Maria and Zack

Image 1 of Maria and Zack

How We Met

Zack and I met when we were 16 years old. I went to an all girls school that required us to bring dates to buy prom tickets. I already had a dress, but no longer had a date. I just wanted to get dressed up and have fun with my friends, and if it was a public school I wouldn’t have even looked for a new date! However, we needed one to attend, so I asked my friend if she knew anyone I could take, and insisted I didn’t care who, I just wanted to get in so I could enjoy prom with my friends! She thought of one of her friends that might be available and texted him that night. I remember her showing me his Facebook, and that was the first time I saw a picture of my future husband!

A few days later she exchanged our numbers as he said he was available and he texted me. I was in a bit of a “single” stage and was not looking for any kind of boyfriend. I must have said a million times I wanted just a prom date so I could just get in and have fun with my friends. Little did I know, life had other plans. From our first text conversation, I remember feeling like there was something very different about this guy. For whatever reason, our conversations just kept going. We clicked, and it was a crazy feeling! From that very first message in January 2012, we have not gone a single day since without talking. I was still hesitant to get back into a relationship and not looking for anything, so I was a bit in denial of my feelings and he was being very careful to not say anything too “date-y” to scare me off when he asked me to meet up before prom, just so we could spend some time in person “so it wouldn’t be awkward.”

That’s how he carefully phrased it, and that’s what I told my suspicious dad who insisted other people attend our “not-date.” I somehow convinced some girlfriends of mine to go to the movie with us and sit about ten rows in front of us so my dad would let me out of his car. I showed up that night, which happened to be Valentine’s Day weekend, not knowing if it was a date or not- and sort of nervously hoping it was! When my dad finally saw my friends there and let me out of the car, Zack hugged me as soon as he saw me, and paid for my ticket, to my surprise. I later found out he spent a long day moving boxes for his grandparents to earn enough money to take me out! It’s funny now to think we were so young when we met that we didn’t have jobs or driving licenses yet! That first night was completely amazing.

He was such a gentleman and completely swept me off my feet. I didn’t think guys like him even existed outside of movies, let alone as teenage boys, and I remember leaving thinking my whole “just a prom date” plan was long gone. By the end of the night, we had our first kiss, and he shared an awkward handshake and introduction with my dad. It was clear- it was our first date. Our next was at the same movie theater (options limited to non-driving 16 year olds) and in the middle of the most romantic part of the movie, he took my hand in his and traced the letters “w-i-l-l y-o-u…” onto my palm with his finger. I realized what he was asking and squealed yes and kissed him!

Image 2 of Maria and Zack

He always teases me for not even letting him finish the question, but we have been inseparable ever since. By the time prom came, we had already said “I love you” for the first time, and years later I can say we seriously meant it! I remember slow dancing that night and he looked down at me and said “So much for just a prom date, huh?” We knew then, as crazy as it is, just as much as we know now that we had a forever sort of thing.

how they asked

Zack and I have always loved exploring the white mountains in New Hampshire, in all seasons. Whenever we get a chance we head up there for a weekend to relax, hike and find new waterfalls. In July, we often go away for the fourth, but postponed it this year. Part of the reason for this was to avoid the crazy crowds around our favorite spots, little did I know! On the Monday before we left, Zack called me on his way home from work and told me he got that Friday off so we could leave Thursday night and take a long weekend in the mountains. He also said we were going to stay at a bed and breakfast (The Wilderness Inn) that is owned by family friends of ours. It’s right by our favorite places, so I was so excited! Later that week my mom commented on how my nails looked all broken and in bad shape.

She casually suggested I get a manicure since I was overdue. I had no idea Zack had called her and asked her to make sure my nails were done! We got in late to New Hampshire Thursday night and went right to bed. The next morning, Zack was up at 6 and I was asking why so early?! He mumbled that he was “anxious to start the day” and started getting ready. He’s always up before me so I figured he was just excited to head to Mount Washington. We got ready and headed out early, planning to do the auto road to the summit. We had only been driving for a little while when the signs for The Basin in Franconia Notch came up.

It’s one of our favorite spots, and it was early on a weekday so Zack asked if I wanted to stop and take a picture or two if it wasn’t crowded. I was excited to get to the mountain, but I said sure, let’s just see if there’s a lot of people there or not. I had no idea this was a planned stop. We pulled in and there weren’t any cars in the parking lot, so we decided to get out. I figured we would only be there a couple minutes, and just grabbed our gopro which was already on the tripod arm. I didn’t even take my phone or regular camera with me! We walked down and I swear it felt like a cool fall morning, our favorite weather ever.

I remember turning to him and saying how perfect out it was despite the hot forecast. We first stopped to take a picture on this bridge we love, and moved on to the basin, a beautiful waterfall that flows through a natural cave-like result of erosion. It was just us at the falls, and super quiet and peaceful. I plopped the gopro on the rocks and posed next to Zack as he used the wireless remote to snap a quick picture. I thought this was just a pitstop, so I ran back up to get the camera so we could head back to the car, but he stopped me! He told me it was on burst mode by accident and we didn’t get the picture, so to come back and pose again.

I thought nothing of it and adjusted the Go pro to make sure it was aiming at the falls. Little did I know, Zack had pressed the “video” mode on the wireless remote and started recording. I came back to stand next to him for the picture, and he immediately got down on one knee! I looked down at him, confused why he was bending down and then my eyes caught the box in his hand and I GASPED! I yelled “are you kidding?!” and he laughed and opened the box.

Image 3 of Maria and Zack

I realized it was really happening and started jumping up and down out of excitement! He started talking about spending the rest of his life with me and I just jumped forward and kissed him, interrupting him just like I did when he asked me to be his girlfriend years before.

Image 4 of Maria and Zack

I couldn’t help it! The rest of what he said was incredibly sweet but a complete blur as the shock hit me that this was really happening. I yelled yes and kissed him and he stood up to put my absolute dream ring on my finger, pick me up in a hug and spin me around.

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It was then, as we were hugging and trying to regulate our heartbeats, that he told me had the whole thing on video for us to relive over and over, and share with our future kids and grandkids!

Image 6 of Maria and Zack

We decided for the rest of the world to share pictures taken out of the video, and to keep it just for us. We stayed at the falls hugging and just smiling uncontrollably, then headed back to the car and called all of our family and friends on our way to the mountain! It happened around 7:30 am on the first day of our trip because he couldn’t wait a second longer! We got to spend the rest of the weekend soaking up the first few days of our engagement before returning to the real world, and it was absolutely perfect.

Image 7 of Maria and Zack