Emily and Irakli

Image 1 of Emily and Irakli

How We Met

“Love is friendship set on fire.” These are the words Irakli said to me in the summer of 2009. We were going into our third year of high school and had spent the spring slowly falling in love; worried that romance word hurt our friendship, I gently declined his loving advances. Irakli didn’t give up – and finally convinced me that the triumph of love and friendship combined was worth it.

Image 2 of Emily and Irakli

Image 3 of Emily and Irakli

When he planned an extravagant scavenger hunt involving all of our friends and favorite places in Hartville, Ohio – culminating in a gift and our first “I love you” for our five month anniversary – I knew this special, romantic, sweet 16-year old was the boy for me.

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Image 5 of Emily and Irakli

We’ve walked down the aisle at high school graduation together. We have won the honor of honors and graduated from the University of Virginia together. We have moved from Ohio to Blacksburg and Charlottesville, back to Ohio, to Washington, D.C., and then finally to Chapel Hill together. We have grown up together, we are soul mates, and most importantly, we are best friends.

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how they asked

While home in Ohio for Christmas, Irakli took me to each of our special spots from high school that had meaning to us. We remembered that scavenger hunt, our first kiss, and our first “I love you” all over again. From there, we drove to Charlottesville, and Irakli again took me on the tour of our years together.

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Image 8 of Emily and Irakli

We remembered our struggles and pain during school, our accomplishments, and how we had stuck by each other through it all. We watched the sunrise over Hereford Residential College, where I had spent four years learning how to love yourself and your partner through the ups and downs of life. Little did I know that while we were taking our trip down memory lane, my best friend Maryam helped Irakli orchestrate the most amazing surprise.

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When we arrived home, at last, our apartment was transformed. Once we opened the door, the song that had played during our first kiss, “Never Say Never” by the Fray, was playing. There were tea light candles on every surface and rose petals all over the floor. Words don’t do the scene justice so check out our proposal album on our the Knot wedding website.

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Image 11 of Emily and Irakli

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From the ceiling hung balloons and at the end of each string was a picture of us attached – from as recently as the summer before and as far back as our first date. The balloons left a heart-shaped space in the center, which is where Irakli led me and got down on one knee. I teared up and exclaimed yes before the poor guy could even get through his carefully prepared speech. In that beautiful moment surrounded by almost 8 years of memories, we said yes to each other for forever.

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Image 13 of Emily and Irakli

Our Video

Special Thanks

Maryam Ghariban
 | Planning
Elianna Benavidez
 | Photographer