Justine and Sean

How We Met

Sean and I met in senior year of high school in 2011. We both went to different schools, him an all-boys school and me, an all-girls school. That being said, my circle of guy friends was small. Okay, to be honest, it was pretty much zero. But I did have a best friend that hung out with her neighbor his friends from school pretty regularly. As you can imagine, when senior year rolls around everyone talks about one thing. PROM. Being that I didn’t know many boys, I knew going into the year that I would fly solo, and be okay with enjoying the night with my friends. However, as we approached the months leading up to prom, I began to feel like I may want a date and asked my friend if she could help.

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Again, still not wanting to abandon the idea of going by myself, I agreed to start hanging out with her and her neighbor (and his friends) just to get to know them. We thought maybe one of them would want to go and we could all go as a group of friends. And if not, I would go alone like originally planned. Little did I know that I would meet Sean during this time, and eventually kick it off. We started out as just friends, and I eventually jokingly asked if he could be my prom date. He agreed! It wasn’t until after that we started to really like each other, which eventually progressed into “dating.” Even though we just called it hanging out (that’s what you call it at 17).

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Still, things weren’t official until we just so happened to go on a vacation at the same time to Disney World. I had planned the trip with my school for a Senior class trip, and Sean’s parents had planned a trip there with his family for the Easter holiday. We were so excited to spend time with each other as our first vacation together, even though my teachers and principal supervising the trip were not happy about me walking around the parks with some strange boy. After convincing them that he was from our home town and not just some person I met there, they let him stay with our group and hang out with us as we went on rides and toured the parks. Later in the trip, right before Sean was leaving (we still had 2 more days in Disney) he planned with our friend, the one who introduced us, that he would stay with me and my friends late in the park that night for the fireworks. That’s when he planned to officially ask me to be his girlfriend.

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So, as it got dark in Epcot my whole senior class (teachers included) met at a spot right in front of the firework display. Sean eagerly joined us, and right before the fireworks were set to go off, he pulled me to the side. Before the words could even come out of his mouth, my classmates started cheering, to which I was confused. I even asked him “what the heck are they clapping and screaming for?” Sean then responded, “well… because I guess they were told that I was going to ask you to be my girlfriend.” Again, utter shock and confusion rushed through my body. To which I then replied “you know I can’t kiss you right? My teachers are standing right there!” We settled on a very enthusiastic hug, and the rest was history from there!

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Now, almost 9 years later we have never left each other’s side. It is crazy to think that at just 17 became each other’s best friends and are now growing together and building a future!

How They Asked

The month of February is pretty exciting for us and our friends. We have made it a tradition for a group of us to stay at Sean’s parent’s house in Lake George, NY where we relax, play in the snow, and enjoy the winter carnival activities that they have at the lake when it is frozen. This year, we had a group of 14 people coming with us and we were pretty excited. The weather conditions looked great as it had just snowed and it looked like we were going to be able to take our ATV’s out on the lake. When everyone arrived we were all excited and started partying right away. We expected some snow the following day, but nothing to worry about… so we thought. The next day, it started snowing at 7 in the morning and didn’t stop until late afternoon. I was SO excited because winter is my favorite season and I couldn’t wait to look at the beautiful snow-covered trees. Well, shortly after it stopped snowing the power went out from downed power lines. The snow became too heavy for the trees and they started snapping like twigs.

We assumed it would be hours at most until the power came back on, but when we woke up the next morning after not having heat the whole night, it still wasn’t on… we knew we had a problem. That night my friends had suggested going on a hike the following morning to see the overview of Lake George. I thought they were a bit crazy, being that I had told them I had never done the hike in the snow and didn’t even think the trail was open. Regardless, we had just spent 2 days in a house that had no heat, and it was -10 degrees outside.

I kept thinking, why do they want to hike in 3 feet of snow up a mountain? But, they assured me it was just to pass the time and that I had been ranting about this hike for 2 years now and they didn’t have a chance to do it yet. They kept saying that they all wanted to go badly because the view was supposed to be THAT good (and it is)! I reluctantly agreed to do the hike, so we got up the next morning bright and early and forced each other to put makeup on. My friends who are photographers kept ensuring me that we would take cool pictures at the top, so makeup was a MUST. (I really didn’t want to do my makeup, but I’m so glad I did).

On our way there, we drove over downed trees and past downed power lines after the power line. At one point we even got stopped by an electric company worker who told us we couldn’t pass because of the power line blocking the street. Sean hopped out of his car a few feet back from the electric company truck and walked up to the guy pleading for him to let us through because he was going to propose. Me, sitting back in the car waiting to see what was going to happen, had no idea. The guy eventually let us through as we scooted all the way to the side of the road with two cars just to make it past. When we finally got to the trailhead, we all started the .75 mile hike to the summit, with a 1,300-foot elevation. If this hike wasn’t hard in the spring and summer months, it sure as heck was hard in 3 feet of snow!

When we got to the top the view was SO worth it. The lake looked gorgeous and even better than I could have imagined covered in snow. My best friends pulled out their camera and started snapping pictures. Again, thinking nothing of it because they are both professional photographers. Everyone who was on the hike was also a couple so they started pairing up to take couple shots by the edge. Not being big picture people, Sean and I went last to take pictures and snapped just a few. I was ready to walk away when Sean grabbed my hand and said: “wait, let’s take a few more.” He wound up getting down on his knee after standing silent for a few minutes as our friends and I made jokes back and forth at each other. Next thing I know, he reached for his pocket and pulled out a ring. Again, utter shock and surprise overcame me. I honestly didn’t think it was real. We had talked about getting engaged but only after we accomplished our goal of buying our first home, which we didn’t do yet. So to say this came as a surprise is an understatement. I cried, and blamed my friends for knowing all along! When we got back to the house the excitement continued, as Sean had planned for the friends that stayed behind to decorate the house with pictures of us, streamers all around the house, and even a cake. The day was utterly perfect! Sean did an AMAZING job, as he’s always been good at the big gestures. It was a day we will always remember.

Special Thanks

AO Visual Media
 | Photographer