Ashley and Nahder

Image 1 of Ashley and Nahder

How We Met

Nahder: We met at my friend’s/her cousin’s 30th birthday. When she first walked in I thought she was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. We hit it off right away and ended up talking until after 3 am long after everyone went to sleep. I somehow botched getting her number the next morning. Luckily for me she re-activated her Facebook a couple weeks later and we ended up seeing each other a month later and the rest is history.

Image 2 of Ashley and Nahder

how they asked

Ashley: I received an email from my Aunt Nony for an invitation to a party. They were hosting a get together for my mother’s 65th birthday, which would take place in a few weeks. The invitation said it’s not a surprise and that my mom knew all about it, but the only thing that was going to be a surprise was that they would be doing a little performance for her. For those who do not know my family, might think that a performance would be a red flag of suspicion, but in my family this is the usual. At all our get togethers we always do something interesting and fun such as playing and singing to the piano or guitar, hosting karaoke or casino nights, and even acting out skits to movies. So in my reality, when my aunt Nony said that they were going to do a performance for my mother, I thought nothing of it.

The day of the party I ended up having to drive myself and my kids to Nony’s house in Pennsylvania because Nahder told me he had to stay in PA the night before for work. I’m naturally terrible with directions so I was depending on Nahder being there on the phone every chance I needed him. At my first main exit I called him with a question about the best route and how to avoid the traffic and his phone ended up cutting off on me. He didn’t call me back and it went straight to voicemail when I called so I was actually got really upset with him on the car ride down. My cousin Dave reminded me they wanted me at their house by 3:00, before my mom arrived. Nahder’s phone finally started working, after I no longer needed his assistance since I was 10 minutes away. He wanted to see how well I was doing on time, because little did I know a bunch of friends and family were their waiting for me. I would not answer my phone still because not only did I know I was close but I was also was still upset he wasn’t available when I needed driving instructions. Thankfully, I made it there safely and on time. I was only 5 minutes late.

When I walked in my Aunt Nony offered me a glass of wine which I happily accepted especially after the drive and sat at the island in their kitchen (Nahder knew I would accept it and sit down and not walk around and see out any windows). After a couple minutes they told me that they wanted me to be their guinea pig for the skit they have been working on for my mother. I accepted and they ended up taking me to sit on the back of a car in their garage. I remember asking “You guys actually think my mom is going to sit on the back of the car?” My mom’s good friend, who is also a photographer, was in the car with me and they just told me they wanted to see how it records with me first so they can get it right with my mom. I truly didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary and I was definitely in for the shock of my life with what came next.

After sitting in the car for about a minute, my cousin Dave, comes out with his guitar and tells me that the skit works best if I just stare forward and don’t turn my head. He seemed adamant about that. He began playing a song on his guitar which I quickly realize is “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It’s one of my favorite songs (it actually became my favorite song as it played in the very first movie Nahder and I watched together when our relationship first started.) In the video I actually say out loud “Aww it’s like my favorite song” and was thinking I know I like it but I wonder if my mom likes it. Then all of a sudden the music fires up in the car and Dave’s guitar fades out and I remember thinking “this is weird” and that they are going all out for my mom this year.

When we get to the bottom of the driveway and make the first turn onto the street I see my mom and her husband Jon and I remember thinking this is silly. I started to think why is my mom here if this was supposed to be for her, but I was still clueless and I figured at this point that my mom was in on the skit. At the next part I see my Dad and his Fiancee, Leona, and I was in total shock! At this point I was thinking what is going on why would my dad be here. I thought it obviously is no longer for my mom but my mind was raising trying to figure out what other big event could bring my parents together and it couldn’t be my own birthday beings that it is another 4 months away. I was flat out confused until I saw all four of my best friends all come out together.

Image 3 of Ashley and Nahder

It finally hit home that this was a proposal a few seconds after seeing them and you can even hear me say “OH GOD” when I realize it! After that, more and more friends and family kept joining in and I could not have been more shocked and happy to have everyone come out and participate in this big performance. At this point I was emotional not only because I realized it was a proposal, but I began tearing up just seeing all the support from friends and family. It was really special seeing all they were willing to do to show how much they love me and Nahder. It really just meant the world to me.

Image 4 of Ashley and Nahder

It’s hard to say what my favorite part was since I’m in love with the entire proposal start to finish. The top memory of the entire thing would have to be seeing Nahder calmly burst out of the house while I realized he actually recorded his voice over the song. The best part was he spoke perfectly along with it since that part was about meeting his girl for the first time. How could that not be my favorite part of the proposal, seeing my soon to be fiancé for the first time! Although this moment made me incredibly happy I recall shaking my head no in the video, but I was shaking no, as in, I cannot believe this is actually happening! No, as in, I cannot believe you put this all together! Then emotions switched, and I could no longer hide my smile or happiness because I realize this is happening and not only did he put all this together, but he did it all for me!

Image 5 of Ashley and Nahder

Image 6 of Ashley and Nahder

Image 7 of Ashley and Nahder

Other great moments that replay in my head is seeing the happiness on both my parents faces and best friends when they all appear in my view from the car for the first time. Then when two of Nahder’s brothers came out together playing on the trumpet’s. You can just tell how much fun they were having during all that. They probably took the trumpets home. Then there was Nahder’s dad, he was so overjoyed he could not stop dancing with the tablet the entire time. Apparently the image wasn’t even on, but even if the screen was working properly I wouldn’t of been able to see what he was holding anyway because of all his dancing . I found out later his finger must of slipped before he came out and he was so giddy to even notice something was wrong. I still watch my proposal video over and over and each time I love it more. Each time I watch it I get to see more and more detail that went into all this. Also each time I watch I see more and more mistakes, but it’s these minor imperfections that made this proposal perfect. It’s perfect because not one of our friends are dancers, not a single person is a choreographer and somehow they all got together this day a few hours prior to my arrival and pulled it off. They put their hearts in it and turned it into perfection. They turned this day for Nahder and I into one of the most memorable days of our lives. Not many people can say their friends and family would do this for them, but mine did and I’m forever grateful to have them and forever grateful to my fiancé for putting this all together and giving me the surprise of my life! The best part about all of this, and I’m still in shock about this, is that they pulled this off without me having even the slightest clue.

Our Video

Special Thanks

David Santucci
 | planner/choreographer
Sue Callan
 | Videographer/Photographer
Graham Pascall
 | Video Editor