Mary and Adam

How We Met

We were both working in the athletic department at a university in Philadelphia. Both former D1 athletes, we pursued coaching as our careers. Adam was a swim coach and Mary coached lacrosse. The pool is in the basement of the building, and the lacrosse fields are way off-campus, so even though we both had been working at the same school for several years, it wasn’t until about four years ago we became acquainted.

Wedding Proposal Ideas in The top of City Hall, Philadelphia PA

Mary and Adam's Engagement in The top of City Hall, Philadelphia PA

Luckily Adam’s administrator’s office was next to Mary’s lacrosse office, and pretty soon Adam was stopping in for lunch frequently. In August of 2017, another coach in the department got married, and Mary brought Adam as her plus one. Pretty soon we were spending more and more time together, and officially began dating the next year!

Marriage Proposal Ideas in The top of City Hall, Philadelphia PA

Proposal Ideas The top of City Hall, Philadelphia PA

How They Asked

In the summer, our university has half-day Fridays. We had been doing fun summer activities every Friday for a couple of weeks. He told me that for this Friday- we would go to the top of city hall (I’ve lived in Philly for almost a decade, and had no idea you could do that!), and then go to dinner for date night. We got ready, took a short subway ride to City Hall, and went through the building to the top. Adam purchased two-time slots (the last two of the day). There were only us and a security guard that took us on a four-person elevator to the top of the city hall, right under the William Penn statue. We got out and walked around, and as I was looking over the side, Adam tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and he was down on one knee with a ring in hand! Not just any ring, a rose-gold, pear-shaped custom ring of my dreams!!

Where to Propose in The top of City Hall, Philadelphia PA

After I said yes! we got a few pictures at the top, and then took the elevator down. I was totally shocked, walking hand in hand with him out of city hall when I saw a familiar face- Adam’s assistant coach and part-time photographer Kara was waiting for us and taking pictures as we walked out! He planned a surprise engagement shoot to capture immediately after the proposal.

Then we went to dinner as Adam planned, and when we arrived there were sunflowers (one of my favorites) and baby’s breath on a table for us, as well as two glasses of champagne. Adam came to the restaurant earlier in the day to put the flowers in a vase and request champagne for when we arrived. He rode his bike to the 30th street station to buy the flowers for our table!

I face-timed my parents, who were at home, and gushed at how amazing the proposal, ring, engagement shoot, and dinner was. They were so thrilled. After I hung up, Adam suggested we get together with family and friends the next night to celebrate. I thought that would be a great idea.

But his surprises weren’t done!

After we were done dinner, he asked if I wanted to end the night with a walk through Spruce Street Harbor Park. During the summer, there are hanging lights, and it is right on the water- it is totally something he and I would enjoy walking through. I said absolutely, what a way to end the perfect night.


We took an Uber and arrived at the park, walking hand in hand down a boardwalk. Adam started to slow down his walk, and it made me slow too. Then from my left, I heard loud cheering, whistling, and yelling. I looked to my left and saw a HUGE crowd of family (including my parents, who I had just seen at home when we face timed) friends and coworkers from near and far!! I was in absolute shock, and that

really opened the flood gates! I could not believe my fiance managed to create an incredible proposal AND a surprise engagement shoot AND surprise party with our family and friends.

Everyone stayed at the park for the rest of the evening, and so many people told us that night was so much fun that it should have been our wedding!

Special Thanks

Kara Battistoni
 | Photographer