Nichole and Andy

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How We Met

Sometimes you hear how people met, and it makes you want to cry. It’s just so amazing how they instantly fell in love and knew they were perfect for each other. Well, Nichole and I have a different story. To Nichole, I was just an average guy, one she really didn’t notice. Because of that, I took every opportunity to show her who I truly was and hoped I could eventually capture her attention. Nichole and I met in college at the University of South Carolina. Upon our arrival at school, we could not have been more different. I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and was, well, let’s just say a bit of a party animal. Did I mention I wore cargo shorts and gelled my hair? We will come back to this . . . Nichole grew up in Lexington, South Carolina, a typical, small, southern town. In my eye, she was a “goody two-shoes” growing up. Unlike me and my cargo shorts, she had an amazing sense of style. Like I said, we were very different. Nichole was in the very first class I had my freshman year. From the minute I laid eyes on her, I knew she was the one.

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I had never seen someone light up a room the way she did. I had never met anyone like her. I would always tell my family and friends back home about her, about how I had found my southern belle. Unfortunately, I don’t think Nichole felt the same way! I was an average looking, nerdy, Jewish guy from Boulder, Colorado. To be honest, I wasn’t the southern gentlemen she had always envisioned marrying. Luckily, I had many opportunities to show her who I really was. I had almost every class with her twin sister, Jessi, so Nichole couldn’t get rid of me easily. Nichole and I eventually started hanging out during our sophomore year. You could tell that both of our groups of friends kept trying to make the connection happen by getting us to go to functions together, or to weekends at the beach or mountains. But it wasn’t until our senior year on St. Patrick’s Day that we started dating as an exclusive couple. Maybe it was the drinking or maybe it was just the luck of the Irish.. Whatever it was, we have never looked back!

how they asked

On January 4, 2017, I wrote a handwritten letter to my soon-to-be fiancée.

The letter:

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The Rules of Engagement:

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The Proposal:

Twenty-four days into the Rules of Engagement, the day had finally arrived. At this point, we had done wine and cheese nights, a paint and sip class, a dance class, Escape the Room, and many other fun dates. Nichole had received an array of gifts, but today she would receive the most important gift of all. Most importantly, Nichole did not suspect a thing!

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This was a bit surprising, considering we were doing a stay-cation at the luxurious Park Hyatt. Both sets of our parents flew into town on Friday, the day before the proposal. She had no idea. My plan was to propose to my future fiancée Saturday morning on the Bow Bridge in Central Park, after a quintessential New York horse carriage ride. The cherry on top would be both of our parents running up the bridge after the proposal to surprise Nichole. Anyone who has ever proposed knows that it is not easy and never goes as planned. Anticipating obstacles ahead, I knew that we needed to rehearse the proposal. On Friday afternoon, both of our parents and the photographer I hired met at the bridge to walk through the next day’s plan. We decided where the parents would hide and how I would signal them to run up the bridge. Lastly, I mapped out where exactly I would drop down on one knee to get the best possible photo backdrop. Did I mention the temperature was 20 degrees and the winds were swirling?

Even though this event involved months of planning, I couldn’t plan for everything. Here are some of the hurdles I encountered: Hurdle #1: Hotel Hysteria Ironically, after ALL my planning, it turned out our parents’ hotel was DIRECTLY across the street from where we were enjoying our staycation. I could see their hotel from our window! In an effort to distract Nichole, I always had to keep the blinds closed and be extra cautious every time we left the hotel, so that we didn’t cross paths. Hurdle #2: Hotel Happiness Our luxury suite at the Park Hyatt was amazing. Why was that a problem? Because Nichole would certainly want to FaceTime everyone, including her parents, to show off the new digs. Knowing Nichole, I was prepared for this. During the day, I warned her parents this would most likely happen, and that it was imperative they did not FaceTime so they did not spoil the surprise that they were also in New York. Hurdle #3: Worry Wart On Friday evening, the night before the proposal, our parents attended a Broadway show, for which they had their phones turned off. Since Nichole’s parents did not answer her FaceTime attempt, she decided to call them instead.

Going straight to voicemail, Nichole was naturally worried about her parents. Remember when I said she is the most caring person in the world? I quickly texted her parents and told them to text Nichole and say they were in a movie. Hurdle #4: Walking Woes As part of the Rules of Engagement, I scheduled a blowout for her at DryBar. I wanted to have her looking absolutely perfect for this day. Unfortunately, one thing I couldn’t control was the bitter cold weather. It was a short walk from the DryBar to the horse carriage pickup. About two minutes into the walk, Nichole stopped in her tracks, stomped her feet, and said, “I’m not going. It is too cold!” I stayed calm and told her that I had already paid for the ride and we could not cancel. I told her about the big blankets they give you and how it will be plenty warm. Hurdle #5: Frigid Fiasco About halfway through our ride, we arrived at Bow Bridge. As I attempted to exit the carriage, Nichole told our carriage driver that she was too cold to walk to the bridge. All she wanted was some pictures of us stepping out of the carriage. Seriously?!

I quickly told her that I wanted her to take a couple pictures of me on the bridge looking out over the lake. She reluctantly agreed to make the trek with me. The big moment We arrived at my marked spot on the bridge and I asked Nichole to take a photo of me looking out over the bridge, with my back turned towards the camera. She snapped a few and I suggested that we switch so that I can get a few shots of her doing the same. As she turned for the photo, I asked her to fluff her hair out a bit for the picture. Then I told her that she could turn around. And there I was, down on one knee, telling her “Nichole, I have spent the last 24 days trying to make you the happiest girl in the world and want to do that for the rest of my life. Will you marry me?”

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I can tell you that seeing the surprise and happiness on her face as I heard her say “yes!” was the happiest moment of my life.

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Special Thanks

Elizabeth Catalano
 | photographer