Ally and Matt

How We Met

I first met Matt over the summer of 2016 working at a restaurant in our town, I was a hostess and he was a waiter. We would flirt periodically when things were slow and he could stop by the host stand. During lunch shifts, we would pass the time watching cats in windows across the street, looking up funny things on the host iPad, or just talking about being freshly 21. We seemed to have a connection, but neither of us was really looking for anything serious. So in the fall I went back to college and didn’t really think much of Matt while I was away. But when I came home for Winter Break I was strapped for cash I was willing to pick up any shift available at the restaurant. My first day back I was so excited to see all of my old co-workers that used to make me laugh so much (including Matt). But everyone there was new to the place. I had feared that maybe Matt had gotten a different job. Luckily, on my second shift back I was standing at the host stand and looked back to the server station. I saw Matt standing there and my stomach flipped!

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Gambrill State Park, Frederick, MD

I didn’t realize how badly I wanted to see him again. I was so happy to be working with him that night. If you ask him about this moment apparently when I looked back at him I made a crazy face. I don’t recall this. That night we fell right back into our flirtationship. Joking with each other as no time had passed. We continued to work together over the break, and both got scheduled to work New Year’s Eve. Rightfully so we were both pretty bummed since this was both of our first New Years being legal drinking age. We were standing at the host stand complaining about our luck, and discussing our plans for once we got off that night. I told Matt that I was going to be the designated driver for my friends so if he needed a ride he could text me, and I gave him my number. New Year comes and I had convinced my friends to ring in the New Year at our bar since I would just be getting off work. I had this romanticized plan to kiss Matt at midnight, just for fun, nothing serious. Midnight came, and I go to look for Matt. He’s cleaning the restaurant side with ALL of our co-workers. So I quickly wished them all well, grabbed my friends and moved on to the next bar. Around 2 am I get my first text from Matt, “Where did you go?”. He was planning on heading home but wanted to see me first… I was on the other side of town. I told him to wait right there and I would find him. Flash to me grabbing my intoxicated buddies and making them speed walk 10 blocks. This part is out of a movie- I turn onto the road where our restaurant is and I see Matt standing there waiting for me. I called out his name and ran right to him and jumped into his arms. He caught me and laughed, we stared at each other for what felt like a while. Cue my drunk friends walking up and saying they’ll give us some space. So Matt walked me to the car that was parked in a garage. We stood outside of my car for probably 15 minutes going back and forth on whether we should kiss or not. I would tell Matt that I wanted to kiss him, but then say no, no I don’t kiss people that I’m not dating, this is a bad idea. Matt is a perfect gentleman who said that we could do whatever I wanted, he wasn’t expecting anything. So finally, I grabbed his face and gave him a long sweet kiss. At this moment one of our co-workers steps out of the elevator. I get flustered, say goodbye and head to my friends who have been patiently been waiting/watching from my back seat. That night Matt texted me saying that if he took me on a proper date then maybe I wouldn’t feel so bad about kissing a stranger. So we set up our first date. On our fourth date, we decided that this was worth doing long distance while I finished college. Best 2 am decision ever.

Ally's Proposal in Gambrill State Park, Frederick, MD

How They Asked

After college, I decided to move to Florida and work for Disney. I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a short experience and a long term living situation. So Matt and I decided to do a long-distance while I figured out where I wanted to be. It was really difficult for us and caused a few tiffs between us. On one visit back home, I told Matt that I still wasn’t sure about what I wanted and it might be more time before we were living in the same state. Obviously, that wasn’t what he wanted to hear so we left each other on an awkward note. While my parents were driving me to the airport, Matt was frantically texting me, asking me what time my flight left and from which terminal. I told him it was fine, my parents are dropping me off and I would see him in a month. Well, I get to the airport and start walking towards security, that’s where I see Matt standing there looking nervous. I run up to him and give him a big hug and apologize for making our relationship so difficult. At this point, he pulls out a box. I start t freak out and say no, no, no… we’re in a fight, this isn’t the solution. He tells me to stop talking and just relax it’s not what I think. He pulls out a ring and says that it is just a promise ring. We were in different places and had different plans, but he knew he wanted to be with me. So this was his promise that one day he would marry me. Of course, I melted into a pool of tears and asked him when he had bought that. He said as soon as you left my house today. As I drove away from him, he felt uneasy and ran to the nearest pawn shop and asked for any ring in my size. It just so happened to be a ring with my birthstone on it! Then he raced to beat me to the airport.

Flash-forward a year. I had moved home, we were living in the same state, and doing great! We were so happy! One day we were just relaxing at his place and he asked me if I remembered what day he gave me the promise ring, I said yeah it was November 10th. Which just happened to be about a month away. He said, “oh cool, we should do something special that day”. Which immediately tipped me off. He was going to propose I just knew it! So, of course, what do you do when you know that information? You tell your best friend! Abby said she didn’t think that was true because I’ve always said I want Abby there to take pictures of it and she was already going to a wedding that day. She said I think you’re just doing something cute. Still not convinced I went to the gym to work out with Matt, and I asked him what he had in mind for our special day. He suggested we spend the day with his nephews. I dropped my weights to the floor and almost started crying. I had been so sure. I loved his family, but hanging out with two little boys was not a romantic date. So I gave up on my hunch… but only a little bit. A part of me still thought that it might happen that day. So I made sure my hair was done and decided not to wear leggings that day. The morning went exactly as planned we went to breakfast with the boys at Cracker Barrel, then took them laser tagging and took them back home. At that point, we were heading back to my house but Matt wasn’t taking the usual route. Instead, he was heading towards my favorite place, a hiking trail that overlooks my town. When I asked him why we were taking such a strange route he said oh well the leaves are falling and this looks better than the highway. But then he missed the first turn towards my house, and the second, and the third. At this point my heart was racing, I knew I was right!

Ally and Matt's Engagement in Gambrill State Park, Frederick, MD

We pull up to the trail and walk down the path, apparently just enjoying the lovely day ( it was freezing!!) We start to enjoy the view when Matt starts to open his heart to me. He slowly gets down on one knee and asks me the most important question. And of course, I say yes! At this point, my best friend Abby comes out from behind a rock and starts snapping photos. They had timed it out that she could come to our proposal in between the ceremony and reception of the wedding she was attending. After a quick photoshoot and freak out fest we say goodbye and head back to our car. I immediately start calling everyone I know!

And I ask Matt, okay so what now? He says we have dinner plans with our families to celebrate! Of course, that sounds great but we start heading away from town and where all the nice restaurants are. So I ask where in the world are we going? We end up back at the boy’s house. His entire family (It’s a big family) it outside with signs waiting for us. Inside the house, I expect to see my family hanging out. They’re there but they’re accompanied by all of my friends from college! Matt got them all to drive into Maryland to celebrate with us! They came from Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania! I was a crying mess! He had planned the best surprise ever! We spent the night enjoying time with all of our loved ones and celebrating our promise.

Special Thanks

Abby Buchanan
 | Photographer