How We Met
Steven and I met in High School through sports. He was a hockey player and I was a basketball player. Steven has always been shy but I wasn’t and I was determined to crack the shy kid. After a few months, we got really close but I had a boyfriend at the time. I knew how Steven felt about me but I didn’t want to give up my friendship with him. Once Steven graduated, we lost touch.
Fast forward to 8 years later and I received a Facebook message from him. His mom had found old photos of us from High School and it inspired him to reach out to me. I was living in Philadelphia at the time and he was in Maryland but conveniently had plans to visit Philly for the Army-Navy Game. He invited me to join his and his friend’s tailgate. I was hesitant but decided my sister, Aileen, and I would stop by real quick and then be on our way. The minute I spotted him at the tailgate something changed. It was such a powerful moment that my sister even had the idea to take a photo of me looking at him (creeper style). That Army-Navy Game was 4 years ago and we’ve been together, and long-distance, ever since.
How They Asked
Colleen and I have been in a long-distance for almost our entire relationship. Thus, we try to make the most of our precious time together. When we are in Philadelphia we frequent historical sites and like to find hikes outside the city. One place that fits both hobbies is Valley Forge. A place that is special to our relationship, Valley Forge was always in the running for where I wanted to propose to Colleen. I wanted the proposal to be a complete surprise, occur at a location and during a time special to us, and be able to involve both of our families as much as possible. Following my brother’s wedding in early November, I began contemplating proposal ideas. I reached out to Colleen’s sister, Aileen, as well as my mom and sister to ask their opinions and let them know I wanted to take the next step with our relationship. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to ask Colleen outdoors somewhere around Christmas time when her brother, Mike, was in town from LA.
Step 1: get the ring – I asked Colleen’s parents over Thanksgiving for their approval to ask Colleen to marry me, while Colleen was walking the dogs. Thankfully, her parents said yes and gave me Colleen’s grandmother’s ring that she was inheriting. I was able to bring the ring back to Maryland with me to make a few updates per Colleen’s requests. The ring looks beautiful. Step 1: complete.
Step 2: identify the date and location. The week prior to Christmas I decided I would propose to Colleen on what she thought would be a normal day of a Chick FilA lunch and walking around the hills of Valley Forge with Mike (the key was to keep the day as normal as possible and not make any strict itineraries because Colleen is the planner and would immediately notice something was up if all the sudden I was on a self-imposed schedule). The date was chosen: December 26th Location: in front of Valley Forge chapel overlooking the valley just prior to sunset. Step 2: complete.
Step 3: Discretely notify everyone in our families without tipping off Colleen. I told my family and Colleen’s sister on the 23rd of December the plan (Aileen discretely told her parents and brothers). Subsequently, our families could be in attendance for our special day awaiting our return at Colleen’s parents’ house to surprise Colleen following the proposal. Step 3: complete
Step 4: Don’t mess it up. We wake up at Colleen’s parents’ place and Mike asks Colleen what she wants to do today and vice versa – beforehand, I asked Mike to recommend hiking somewhere since the weather was so nice and I recommended to Colleen that we should do Valley Forge since we had not been yet this year. So Mike and Colleen, with some manipulation on my part, concluded on Valley Forge. The weather was perfect and we made our way through the National Park enjoying the scenery, the outdoors and quality time together. Then, after stopping at George Washington’s housing quarters we approached the Chapel. Mike got a call from “work”, which actually was Colleen’s sister, Aileen, who was hiding out with her husband in front of the chapel. As Colleen investigated plaques around the Chapel and took pictures I posted up at an overlook of the valley.
Eventually, I asked her to get off her phone and enjoy the sites. She quickly put away her phone and approached me with a hug. After our hug, I dropped to a knee, which shocked Colleen out a bit, and recited some personal lines of how special Colleen was and how much I loved her. And she said yes! Aileen, Mike, and Tom recorded the whole proposal and came out from hiding with balloons and flowers. The proposal was amazing and went better than I ever could have imagined. Step 4: complete
Step 5: Marry the love of my life.