Caroline and Andy

How We Met

I first saw Andrew when I began working in the Mason LIFE program in the fall of 2014. He was the employment coordinator at the time, placing students at worksites and had been with the program for a number of years. I had just finished my undergraduate degree and was hired as an academic teacher while pursuing my master’s in special education. In the Spring of 2015, our program needed staff to run a fitness club, and Andrew and I both had signed up. At the end of the semester, all the staff who supported the fitness club talked about meeting for drinks to celebrate, but Andrew and I were the only ones who showed up! To this day we still think the other secretly plotted this and ended up talking for hours over margaritas until the restaurant closed.

How They Asked

My brother Alex has wanted Andrew to be a part of the family from very early on in our relationship. Alex also told Andrew that we needed to wait four years before considering marriage because that is what our parents did. Of course, Andrew and I had discussed marriage and spending our forever together, but I didn’t realize how long he spent planning the proposal. He asked my dad for my hand in October of 2018 while Alex and I were away for a conference in Syracuse. Over the next year, Andrew spent an incredible amount of time toward selecting the ring of my dreams.

On September 21st, 2019 he had made reservations at a restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, Virtue Feed and Grain, that has become our “special occasion” spot over the years. Of course, I was running a little late and had no idea that Andrew had this day planned almost to the minute. Our dinner reservation was for 5:30 which I thought was odd, but I learned later that it was scheduled so we could make the golden hour before the sunset. At dinner, we had a beautiful table overlooking the water, drank wine and had a really meaningful conversation about our future together. Something we joke about now is my request for a to-go box because I didn’t finish my dinner. I remember he was very adamant I just leave what I didn’t want, however, I am not one to waste good food and the bag you see when he is down on one knee is my leftovers!

As we walked out of the restaurant, Andrew asked if I wanted to walk the waterfront which is something we always love to do when we are in Old Town. There was a group of high school-age boys and girls seemingly taking pictures for a dance which I thought was really cute and pointed out to Andrew. What I didn’t know is that Andrew had scouted this spot earlier in the week with his good friend Kevin, and that is where he was planning to propose. I also did not know Kevin was following us with an incredible photographer Karis, so Andrew had to discretely text the change in plan and to follow us until he found a spot that would do. When Andrew eyed a spot, he hastily suggested we walk towards the water and got down on one knee.

Where to Propose in Old Town Alexandria

I was obviously overcome with emotion and truly surprised about all the parts Andrew orchestrated, that came together so beautifully. The pictures are incredible photographer Karis took captured every moment perfectly. My Dad likes to point out that I am looking at my ring more than my now fiance, but seriously this rock is EVERYTHING! My favorite part of our proposal was the last surprise Andrew had coordinated with my Mom, which was a party back at my parents’ home. All of our closest people were there to hug us and celebrate our love. Andrew’s brother and his girlfriend, who drove all the way from Pittsburgh that day, were the first ones I saw walking into the backyard and I started crying all over again. While Andrew and I are starting a new life together, we wouldn’t be where we are without our family and friends. I am so appreciative of all the loved ones in our lives that took the time out of their weekend to be there for us, it’s a memory I will cherish forever.

Caroline and Andy's Engagement in Old Town Alexandria

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Old Town Alexandria

Special Thanks

Karis Hinders
 | Photographer