Emma and Greg

How We Met

Our story starts back in July of 2013 when I was a new grad from UNC (go heels!) and Greg was preparing to start his senior year at Vanderbilt. I was on my first ever trip to NYC to visit one of my best friends for her 21st birthday. We had such a fun night planned, going out in the city with all of her best friends from her hometown! Greg was one of those friends, and after meeting that night we spent the rest of the weekend getting to know each other. It was so much fun, and I flew home to North Carolina after that whirlwind of a weekend, thinking I would never see him again.

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Pier 17, NYC

Fast forward a month- Greg and I had been talking almost non-stop every day, via text, Snapchat, facebook messenger, Instagram, etc. He was planning to drive down to Vandy for his senior year and last minute asked if he could drive through Charlotte to go to dinner with me. I’m no geographical genius, but I knew Charlotte was not on the way to Nashville from NY…so if he was actually going to go out of his way that much just to see me for a couple of hours, he was probably even more special than I realized. He ended up coming for dinner that night and we had an amazing time, reaffirming that this wasn’t just some summer fling.

Emma's Proposal in Pier 17, NYC

A few weeks later he started his senior year in Nashville, while I took a gap year in Charlotte before moving down to Charleston for graduate school. We continued to talk daily, always avoiding the ever-present topic of what the future held for us. I visited him in Nashville a few times that fall, and after my third visit, he asked me if I wanted to be in a relationship despite our difficult situation. I, of course, said yes and we officially starting dating in November after only 4 short weekends spent together. We continued with long distance from Charlotte to Nashville, filled with plenty of 8 hours drives back and forth, and just as many 4 hour drives to meet in the middle. I moved to Charleston that May of 2014 for school, and he moved back to New York, continuing our long distance relationship but this time filled with flights instead of drives.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Pier 17, NYC

The prospect of another two years of long distance sounded so terrifying and impossible, but we both knew we’d rather have each other from a distance than anyone else in real time- so we went for it. We spent so many amazing weekends together exploring both NYC and Charleston, two amazing cities that set the scene for our life together. We both ugly cried at the airport more times than anyone should ever have to, and spent absurd amounts of money on flights back and forth, but it was all completely worth it in the end.

When I graduated from school in 2016, I moved to New York to be with him after never having lived in the same city or spending more than a full week together. Which is honestly so crazy in retrospect, but at the time it was the obvious decision and I didn’t think twice. We’ve now lived together in NYC for almost three years, and are planning to get married in Charleston, the place where our love grew, where we learned so much about successful relationships, and where we funded the entirety of the airport renovations ;) We couldn’t be more excited to be starting our lives together, this time in the same city, forever

How They Asked

Wow! This was easily the best day of our lives. And SUCH a whirlwind. It started out the way most of our Saturday morning’s do, making breakfast together. We decided to make crepes and were planning to go to lunch with our parents around noon. My parents were visiting from North Carolina, a trip they had planned for months. And Greg’s parents recently moved to DUMBO, so we planned to have a casual lunch all together at their apartment. After making and eating our crepes (I ate at least- Greg had maybe 2 bites!) Greg told me he had a surprise for me since my parents were here!

We proceeded to get ready for the day and about 20 minutes before it was time to leave he sat me down on the couch and gave me the sweetest letter detailing what we had been doing on March 16th over the past 5 years with candid pictures he had taken of me throughout our whole relationship. The letter ended with telling me that I would have to wait and see what March 16, 2019, held. After wiping my tears, we left for lunch and Greg told me we were going to take a quick detour down by the water since it was such a nice day. We walked over to the water overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and then he got down on one knee! He had hired a photographer to capture the moment (thanks Vlad!), and I’m so glad he did. The pictures are priceless, and you can feel the pure joy between us just looking at them.

After the proposal, we grabbed a cab over the Brooklyn Bridge to his parent’s apartment (probably annoying the hell out of our driver with our mushy words and kisses). After the 5 minute ride, we arrived at the apartment to see both of our parents and Greg’s brother waiting for us with a whole party set up! I obviously started sobbing into my parents arms immediately, when all of our siblings (my brother and sister from NC, and his sister from New Orleans) ran out of the bedroom, surprising us both! *cue more tears* About 30 minutes later, our best friend, who had been on vacation in Hawaii, walked in the door right as we were trying to FaceTime him, giving us another huge surprise. After celebrating with our family, Greg had arranged for about 25 of our friends to meet us at a beer garden around the corner to continue the celebrations! We spent the rest of the day and night with our family and friends, and ended the night with a walk back to our apartment together, sharing a slice of Joe’s Pizza. Duh ;)

Special Thanks

Vlad Leto
Photographer