how we met
Erin and I both attended a small college located in West Virginia. Surprisingly our paths never really crossed until our senior year, considering the campus was only around 1,300 students large. During our senior year we would always run into each other at social events, sporting events, or out in general and it didn’t dawn on me how much Erin and I talked, texted, and hung out until my roommate pointed it out to me. Our late in college relationship turned into an engagement and eventually into a wedding that we recently booked for April 2020!
how they asked
I had big proposal shoes to fill ever since she told me the story of how her parents got engaged on a memorial bench in historical Williamsburg, VA on the campus of William & Mary College. To this day, that bench still stands, and her parents frequently visit Williamsburg and occasionally visit the exact bench to reminisce that special moment in their lives. I wanted to give Erin the most perfect engagement at a place that is special to both of us. Each year, my side of the family vacations during summer and spends Christmas and New Year’s in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Erin and I have traveled to this Georgia beach several times together and she loves it so much that she has visited St. Simons Island (SSI) with some of her friends as well. Also, on St. Simons Island there is a historic lighthouse that was first built in the 1800s. I knew on top of the historic lighthouse would be a combination of two things: 1) SSI is a location that we would visit multiple times a year that is very special to us both 2) the lighthouse would be a great structure that we would walk past, lookup and remember our special proposal. I finally had the perfect location and monument that would compare to her parents’ special bench in Williamsburg, VA!
I decided to proposal on December 27th, 2017 which was is between Christmas and New Year’s. My intentions were to celebrate Christmas (and eventually our proposal) with my side of the family in Georgia, and then travel to her family in Pennsylvania to celebrate New Year’s and what would be our engagement, as well. It turned out to be a great, dual celebration with our two families 850 miles away in one magical, holiday week.
On the morning of, I woke up early and snuck out of the house with my mom to scout out the grounds at the lighthouse and to meet our photographer for our special event, Rainey Gregg, to coordinate where to stand and to confirm the 4 o’clock time of when I was going to bend the knee at the top of the lighthouse. My nerves were already starting to race. Reflecting, I think I may have had three cups of coffee from Starbucks before 11 am.
After my mom and I finished up with our ‘morning errands’ we went back to the house to pick up Erin to grab lunch and to walk around the Village in town to kill time before the proposal later in the afternoon. As my mom bluntly said to me earlier in the morning, “What are we going to talk about at lunch with Erin?!” My answer was clear; literally anything BUT me proposing later that day!
After successfully not blowing my cover on the proposal, I told Erin I had tickets to visit the island’s historic lighthouse museum and to walk to the top of the tower to get a full view of the ocean. We had never visited the museum nor been on top of the lighthouse before, so she just thought it was another cool experience for us to do considering we have been visiting this beach for years and haven’t been on top of the lighthouse yet.
As we entered the base of the lighthouse there was a sign posted stating there was 129 total steps until the top of the lighthouse. As I took the first step on the spiral staircase to begin this climb, my heart must’ve been racing 129 beats per second; or at least it seemed that way (it could’ve also been the combination of nerves and too much caffeine from the morning).
When we finally got to the top, I remember looking down and seeing our photographer and thought to myself, “Erin is definitely going to see her down on the ground. She knows something is up.” Once again, my nerves were talking to me. She had no idea. As we were looking over the Atlantic Ocean for a few minutes, in which seemed like years to me, I finally got down on one knee and asked her THE question.
People on the ground could probably hear our joy afterword. One thing I will point out. Walking down those 129 steps on the spiral staircase after proposing is a whole lot quicker than walking up preparing.
The whole experience was perfect! I had a blast seeing Erin so joyful and she was glowing well into the new year. Our families and friends also made our engagement week so special as we were able to celebrate in both Georgia and Pennsylvania. Erin and I have already been looking forward to returning to St. Simons Island and looking up at the lighthouse to remember our special moment; that memory will last with us forever whenever we see the lighthouse.