Becca and James

Image 1 of Becca and James

How We Met

It was the middle of second semester of our junior year at Boston University and I was sitting in a hotel room on spring break, waiting to see if I’d gotten accepted to a study abroad program in Sydney, Australia. The idea of being there filled me with an electrifying excitement; though at the time I didn’t know quite how exciting it would be.

Fast forward a few months, I was a few weeks into the program on my first weekend outing at surf camp. It was there that I worked up the nerve to talk to this particular brunette who always had a smile on her face. Not being the biggest social butterfly, I was nervous but she made me feel comfortable immediately. The next few days we started hanging out but we were most definitely just friends. We talked about our interests, our families, our dreams and something about sharing with her just felt easy and right. As our time in Sydney progressed, so did our friendship. No matter what I did for the remainder of the trip, Becca always seemed be there. We worked out together, we did homework together and we ate most of our meals together. She was that one friend I could count on a crazy night with or a low-key toaster-oven pizza kind of night with.

Over that semester, I began to value the friendship we’d built. Our trip came to an end but less than 24 hours after returning home to New York, I was already texting Becca. At the time, I was excited to continue our friendship back in Boston. Several weeks later we returned to school for our fall semester. Becca and I were living in the same building, just two floors apart. We started hanging out regularly and I couldn’t get Becca out of my head. Whether I was in class, at the gym, or going out, she was often on my mind. Weeks went by and I did my best to suppress the feelings because I didn’t want to ruin our friendship. But over the next couple of weeks, I started to sense something with Becca too.

Once night, Becca and her friends were over at my apartment and I couldn’t stop looking over at her. It could’ve been the tequila talking, but I was pretty sure she was looking at me too. The night went on and at one point I walked into my room. After some time, Becca came to get me to let me know that we were all heading out. I’d been on the phone so I quickly hung up and we started talking. There was this awkward tension and we were forcing small talk. Looking back, I now know this was the point at which I was supposed to lean in for a kiss. Instead, I sat there awkwardly rambling on until seemingly out of nowhere, Becca kissed me. My world stopped for a second.

I woke up the next morning still in disbelief. I was on cloud nine because I knew this was going to be something special. A week or so went by and Becca and I had continued to hang out but we hadn’t talked about what happened. I knew it was my turn to step it up so I asked Becca out on our first date. Our finals week was approaching but I couldn’t have cared less about my exams, all that was on my mind was this amazing girl that for whatever reason was into me.

I managed to pass my finals and then Becca and I went on our first date. Everything went perfectly and then I left for winter break. I went home a few days before my sister, who was a freshman at BU, because she still had finals left. I spent the next few days prepping for the holidays while talking to Becca who was heading home to Washington DC. The night that my sister got home from Boston, my mom was adamant about me bringing my shoes and jacket up to my room because she didn’t want clutter in the house for the holidays. I thought it was odd but I obliged. I walked upstairs, into my room and Becca was there to surprise me. To this day, that was the best Christmas gift I’ve ever gotten. The craziest part is that by this time, Becca and I had only known each other for 6+ months, our relationship had only escalated a few weeks prior, we’d only been on one date, she’d never been to my family’s house, and she’d never even met my parents. Yet, she canceled her own trip home (hundreds of miles away), schemed with my mom and sister and surprised me to spend a few days before Christmas with me, getting to know my family.

From that point on, we were inseparable. I found true love halfway across the world, with someone who had lived a few hundred feet from me for three years prior. Love is something that sneaks up out of nowhere when you least expect it and when you find it, you don’t know how you could’ve lived without it. It’s the unexpected moments in life that end up being the best ones and they led me to the person that’s meant for me. When you find that you hold on to it and build something amazing. As an outsider looking in, the events leading up to “us” don’t add up, but that’s what makes it special. I wouldn’t change our story for the world. Friendship was the foundation of our relationship and it’ll be the foundation of our marriage; a friendship that was built in Australia, a relationship that was strengthened in Boston, and future that was solidified in Marco Island. I can’t wait to marry Becca!

how they asked

On Valentine’s Day of 2018, James gave me a coupon book he had customized and ordered for me. I flipped through coupons for various things and then stopped at one for a surprise tropical getaway in March. I’m the planner in our relationship, so learning that James had planned an entire trip for us and kept it a secret until 3 weeks prior was a complete shock. He then told me that I couldn’t ask any details about it, which he knew would be an impossible feat!

The week leading up to our trip the weather in Boston was terrible and I pestered him incessantly with questions about the weather, the meals, and the activities so I’d know how to pack. He told me it would be warm and sunny, but refused to tell me more until we got to our gate at 4:00am that Friday. There, I learned that he planned a trip for us back to Southwest Florida but this time to Marco Island, just south of Naples.

I was so excited that I checked the weather forecast as soon as we boarded our flight. It had taken a turn for the worse – there was a storm front coming through and it was supposed to pour the entirety of our trip, with the exception of that day. We decided to take advantage of the great weather while we had it so we ran out to the beach as soon as we got to the hotel. Because it was going to rain the rest of our trip, I confirmed with James that our dinner reservations would allow us time for a sunset walk on the beach, a long-standing tradition of ours.

After hours in the sun we headed in to get ready for dinner. Naturally, I got ready first because that can be a lengthy process! After I showered, James suggested that we rearrange dinner reservations due to the weather. He’d planned a casual dinner for Friday since we’d be tired from traveling, and nicer dinners for the following evenings, both of which we’d be dining outside for. I agreed and continued to get ready while he called the restaurants.

His Version:

Panic about the weather was setting in. Becca takes forever to get ready, so when she was in the shower I stepped out onto the balcony and frantically called her two best friends. They knew about my proposal plans so I told them about the weather and that my gut was telling me to propose that night, which was a day early. The problem was that I hired a photographer to capture our proposal but she couldn’t make it on Friday. I called every photographer I could Google, as well as the hotel concierge asking if anyone could come take pictures. I had no luck and was really stressing because Becca loves pictures and I knew how important that would be to her. But, Becca also loves the beach, the sunset, and she loves me, so with the encouragement of her friends I went with my gut. That meant I needed to find a way to get Becca into the dress she’d bought for our trip, which she was saving for a nice dinner the next night. I suggested to her that we change dinner reservations.

I managed to get ready by 6:00pm, just in time for our sunset beach walk. We dropped off our shoes on a path by the beach and began our walk, admiring the shells and soaking in the salty air, looking for a quiet place to stop and watch the sunset. We found a quiet area just past a large group taking family photos. We were enjoying the moment, taking pictures, when the band behind the beach started playing “Sweet Caroline” – a Bostonian anthem!

Image 2 of Becca and James

His Version:

I had the proposal all planned out for the next night with the photographer, so I was panicking that she couldn’t make it. I’d never been to this beach before and there wasn’t a resort map so I had no idea where or how I was going to do it. We were walking along the beach and I had one hand in my pocket, trying to hide the massive ring box which I stuffed in my waistband. Becca was clueless, but I was panicking trying to scope out the perfect place to do it. At that moment, “Sweet Caroline” started playing and I knew timing was right.

We were taking pictures of the sunset when James offered to take one of me. He suggested that he take one from behind, so I’d be looking out at the water and the sunset. I thought it was cheesy, but I obliged. He said he’d count to three when he was ready. After a very long “three” seconds, I turned around and he was down on one knee.

We hardly remember what happened after that! We cried, we hugged, we kissed, we’re pretty sure I said yes, and I ended up with the gorgeous ring on my finger. A large group of people by us started applauding and after a few minutes a couple came over to congratulate us. They explained that they’re a husband and wife photography team and they managed to capture pictures of the otherwise-undocumented proposal!

Everything about our proposal was a true representation of us – from the adventure of making memories in a new place, to the spontaneity of proposing a day early, to the romance of the beach at sunset, to the serendipitous way that “Sweet Caroline” started playing just prior, to the luck that it was all captured in the most raw fashion – it was meant to be.

Image 3 of Becca and James

Special Thanks

Set Free Photography
 | Photographer