Kristen and Michael

Image 7 of Kristen and Michael

How We Met

Michael and I met on July 30th, 2015 when I was on a date with one of his friends at the time (I know, crazy). But our story is a perfect example of fate.

When we met, Michael was living in Texas while I lived in North Carolina. He and I had a mutual friend and this mutual friend and I decided to just try out date. Before the date with this friend he asked me if I wanted to meet some of his friends, I said: “Sure, why not”. The mutual friend drove me to a house where the friends were, including Michael- who just so happened to be in NC for the week from TX (talk about stars aligning). As I was introduced to each of the friends there, Michael and I made eye contact and had the weirdest, instant connection. I will never forget seeing Michael’s gorgeous blue eyes for the first time. Both of us would later talk about how we both felt that connection, and how strange it was.

Image 1 of Kristen and Michael

Fast forward 6 days- I met up with the mutual friend outside of Starbucks; we both agreed after our one date that we were better off as friends. While hanging out, he informed me that his friend, Michael, had been asking for my number repeatedly but he insisted that he would not give him my number (or give me his number) because he didn’t think we were a good match (BOY was he wrong). I went along with it but ultimately tricked our mutual friend into giving me Michael’s number by prank texting Michael from my phone (unconventional, but it got me his number).

After getting each other’s numbers, we texted non-stop and immediately hit it off. We went on our first date the next day, then two more after that, trying to fit in as many dates as we could before he returned to Texas. On August 11, 2015, the day he was set to go back to Texas, having only known each other a few days, I asked him to be my boyfriend and we’ve been together ever since.

Image 6 of Kristen and Michael

How They Asked

Michael asked me to marry him on August 8, 2020, in the Constitution Gardens in Washington, D.C.

We both have lived in Northern Virginia for over a year and a half and have absolutely loved exploring the area. Last year, on our 4th anniversary, we decided to have our own photoshoot in DC to celebrate our time together; we stumbled across a beautiful garden (Constitution Gardens) while taking photos and fell in love with this little island that sits in the middle of a lake. We affectionately called it “Duck Island” as there was a plethora of duck and geese there. The island is beautiful and has lush green grass, weeping willows, and a stunning view of the Washington Monument. (It’s a must-see if you are in the region!) It became a very special spot for both of us.

Fast forward to 2020, and our 5th anniversary was approaching on August 11, 2020. Michael came to me a few weeks before he proposed with the idea of us having another photo shoot together on the National Mall; we’ve always wanted to have professional photos done and commemorating our anniversary was really important to us (as 5 years is kind of a big deal)! I agreed and loved the idea and we contacted my family member/friend who lives in the area and is an incredibly talented photographer.

The days leading up to the photoshoot, I thought that he might be planning to propose because his whole demeanor was increasingly giddy and excited- it was absolutely precious. We picked out outfits and brainstormed where we might like photos taken.

August 8th arrived and it was the day of our photoshoot. We had decided to take photos in the evening during the golden hour because the sunset along the National Mall in DC is breathtaking. For most of the day, Michael was very relaxed, but as we both began getting ready his excitement increased (he was like a kid on Christmas). We began by taking photos in front of the Lincoln Memorial by the Reflecting Pool, then Michael provided the idea of us taking photos at the Constitution Gardens before going to the Jefferson Monument, specifically at our beloved “Duck Island.”

Image 2 of Kristen and Michael

We headed over to the Constitution Gardens and took photos on the island (it was such a beautiful evening). We moved to a spot near a weeping willow and everything was so perfect. Our photographer, Salem Hudson, encouraged us to look at one another for this shot and just be natural. Michael looked at me and began telling me how I was his very best friend in life – I told him he was my best friend too, not realizing he was about to propose and thinking he was just trying to make me smile for photos- but then he kept saying really sweet things and I watched him slowly get down on one knee and pull out a ring and ask me to marry him. Absolutely shocked, I told him “Yes, of course, I’ll marry you!”, and gave him the biggest hug and kiss- completely forgetting about the ring (he actually had to ask for me to give him my hand so he could put it on).

Image 3 of Kristen and Michael

The moment and place that he proposed were so special to us, but the surprises continued as I found out he had gotten my family and our closest friends to travel up to DC from NC and they were all waiting to surprise us nearby.

Image 4 of Kristen and Michael

2020 has certainly been chaotic with everything going on, but celebrating 5 years with Michael and finally becoming engaged definitely is the brightest spot in 2020. Michael and I are both thrilled for this new chapter in our lives and cannot wait to be married!

Image 5 of Kristen and Michael

Special Thanks

Salem Hudson
 | Photographer