Haley and Matthew

Image 1 of Haley and Matthew

How We Met

Matt and I met towards the end of my sophomore year of high school, when he was a senior. We quickly caught on, laughed with the radio up and sunroof open, and began dating on May 27th, 2013. The truth is that we broke up for a short while in our first year of dating. I know, that’s a weird way to start a “how we met” story… but to this day I’ll tell anyone who asks that our time apart was the best thing to ever happen to us. We were young – I became Matt’s girlfriend when I was fifteen. We had a few months together in Wausau before he packed up for college, and the distance and weeks apart took their toll. I was broken when it ended. But there is no shame in finding your way back to what’s meant to be, and that’s exactly what we did. No matter how hard it gets, we know what the alternative of not being together is like – and we know it is worse than anything life could throw our way. I would walk through hell holding Matt’s hand before I would find paradise alone. Books and movies and, yes, even wedding blurbs, like to make it seem as though a good love story is a simple straight line trajectory to the top of perfection. But anyone who knows love knows that it is more like a roller coaster of ups and downs and dizzying spins, a constant readjustment, a GPS that is perpetually bleating out “recalculating, recalculating”. Love is patient and love is kind… but love is also not easy. And I don’t think it was meant to be. Matt and I have been through a lot these past years. I will not pretend it has all been rosy – over half of our relationship has been long distance, we’ve changed schools and jobs, we’ve lived our own lives. But we have also grown. We have talked. We have worked and worked and worked… and I couldn’t be happier.

Image 2 of Haley and Matthew

how they asked

At the end of summer in 2017, Matt and I set out on a two-week road trip I had spontaneously planned back in April. I was feeling in a rut of school and work and just routine in general, and I wanted to do something adventurous. I had dreamed of seeing the Redwoods for years… so I made that the highlight of our trip. On day six on the road, after passing through Glacier National Park and Seattle, we finally arrived in Northern California. I was SO excited! We stopped at a visitor’s center, got a map, and drove to this amazing grove called Simpson-Reed that hadn’t had a wildfire or flood in nearly 80 years, making for some beautiful undergrowth. As we walked around, we took tons of pictures and set up our camera with a tripod to capture both of us in the shot. At one specific group of three majestic trees, Matt said he wanted to take a video. We’d been using our tripod setup to get footage for a montage for the duration of the trip, so I didn’t think anything of it. We walked away from the camera holding hands… and then he hugged me and dropped to one knee. I’ver never been so shocked in my life. It was the perfect day; I barely remember what he said in the moment, but I know I felt unexplainable joy.

Image 3 of Haley and Matthew