How We Met
(GRACE) Tyler and I swam throughout grade school and high school. We met sophomore year of high school through mutual friends on our club swim team. It wasn’t until senior year of high school, however, that we became close friends. We practiced in the same lane at least four times a week, hung out together after swim meets on the weekend, and before we knew it, we started to develop feelings for one another. We went to each other’s senior proms, and once our swimming season was over, I would drive to Cameron’s house at least once a week to sit on the front step after visiting my Mom-Mom who lived close by.
Who broke the ice first? Tyler. He first told me he had feelings for me through a [beautiful] letter he wrote to me for one of my high school religious trips (Kairos). I was so nervous to admit that I liked him too, so when I called him back to thank him for his letter, I completely ignored everything he wrote…and our close friendship continued. A few weeks later, Tyler and I went out to lunch and I just knew that afterwards, he was going to officially ask me to be his girlfriend before he moved down the shore for the summer. Once again, I was so nervous to take the next step, so after we paid the bill, I denied his request to go for a walk along the riverfront and said I had plans to hang out with a friend instead, and that I needed to go home right away (I did have plans!). Eventually, I knew that I had to admit that I liked Tyler way more than just close friends. We started dating the end of May 2011, and have been together ever since.
How They Asked
Tyler and I planned a 10-day trip to Italy in the fall of 2018. Our first leg of the trip was in Cinque Terre. We stayed in an Airbnb in Manarola, and it was hands down the coolest Airbnb experience we’ve ever had. The home was beautiful and had a balcony overlooking the sea to the left, surrounding colorful homes to the right, and the farms and vineyards of the locals in front. After spending the day touring Riomaggiore, we then took the train back to Manarola to get ready for our dinner reservation in Vernazza. The weather was perfect -not too hot, not too cold- and we were able to drink wine and watch the sun start to set from our balcony. We started taking pictures of each other because the view was fantastic. It was then that Tyler suggested we put a timer on his phone camera to take a picture of the two of us.
(TYLER): Months before our trip I had decided I was going to propose to Grace in Cinque Terre, and I had scheduled a photographer to capture the moment because it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I emailed back and forth with an Italian photographer and decided that on Friday, April 26 at 6 pm we were going to meet for a photo-shoot, where the photographer would give the cue and I would propose.
Fast forward to the morning on our train into Cinque Terre. I was mentally prepared to propose that night. I was stressed from traveling from Philadelphia to Rome and then to Cinque Terre with the ring hidden in the bag, but after 7 months of preparation, today was the day. Then, I get an email from the photographer, distressed by the weather forecast which called for a storm and thus postponing the photo shoot until Sunday morning. I was crushed but figured I would just have to wait two more days. Easier said than done, as I had already made up my mind that today was the day.
When the sun came back out around 4 pm, we were strolling through Manarola and I was frantically emailing the photographer to see if it was possible to still have the shoot that night. He couldn’t accommodate, but I decided that I was still going to propose anyway.
Once we were back in the Airbnb and Grace was getting ready in the bathroom, I texted my friend for advice on if I should do it now or wait until Sunday. She said now, and that’s all I needed. I hid the ring in a cabinet and started testing how I would set up my phone to capture the moment.
Once we were both dressed for dinner, we started drinking wine and listening to music on the balcony. I still had no idea how I was going to approach it but I knew I had to improvise.
When we started taking pictures, I realized this was my chance. So I put my iPhone on a timer, pulled the ring out of the cabinet and walked onto the balcony. Grace was thankfully turned around, so she didn’t see what I had in my hand. I said, “Grace” and she turned around and at that moment I proposed.
She stood there in shock and didn’t answer for what felt like hours. I said, “Please?” and she finally said yes. We both cried and laughed as we stood there on the balcony. Everything worked out in the end and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
We finished our stay in Cinque Terre with an engagement photo-shoot throughout Manarola with Christiano of Facibeni Fotografia.