Katie and Johnny
How We Met
Johnny and I met in 2009. We were in 9th grade in the front yard of a mutual friend’s house. He was skateboarding and I thought he was cute. Being a sassy teenage girl, I flirted the only way I knew how to flirt – I was mean. I told him “you suck at skateboarding.” Johnny smiled, picked up his skateboard and walked home (just down the block.) Fast forward to a couple of months later, our two groups of friends had combined, and we started seeing a lot of each other. We became close friends – with a secret handshake and everything!
Johnny “escaped the friend zone” (his words, not mine) in December 2011 of our senior year of high school. He drove me home from a friend’s house late one night and we shared a kiss. About a month later, toward the end of January 2012, it was official – we were boyfriend and girlfriend. We became inseparable. It was by far the most organic, natural progression of any relationship that either of us had ever had.
Johnny claims he has loved me since that day on our mutual friend’s front lawn. He can even recall what I was wearing. I can honestly say that from the very beginning, he was always someone who had a special place in my heart, too.
How They Asked
Johnny and I have been going to Hunter Mountain in New York since the first year we started dating. It has become something of an oasis for us. We’ve gone for birthdays, for holidays, for anniversaries and for just because’s in every season. The weekend of October 20th, 2019 was technically for my birthday (my birthday is in early September.) Johnny and I are into off-roading, and Hunter Mountain offers an amazing guided Jeep tour that takes you to the top of the mountain. After confirming that I was willing to drive my Jeep to the top of the mountain, Johnny locked down the tour back in July 2019, fearing if he waited too long it would book up. It felt like a long way away, but it was always something I was looking forward to. When the weekend finally arrived, I didn’t suspect a thing.
We were staying Saturday – Monday at the Kaaterskill Mountain Club at the bottom of the mountain (highly recommend!) On Saturday we enjoyed a massage at the spa, lots of wine at Hunter Mountain’s last weekend of Oktoberfest, had pizza in bed and fell asleep on the earlier side. Sunday was a full 8-hour day of off-roading, so we were up and getting ready pretty early. Johnny wasn’t acting weird but was very bothered by the rainy/foggy forecast of the day. I told him we would be in my truck the whole time – who cares! After a brief orientation, we were off. Again, Johnny was acting completely normal (or so I thought – I was distracted because I was driving my Jeep up a freakin’ mountain!)
We weren’t going to the summit until around 2:00 pm, so we had hours and hours driving around the mountain until then. When we finally made the haul up to the top and parked, I excitedly ran around looking at the fall foliage peeking through the rainy clouds. Johnny convinced me to leave the area I was standing to go walk over to the platform that has this pretty arch where people get married under. I didn’t think anything of it, because we stand at that platform for the views every time we go to the summit. We walked over to the railing, rain falling on us as Johnny looked me in the eyes and spoke some magical words and started to cry. I started to cry too, realizing what was about to happen. He pulled me right under the arch and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. The moment becomes a blur of happy tears, shock, excitement, and adrenaline. All I know is after saying “yes” he took off the promise ring he had given me on our one-year anniversary (almost 7 years earlier) and put on the most beautiful engagement ring.
I then heard a voice from behind us shout “congratulations!” We turned and John Iannelli, our photographer, was snapping a million photos. I later found out that he had ridden in the passenger seat with one of the guides for the Jeep tour! I also found out that the Jeep tour doesn’t typically even go to the summit, but for us, they had made an exception. I was so grateful Johnny had found someone to capture the moment so we could later share it with all our friends and family.
Johnny offered to take over driving, which was probably for the best because I was not able to concentrate on anything and we were driving down a 4,000+ ft. mountain :-)
Johnny told me that he had booked another photographer, Lana Babichenko, for the next day, because he had been going back and forth about when he was going to propose because of the weather. We decided to keep our appointment with Lana (so, so happy we did!) and took photos all over Hunter Mountain and the neighboring areas that Monday. I truly feel that Lana did a wonderful job capturing how fresh our excitement was in all our photos. I can’t wait to use these (along with John’s amazing photos) for our save-the-dates and other wedding things.
Johnny and I are so excited and appreciative to the entire team at Hunter Mountain that made our special weekend possible, and to John and Lana for capturing the moment, which we have been nonstop sharing with family and friends.