Alex and Eric

How We Met

Eric and I first met when we were 12 years old in 2006. My family and I moved into the house right next door to his that summer. I remember my Mom coming into the house one day saying that she met our neighbors and it turns out they have twin boys who are also 12 years old! You should have seen the look on my Dad’s face. The day after we moved in, Eric and his twin brother, Cameron, knocked on our door to ask if my brother and I wanted to go to the pool with them. That was the first day Eric and I met.

Fast forward to February 14, 2008. Eric and I were in 8th grade and we would walk together to and from middle school. I knew Eric had a crush on me, and that day he rang my doorbell after school to give me a chocolate rose for Valentine’s Day. At that point, I did not want to ruin our friendship so I politely accepted the rose and shut the door in his face. Since we started dating, we now give each other a bar of chocolate rose each year on Valentine’s Day to remember the day that I friend-zoned my future husband.

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Eric asked me to be his girlfriend on May 7, 2009 in front of his locker during our freshman year of high school. At the beginning of our relationship, he was very quiet but would sometimes show me how goofy he could be and I knew he was a keeper. One month after we started dating, Eric hands me an index card when we get to school which is addressed to “The Cutest Girl in the World” from “The Luckiest Kid in the World”. On this index card, Eric wrote out lyrics from different songs and bolded specific letters to spell “I Love You Alex!”. That was the first day we told each other that we loved one another.

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Eric and I have been through many challenges with our relationship. I went off to college 4 hours away and he joined the Navy, which landed him in San Diego for 3 years. During our long distances years, we relied on FaceTime, phone calls and handwritten letters to keep our connection strong. I have kept an album filled with all of the letters that he wrote to me since we started dating up through when he left for basic training in the Navy and our only form of communication was hand-written letters. Those letters and memories help to keep me strong when the distance hurts a little too much.

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Since 2009, we have both encouraged each other to reach for our goals. We were long-distance between 2012 and 2019 when our schooling and careers pulled us along different paths. Now, 10 and a half years later, we finally moved in together in Virginia Beach and we couldn’t be happier to spend our evenings snuggled up on the couch in our little apartment. We are so excited to start our future together and continue to build upon what we began when we were 15 years old! I can’t imagine this life without my best friend by my side.

How They Asked

Alex’s Version:

Eric and I decided that it would be fun to visit Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA for Howl-O-Scream near Halloween. In my mind, I planned this whole trip because I made sure that he had the timeshare booked and that he picked up the tickets on his Navy base. There was no way that anything was going to happen.

On October 19, 2019, Eric and I ran a 5K race in the morning to benefit the Navy Seal Foundation so we woke up at 6:30 am to prepare to run 3 miles in the wet grass. That afternoon when we got home, I recommended that we relax and nap at the apartment, but Eric suggested that we freshen up so we can get to Williamsburg quickly and relax there. Eric is usually never one to skip a nap, but I still was not suspicious.

We pull up to the beautiful resort and in our timeshare, a dozen roses are sitting on the table. I was surprised but thought that it was a very sweet gesture. Little did I know what was coming. Eric decided to step out back and walk to the lake, so I followed him and I tried to look for little frogs near the lake. As I am looking, I realize that Eric stopped walking and I heard him say “Alex?”, where I turned around to see him down on one knee with a ring box in his hand. Eric said some beautiful words while I stood there bawling in front of him and of course, I said yes when he asked me to marry him.

As we are walking back inside, I’m still crying and asking him a million questions when all of a sudden, both of our families burst into the living room to surprise me and the tears flow even harder. I was shocked to see our families but ecstatic to celebrate with everyone! That night, we all went to Howl-O-Scream and celebrated the night away.

Eric’s Version:

Little did Alex know, the planning for this trip started about a month earlier when I asked her father for his blessing. I asked my parents and Alex’s parents if they could come down to Williamsburg to surprise her. They all thought it would be a great idea so we started discussing finer details when they were going to get there, how to take the pictures, where to hide during the whole thing.

After a few days of discussion, we had a final plan. Saturday morning, while Alex and I were doing our 5K race both of our families, would drive to Williamsburg to get there enough before us so they could have everything set up. The plan was to pop the question and go out and celebrate with everyone at a nice restaurant before we went to the park.

After the race though Alex kept talking about resting before we drove up or stopping for food on the way. All of which would have ruined the plan. So I told her it would be better to just get to the condo and check-in and then we could rest or get food. Reluctantly she agreed, we got to the condo where Alex was greeted with flowers my Mom had put there for us, which I played off as a request I put in when getting the condo.

At this point, I just need to get her outside because I know my brother is hiding behind the bushes waiting to take the pictures. I asked Alex if she wanted to walk out to the little lake behind our condo, followed her out, and before getting to the edge of the lake, I got down on a knee. Things were said, tears were shed, but she said YES! As we walked back into the condo I texted our parents, who were in the condo next to ours, to come over for the surprise.

As we were sitting on the couch Alex was asking about a million questions, the only one I remember was if I asked her Dad for his blessing. Right then the families walked in and more things were said and more tears were shed. It went perfectly and I was so happy to be able to share that moment with family.

Special Thanks

Chris Hefty
 | Photographer