Lindsay and Brandon

How We Met

Brandon and I first met in high school; he was a senior and I was a sophomore. My best friend, Stephanie, introduced us. After meeting, we became good friends and kept up with each other from time to time. It wasn’t until Brandon went away to college that we really started to consider that maybe there was something more to our friendship. We began dating in March 2011. From the beginning, our relationship was long distance which proved to have its struggles. But even through the distance we made it work. Being from the same hometown made it easy for us to spend the summers together. We would spend every chance we got together; going on putt-putt dates at Smith Mountain Lake, laying out under the stars, and never missing a Salem Fair. When I graduated high school in 2012, I chose to go to a different university than Brandon. This meant more time spent apart (Let’s just say that FaceTime was my best friend through those days!). But we were each so focused on our degrees, his in Public Relations & Advertising and mine in Elementary Education, and building our relationship, that we knew our time would come where we could finally be in the same place together.

Where to Propose in Washington, D.C.

Upon Brandon’s graduation from Liberty University in 2014, he was accepted into North Carolina State University to pursue his masters in Communication. He was hesitant to accept at first because I was still in college at Radford University in Virginia, which meant another two years of long distance. But I knew how much he had wanted to pursue his masters and that NC State was his top choice in schools. So I encouraged him to follow his dreams and earn his degree. Besides, at this point we were pros at the whole long distance relationship! Two more years couldn’t hurt. Even with our jam packed schedules of student teaching and fulfilling his graduate assistant-ship position, we made our relationship a priority. We’d always make time to call each other every day and even visit each other once a month on the weekend. In May of 2016, Brandon and I both graduated, me with my bachelors and he with his masters. Soon after we both accepted jobs in the Washington, D.C. area. After five years of long distance, we are finally in the same city pursuing careers we both love. We recently adopted a long-haired dachshund, Sadie, who is a sweetheart and always keeps us laughing. It feels amazing to finally be with my best friend and enjoying our lives together.

how they asked

On the day Brandon proposed to me, our college friends, Bekah and Clint, were visiting us for the weekend. We had planned to go into D.C. on Saturday and take pictures with the cherry blossoms. But because winter decided to last a little longer than everybody would have liked it to, the blossoms had yet to bloom. So instead of the original plan we decided to go to the U.S. Capital building and take touristy shots instead. Little did I know that this was actually just a ploy to get me dressed up for what would soon be a very special day. We drove into the city and found parking a few blocks away from the Capitol and began our trek on the unusually cold March afternoon. By the time we arrived we were all freezing! We snapped a few quick pictures (because that’s all we could bare) and then decided to go to a local coffee shop called Ebenezers, which is one of Brandon and I’s favorite spots to go get a cup of coffee. As we started our journey back to the car, I noticed Brandon leading us in what seemed to be the longest way back. Not being one to put up with the cold, I suggested that this was not the best way to go, but he insisted otherwise. Unbeknownst to me, we were a little ahead of schedule for a surprise at Ebenezers. We finally arrived at the car and drove to the coffee shop.

Proposal Ideas Washington, D.C.

Brandon pulled the car up to the curb and said that Bekah and I could go ahead in and that he and Clint would go find a parking spot. I was slightly confused by this because there usually was NO parking anywhere near Ebenezers. He gave me a kiss and told me that he loved me very much with the sweetest smile on his face. I replied that I loved him too and Bekah and I got out of the car. As we walked into the coffee shop and got in line to order, I noticed someone with a camera who looked like she was taking pictures of us. I asked Bekah if she saw her too, and she replied by saying that she was probably taking pictures for the coffee shop. Logically her answer made sense, but I had a suspicion that something else was going on. While waiting for our coffee someone came up behind me and hugged me. I turned around to see my high school best friend, Stephanie! I was so shocked that she was there! She explained that she had a work meeting in the city earlier that day, so she and Bekah had decided to surprise me with some girl time. By this time I knew something was definitely up! We got our coffee and walked over to a table by the window. Stephanie and I were catching up when all of the sudden she handed me a letter with my name on it written in Brandon’s handwriting. I looked up at her and she had tears in her eyes. I soon felt them swelling up in my eyes, as well. This was really it!

The day Brandon and I had talked about for so long. It was finally happening! I opened the letter and inside was a handwritten note from Brandon explaining that this was going to be a very special day for us. Once I was done reading it, we went outside and the girl with the camera from earrier was out there. It was Carly, one of Brandon’s friends from NC State! I could hardly believe what was happening! Brandon had set all of this up without any of my knowledge (and trust me, I am a hard person to surprise!). My mind was spinning and I couldn’t stop smiling. The letter had said for us to go to “our spot” which was at the Lincoln Memorial. So we grabbed an Uber and headed that way. As we drove up to the Lincoln Memorial, my hands were shaking. I just knew that Brandon would be there waiting for me and getting ready to propose! We circled around to the drop off area and began our hike to the top of the stairs. I lead the way to the backside of the memorial fully expecting Brandon to be there. But as we came to the pillars were Brandon and I had stood so many years ago, I found my friends Kate, Katelyn, and Zach! Kate and Zach had flown in from North Dakota and Texas to share this special day with us!

Again, I was so shocked! After giving them all a hug, Kate handed me another envelope addressed to “My love.” I opened it and read it aloud. Brandon knows how important my friends are to me and it meant so much that he would go to such lengths to get them all here for this special moment. After being instructed to head to Market Square in Old Town, Alexandria, we all piled into a vehicle and were on our way. After arriving at Market Square, I noticed two very familiar faces. They were my mom and dad (and our seven month old puppy Sadie)! I had to hold back tears as I embraced them because Brandon knows that my family is everything. The fact that he included them our engagement means the world to me. My dad handed me the final letter labeled “My forever and always.” At the end of the letter Brandon explained that he was waiting for me just around the corner at the Carlyle House. I began the final stretch on the exciting journey with my closest friends and family behind me. When I got to the house, there was a path lit by mason jar candles. At the end of the path was a beautiful white gazebo that had been decorated with twinkling lights, flowers, and a table covered with pictures from the six years we had been dating. Standing in the gazebo was my best friend.

I have never been as excited to see him as I was at that moment. My stomach was filled with butterflies as I walked toward him. When I reached the end of the walkway, Brandon took my hands and lead me into the gazebo. He began to explain how much I mean to him and how he envisioned our life 30 or 40 years from now. His sweet words had me smiling so much that my face hurt and my stomach was in knots from excitement and anticipation. After he finished, he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. I couldn’t say yes fast enough! He placed the gorgeous ring on my finger and pulled me in for a kiss. We heard cheering and looked over to see everyone watching from a balcony nearby. I couldn’t believe it! I was going to marry the love of my life. It all seemed too amazing to be real! Little did I know, the surprises weren’t over! After being congratulated and showing off my new ring, we went to a restaurant nearby where Brandon’s family and more of my family were waiting! It was the perfect ending to an unforgettable day. Brandon went above and beyond any of my wildest dreams of the “perfect proposal.” I am so thankful to soon be able to call him my husband.

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Special Thanks

Carly Tanner
Carly Tanner