Ashley and Andres

How We Met

I wish we could say we were high school sweethearts, but the truth is, I couldn’t stand him back then. Andres Roque was just the funny guy in our yearbook class who sat a seat away from me. After attending the same school for six years, our senior year he grew to be the guy who was in five out of seven of my classes and took every opportunity to sit next to and talk with me. He was a jokester, a sweet guy who you could always depend on, but he was also sometimes a little too annoying for me to handle. Honestly above all, he was just a friend. Or so I thought. Like any good high school story, my true feelings didn’t surface until prom.

We had known each other for a few years and I thought it would be nice to go with him as friends– that is until I found out he asked my best friend instead. Yeah, talk about high school drama. Since we were all in yearbook class together, I agreed to go with them in Andres’ car. When they arrived at my house to pick me up, Andres nervously pulled out a corsage for me and I was floored. He insisted we were all going as friends, and so he had bought me a lovely pink corsage that complemented my dress. I was touched by how sweet and thoughtful this gesture was – the first of so many that would come to fill my life.

We spent the rest of the evening enjoying one of our last high school hurrahs, and the next day it hit me. I hoped it wasn’t true, but I knew in my gut that it was– I liked Andres Roque. I had no idea what to do with that information. We started talking more often outside of school, texting nonstop for days at a time. I started getting to know who he really was, and just how much we had in common. From there, it was inevitable; our hearts grew more connected and our love bloomed from the seed of friendship we harbored.

We took it slow at the start, but within months I knew that I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life without him. It’s incredible to share so many life experiences with your soul mate, and I’m so blessed that we gave our love a chance, despite fearing for our friendship. In the end, that’s what makes our relationship so effortless– we’re best friends who love each other with all that they are.

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how they asked

Shortly after I had started working at Epcot through the Disney College Program, my boyfriend (and best friend), Andres, made plans to visit me with my brother and his two sisters. I eagerly planned for their visit and thought about how nice it would be to show them around my park for the day.

Walt Disney World has always held a special place in my heart, and working there was already a dream come true. I wanted to share that dream with them, but I had no idea what a fairytale that day would become.

The morning of the visit, Andres’ sisters surprised me at my apartment and told me to get all dressed up and watch a pre-recorded video on their iPad. I hit play and listened as he greeted me and told me to get ready for the most magical day of my life.

Before we could officially enter the park, I had to watch a second video, which I thought would be another adorable message from Andres – but I was wrong. You could imagine (and see) my surprise when I found one of my best friends on screen!

In that moment, I couldn’t keep myself from crying as I realized Andres had gone through all the effort of contacting special friends and family from around the country to leave video messages for me, so they could still be part of the most special day of our lives, even when we were hundreds of miles apart.

Through their videos, each person delivered a special riddle about our life and relationship that served as clues leading me on an incredible scavenger hunt around Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Andres had coordinated every clue, down to a precise timeline he shared with our siblings and my roommates, who planted delicate, golden envelopes at every location, even entrusting a few to the wonderful cast members who played along.

Once I gathered all my clues, and wiped away my tears after watching one of the final videos in which my parents shared their love and support, I started opening the envelopes and found puzzle pieces. The assembled result proved to be a picture of Andres and me in front of Cinderella’s Castle – the final stop in my scavenger hunt.

In the heart of Magic Kingdom, I watched the last video, one Andres had made especially for me. It was full of classic romantic Disney moments and beautiful words all set to “Kiss the Girl,” my favorite Disney song. As the video concluded, he appeared behind me, took my hands and, through his words, made me feel like we were the only two there.

In that moment, my surroundings faded away. It wasn’t the castle, the scavenger hunt, the ring; all I saw was the man I love more than anything in this world get down on one knee and ask me to share the rest of our lives together. I was breathless.

Because I know how big of a question that is, I thought of all the wonderful years we’ve already spent together and about the promise of what is to come. My heart overflowed with emotion. His countless hours of hard work creating specialized clues, editing videos and coordinating to share the sentiments of our friends and family manifested in this act of love that I will never forget. So, somehow, gathering up all of those thoughts, with a deep breath and without a moment’s hesitation, I said “Yes” to our happily ever after.

But we all know the story doesn’t truly end after “happily ever after.” There was one more surprise from there. Unbelievably, Andres had kept another secret the rest of the afternoon. When it was time for dinner, he sneakily led us to the Boardwalk, and I discovered both sets of our parents there. He had coordinated with them to celebrate with us. Obviously I lost it, because he knew how important it was to me to celebrate this incredible day with our families.

We watched the Epcot fireworks and enjoyed dinner, and throughout it all, I couldn’t help but look down at my left hand and then look to the man beside me who made this all possible. Andres proved to me that dreams do come true.

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