How we met: We met as unromantically as “first meeting” stories come – at a college fraternity party at Vanderbilt University in 2006. However, those sparks from our first dance (pictured here) carried us through to a few great dates, Walter’s graduation a year later, and then to our greatest test – the long distance relationship.
Needless to say, we each racked up a healthy amount of frequent flyer miles to stay together. Finally, in 2011, we decided to make Washington, DC our home. After three more years of hearing, “so, when are you guys getting engaged?” Walter decided it was time to put a ring on it…
how they asked: On March 21, 2014, Walter drove Ellie to the Inn at Vaucluse Spring in the Shenandoah Valley under the guise of attending the annual Vintner’s Dinner. His plan was to deck out their cabin with roses and photos from their eight years together while Ellie got ready in the bathroom.
However, for the first time ever, Ellie decided she only needed five minutes to freshen up (as opposed to her usual hour and a half), so Walter had to scramble to get everything set. Unfortunately, Ellie grew impatient after Walter barricaded her in the bathroom with a chair, and he wasn’t able to secure the photos as he’d hoped. When he finally let her come out, all of the hung photos fell to the ground, but that didn’t deter Ellie – she knew what was coming! After making a beeline to the open door, she found a sweet and nervous Walter outside with a ring in his hand. She said yes.
Five minutes later, they were racing up a hill to get to the Vintner’s Dinner, with a thousand emotions and thoughts running through their heads. After being greeted and congratulated by the proprietor, they were led to their little table in the dining room. When asked if they wanted wine with dinner, Ellie answered through her tears, “Yes – LOTS of it!” The proprietor returned with a very special bottle – the 2006 Chateauneuf-du-Pape that Ellie bought for Walter five years before “to open when they got engaged.”