Emily and Matthew

Image 1 of Emily and Matthew

How We Met

Matt and I met at marching band practice on our first day of classes at Georgia Tech in 2017. It was the day of a solar eclipse so I like to say that the stars crossed the day we met!

All of the first-year band members were super excited about all the new friends we had made the previous week at band camp, how the moon had crossed in front of the sun just a few hours ago, and how we had just completed our first day of college classes! To celebrate, a bunch of us decided to go to the dining hall for dinner together. Before we got to the dining hall, my new friend (and future roommate!) Sarah pulled me aside and told me she had been Snapchatting this guy, a baritone player named Matt, all summer, but now that she was at Tech she was feeling the sparks with someone else. She asked if I would sit next to her so the Snapchat guy couldn’t because she was hoping to let him down easily.

While Sarah wasn’t feeling the spark, I certainly was! At the end of dinner, Matt and I walked back to our dorms on the other side of campus and the whole time, I couldn’t help but notice it was just so easy to talk to him.

A few days later while we were sitting at the Campanile after a several hour-long conversations, Matt asked if I wanted to go grab some tacos with him the next day and watch a movie they would be showing on Tech Green. He made it so casual that the whole time I was getting ready I was panicking to my roommate Zoe, “I think it’s a date, I really want it to be a date, but I’m not sure!”. After we analyzed every word I remembered he had said and every text he had sent since, Zoe was confident that it was a date, but I wasn’t sure until he paid for my tacos!

They were some of the worst tacos I’d ever had, but some of the best conversations I’ve ever had. From that point on, I was all in.

How They Asked

After three years of dating and with graduation fast approaching, I had made it pretty clear that my post-graduation plans didn’t include letting him go. I was expecting a proposal after he accidentally left his browser open looking at rings but wasn’t sure exactly when it would happen.

When the Georgia Tech vs Pitt football game was canceled, freeing up our weekend, I was a little suspicious when he asked me if I wanted to go to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for the first weekend of their Garden Lights event. But with only a two-day turnaround from when the game was canceled to the date, I wasn’t sure if it gave him enough time to plan a proposal. We hadn’t gone out on a date at all that semester due to COVID so I told myself that I was getting myself too psyched out and he just wanted to take me out for a change before the break.

The next day (the day before the proposal), Matt went “out for lunch with Jon” (the pastor of our campus ministry). This wasn’t unusual behavior because Matt serves as worship director of the ministry, but I thought it was a little strange that he had dressed up a bit more than usual. Again, I told myself to calm down, that I was just making stuff up and there wasn’t anything afoot. Turns out, he had met my Dad for lunch, not Jon, to ask for his blessing.

By the time we were getting ready to go on Saturday and Matt had brought a string bag along to hold his jacket and some water bottles instead of asking me to carry them in my bag (I was absolutely positive the ring was in there), I was fully hyped up and totally sure it was happening that night. I was still trying to calm myself down because I knew that if he didn’t propose I was going to be so disappointed even if it was a perfect date.

Image 2 of Emily and Matthew

The Botanical Garden was absolutely beautiful and I was having a great time just walking around and taking pictures of all of the lights. It was funny how all of the nerves I had been dealing with all day just went away once we were there and having a great time.

I couldn’t help but notice that Matt, someone who is pretty serious about not having phones out during quality time, was a little preoccupied with his phone that night. He blamed it on his mom, who had broken her foot the day before, texting him. After we had looked at almost all of the lights, we went to the last place on the map, called the “Kiss Me Arch”. Matt had said he only wanted to stop for pictures once at the end of the night so we weren’t frequently handing over our phones to strangers during a pandemic. But we got to the location and there were hardly any lights- it was just a cardboard cutout to take pictures with. He frantically texted our friend who was hiding in the bushes to take pictures that she needed to follow him and headed out to find a better spot.

Image 3 of Emily and Matthew

Of course, she lost him immediately! So he was walking me all over the place, trying to meet up with her again. After I literally ran into her (blame masks or nerves but I didn’t realize it was her), Matt just pulled me to the side and dropped to his knee, pulling the ring box out of the string bag (I knew it!). I have no clue what exactly he said or what I said in response but there was definitely a “Will you marry me?” and a “Yes!” in there!

Image 4 of Emily and Matthew

As I pulled my mask off to kiss him, the mask got hung in my earring! He thought I was being slow and silly so he tried to help by yanking it down, and I definitely thought I was going to lose the piercing hole, but luckily my ear came out of the proposal intact! Even with all of the last-minute panic, all-day nerves, and hurting ear, it was an absolutely perfect proposal. I can’t wait to marry this man!

Image 5 of Emily and Matthew