school for? Blessings to y’all!

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Kelly October 13, 2013 at 4:19 am

Dear Anna,
medical coding and transcription. Love, Kelly

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mjw September 24, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Congratulations to the couple! One question…..were Whitney’s parents along for the engagement as well? Seems like she would have wanted them there since Zach had some of his family….

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Kelly October 13, 2013 at 4:18 am

Dear MJW,
Yes, we all wanted them there, but their work schedule prevented it. Love, Kelly

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Brynn September 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Wow, what a wonderful story! Congratulations, Zach and Whitney!
Do you, Kelly, have any advice for newlyweds? Maybe something that most people wouldn’t think to tell newlyweds? I just married my best friend last month, and I’d love to hear a fresh perspective- something that doesn’t necessarily have to do with finances or the whole “wives, submit to your husbands; husbands, love your wives” thing. I realize those are important, but I feel like there must be more to it. Any thoughts? Thanks :)

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Kelly October 13, 2013 at 4:17 am

Dear Brynn,
Hmmm… Wish we could talk in person on the subject, but here’s a sketchy outline of a few things that have been important to us…
1. Don’t neglect the spiritual: Family bible time, church, ministry, praying together…
2. Spend treasured moments together: weekly dates, read books aloud together, slow down and look each other in the eyes, talk talk talk and talk some more…
3. Don’t let the romance die/ Stay sparky: Hold hands, give hugs often, slow down and enjoy each others company, make together times a special priority
4. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath: work out misunderstandings quickly, understand each other’s differences, be willing to forgive, don’t put each other down or use hurtful words or looks
5. Commit to faithfulness: Guard your eyes and thoughts from immorality, pornography, and other enemies of your marriage…Maintain honesty and accountability
6. Laugh together: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine
7. Talk about goals once a month: in your relationship, spiritually, emotionally, and physically
8. Read Love Life for Every Married Couple by Ed Wheat and look forward to special time together
9. Realize none of us are perfect and never will be…so focus on each other’s strengths, not weaknesses. Remember praise and gratitude go a long ways!
10. Ask God to bless your marriage and use it to encourage others for His glory

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Jennifer October 21, 2013 at 8:52 am

Thanks for posting this advice! I’ve been married 3 years & I’m a new mom. It’s been hard to focus on my marriage, raising my son, & caring for my home in this new season. Your advice reminded me to take a fresh look at what I can do that will support my marriage growth! Thank you Kelly!

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Alexandra October 27, 2013 at 7:15 pm

I think one of the things I love about you and Gil is the obvious love you two have for each other. You would have known you have 19 children or have been married for so long..you have that fresh and in love look!

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Peggy September 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Your family is such a blessing. It is so good to see how the Lord is blessing your children. Thank you for sharing with us.

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Symphony September 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Congratulations Zach and Whitney!! That is such a cute proposal:) did you (mrs Kelly) and mr bates go with them? Who else did?will their wedding be filmed? Praying for you all!!:)
Love, symphony

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Kelly October 13, 2013 at 4:02 am

Dear Symphony,
Yes, we went plus Alyssa, Nathan, Josie, and Katie. Love, Kelly

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Tami September 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Congratulations to your family! I live only 30 minutes from the Clearwater. The Dolphin ride looks like a lot of fun. I think I will mention to my husband as something the kids and I would love to do. Kelly did you and Gil go with them or did siblings accompany them to Florida? Two weddings in one year how exciting! God has really blessed your family!

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Kelly October 13, 2013 at 4:01 am

Dear Tami,
Gil, me, Nathan, Alyssa, Josie, and Katie went with them. Love, Kelly

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rw September 24, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Hi Kelly,
Congratulations to both Zack and Whitney and both families. I have
a few questions,I hope you don’t mind. Was their engagement filmed also? Is their wedding going to be video taped? What website did you use to purschase the plane tickets? Who went? and
lastly who took the pictures? (by the way they are very beautiful)

On a side note: both Orlando, Fl and Clearwater,Fl are about 45 mins to an hour drive away from where I live, I would have love to meet you guys. Blessings

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rw September 27, 2013 at 5:03 am

Hi Kelly,
By the way is purple their favorite color? I notice that on the engagement pictures and courtship pictures everything is decorated in purple. Does purple have a meaning? Thanks

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:21 am

Dear RW,
Whitney loves purple! Love, kelly

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Dear RW,
Yes, it was filmed and there wedding probably will be as well. The tickets were through Allegiant Air. Zach, Whitney, Gil, and I flew down. Alyssa and Nathan drove down. I took them, but it was originally supposed to be Alyssa, but her camera got left. Love, Kelly

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Shelly Cuellar September 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm

So amazing! This makes my heart smile. It is so encouraging to me to watch their relationship play oit. They are such great examples to so many. I know my 6 kids are watching. They love your show (reruns) and the Duggars show. It is great for them to see there really are others who love The Lord and are not conforming to the patterns of the world. So thank you again for sharing your life with us.

I am pretty sure I know the answer to this question…..but both my 12 year old daughter and I were wondering if both couples Chad and Erin, and Zach and Whitney have the same desire to have as many children as The Lord would give them?

Blessings,
Shelly

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 6:04 am

Dear Shelly,
I guess we’ll all find out together…lol!! Love, Kelly

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Abby September 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Hi Congrats to Zach! I was wondering who took all these photos? was it awkward for zach to have someone there

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Dear Abby,
Gil and I were off in the distance. We weren’t close enough to hinder any private conversation, or for them to even pay attention to us being there…except for the occasional moments I walked over to snap a photo for them. Zach had originally planned for Alyssa to photograph, because he wanted quality pics to have for memories, but we accidently left her camera back in TN with all of the hustle and excitement. Love, Kelly

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Natalie September 24, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Whitney is one gorgeous young lady and her sweet countenance suggests that she’s just as beautiful on the inside, too! Zach’s heart has got to be overflowing with joy!
May God richly bless their home with peace, laughter and little ones!

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Melissa September 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Wonderful news to hear, I offer my best wishes to the happy couple! Such a sweet story!

Does Whitney plan to work after they are married? Is she going to work in the medical/office field after graduation?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Dear Melissa,
I haven’t asked that question yet :) I’m sure God will direct them. Love, Kelly

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Diane Dye September 24, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Hi Kelly,

I am so happy for Zach and Whitney! They look so wonderful together and seem so much in love! She is beautiful and of course, Zach is quite handsome. They make a cute couple. Isn’t it a relief when our children are happy and find the perfect one to spend the rest of their lives with?! Dec. 14th is not that far away. Where will they be married? Will Gil perform the ceremony? I am sure you are excited for them!

Talk soon!
Diane

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 6:01 am

Dear Dianne,
Gil will do the charge in Erin’s wedding, but Zach and Whitney wanted both fathers to enjoy watching the ceremony. Love, Kelly

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Regina September 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm

How beautiful! Were her parents there also? And who cooked the steak dinner?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:59 am

Dear Regina,
Her parents had to work. The dinner was a to go order from Outback Steakhouse. Love, Kelly

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Becca September 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Congratulations to them! What a precious time for your family!! :) So, do you know if your kiddos are going to be living close by after they both get married? I know from your previous posts that Chad is from out of state so I was just curious about their plans. So excited for y’all! Last year two of my siblings got married within two weeks of each other so I completely understand the happy stress that goes along with multiple family weddings. :) Saying prayers of peace for you!

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:57 am

Dear Becca,
Chad and Erin will live in Tn at least until Erin completes her college next semester. Zach will continue to live in his district for his county commission position. Love, Kelly

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Becca October 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Aw that is so wonderful that they will be close for a while! I have seen how challenging it has been for my and my husband’s parents to get used to us living out of state (my husband is in the military). It’s always a growing experience for everyone, no matter what, when kids grow up and leave, but such a blessing when they can stay close by! :)

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Alexandra October 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm

This was a question I had – When the Duggar family talks about courting and the perfect match, they indicated that the interested party must be able to provide financially. Does Zach, Chad or Whitney already have a home set up?

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Kelly October 27, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Dear Alexandra,
Yes, they both were fortunate to find rental homes that they really like. Love, Kelly

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Rebecca September 24, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Congratulations,
What a lovely proposal, some amazing pictures
I bet everyone is excited in your house with 2 engagements
Just want to say your family is amazing I love the way you follow God and how you’ve
passed that on to your children its amazing.
May God continue to bless you and your family

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Georgette September 24, 2013 at 6:06 pm

What wonderful news for the family!! Two weddings, and new members of the family. I like your getting to know someone as friends first idea. My husband and I dated eight years (I was only 18 when we met and not ready to settle down) we were friends before marriage and it has been an incredible 20 years. Blessings to you all and happiest congratulations to Zach and Whitney.

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Carita September 24, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Dear Gil and Kelly,
Congratulations to Zach and Whitney. May the Lord Bless them as they start their life together. I would like to tell you what a ministry you are to my littlest one. She is 5 years old and just loves to watch anything to do with the Bates and Duggars. She dresses like the girls,(clothes must be modest, a dress is preferred). Mama does wear pants I will confess. The Lord has used your willingness to be open with the public as a ministry to the young and old. God Bless!! PS do both couples like cross stitch framed pictures? Just thinking of names and wedding dates as presents. Just let me know.
~Carita~

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Dear Carita,
That is so sweet and thoughtful!! Much love, Kelly

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Denise September 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Hi Kelly, I hope this isn’t too personal but do you know if Whitney plans on working after she gets married?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:55 am

Dear Denise,
No, I let the children discuss their plans, goals, etc among themselves! It helps them learn to communicate and begin to take on more of the responsibility of adulthood and making decisions together, with God’s help. Love, Kelly

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Kristy J. September 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Oh, this is so exciting! I don’t know how you are all able to contain the joy that you must be feeling with two children entering into marriage. Who am I kidding? You probably aren’t able to contain it. LOL! Congrats to the happy couple, this was a very romantic proposal and these are wonderful pictures to remember the day by. Thank you once again for sharing with all of us.

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Tara G. September 24, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Congratulations! And kudos to Zach and his proposal team!! Every girl loves to have a good story! :)

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Lisa September 24, 2013 at 6:54 pm

I think these just might be the most beautiful pictures you have ever posted, Mrs Bates. All the best from Germany for Zach and Whitney.

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Jennifer B September 24, 2013 at 7:13 pm

How sweet!! What beautiful pictures!! God bless them through this time!!

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Gabrielle September 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Congratulations!!! Beautiful pictures!! I’m sure y’all are very excited with two weddings withing two months!! God bless y’all!
~ Gabrielle

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Cindi September 24, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Ohhhh…this made my day. I am so happy for them and your whole family. I love my kids..in.love(law) as much as my natural born children. God bless you all. What wonderful memories you will be making at the end of 2013. So very happy!! May God bless you all!!!

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Amanda September 24, 2013 at 7:56 pm

How exciting! I am so thrilled for you family! What beautiful pictures!

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Janet September 24, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Congratulations to your family! I love seeing Godly young couples starting their lives doing things the right way.
I totally agree with the getting to know you vs dating. Dating is truly not wise. So many mistakes are made on “dates”.
So again, congratulations to your family (to your daughter Erin as well!).
I imagine it is bittersweet as they are growing up and preparing to establish their own homes. As a mama to 11 children, I do not look forward to that time. I know that sounds selfish. I guess it is. I just enjoy being around my children so much!

Blessings,
Janet… mamachildress

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Danielle L September 24, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Congrats to them!! You must be so excited 2 engagements so close to each other and 2 weddings coming up you will be busy! and they have some AMAZING pictures to remember this special time by! I’m hoping to see a special on TLC on these weddings but at the very least some pictures from you ;)

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cassidy September 24, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Congratulations!!!!!!!!! That’s so wonderful!!!!! you two look are so sweet together. I hope you and your families enjoy this amazing time!!!
love,
Cassidy (waterloo, Ontario)

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Cara September 24, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Kelly,
How exciting! I am so elated for Zach and Whitney, including the rest of your family! I am praying for everyone of you during this busy, busy season of your life.
Are either of your older sons, Lawson or Nathan, considering courtship sometime soon as well?

I’m sure you are just overwhelmed (but a happy overwhelmed!) with all of the wedding details surrounding Erin and Chad’s wedding and Zach and Whitney’s wedding! Praying blessings on all of you!
~Cara

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 12:50 am

Dear Cara,
Not any time soon, as far as we know! Love, Kelly

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Maria Hanson September 24, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Oh my goodness, how exciting. Congratulations to Zach and Whitney!!! Now, how are you all going to make it through 2 weddings in less than 2 months? Two of your babies are getting married yet this year! I have added you to my prayer list…that God will give you His peace and direction as you prepare and that He will give you joy as both Erin and Zach leave the nest.

Love, Maria from Iowa

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 12:48 am

Dear Maria,
You are too sweet! I GREATLY appreciate your prayers! Yes, I’m sure I’ll need them! Love, Kelly

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Annette September 27, 2013 at 1:17 pm

You manage as my Mum would say! She had 4 weddings and 2 grandbabies in a year!My sister and I were married 1 month and 3 days apart! Organization and everyone pitching in helps!

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Marie September 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Absolutely beautiful! I am so happy for Zach and Whitney. Thank you for sharing your lives with us. Hope this is not too intrusive, but will there be any video of the weddings?

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 12:46 am

Dear Marie,
Our old producer, Matthew Hightower, asked for permission to film them. He is like family to us! We were excited he offered to help the children have these memories on film. Love, Kelly

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Lyn September 24, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Wow, two wonderful weddings to celebrate. Oh my you sure must be sooooo very proud of your family. Love and best wishes to you all from Great Britain. :)

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heather September 24, 2013 at 10:31 pm

congratulations on both engagements for your family!

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Kimberly September 24, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Hello Bates family,
What a beautiful blessing God has given you. God is good, God is GREAT!!!! And what a wonderful moment in time. Congratulation Zach and Whitney.
Best of wishes to you both and your families as well.

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Avelien September 24, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Congratulations! Best wishes and many blessings to Zach and Whit. What day did he propose? Your children sure keep you busy lately Kelly and Gil :) What a blessing to be receiving more children this way. Will you please tell us where they are registered at. I know that you all are extremely humble and do not “need” the gifts, but although you may not know us I really want to send a gift. I love how your family ministers with the blog that you faithfully write, and I want to give something back for the encouragment you give. praying for your whole family in this exciting time. Blessings to all

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:48 am

Dear Avelien,
You are very sweet, and yes, I REALLY don’t want anyone to feel the need to buy anything. We know that things accumulate, but friendships are rare finds. We’re thankful for the many posters who have gone out of their way to encourage. They registered at Target and Wal-Mart, but PLEASE don’t feel a need to shop! They truly are content! Love, Kelly

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Patti September 24, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney!

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Jennifer Watson September 24, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Congratulations Zach and Whitney. I hope you have a long happy joyous life together. We need more people like your family and the Duggars who go the courtship/dating with a purpose phase and not just dating anyone and everyone that has a pulse. There would be alot less divorce if people would do dating with a purpose and saving themselves for marriage.
Kelly and Gil, have any young men approached you wanting to enter into a relationship with Alyssa, or Tori or Michaela, or any other or your older daughters? What do you think of Jessa’s recent courtship announcement?
Love,
Jennifer

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 12:41 am

Dear Jennifer,
Hmmm…yes. Some boys approached us about some of our girls and we asked them to wait until they were older. We think 18 is a good age…not because its law or Bible or anything like that…It is an age when they are finished with school and are a little more prepared emotionally and spiritually to think about long term plans and decisions. Obviously, not all of our kids jumped into a relationship when they turned 18, because God’s plan is different for all of us. That is just a small parameter we set so they don’t become sidetracked about relationships too soon. Love, Kelly

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Jennifer Watson September 29, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Hello thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

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Laura September 24, 2013 at 11:21 pm

So happy for Zack and Whitney! They must be very excited!
So in the “get to know ya stage”, do the two know openly how they feel about each other? It sounds like it could save a lot of the hurt feelings that I even seen in some courtships. Thanks so much!

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 12:34 am

Dear Laura,
Yes, they do…well, we learned the hard way that if you have feelings but try to hide them and can’t express them at all, how are you supposed to realistically engage in any type of relationship? Close friends (not talking about those pursuing a relationship) have emotions and can communicate. They wouldn’t be close if they couldn’t!! So, why would we communicate better with a close friend than we would with someone we’re wanting to pursue a relationship with? Yes, there should be parameters, because the goal is purity, growing in Christ together, and finding out if this is the one to marry. If any of those 3 areas start showing red flags, its time to readjust something. We’ve made lots of changes through relationship rules…sometimes getting more lenient, sometimes getting stricter, but changing as we see something isn’t going as we had imagined. we’re learning, and I’m sure we’ll do some more changing. Imperfect people make mistakes, and we fall into that category, so we try to be open to learn and re-evaluate often. Love, Kelly

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Symphony October 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I love how you put that Mrs. Bates! A very Godly answer.
Love, symphony

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jeannine September 24, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Best wishes, Zach and Whitney. You are a beautiful couple! Looking forward to hearing about all of the wedding plans!
Jeannine in Indiana

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Kelly September 24, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Congrats to you and your families!
God bless,
Kelly

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Karen September 24, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Congratulations! The pictures are so beautiful. My favourites are the ones with the sunset! Blessings to your whole family as you journey through this exciting time!

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Alison September 24, 2013 at 11:52 pm

So wonderful! Congrats to Zach and Whitney. God’s blessings to them. :)

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alexia September 24, 2013 at 11:54 pm

so happy for them!!!!

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Megan September 25, 2013 at 12:05 am

What a gorgeous couple! I bet you are all thrilled to no end. Congratulations to Zach Whitney and both families!

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Nan September 25, 2013 at 12:29 am

So exciting! Who all went on the trip? How long did you all stay?

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 12:25 am

Dear Nan,
Nathan, Alyssa, Josie, and Katie drove down ahead of time so that we could have a car there…and get home cheaply. They also helped do some of the prep work for Zach, along with the Webster family who hosted them. Gil and I flew with Zach and Whitney, but we all drove home together. The children helped set up the beach area, then left to give them some privacy and Gil and I tried to stay in the shadows, other than snapping some memorable pics! We stayed 3 days: 1st for flight, dolphins, and church. 2nd for proposal. 3rd for Disney World. Then we drove home. Love, Kelly

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Tami September 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm

What an exciting proposal! That is something special that Whitney and Zach can tell their children and grandchildren about. What did you guys think of Disney World? Will we get to see pictures of that as well?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:11 am

Dear Tami,
We went at a really slow time; our longest wait was 10 minutes which was great! Zach and Whitney were like 2 little giggly kids! They waited in line for 45 minutes (which was longer than lines for rides) just to get a picture with pooh! Zach LOVES Pooh…I know, it doesn’t sound like a 24 yr. old’s choice for movies, but he was limited in his TV shows growing up, and I’m glad he prefers that over some of the stuff shown now days! Love, Kelly

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rw October 1, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Hi Kelly,
What Disney Park did you guys visit?

Symphony October 5, 2013 at 12:08 am

how cute!

Nancy September 25, 2013 at 12:39 am

Congrats to Zach and Whitney! Best wishes for a happy future together. :) I was wondering whether Whitney is planning to continue her college studies, including transferring to a four year school, after the wedding? Or does she plan on becoming a full-time homemaker? I ask because you’ve indicated that Erin will continue with school and graduate next spring. All the best!

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 12:21 am

Dear Nancy,
Whitney is actually finishing before her wedding date. She graduated high school early, so began college early. Love, Kelly

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Susan September 25, 2013 at 12:49 am

How exciting! Clearwater is beautiful! I attended Clearwater Christian College for a year and enjoyed the beach often. Happy you all got to enjoy such a special time in such a beautiful place :) Congratulations Zach and Whitney! (And Kelly and Gil!)

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Kate September 25, 2013 at 12:59 am

Congrats to you all! A busy few months for wedding planning. All the best for a wonderful and loving married life.

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Natasha September 25, 2013 at 1:07 am

How precious! Congratulations to Whitney and Zach! Their story is very touching and is such an encouragement!

I am currently in a situation similar to what your son’s was about two years ago. I strongly know that Jesus took the brunt of the pain that I was supposed to feel emotionally as a result of how things ended in my circumstances between a young Christian man and I, and my relationship with God is still strong. But it is still hard not to be discouraged at times.

Like I said, Whitney and Zach have greatly encouraged me, but would you mind sharing a little bit of how Zach overcame some of the difficulties he faced? Especially the need to trust in the Lord completely? Do you have some resources that could be of help to me? I come from a predominantly non-Christian home, and I would greatly appriecate some Godly words of advice.

I will be praying for your family as you go through such a busy season of life! I can’t imagine how chaotic things at home must be with two weddings to plan in addition to the craziness of everyday life!

May God Bless You All,
Natasha

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 12:18 am

Dear Natasha,
He rallied around friends and family through the hard times. John Duggar and Andy Leftwich were absolute God sent sources of encouragement. Later, Whitney became a strong source of encouragement and took on the role of best friend. There were a lot of tears and hurt…but Zach used that time to busy himself in ministry type projects and jobs. He became active in political campaigns and other avenues so that he wouldn’t sit and sulk. He used the time to pray for others and to encourage others who were hurting. He continued to read his Bible and gain strength from the Lord, knowing that God would somehow use it for good even if he wasn’t able to see it then. Love, Kelly

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Christina September 25, 2013 at 1:21 am

Congratulations! Your family will have lots to celebrate in the coming months! God is amazing and I am so glad to see that after Zach’s difficult time last year the Lord has blessed him with the one his heart is meant to be joined with. Prayers and blessings to Zach and Whitney as they become one in this new chapter of life. Your family must be overflowing with happiness! Thank you for always sharing your families milestones with all of us! You are an inspiration! God bless!

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Lee September 25, 2013 at 1:26 am

First, congrats to Zach & Whitney on their engagement !! How long was Zach and Whitney “get to know ya” phase? I was wondering the same thing about Erin & Chad’s “getting to know” each other like from the time each couple met until the engagements? Many happy blessings on the upcoming weddings!!!

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 12:12 am

Dear Lee,
Zach and Whitney were great friends for a little over a year. Their courtship was 3 months and their engagement will be 4 months. Erin and Chad began to get to know each other as casual friends for a year, then became super close friends for the next 6 months. Their courtship was 8 months and their engagement is 3 months. Love, Kelly

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Kim September 25, 2013 at 1:29 am

Congratulations to Zach, Whitney and their families!

How in the world were they so color coordinated when Whitney didn’t know? LOL Perfect!

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:45 am

Dear Kim,
Zach took her a month earlier to buy outfits. She knew he had a ring, and she thought he picked several outfits because he couldn’t decide which one. She knew he would propose soon, but she didn’t know where, when, or how. Love, Kelly

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Amy September 25, 2013 at 1:40 am

What a blessing and an encouragement to see how the Lord is working in your children’s lives. Love the old fashioned proposals. Your family is such an encouragement to me. Thank you for sharing such special moments..

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Michelle K September 25, 2013 at 2:17 am

Kelly,
I so enjoy your posts and so love all your family and the love you all have for Christ!
I pray for continued blessings on your family and can’t wait to see more!
I am a homeschooling mom of two kids but hoping for more additions soon! ;)
You and Gil have done an awesome job and we soooo hope you will be on tv again!
And, thank you for letting us see how God has led your lives! From south Alabama, we look forward to more posts!
Blessings in Christ,
Michelle K

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Crystal Harper September 25, 2013 at 2:44 am

Beautiful pictures!!! Congrats you two

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Lynsey September 25, 2013 at 11:25 am

This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!! :) Congratulations!! Two children engaged at the same time? Cool! :)

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Rachael Brown September 25, 2013 at 11:58 am

Congratulations Zach and Whitney. Have they planned the big day yet?

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 12:06 am

Dear Rachael,
They have set a date: December 14! Love, Kelly

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Elena September 25, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Hi Kelly,

Wow, firstly let me say Congratulations to both Zach and Whitney..His proposal was beautiful. Looking at Zach you can see how proud he is..his stance says it all. He looks so much like Gil. This is a huge year for you, i can’t imagine seeing two of my kids marry in just one month apart. Its the happiest and heartfelt year for you..I wish you the best time along with your entire family..

Does Whitney come from a large family?

xoxo

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 12:05 am

Dear Elena,
There are 10 siblings in her family. Love, Kelly

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Rebekah M. September 25, 2013 at 12:27 pm

What a special way to ask! Love the pictures! Wow, two weddings so close together! You’ll be busy but it will be so wonderful. Very excited for Zach & Whit.

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Sheila September 25, 2013 at 1:25 pm

These are beautiful pictures Kelly!
I am so pleased for Zach after his previous disappointment. We don’t ever see the full picture when things don’t work out but God always knows the full picture. He works everything out for those that love Him.
May God bless you all as you prepare for the wedding in December.

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Missie September 25, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Hi Kelly! So much happiness in one family! God has certainly overrun your cup with love and joy! Question–if any of your children expressed that they did not want to follow the more chaste example of waiting until the wedding day for their first kiss, would you allow them to continue their courtship? I’m interested in this especially while I don’t have kids old enough to even consider this, my friend is distraught over her oldest daughter having an interest in “dating”. Any advice would be great… thanks!

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Kelly September 26, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Dear Missie,
Well, we try to teach our children values as they are growing up. We especially try to teach them to study and seek God on their own, as well. We try to encourage them to have wise friends that are headed in the same direction. We try to encourage them to avoid mainstream media which tends to have very low morals. We try to encourage them to be faithful to a local Bible church and to hear good solid Biblical preaching. We try to keep very open communication and spend time hearing their goals, fears, desires, etc. But there does come a time of adulthood where they make their choices. Our love is there for them no matter what those choices might be…the years of childhood were to prepare them for this day. We are available for counsel and we certainly offer advice freely! But nonetheless, there comes a time for them to fly, right??? We’re there for them if they need us, but our goal is not to raise puppets! I think they teach us more than we actually teach them! And our views change often, when we’ve considered their wise perspectives on things! Love, Kelly

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Missie September 27, 2013 at 1:17 am

Well said, especially when it comes to the morals of the mainstream media! Sad to think of my own children flying away one day, but you’re right that eventually, it must happen, and I guess Proverbs 22:6 is a great comfort for when that time comes. And thanks to you and family for being so candid and such Godly examples!

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M September 28, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I really like the way you treat your older children with respect in this manner. After years of training, you trust them to decide for themselves, and I can see that is true because your children have done things differently from one another. It is probably hard to change your perspective or re-evaluate the “rules” sometimes, but to me that shows honest critical thinking and a real, heartfelt interest in each child as an individual. In your TV shows, the love that I saw between the parents and the children seemed really real, and grounded in a mutual respect for one another. Nice work, and congrats to Zach and Whitney!

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:07 am

Dear M,
If I made them conform to all my choices in life, I’d be keeping them little children both mentally and spiritually. I didn’t make the same choices in every area that my parents did, but I’m so glad they loved me through my growing stages, my bad decisions, and my good. They let me be me, and they let me grow as a Christian. I’m sure that was hard for them, but they were so very loving. Love, Kelly

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Latisha September 25, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Oh so very excited for them! i pray for God’s best in there lives together. :) thank you so much for posting this.

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faraboverubies September 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Kelly, what do you recommend for staying motivated for God? I’ve been been feeling down lately & uninspired. I do read the Word, pray, & attend our IFB church but still feel down. I want to feel on fire for the Lord again! Any thoughts? Thank you.

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Kelly October 13, 2013 at 3:54 am

Dear faraboverubies,
Sometimes our fire can be lit by being around others who have that same desire and zeal…enthusiasm is contagious. Revival services are often designed to remind us of our first love and to help rekindle our fellowship and service to God. A missions trip can help motivate you and remind you of the great need. Sometimes complacency can make us grow stale… Try visiting a nursing home or become involved in ministry. Love, Kelly

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M&M September 25, 2013 at 4:04 pm

who is the oldest child in you family?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:35 am

Dear M&M,
Zach is the oldest. Love, Kelly

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Tonya Bailey September 25, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Just a beautiful dream!!! I’m so encouraged by these young men, raising boys I will keep all this in mind one day so that when they’re older I can help them make ‘popping the question’ wonderful for their other half one day :) Congrats to Zach and his bride, I’ll be praying for them!

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Lorelei Holt September 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I absolutely love your family…congratulations on your two children who are engaged. You and Gil have set a wonderful example of a loving, Christian family.

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Lauren H. September 25, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Congratulations to the happy couple!

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Vanessa September 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I know this is off subject, but I was wanting to know if your famiy attends FEW conferences. If so can anyone attend? I have tried finding information about it, but can’t come up with much. Thanks :) ……..Congrates again on the Zach and Whitney!

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Kelly September 26, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Dear Vanessa,
I’m not sure what FEW conferences are?? Sorry! Love, Kelly

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Juanita September 27, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Vanessa, I have seen reports on FEW conferences off the blogs of the Staddon family, Wilkes Team, Neely Team and possibly more I can’t think of. So google those names and you should be able to find out more. I believe it stands for Family Encouragement Weekend. I would hope that anyone can attend. I’d feel out of place as a childless widow, though. Please, if you get to go, give a report on it and I may spread the word to people at my church and see if it’s worthwhile to expand them to Canada. God bless

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Andrea September 25, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Congratulations to Zach & Whitney! A lovely & romantic setting, also. :) (Ps: is there a way to set up the pictures on the website so when one is clicked on, it’d be possible to scroll through the rest by using a mouse; instead of clicking on each individual picture, that is?)

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:35 am

Dear Andrea,
I’m not sure, but I’m open for suggestions. Love, Kelly

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Stefanie September 25, 2013 at 7:00 pm

So excited for you all!

Will you all be doing another show? Would love to see the weddings on tv!

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Kelly September 26, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Dear Stefanie,
I think they will be aired, but I’m not sure when or where? Sorry! Love, Kelly

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Alexia September 25, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Are you going to video tape there wedding ? Also did you come with them or Whitney’s parents??

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:32 am

Dear Alexia,
It will most likely be taped. Zach invited Whitney’s parents, but they had to work. Love, Kelly

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NathaLee Hutchins September 25, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Beautiful. So sweet to see your children being swept off their feet! Congrats to all of you!

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Teboho September 25, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Congrats to Zach and Whitney. It is such an encouragement to see young people commit their lives to purity in Christ Jesus. Mrs Kelly thank you for sharing your family’s journey with us, it is really inspiring me as a young woman to do all for the glory of God.

God bless

Teboho from South Africa

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Jordan September 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Wow! How exciting! Thank you so much for sharing this post and the many lovely pictures! Have they picked their colors yet? I was also wondering if Whitney will be in Erin’s wedding? Thanks again for sharing! May the Lord continue to greatly bless your families!

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Dear Jordan,
Whit has picked red and black. Love, Kelly

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Tami October 2, 2013 at 12:20 am

Red and black will be beautiful for that time of year. Are they having a Christmas themed wedding with their decorations and color choices?

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 4:59 am

Dear Tami,
Yes, to save money, they’ll incorporate the church’s decorations for Christmas. Love, Kelly

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Symphony October 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I thought it might be purple:) red and black will look very pretty, great Christmas colors For a December wedding!
Love, symphony

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Stephanie September 25, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Dear Kelly,

You said Whitney is graduating from college in the fall. That is wonderful. I am a 3rd grade teacher, wife and mother. I stayed home with my children until my youngest started middle school. I believe education is the key to womens success in their marriage, motherhood, and faith. If, God forbid, a woman loses her husband to death or divorce, she should always be able to support herself and her children. What type of degree is she earning and what is her major, minor and/or concentration?

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 12:03 am

Dear Stephanie,
She is completing her studies in the medical billing and coding department. Love, Kelly

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janice September 28, 2013 at 1:50 am

Medical billing and coding is a very good choice. There is always a need for people in that field and she will have her pick of full time to part time to per diem work. She can work around Zach’s schedule and not be locked into an 8-5 job.

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Allisen September 25, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Hi Bates Family!

Congratulations, what a blessing this is! I LOVE your family and I a so inspired by you. I am a Mommy to two little boys and love watching your patience and grace with your children. You and the Duggar family are a blessing to American Television! Thank you for being you! Yay Zach and Erin! Wishing you a lifetime of happiness with your bestest friend!

Greetings, from British Columbia, Canada

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Kristi September 25, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Does Zach own a home? Where will the newlyweds live?

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Kelly September 26, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Dear Kristi,
They are house shopping now. They’ve looked at several rental houses and rent to own homes. They plan on living in Zach’s district, since he is still a county commissioner. Love, Kelly

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rw September 27, 2013 at 5:08 am

Hi Kelly,
Does Zach still live at home? How far apart are each county from where you live to where he works(got elected at) apart?

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Kelly October 13, 2013 at 3:48 am

Dear RW,
We live in the county that he is commissioner for. Yes, he currently lives at home, at least for a few more weeks…until marriage… which is swiftly approaching. Love, Kelly

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Denise S. September 25, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Congrats to Zach and Whitney!! So happy to hear the great news.. and such a beautiful place to propose. How neat to see all those dolphins there. They make such a perfect couple and their love for each other shows!! Who made the steak dinner? You picked a perfect spot to propose!! May God bless them and reward you with many grandchildren!! lol

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Dear Denise,
He had Alyssa and John Webster pick up the dinner to go from the Outback Steakhouse, and they delivered it to the beach at the appointed time. Love, Kelly

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Denise S. October 1, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Yummy!! We just went to Outback for my mom’s 75th Birthday this past Friday!! It was sooo good!! You will now need a planner to write things down for all the happenings going on there!! How you do it is beyond me:) Take Care.

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M&M October 2, 2013 at 2:34 am

Alyssa and John BY THEMSELVES?????

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 4:58 am

Dear M&M,
No, they had chaperones… Josie and Katie were there as well. Love, kelly

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Laura October 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Did John and Alyssa have chaperones with them! Can you please do a post on John and Alyssa? I hope to hear about them and see lots of pictures!:)

Best wishes laura

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 4:49 am

Dear Laura,
Yes, we always use chaperones. Love, Kelly

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Katrina September 25, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Oh how precious!
Congratulations, this is so exciting! The Lord sure does know how to write an amazing Love Story! It is such a blessing to see two hearts knit together.. God bless yous!
Love,
Katrina

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Sasha Farnsworth September 25, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Congratulations!! How exciting!! Many blessing to them! <3

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Juanita September 25, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Wow; I come back from vacation(for a wedding too!) to this! Congrats to the happy couple! And to think they chose the day before my wedding anniversary……My advice is to buy lots of Christmas lights and Christmas decorations for the wedding that they can then use in their home for Christmases to come. Well, that’s the long and the short of it. God bless you all.

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Tammi September 26, 2013 at 12:18 am

Dear Kelly,
Please forgive this intrusion, but I wrote to you via the USPS asking a question. I’d like to do the same for Zach and Whitney. I included my contact information in the letter. I will await your response.
The Peace of the Lord be always with you…
Tammi

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Kelly October 13, 2013 at 3:50 am

Dear Tammi,
I’m sorry I’m behind on my mail..I’ll try to catch up…I use dentist appointments for that…lol!! Love, Kelly

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Tammi October 17, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Kelly,
I got the answer! Thanks!
Tammi

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AMM September 26, 2013 at 12:27 am

Congratulations to them! Also congrats to Erin. Are you and Gil excited about the future grandbabies you’re going to be having soon? Marriage is such a precious thing, bringing together 2 families into one. I’ve always heard good advice from my parents on marriage- Think of a marriage as a triangle. The husband and wife on the bottom and God as the top point. The closer the couple moves towards God, the closer they become to each other. So much love and blessings from my family to yours!

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Jennifer Watson September 29, 2013 at 10:40 pm

i love the triangle analogy. my pastor has used that analogy.

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Heather September 26, 2013 at 1:03 am

Love it! You have a beautfiul family and are greatly blessed. This was extremely romantic and special. I’m very happy for them and they are a beautiful couple. God Bless them and your family.

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Amanda September 26, 2013 at 1:10 am

What wonderful news! So happy for Zach and Whitney, and their families! I love their values and what they stand for. Wishing them all the best!

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Katie September 26, 2013 at 1:23 am

Is Alyssa in a courtship?

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Kelly September 26, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Dear Katie,
Well, I’d imagine if you keep watching, you’re likely to see updates on Alyssa in the near future! Love, Kelly

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Symphony October 5, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Can’t wait to see a post on John and Alyssa!
Love, symphony

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Brandy Stevens September 26, 2013 at 2:04 am

Congrats to both the happy couples!!! I’m such a fan of your beautiful family. You guys are a blessing for my family to watch. How far apart are the weddings???? I saw Zack has set the date for Dec. , has Erin set a date yet??? I hope we can be a part of it from home. Will they be airing them on tv??? God bless and Congrats to the happy couples

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Kelly September 26, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Dear Brandy,
The weddings will be one month apart. Erin and Chad’s wedding is November 2nd and Zach and Whitney’s is December 14th. Love, Kelly

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Shana Lapointe September 26, 2013 at 2:30 am

Dear Kelly,
Your family is truly an inspiration for my sons and I. May Gods Love continue
To smile upon your family! Congrats to Zack and Erin!! Ive recently been
Through a very hard time (My sons & I )& if u wouldnt mind plze send a prayer our
Way, and I’ll keep praying for y’all. Thank u for being a great example! Love,Shana

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Piper September 26, 2013 at 3:08 am

Congratulations :) Zach certainly did plan a memorable engagement–what a great story they have to tell their children and grandchildren :)

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Nicole September 26, 2013 at 3:29 am

Aw, congratulations!!! Such a beautiful couple and just the perfect setting for a proposal. :) I wish them all the happiness in the world and Ill keep them in my prayers for their journey ahead. So exciting!

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Fiona Walker September 26, 2013 at 3:36 am

Congratulations Gil & Kelly, how cool having two weddings in a year!
Next year you might be ‘Grandparents’ fancy that … again you might have two Grand babies in one year …
If I could turn back time I would go down the courtship road. Keep up the exciting posts.

Blessings Fiona Walker, Perth Australia

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Amber September 26, 2013 at 4:41 am

Every few days I check in on your website, your family is such a calming, grounding relief for me! I am very, very excited for Zach, and your family!! I’m grateful to God for bringing the two of them together.. :-)

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melissa September 26, 2013 at 4:49 am

CONGRATS ZACH N WHITNEY :)

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Carolina September 26, 2013 at 4:58 am

What a beautiful couple! I’m so happy to see Zach so happy, they look so natural/relaxed together. Thank you for sharing with us, I look up to your family’s example, I hope The Lord will help us to raise our three boys to grow up to be gentlemen like Zach. How can I send/buy gifts for the couples? God bless you Bates family!

Much love the Bengrys from Alberta

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Kelly September 26, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Dear Carolina,
Neither of them expect any gifts. They just thankful for the love and encouragement so many have shown. Love, Kelly

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Joshua Kaiser September 26, 2013 at 5:26 am

Dear Bates Family. Tell Zach and Whitney Congrats from my Wife Megan and I. You all must be pretty busy planning for two wedding nows. Is Zach and Whitney getting married in Florida where she lives I’m assuming or in TN? Well I hope you all have a great time planning for the two weddings. The time goes by very fast from planning to the actual wedding. Tell Erin and Chad and Zach and Whitney to enjoy every moment of it.
Joshua and Megan Kaiser

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Kelly September 26, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Dear Joshua,
Whitney lives here in Tennessee just 15 minutes from us! Their wedding will be here in Tennessee as well. The Florida trip was just because Zach dreamed of a beach setting for the engagement. He wanted to make it extra special. Love, Kelly

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Holly Howell September 26, 2013 at 5:59 am

Congratulations Zach and Whitney………what a beautiful way to propose and with so much thought put into it. :) Kelly, I’m a mother of four very young children, and when I think of the day of my children getting married, it makes me a little bit sad AND happy. Do you feel like you are losing two children, or gaining two new ones, or a little of both? And if you all are ever in the Seattle area or thinking of it, we’d love to show you all around. :D God Bless your sweet, sweet family and thank you for the updates and posts. Your sister in Christ, Holly

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Kelly September 26, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Dear Holly,
Yes, a little of both!! We’ve cried and we’ve laughed! When I think about trusting someone else to care for them as we have, it can be hard so I remind myself they belong to God! And I have to admit they’ve both had good taste and have picked partners that will compliment their personalities! Love, Kelly

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katia September 26, 2013 at 6:52 am

l am so happy for your family and if they wont to come in Italy for the honeymoon, my house is open love katia

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Kelly September 26, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Dear Katia,
Wow! Italy!!! That really would be something! Love, Kelly

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Cheryl September 26, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Kelly,
Congrats to all of your family!!! I LOVE checking your website and seeing the BEAUTIFUL pictures you post. Your family is sure going to be busy with Chad & Erin’s wedding and also Zac & Whitney’s. I love following your family and watching the videos from United Bates of America (I bought the DVD). I love seeing you and Gil interact with the younger kids and showing affection to the older ones. My family never showed any affection and I think that is part of the reason none of our family associates with each other. I would you some day to meet all of you!!! I thought I read somewhere Chad and Erin’s wedding will be aired on TV. Is this true? Was wondering about Zac & Whitney’s being aired? Congrats to all again.

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Kelly September 26, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Dear Cheryl,
Our old producer asked to film Erin’s, but I don’t know when or where it will be shown. I haven’t heard about zach’s yet, but they did film portions of their engagement. Love, Kelly

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Susan September 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Congrats Zach and Whitney. :) May the Lord continue to bless you guys and your family. <3

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shana September 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Dear Kelly, I just wanted to say congrats and ya’ll are in my prayers as Zack and Erin start the next chapter in there lives. Ive recently (my sons and I) have went through some very tough times, and you and your family have been an encouragement. Thanks for being an example of Gods Love!! If u can keep my sons and me in your prayers and ill keep yall in mine!

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Kelly September 26, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Dear Shana,
We’ll be praying for your unspoken prayer request! may God bless, Kelly

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LaRae Heinle September 26, 2013 at 2:28 pm

So very happy for Zach and Whit! I so much enjoy the photos and updates on your family. Gods blessings on all of the planning and preparations for two fabulous weddings in the Bates family this year!! Love you all.
LaRae

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Marie-Louise September 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Congratulations! What a beautifull and romantic setting! :) I love the dolphins! May God bless Zach and Whitney!

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Beanie September 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm

That was fast!

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Liza Jane September 26, 2013 at 7:57 pm

This is fantastic!! Whitney is a breath of fresh air and such a blessing for Zach and I know ya’ll could not be happier he found such a sweet girl. Has she picked her colors, bridesmaids? Will they use the same church as Erin and Chad?
This may be a personal question and if you do not want to answer you do not have to….but I wondered if Erin and Whitney feel the same as you and Gil concerning birth control and children? Do either of them want to start a family right away? Just wondered their thoughts on the subject. Would ya’ll be ok if they wanted to use a form of birth control?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:29 am

Dear Liza,
Whitney’s colors will be red and black, since it is near Christmas time. They are using a different church. I know how Erin and Zach feel, because they live with me. I haven’t officially asked Chad or Whitney, but I’m certain they’ve all discussed their beliefs and goals among each other. As for their choices in life, my job of parenting is complete with these older ones…they might ask our counsel occasionally, but I can trust that God loves them even more than I do and He can guide them! Love, Kelly

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Jennifer October 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm

My wedding colors were red and black- because I also had a wedding near Christmas. We also saved a lot of money on decorating the church/altar because it was already done- it was beautiful with Christmas trees and poinsettias. The colors make for very pretty pictures!

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Amanda September 26, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney! What a lovely pair! May God bless them in all that they do! :)

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bethany m September 27, 2013 at 12:40 am

Congratulations to Zach &Whitney!! Thank you Jesus for the paths you’ve chosen for those that want to follow you. May God bless them abundantly. Kelly and Gil, may God enrich your lives even more with the adding of loved ones and grand babies in the future. I’m sure you are feeling sad yet excited and happy at once. But through all of life’s changes God is always there to walk beside us! Praise be to Him!! Love to your family. Bethany
PS Where will Chad & Erin live? Will they stay in the TN area?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:22 am

Dear Bethany,
They will live here at least until Erin finishes her school next semester. Love, Kelly

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Yvette Walshe September 27, 2013 at 1:31 am

Congratulations you two!!!!!!!!!!! May God Bless your union together. Pray always. Always keep God first in your lives. He will lead you and bless your wonderful Marriage.

God Bless:)
Yvette

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Lucy Bate September 27, 2013 at 3:29 am

Congratulations! Are you looking forward to being Grandparents? Not immediately, obviously, but ultimately?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Dear Lucy,
We’ve heard grandchildren are wonderful, and since it looks like my baby days are over, all the siblings are begging someone to hurry up and have a new baby to cuddle! Love, Kelly

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Jody September 27, 2013 at 3:53 am

Congratulations to Zach & Whitney! Your house must be buzzing with excitement.

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Caitlin September 27, 2013 at 8:12 am

Hi Kelly,
I was wondering how old is Whitney? I wish them the best on their engagement and future marriage :)

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:21 am

Dear Caitlin,
She is 20. Love, Kelly

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Sara September 27, 2013 at 9:58 am

Congratulations to all of you. May the Lord bless you all and keep you. I’m very happy for you. I sure do miss you all on TV. Hope you all come back.

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Bianca September 27, 2013 at 11:29 am

Congrats from New Zealand, Zach and Whitney!!! :D

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Leilani September 27, 2013 at 11:55 am

Dear Kelly

I would just like to wish Zach and Whitney every happiness and blessing as they begin their lives together! I have been married to my best friend and the love of my life for 2 and a half years now and marriage truly is a wonderful thing when you are married to the right person! I wish them well!
God bless you,
Leilani

Ps. I would just like to say, Kelly, how sweet it is that you take the time to answer everyone’s questions:)

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Heather September 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Congratulations to your whole family! What a blessing:-) Praying for all of you during this busy and joyful season in life.
I am actually in the Clearwater area and was wondering which church you had attended? We have been searching for where God would have us and was just curious.
Again blessings and love the encouragement you are through Christ to others.

Heather

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:20 am

Dear Heather,
Sorry, but we drove back to Orlando that evening and found a wonderful church through our GPS. I believe the name was Eastland Baptist Church with Pastor Daniel Green. Love, Kelly

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charlene s September 27, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Congratulations to all. I’ts going to be a busy couple of months. I’m sure your house is filled with laughter, praises and Gods love. I was just wondering what the ages of Erin & Chad and Whitney & Zach are ? God Bless the young couples and their families.

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:17 am

Dear Charlene,
Chad and Erin are 26 and 22. Zach and Whitney are 24 and 20. Love, Kelly

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Anna Walker October 6, 2013 at 1:16 am

Hi there,

I was just on the Paine family website. Chad posted in 2008 stating at that stage that he was 25 years old…..would that not make him 31 now?

Wishing both couples the best of luck regardless of age.

Thanks,

Anna

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 4:48 am

Dear Anna,
There might have been a misprint on the website, but he’s 26 years old. He’s sitting here in the living room and we’re teasing him about not knowing his age…lol! Love, Kelly

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Parrish September 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Beautiful setting, we vacation on that beach every year. Congrats!

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Allison September 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Hi Kelly,
What wonderful photos of the happy couple! It’s heartwarming to see the sheer happiness and contentment in their expressions. It is easy to see the love they have for one another through seeing these sweet pictures. What a wonderful holiday season coming up, right? Very exciting times to be had for your family! I look forward to your updates regarding the weddings. Seems like just yesterday, my husband and I were also experiencing that “just engaged and planning a wedding” thrill! Now we are getting ready for our 13th anniversary date night tonight! Where does the time go? Thanks for the updates on your sweet family. It’s such an encouragement, and I’m so excited for the young couples and your whole family.
Love,
Allison

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Kelly September 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Congratulations to the happy couple! Love to read all the updates on your family!

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Avelien September 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Congratultations to Zach and Whit! Many blessings to them and your family as you obtain more children via marriage. Your children sure like to keep you busy lately with all of the wonderful things going on in your life.

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Kris September 27, 2013 at 11:50 pm

This was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! How sweet! I feel so happy for you guys and I don’t even know you!! LOL Thank you for sharing this!! Have a good day!!
Just wondering How did you find a plane ticket for $59.00 dollars??

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:15 am

Dear Kris,
Allegiant Air…They only fly to certain cities… but they are so cheap. We’ve even found one for $39! Love, Kelly

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Amy October 1, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Love, love, love Allegiant Air.. I live in Little Rock and can fly home to visit family in Florida for super cheap!

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Kristina October 3, 2013 at 2:53 am

Thank you very much!!

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Tami October 28, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Thank you so much for telling us about Allegiant Air. My husband and I live in the Clearwater area and had been praying to be able to go home to NY for Thanksgiving but couldn’t afford the expensive airline rates. We checked Allegiant and we are happy to report the ticket prices are about a third of what the other airlines wanted so now we are able to make the trip with our 3 kids!!

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Annalee September 28, 2013 at 4:55 am

Sweet! Congratulations! Are you going to be having a double wedding? :)

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:14 am

Dear Annalee,
The weddings will be a month apart. Love, Kelly

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elvira September 28, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Hi! My name is Elvira. I am from Belarus. Love reading your family news. Always waiting for update))) It is a pity that you are so far away you live))) May the Lord bless you and your children!

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Miranda September 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm

I think it’s super cute the way they look at each other and the way Zach is standing like he’s about to burst with joy!! Congratulations to both of them, and to Erin and Chad also. It will be so exciting for both you and Mr. Bates when you’ve got grandbabies runnin’ around everywhere! :)

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Alice Hull September 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Hi Kelly, I loved seeing this post and was surprised that the second wedding will be so soon! That Zach is phenomenal in his plans, taking care of all Whitney’s obligations so she could go on that trip!! What a guy! And you, Kelly, are patience personified! You know how much we love you all and pray daily for you and all the exciting plans.

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Meagan B. September 28, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Dear Mrs. Bates,
Congrats to Zach and Whitney! Wow, 2 wedding in 2 months with 19 kids! You’ve got to be stressed! I would love to email you, but I don’t have your email, so I will just tell you now that I LOVE your family and the way you love God! I’m almost 13, and enjoy every moment I can scanning your website! Thanks for the inspiration! Congrats again!

Meagan B.

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K September 28, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Congrats to Zach and Whitney! Also wanted to say that I greatly admire your family! We live very close to you all(Oak Ridge) so maybe we will be able to meet you all one day!

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Holly Howell September 28, 2013 at 11:08 pm

I know it!! I have to remind myself constantly that my children belong to the Lord and to trust Him with them! ( As silly as that sounds!) :D And He truly does work everything out for good, and you can just see that example through Zach and Whitney. And even though I live all the way across the U.S from you guys, I feel every bit as excited for you all for this new season of life. Ecc. 3:4 says” there is a time to weep and a time to laugh”, and how wonderful it is to be giggling with joy right along side of you. ( Even if it does mean a little tear between moms every now and then when we think of our babies growing up.) ;) God Bless you and thank you for the updates and photos. Its so exciting to see them.
Holly Howell ( Seattle)

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Julia September 28, 2013 at 11:56 pm

I’m so happy for them! That is wonderful~I hope they have a great wedding! Where are they getting married, or do they know yet???
Julia

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:03 am

Dear Julia,
They have picked a church in Lake City, TN. Love, Kelly

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Meagan B. October 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Was Whitney raised in Tennessee? And what colors are in the wedding? Thanks!! (:
Meagan B.

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 5:01 am

Dear Meagan B.,
Yes, she is a Tennessee gal. The colors are red and black. Love, Kelly

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Meagan B. October 9, 2013 at 9:42 pm

That’s awesome! My cousins live in Tennessee and I’ve always wanted to just stop by your house and say hi! And God willing, we can meet one day! Happy late birthday to Callie, Josie, Nathan, and Katie! Those are beautiful colors, especially around Christmas. Are they planning to have all the siblings in the wedding and do they want the ceremony to be short? If you feel like I’m asking too much, you don’t have to answer if you aren’t comfortable. I know you’re busy! God bless. (:
Meagan B. (:

Katie September 29, 2013 at 1:33 am

Congratulations! What an exciting time for your family! I’m curious, have your older children decided to leave the number of children they have up to God? If so (or if not) is that a key topic to discuss and agree on in the getting to know you/courtship phase?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 5:01 am

Dear Katie,
That is a conviction that Gil and I have held, but we’ve not discussed it with either of our future children-in-laws. I’m sure the topic has come up in their own conversations, because we advised them early on to discuss and ask questions about each others testimonies, doctrinal beliefs, convictions, goals, fears, etc. We’ve encouraged them to seek the Lord for guidance in their lives, and I’m sure the Lord can direct their paths! They’re adults now, and I know they love the Lord and want to seek His will for their lives. Love, Kelly

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Bobby Hardy September 29, 2013 at 4:45 am

Congrats Zach and Whitney May God continue to bless your

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sonjapetersen September 29, 2013 at 11:30 am

WOW another wedding in your happy family- congratulations!!! I am so happy for you, Zach is looking like Gil and sooooo proud.
All the best, love, Sonja

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Kelli Bates September 29, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Hi Kelly Bates!
It’s Kelli Bates (from Florida). :) So excited to hear of the new engagement. My jaw dropped when you said they were in Clearwater as that’s 20 minutes away from where we live. I grew up in Clearwater. Too funny! So happy for you all and may God’s richest blessings come upon Zach and Whitney. (Miss your show!!)

Love,
Kelli

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Katey September 29, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Congratulations!

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Tammie September 29, 2013 at 10:14 pm

When God rains down blessings, He really pours it on! Thank you so much for allowing some drops to fall on the rest of us through your pics, updates, honest answers, and Godly counsel. Is there a way you can post some video here on your blog? No broadcast tv in our home, so I have to watch by internet. Many blessings to the engaged couples and the ones I am sure to here about in the near future (can hardly wait)!

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Kelly September 30, 2013 at 1:21 am

Dear Tammy,
We hoping to redo our whole website by the wedding, with updated pics and such, so I’ll ask if our helper for our website can add that. Love, Kelly

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Symphony October 5, 2013 at 6:51 pm

I’ll look forward to the new pics and such!
Love symphony

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Shayna September 30, 2013 at 5:44 am

Mazal tov from Israel!!:)

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Denise September 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Hi Kelly, I was wondering how did you make your blog? I’m trying to start my own and was wondering how did you get started?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 4:54 am

Dear Denise,
I wish I knew how to offer suggestions, but a friend helped us. Love, Kelly

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Peggy October 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm

A free way to make a blog/website is weebly.com

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Patricia Koppelaar September 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Hello Bates family,

congratulations on both Erin and Zach’s engagement. Who is all in there wedding parties. :) I wish your show would have kept going:)

thanks trish Koppelaar

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Dear Trish,
I’d probably leave someone out if I tried to name them, but I think they’re having 5 groomsmen and bridesmaids. Each are using a few siblings and a few friends. Love, Kelly

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Kaylee September 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Kelly,
When the weddings have been filmed, where can I find them to watch? Will YouTube be good for that?

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Kelly October 1, 2013 at 4:49 am

Dear Kaylee,
We’ll try to inform everyone when we find out what Matt’s plans are. Love, Kelly

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Sunshine September 30, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Congrats on a new engagement! It’s always beautiful to see that representation of the resurrection presented through marriage. God is good!

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Aine October 1, 2013 at 9:17 am

Dear Kelly

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney. Zach was so thoughtful to arrange everything in such a sweet way. I hope that Zach and Whitney enjoy this run up to the wedding and that they have a wonderful day.

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Elaine October 2, 2013 at 3:38 am

Oops…meant to post a congratulations to Zach and Whit on THIS post. Anyways, best wishes from the Matrogas family. God bless! :-)

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Gina October 2, 2013 at 7:57 am

Great photos! It looks like they’re beaming with joy! What a romantic whirlwind of events I am sure Whitney was swept right off her feet!! Zac is a real sweetheart to go to all that effort and make it so special and memorable for her. You have obviously raised your boy right!! Whitney is very pretty and looks like a fun girl! Can you tell us more about her? I am curious how she came to be adopted into such a large family with several other adopted children. It sounds like a very unique childhood! Are her biological parents still alive or did they pass away? It’s cool to see her thriving at only 20 years old, holding down a job and studying as well… and now even getting married to the man of her dreams! Wow – God is so good!!

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Kelly January 12, 2014 at 2:56 am

Dear Gina,
Yes, Whitney is special! The Owens family had a daughter, Laklee, who was good friends with Whitney growing up. Laklee passed away in a car accident when she was 13. Whitney was placed into foster care at 13. The Owens had done foster care and had adopted several children after Laklee’s death. Whitney loved the Owens, who attended her church. They were awarded custody of Whitney when she was 16. She loves them dearly and they are great parents. Love, Kelly

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Amélie October 2, 2013 at 7:58 am

Thank you so much for all the updates and comments! Good luck with all the preparations, it must be so much fun! Will the Duggars attend both of the weddings ?

And when you have time, I would love to have an update on Alyssa :)

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Kelly October 11, 2013 at 2:14 am

Dear Amelie,
Yes, hopefully, the Duggars will be there too. Alyssa is doing well. She’s enjoying work at the flower shop. She stays very busy! Love, Kelly

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Madison October 2, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Dear Kelly,
How sweet! I hope to have this someday.(: I am a 18 year old Christian girl and every time I think to enter into a relationship with a guy that I know isn’t good for me or not a Christian, I hold onto that hope. It’s very hard sometimes but so far I’ve managed! Your Erin and Zach’s happiness has given me a little more reason to hold onto that hope (: Congratulations to both couples I am so happy for them!
You are so patient and sweet to answer all these questions over and over!

Love and prayers, Madison

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Stephanie October 3, 2013 at 2:43 am

I’m sure this is a very sensitive question and I in no way what-so-ever want this to be taken as a rude question. But I was wondering at what age do you have “the talk” with your children? Now that Erin and Zach are about to get married, do they know what to expect on the wedding night? It seems like I read (and I could be wrong) that Erin asked her dad how to hug so that she wouldn’t mess up. I’m so afraid of the day when I have to have that talk with my daughter and I don’t know how I’m going to do it. I was just wondering how you and Gil handle this delicate situation! Please let everyone know that I am praying for them!

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Kelly October 22, 2013 at 4:28 am

Dear Stephanie,
I recommend tapes by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo called Reflections of Moral Innocence to teach children the important subject of “the birds and the bees.” (http://www.growingkids.org/gfi-core-curriculum/reflections-of-moral-innocence/) As they study school material related to this topic, we choose curriculum written with a Biblical view point. Specifically for the wedding, we have given 6 weeks of premarital counseling and have assigned 2 books to be read that were written by Dr Ed Wheat: Intended for Pleasure and Love Life for Every Married Couple.

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Samantha October 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Do you (your husband and yourself)counsel both couples?
chad and Erin and Zach and Whitney ?
And do you assign those books for them to read together before the wedding night?
- Samantha

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Kelly October 24, 2013 at 4:21 am

Dear Samantha,
Yes, we counsel together beginning 6 weeks before the wedding. We assign the books to be read separately the last 2 weeks. Love, Kelly

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rose October 3, 2013 at 4:19 am

I know this is off topic but how many of your children can drive? My youngest daughter just got her license and bought her first truck(by herself). God bless!

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 4:56 am

Dear Rose,
9 total… (3 permits only). Love, Kelly

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Brenda H October 3, 2013 at 11:04 am

Congratulations to Zach & Whitney! The love & joy just radiates from them both! I wish them all the best with much happiness and blessings! Praying for both happy couples! Kelly & Gil – a new season of life you both! Joy to all. God Bless.
Brenda H

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Jennifer B (Australia) October 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Such a beautiful proposal. Congratulations and many special blessings from our family to yours!

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Denise October 3, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Hi, I was wondering how Erin was doing; is she running up the walls with excitement/nervous?…30 days to go!!!! Plus have ya’ll found a dress yet?

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 4:55 am

Denise,
LOL…we’re all going crazy with excitement and a million to do’s!!!! Yes, she found a dress, but it had to have extensive altering done, so she still has one more fitting. Love, Kelly

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Amber landers October 4, 2013 at 5:45 am

Dearest Kelly
What great news to read about! Prayers going out to you all over the next few months. Will be starting another blanket for them. Was Hopi g to have the one I. The mail already but it’s not. Hope next week. Let me know if you make it out our way.
God bless love Amber

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Anita Sharp October 4, 2013 at 9:52 am

Dear Kelly,
Congratulations and greatest blessings to you and your growing family!! I was so happy to read that you have two children getting married! What a wonderful milestone. I appreciate the example that you and your family set, and I hope that you continue to share your life with us! The calm and serenity that you present is a great example to all women, no matter their means or faith!
My prayers are with you and your family!!! Again, Congratulations, and Thank You!

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Liza Jane October 4, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I am so beyond excited for Zach and Whitney! Whitney seems like such a sweet fun girl and such a breath of fresh air for Zach….he seems truly happy! Has Whitney found a dress yet, who are bridesmaids….just her sisters and Zach’s sisters or friends, a mix of both? Will Zach choose his brothers as groomsmen? Jeb and Judson as ring bearers? Sorry I just love wedding plans!
By the way, Michaela could go into business sewing modest wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses for Erin and Whitney!!!

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 5:09 am

Dear Liza Jane,
A mix of both!! I haven’t announced yet just because I know they’ve reconsidered some adjustments several times :) Love, Kelly

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Erin October 5, 2013 at 6:57 am

Congratulations to your family! I have been following your blog for awhile now and I have been so encouraged by your posts. My husand and I have discussed our desire to pursue “courtship” for our children. We have a long time before we cross that bridge (our oldest is 5) but we would like to start our research:) Neither of us pursued courtship as young adults but we desire that level of purity for our children. We both entered our marriage with a lot of “baggage” from our past and it certainly made our relationship more difficult at times. Do you have any suggested books, sermons or resources regarding courtship? Thank you!

Erin

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Kelly November 26, 2013 at 6:08 am

Dear Erin,
I read Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliott. Erin read two books by Eric Ludy. Friends have recommended I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Josh Harris, but I haven’t read it. Love, Kelly

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Tracy October 5, 2013 at 8:01 am

Congratulations Erin and Zack!!! It is so wonderful two couples so dedicated to the Lord can join together. I am Christian from birth to adulthood but marrying into an Amish/ Mennonite family. I am so happy to be so blessed with my furture partner. I follow your show on tlc and the Duggar’s. I wonder do you think its ok if the woman is older than the man in a relationship? I pray that you have the happiest of marriages.

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 4:51 am

Dear Tracy,
I think that’s personal preference. We don’t have a problem with it. Love, Kelly

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Beth October 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm

God’s blessings to you all!! What a busy, exciting fall you must be having!! Thanks for being a light in this world.

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Liza Jane October 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Kelly,
I have a great book which I thought your older girls (Michaela-Josie) would enjoy! I know you said that Josie is an especially voracious reader. It is about a young 19 year old girl who went on a mission to Uganda and began a ministry to orphans and ended up adopting 13 orphans!!!
Do you mind if people recommend books for your kids without you seeing it first? It is called Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis if you want to check it out.

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 4:50 am

Dear Liza,
Thank you…yes, Jill Duggar told my girls about it a while back. Love, Kelly

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Symphony October 5, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Who is Whitney having for her bridesmaids and flower girl(s)? They are such a cute Godly couple!
Love, symphony

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 5:06 am

Dear Symphony,
Whitney is having some of her sisters and some of Zach’s, plus a cousin (5 total). Love, Kelly

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Symphony October 9, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Thanks for answering!
Love symphony

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Ruthie October 6, 2013 at 2:21 am

How exciting for the Bates’ family!!! I live about 90 or less minutes away from Clearwater! If your ever in Florida again, I would love to meet you! Do they have a wedding date? Does Erin and Chad have a wedding date too?

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 4:46 am

Dear Ruthie,
Erin’s wedding date is Nov. 2nd and Zach’s is Dec. 14th. Love, Kelly

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Elena October 6, 2013 at 11:05 am

Hi Kelly, just got the update about Mike (S.O.S ministries)…Im sure you’ve heard, but would like your fans to keep him in your prayers. His missionary work is so important and he is so dedicated to the cause. I pray that he continues to change the lives of others, that he stays safe and protected from harm. He says the mission must continue..God Give Him Strength.

x0x0

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Kimberly Kurkinen October 7, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Isn’t God amazing for creating marriage!? You and Gil are such a good example of loving each other with God’s grace! Congratulations to the happy couple!

-Kim and Tim Kurkinen

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Sue October 8, 2013 at 3:09 am

Kelly,

Exciting news! Will the Bates be having a regular program on TV like the Duggars? I recall seeing an episode or two of the Unites Bates . . . program awhile back. Thanks.

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 4:45 am

Dear Sue,
They filmed a one hour show plus 8 thirty minute shows, but I don’t think they’re planning to film more of United Bates of America. Erin’s wedding will appear on Nineteen Kids and Counting, though. Love, Kelly

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Natalie October 10, 2013 at 12:03 am

YYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY!

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Julia October 21, 2013 at 3:45 am

Whoo hooo!

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Lynn October 8, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Dear Kelly,
I have A question .When do you teach your children about what will happen on their wedding night. Like do yall tell them on their wedding day or when. How do you tell them .Do you tell everything about intimacy or what .Not trying to be ugly just want to know how to tell my kids when it come time to.
Thanks ,Lynn

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Kelly October 22, 2013 at 4:08 am

Dear Lynn,
We set aside six weeks for premarital counseling to cover a wide variety of marriage topics, including that topic. They also did premarital counseling with Chris Hogan, of Noble Call Ministries. They have been assigned to read Dr. Ed Wheat’s two books: Intended for Pleasure and Love Life for Every Married Couple, which we highly recommend reading shortly before marriage. Love, Kelly

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Dorina Igna October 9, 2013 at 4:08 am

Dear Kelly,

I am so blessed every time I see your sweet family on TLC. My husband and I have four boys ages, 11, 16, 24, and 27. I pray that the Lord will bless each of our sons with such beautiful, Godly young ladies as yours. God bless you.

Love,
Dorina

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Mary Lowe October 9, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Has Zack and Whitney register anywhere for wedding gifts?

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Kelly October 11, 2013 at 2:10 am

Dear Mary Lowe,
They are registered at Target and Wal-Mart, but that was really just for the sake of family that had asked; we don’t want anyone to feel the need to spend money on presents. Love, Kelly

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Cheryl October 9, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Is there a place where I can purchase DVDs of the complete United Bates of America? We don’t have regular TV and I would LOVE to see them! Thanks.

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Kelly October 21, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Dear Cheryl,
We’ve heard the season can be bought on Itunes. Love, Kelly

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Cheryl November 19, 2013 at 11:44 am

I bought it on Amazon.

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katy October 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Beautiful!!! Congratulations!!!

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Patti October 10, 2013 at 1:08 am

Incorporating the Church’s decorations into the wedding is such a smart thing for Zach & Whitney to do! I imagine your family is super busy with 2 weddings coming up…busy but excited. What a happy time for the Bates Family!

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Julie October 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Is Whitney still working at Sonic? Lucky guy if she does!

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Kelly October 13, 2013 at 3:34 am

Dear Julie,
Yes, she does. Love, Kelly

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margarit October 12, 2013 at 12:49 am

Wow what a happy miracle its not easy finding that special someone . I’m so happy for your kids getting married ! Love your family so much so happy to see you guys on the 19 kids and counting show , those are always my fav episodes when you guys are on !!! have a great evening! ;)

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Annie Smith October 13, 2013 at 4:49 am

Hi Kelly,
Congrats..2 weddings,,and probably 2 babies next time this year hopefully..

I was curious, and I did not see anyone directly ask,,but I noticed both couples touch..did you change this conviction or leave if up to the couples? I was happy to see the hand holding and hugging…it was modest,,and I am sure it helps bring them closer together as they feel love through the smallest affection

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Kelly October 21, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Dear Annie Smith,
Hmmm…We evaluate and re-evaluate all convictions and choices. Sometimes we loosen up, sometimes we feel the need to tighten up, but we always want to be open to grow in the direction that we feel will be a balanced, wholesome representation of Christ…Obviously, we fall way short of that goal way too often, but that’s our heart’s desire. In relationships, our end goal is to glorify God in the relationship, maintain purity, and encourage each other both emotionally and spiritually while preparing for marriage. If holding hands and hugging can be done while still maintaining these goals, then we don’t mind. We think it can be sweet and bonding, but like all things requires being on guard, accountable, and honest. Love, Kelly

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Ashley October 14, 2013 at 1:16 am

I am so happy for Zach and Whittney and Erin and Chad! When are Zach and Whittney getting married? God has certainly been working in ya’ll’s lives. God bless you.

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Kelly October 18, 2013 at 1:50 am

Dear Ashley,
Their wedding will be Dec 14th. love, Kelly

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Ashley October 19, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Will their weddings be videotaped and posted on your website? Love Ashley

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Kelly October 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Dear Ashley,
TLC will be filming it and it will be on the Duggar’s show. Love, Kelly

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Denise October 14, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Hi, I was just wondering if Chad was helping Erin with decorating the house and what not…I know you’ve mentioned the Erin was doing it while he was a work but does he help out too sometimes? Plus has Whitney and Zach found a home yet?

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Kelly October 18, 2013 at 1:49 am

Dear Denise,
Poor Chad…he works round the clock trying to get everything ready. He has kilzed the walls, put knock down on them, and repainted. He has scrubbed, bleached, cleaned….the list goes on. I just hope he recovers a little sleep before the wedding…lol! Love, Kelly

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Delinda October 16, 2013 at 4:19 am

I would love to see some specials on your family! I am so glad you appear from time to time on 19 kids, but your family is very inspiring as well. Keep up the great work. Your family is beautiful! The Lord has truly blessed!

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Francesca October 16, 2013 at 7:22 am

Congratulations to the beautiful couple and to their parents! Zach seems like such a great guy, very kind hearted and sensitive, I’m very happy to see he has found his special someone. I’m sure he has made a wonderful choice in asking Whitney to marry him with the Lord’s guidance and counsel from his amazing parents. I pray they will have a joyful and peaceful life together.
Francesca

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Sophie October 17, 2013 at 6:54 am

Dear Kelly,

I have a question, and I am sorry if it’s too personal:
Do Erin (and Chad) and Zach (and Whitney) want children? And so, quickly in their marriage?

Thank you for your encourage, and God Bless you

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Kelly October 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Dear Sophia,
I think they all agree that children are a blessing and I think they are open to whatever God’s will is for their lives. Love, Kelly

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Lauren Wood October 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm

What an amazingly beautiful couple, may the lord bless them with every happiness that they deserve xx

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Sammijo October 18, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Hi Kelly,
I love the example you, Gil and your family set for others! What a blessing you all are and I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn from you. I’ve been following your updates and am especially trying to understand courtship so as to help guide my 3 teenage children it as oppose to regular dating. I did not court and neither did my husband, but we have chosen that as the path we would like for our children to follow and they are all on board with it! How does one teach their children how to follow the guidelines for courtship without having been through it? Any suggestions on that would be helpful and much appreciated! Many many blessings are being prayed for your family! I can’t wait to hear more about your exciting times – thanks for sharing!

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Kelly November 26, 2013 at 6:06 am

Dear Sammijo,
You’re right in the same boat we were. Gil and I did not court and were not from that background. Most families that I know, that was the story for the parents. In fact, that’s the very reason they were drawn to the courtship idea. They knew from their own experiences that they wanted something better, more wholesome for their children. Most of us then, learned by mistakes…our own. We are still learning. We read, listen, talk to others, and experience. Be honest with your kids about your own failures, explain why you recommend this path. Share the pitfalls many fall into in dating and in courtship. Life is full of lessons and experiences we can glean insight from. Do a Bible study on purity. Keep the communication lines open with your children. Establish a very close family relationship, so their is trust and compassion and a friend in times of need. Love, Kelly

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Kristen October 18, 2013 at 11:35 pm

When are the wedding dates for both the couples?

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Kelly October 21, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Dear Kristen,
Chad and Erin are Nov. 2nd
Zach and Whit are Dec. 14th
Love, Kelly

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Ashley October 19, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Hello Mrs. Bates,
Are Alyssa and John courting? I haven’t seen any pictures of them so I was just wondering. Love in Christ,
Ashley

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Kelly October 21, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Dear Ashley,
Hmmmm….not yet, but she has a birthday coming up so I wouldn’t be surprised if she isn’t before long…lol! Love, Kelly

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Ashley October 22, 2013 at 1:35 am

We won’t be able to watch the wedding on tv, but will it be on the duggars blog or anywhere else? Also, will Zach or Erin have their own websites? Love Ashley
ps. What are their colors for their weddings?

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Kelly October 22, 2013 at 3:38 am

Dear Ashley,
They are working on their website. Erin and Chad are using blue. Zach and Whit are using red and black. Love, Kelly

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Symphony October 22, 2013 at 6:15 pm

When is Alyssa’s birthday and how old will she be turning?
Love, symphony

Julia October 21, 2013 at 3:43 am

That’s wonderful that they are getting married! God’s has blessed your family. They are an awesome couple…when are they getting married?
Would you please let me know if there is any way I could talk to Jill and Jana Duggar about midwifery? I really want to be a midwife, but don’t know how to get ahold of them???
Thanks sooooo much
Julia

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Kelly October 21, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Dear Julia,
They are getting married Dec 14th. I would imagine that writing a letter to the Duggars would be your best bet to get in touch. Love, Kelly

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Julia October 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Thank you sooo much! You are so sweet to reply to me!!!!
Love,
Julia

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Narcisa Lupescu October 22, 2013 at 12:07 am

I’m so happy for them. What color is there wedding going to be?

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Kelly October 22, 2013 at 3:40 am

Dear Narcisa,
Whit is using red and black for Christmas. Love, Kelly

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Beverly October 23, 2013 at 2:53 am

I am so happy for your family. My son and his wife married on November 6th. The wedding wa so pretty. The colors were truffle and cream. Very fall looking.

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Tami October 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I know you said Erin and Chad’s wedding will be on 19 Kids and Counting is TLC also filming Zach and Whitney’s wedding? Have they decided where they are going for their honeymoon? What about Chad and Erin?

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Kelly October 24, 2013 at 4:07 am

Dear Tami,
We haven’t heard if they will film Zach’s, but Matt filmed his engagement. Love, Kelly

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Linda Robinson October 24, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Dear Zach & Whitney
My family & I would like to wish you both a world of happiness on your engagement and forthcoming Wedding.
I would also like to add, Zach, what a wonderful way to propose to Whitney, the photos shine with love and happiness.

The Robinson Family

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Linda Robinson October 24, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Dear Kelly & Gill,
What and exciting end to 2013 you have to look forward to, two weddings !!
May I congratulate all the families involved and I hope you have a wonderful time.

We here in the UK have not yet had the privilage of viewing your own show and we are way behind with 19 kids and counting, I do hope we get to see you all soon.
Linda .

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Helen October 26, 2013 at 11:36 am

Wow, just looked at both Zach and Chad’s proposals – so romantic. I feel slightly sorry for future suitors, they have certainly set the bar high :) . I am sure the weddings will be just as lovely. Very best wishes to both couples.

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Jen October 27, 2013 at 3:20 am

Dear Kelly,
Congrats to Zach and Whit!! They are SOO cute together!:) I saw that Chad and Erin have a website, will Zach and Whitney have one to? Thank you for your time!! Jen

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Kelly October 27, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Dear Jen,
Yes, they will. The gentleman helping them had a tragic accident in their family. Their 2 yr. old son was wounded by the lawn mower, and was air lifted to Atlanta where he is undergoing surgery. He lost both big toes and his right foot was wounded badly. The family is asking for prayer, and website work might be on halt as a result of their family’s difficulties. Love, Kelly

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Jen October 28, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Dear Kelly,
I will certainly be praying for this family!!!!! I meant to ask earlier, was it any harder on Zach or even Whitney sense Zach was in a relationship with Sarah Reith? And do you know if the Reith family even knows about this special news? ( Sorry if this is to personal!! You don’t have to answer!)
Thanks , Jen

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Kelly October 29, 2013 at 1:13 am

Dear Jen,
Yes, they know. Several of our children have seen them at a Duggar party and they were extremely kind. God has blessed them with a wonderful ministry and we continue to pray for them. No, it wasn’t harder…instead having gone through hurts and learning how to help communicate through them, encourage one another, and grow really helped cement their friendship. Zach and Whit are very open and honest with one another, and they’ve shared so much together that they can both honestly say they’ve never been as close to anyone else. They truly are best friends through thick and thin! Love, Kelly

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Symphony October 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Have Zach and Whitney picked a honeymoon location?

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Kelly November 26, 2013 at 5:55 am

Dear Symphony,
Yes, Kauai, Hawaii. Love, Kelly

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Symphony October 29, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Have Zach and Whitney picked a honeymoon location yet?

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Kelly November 8, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Dear Symphony,
They’re looking at Hawaii, but aren’t 100 percent sure. Love, Kelly

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Lisa November 4, 2013 at 5:59 am

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney! May God bless them with many years of love, health and happiness together.

We are an ATI family from Pennsylvania. We are praying to be able to attend a conference this coming year. Finances have prohibited it the last few years, but I know how much we would all benefit from it. And, perhaps we could finally meet you in person! :-)

God bless,
Lisa

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Vanessa Abrook November 4, 2013 at 6:14 am

Congratulations Zack and Whitney , Kelly and Gil , you must be so proud of your gorgeous family . may Gods blessings continue .

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Anniesmith@gmail.com November 6, 2013 at 3:33 am

Kelly I have somewhat of an off topic comment, but will probably be refreshing since so many ask controversial questions :)
I remember on the Duggar episode where they remodeled your home…How long did the whole remodeling take? And is the whole part of your old house still a part of your new house add on…..and….do you ever know now how all of you managed in the tiny house?
BTW I love your kitchen,,I always wanted an open Island like Kitchen

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Kelly December 5, 2013 at 6:40 am

Dear Annie,
It took 3 years…only cause Gil and I tend to be slow with projects. LOL! The old house is attached. We use one room for storage, one for guests, and the rest for school library. Love, Kelly

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Stephanie November 9, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Is your family still in contact with Sara Reith’s family? How are they doing?

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Kelly November 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Dear Stephanie,
Our children saw them at a July 4th celebration with the Duggars and they were doing great. Their new CD is absolutely amazing!!! They are a precious and Godly family. I pray for them often. Love, Kelly

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Jen November 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Their newest cd is amazing!! Did y’all know that they are in the process of making another cd? I heard its coming out some time in January( exciting can’t wait to hear it!)!!! Congrads to Zach and Whit!
God bless, Jen:)

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Taylor November 14, 2013 at 1:35 am

Wasn’t Zach courting another girl?

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Kelly November 26, 2013 at 4:42 am

Dear Taylor,
Yes, quite a while back, he was in a courtship that ended. We are thankful that we met that family. We feel that we all learned and grew from the experience,. we admire them greatly and appreciate their testimony and ministry. We are so thrilled that God turned a hurtful time into something so precious as the friendship that later developed between Zach and Whit. We couldn’t be more blessed than we have been to gain a future daughter-in-law that loves Zach so much, loves the Lord, and has such a tender heart. Love, Kelly

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Nicola125@aol.com November 14, 2013 at 3:53 am

Kelly, I am being bullied in my workplace and it hurts
I am asking for your prayers for me and the bullier…
what would you do if this happened to someone in your family?
I want to quit but cannot afford to
You always know the right things to say to people with your ever kind spirit

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Kelly November 26, 2013 at 4:38 am

Dear Nicola,
I will pray for you! I’m not sure the situation…so, when you say “bullied”, if that implies physical threat or harm I would seek help from authorities. If you mean emotional, verbal crudeness and such, you have the right idea to pray for your enemies. I wish I could tell you that will make it stop, but it doesn’t always. When Gil worked for Nabisco, there was one store manager that loved to harass, embarrass, and even mistreat him. Gil tried to always respond with kindness. The trial lasted seemingly forever….One day when Gil showed up the man admitted that he purposefully targeted Gil to test his reaction and shake his faith, but he said he was constantly surprised by Gil’s gracious response. He said that day, “I know you really are a Christian.” That testing is not easy, but it could be that others watching will be encouraged by your meekness. Love, Kelly

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Nicola125@aol.com November 26, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Dear Kelly, .
Thanks so much for sharing Gil’s story, and guess what? It is my store manager “targeting me” also…I guess I wasn’t clear…I did not want to write and write and have it not submitted to you in the moderation process because I knew it was so off topic..So to give a little detail, it is verbal and crude and unkind…Our workplace is a no cell phone outside of break room,,,but if you are blonde and thin and young that rule doesn’t apply…I am 40 something slightly overweight, and average looking….Just snide remarks all the time…To make matters worse my best work friend who was I thought A great Christian even turned on me saying “u have to fight your own battles” wow..I guess we find out who is real and fake…I go out of my way to do extra work,,,I wish I could just say”Tom, why do u bully me all the time, it hurts:? But ya know what he would laugh and do it more,,u report him, to his boss and we all know theres retaliation…..even tho they say no retaliation zone..If I did not carry our family insurance I would leave in a minute,,, I work in a place similar to Sonic
But…….I am going to act as Gil did and treat him with kindness love and see how that goes……….
Kelly I am going to dub you the “Christian Dear Abby”
You do have such a kind heart, and we are encouraged by your care
I think God put you here to help others,,you have a gift and you are using it wisely…………
BTW your daughters wedding pics are beautiful
I bet I speak for many of us,,cannot wait till it Airs on tv
Thanks again
Nic

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Kelly December 5, 2013 at 6:15 am

Dear Nicola,
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see the results you’re looking for right away…just remember you are responding to honor Christ…leave the results in His hands, even if its not the ones you’d pick. Sometimes He’s using trials and tribulation to sharpen us! Grow better, not bitter! Love, Kelly

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Kathy November 21, 2013 at 7:32 am

Dear Kelly,
Many congrats to you and Gil on the recent marriage of your absolutely gorgeous daughter, as well as the upcoming wedding of your most handsome son! I have a question that is a bit off-topic, but I hope you don’t mind. My husband and I are getting ready to try for our first child. However, I am terrified of not getting enough sleep once the baby arrives. I have had conflicting reports on how bad the “sleep thing” really gets. Is it bad? Are you not able to function because of it? With 19, I thought you’d be the perfect source of wisdom! Thank you do much, Kelly! You truly are a wonderful inspiration.

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Kelly November 26, 2013 at 1:46 am

Dear Kathy,
I guess every family situation is different, and children are different, of course! But as a whole, I think our life became more organized due to the demands of family. So, I ended up feeling more orderly in general. We had nap times and bedtimes and made plenty of play time! We also made plenty of date time and married time together, so overall, we felt very refreshed. There were occasional sleepless nights from unexpected sicknesses, etc…but there was always plenty of adrenalin to keep me going through those moments. I have to say God’s grace has been sufficient to meet my needs and children have truly been the greatest blessing I’ve ever known! Love, Kelly

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Linda Robinson November 25, 2013 at 1:23 am

Dear Kelley,
Not long now for Zach & Whitney’s wedding :) how are you all doing with the wedding preperations? You have had such a busy few months.
May I ask what you are all planning to do this Christmas with newly weds in the family?
I send my best wishes to Zach & Whitney and I hope they have a truly wonderful wedding day . Linda.

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Kelly November 26, 2013 at 1:01 am

Dear Linda,
I’m sure it’ll be a festive, but busy time this season! Zach and Whit will return from their honeymoon on Christmas Eve, so I’m sure part of it will be spent looking at pics! Chad and Erin will make a short trip to Oklahoma to be with the Paines for their first newlywed visit! We will make sure to slow down and appreciate the REASON for the SEASON, which is Christ our Saviour!! Love, Kelly

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Jennifer December 2, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Hi Mrs. Bates,
Congratulations on all the happy news your family has! Y’alls family is such an encouragement to me!

I am looking for cheap air flights, where did Zack find his? I ‘m sorry if you have already answered this question, 401 comments is a lot to read through!
Blessings,
Jennifer

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Kelly December 4, 2013 at 7:40 am

Dear Jennifer,
We flew through Allegiant Air. Check the whole calendar at a glance to see which days are the cheapest to fly. It is a no frills airline, meaning luggage, snacks, or drinks are an extra charge. They don’t fly many places, but they are very cheap. Love, Kelly

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Erin December 10, 2013 at 2:17 am

Hi is 19 kids & counting crew filming Zach’s wedding on saturday.

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Kelly December 21, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Dear Erin,
No they did not film. They did not need footage from two weddings back to back, so Joshua and Josiah Duggar filmed it for us. Love, Kelly

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Kelly October 9, 2013 at 5:00 am

Dear RW,
We went to Magic Kingdom. Love, Kelly

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Kelly October 13, 2013 at 3:40 am

Dear Meagan,
They are having several siblings, but not all!! Hmmm… I don’t know what they’re planning for the ceremony yet. Love, Kelly

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Kelly October 24, 2013 at 4:20 am

Dear Symphony,
She’ll be 19 in November. Love, Kelly

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Kelly October 27, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Dear Alexandra,
They will be at Erin’s wedding, but not in the wedding party. John will hopefully be in the wedding party in Zach’s wedding, since he is one of his VERY best friends! Love, Kelly

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