On the morning of her 21st birthday, Emily Ann Roberts woke up expecting that it would be a day she would never forget. But she never realized that Oct. 23 would be a day that would change the rest of her life.
“My boyfriend and I had plans to go on a hike in Asheville, North Carolina,” the Season 9 Voice runner-up tells PEOPLE of the quiet morning she and Chris Sasser had arranged. “I was barely wearing any mascara, I didn’t have my nails done and I was just wearing workout clothes, but we were just supposed to be going on a hike, you know?”
Or at least she thought it was just going to be just another hike.
“As we were driving, [Sasser] was being extra sentimental,” recalls Roberts. “We were listening to the radio and Eric Church’s song ‘Like Jesus Does’ came on and he started crying a little bit and told me that the song reminded him of me. The whole thing got me wondering, but he had always said he wouldn’t ask me to marry him on my birthday or a holiday, so I didn’t know.”
Soon, the two found themselves at a gorgeous waterfall within the picturesque North Carolina landscape, and soon, Roberts’ boyfriend of four years was popping the question. And yes, she said yes.
“The crazy thing was once I said, ‘Yes,’ I took that ring right out of the box and put it on my finger,” laughs the Tennessee native, who released her Someday Dream EP back in July and returned to The Voice to sing its title track in front of former coach Blake Shelton. “I didn’t realize I had done that till we got back to the car.”
And while that would have been quite enough excitement for most of us for one day, this was just the beginning. Because while Sasser had asked Roberts’ father for permission to ask his daughter for her hand in marriage back in June, her dad had no idea when his future son-in-law was actually going to do it.
He certainly didn’t realize Sasser would pop the question on the exact same day that Roberts’ family was planning a surprise birthday party for her.
“We got back to my parents’ house because I thought we were all going to go to dinner, and all my friends and family were there for a surprise 21st birthday party,” says Roberts, who recently released a new music video for her song “Wild.” “They were all surprised that we had quite the surprise for them too. I think it took everyone a minute to process it all.”
An element that hasn’t been a surprise for anyone who has watched Roberts and Sasser’s love story grow is just how perfect they are for one another.
Their journey began all the way back in high school, when they were both juniors and both ended up in the same Spanish class. “He was just so shy, and I had no idea if he was at all looking to get into a relationship,” admits Roberts, laughing at the memory.
But soon after, the two started hanging out, and the rest is history.
“I told my mama two days ago that if God came to me and let me create the perfect man for me, I wouldn’t have been able to make someone as perfect as Chris is for me,” Roberts tells PEOPLE.
Of course, being the fiancée of a country singer is new territory for Sasser, who works as a catastrophe insurance agent.
“He’s really comfortable with all of this,” says Roberts. “He’s still very shy but he is coming out of his shell. He was with me before The Voice and during The Voice and now after The Voice, and he has never once complained about any of it. He’s done so good with it all, because it can have its crazy moments.”
What’s even crazier is the timing of it all, considering that Roberts recently moved to Nashville and now looks forward to having Sasser join her in Music City once they are married.
“My busy months are usually June through October, so we are thinking May or April or even November or December,” she says. “We know we are getting married in 2020, that’s for sure. It will just be nice knowing that I wont have to be here in Nashville alone for too long. I’ll be leaving a huge part of my heart in Knoxville until he gets here.”
So until then, Roberts plans to focus not only on wedding plans, but plans to continue her budding music career.
“Everything happens in the perfect time,” she concludes. “There is a reason things turn out the way they do.”