Vanessa and Mike

How We Met: I think our story is very funny and unique, and makes me truly believe in fate. Mike and I grew up in the same small town called Ithaca in upstate New York and went to the same high school. One Friday night in 2004, during my sophomore year of high school and Mike’s senior year, we ended up at the same party at a friend’s house. Mike was free-styling (rapping) with a mutual friend in the bedroom and I walked in. Mike thinks his “talent” really drew me in. I doubt it was his ” talent” that drew me in, but it was definitely “crush” at first sight.

We went on a few dates around our hometown over the next year and the most memorable one was a date to see White Noise at the movie theatre. Mike didn’t pay for this movie, and as his dad says, he will now be paying for it for the rest of his life : )

Image 1 of Vanessa and Mike

Mike went to Ithaca College in 2005, and I was still in high school. We went our separate ways but still kept in contact through text messaging and AIM (AOL instant messenger) . It wasn’t the right time for us, but neither of us could forget the other. After nearly 2 full years apart we flirted about March madness over Facebook and finally hung out in the spring of 2007. On this night, we got in their first real fight. I was mad at Mike and refused to talk to him for months, after ignoring all of his texts and Facebook messages : )

Finally, on the night of my 18th birthday, while Mike was working as a bouncer, my friends and I walked by him (none of us were old enough to go in, haha). Mike grabbed one of my friends and he begged her (he’ll deny the begging) to have me call him, and something must have felt right because I called him later that night and we rekindled our relationship. Unfortunately I was leaving to go to Penn State the following day, and we had to use AIM to communicate for the next 9 months. We spent many late nights catching up and really getting to know each other, discovering that we had a lot in common still.

In the spring, we hung out over Easter break (we shared our second “first-kiss” this weekend), and Mike made a very short 12 hour trip to Penn State, and that was all it took to know we had something special. As soon as I was back in town in the summer of 2008, our relationship truly began. After only being back for 1 week, Mike invited me to go on a week long trip to Myrtle Beach with his whole family. I thought he was joking, but we really went! After 7 days together (and sharing a twin bed!) we knew we were perfect for each other after all of those years.

how they asked: Mike and I had lived in North Carolina for about 2 years and always wanted to visit Asheville to see the Biltmore, when he finally called me while I was on a work trip and said “should we go see the Biltmore this weekend?” On Sunday, December 8, on what I thought was a trip planned last minute, we went to Asheville, North Carolina. Mike pretended like this trip was planned very last minute, the morning of actually, as we didn’t finally decide we were going until then.

Mike said he got the hotel with my travelocity voucher, and I still had no clue as we pulled up to the stunning Biltmore Inn. I thought it was extra sweet for such a last minute trip, but Mike had planned a gorgeous, romantic trip to Charleston previously and no engagement happened there. We had reserved a candlelit tour of the mansion, but that also included a day time tour, so we decided to head there while waiting for our room.

We were in the house in the middle of the tour and Mike began to rush me through it. I thought he was just bored and I said (yelled) “we paid a lot of money for this, so stop rushing me!” The house was so beautifully decorated for Christmas, and I loved looking at all of the little details. Little did I know, he was planning the most exciting moment of our lives!

When we finally finished, I had to have a milkshake because my friend said I couldn’t leave without one. Mike said later that the 10 minutes that I was drinking the milkshake were some of the most excruciating moments of his life. He said “I’m about to ask you to marry me and you were just taking your time drinking a milkshake!”

Afterwards Mike asked a photographer to take a picture of us in front of the house and huge Christmas Tree. I was very excited because I probably would’ve asked someone to take a picture anyways (I love pictures). We took a few pictures, and Mike told me to look at the picture and see if I liked it. I did think this was weird, because he never cared about pictures.

Finally Mike said let’s take one more, and after a little stumbling in his coat pocket, Mike got down on a knee and said some really beautiful things about our love, and then asked me to marry him.

Image 2 of Vanessa and Mike

I cried, hyperventilated, shook my hands and screamed.

Image 3 of Vanessa and Mike

Mike said that I looked like I saw a ghost!

Image 4 of Vanessa and Mike

It was the happiest day, planned perfectly without me knowing.

Image 5 of Vanessa and Mike

Mike said he knew if we had planned the trip in advance I would be waiting for it! Afterwards we spent an hour calling family and friends and eating strawberries and drinking champagne that Mike had waiting for us at the hotel room. I cried each time I told someone new. It was a beautiful day (and an even more beautiful ring!) and it couldn’t have been more perfect!

Image 6 of Vanessa and Mike

We are both lucky to have the pictures and memories of that moment forever.

Image 7 of Vanessa and Mike

Photos by: Biltmore