Rachel and Andy
How We Met
Andy and I grew up in the same small-ish town in Georgia, but we went to rival high schools. We had no idea who the other was growing up despite having lots of mutual friends over the years. Fast forward a bit to the summer between our Freshman and Sophomore years of college. Through mutual friends, dining halls and dorms, I had met and become friends with someone from the aforementioned enemy high school (Justin) who hosted some of my favorite parties at his college apartment over the years. It was at one of these summertime parties that I walked in to a whole new group of people from more than just school. I immediately saw Andy, who I had never met before, sitting at a table in the corner. I had an odd feeling that I just had to know this person and that he had to like me – even if it was just as a friend. Andy and I maybe said a few words to each other that night, but nothing special or memorable. Each time we hung out with our group of friends that summer, we would talk a little more. It’s safe to say I developed a little crush on Andy, probably because Alabama frat boys were pretty popular at the time.
Plus he was funny and quiet and everyone loved him. About a month into our friendship, during another fun night out in Athens, Andy and I decided to pull an all-nighter because, being 19, that made sense since I had to work at 7 AM the next morning. (Because no sleep is better than 4 hours of sleep?) We talked all night long about everything you could think of and it was probably the most Andy’s ever spoken. I even got a text the next day making sure I got to work safely and to see how I was feeling. (I was tired.) When the summer ended and we went back to school, Andy and I didn’t speak for almost a whole year. I suddenly became single that next summer, and when Andy found out he Facebook messaged me to tell me he had been texting the wrong number for me for the last month (uh-huh) and that he needed my new number.
We started hanging out again and we’ve been almost inseparable ever since. Our first official date was to an Atlanta Falcons game, then we first held hands at an Atlanta Braves game. I blame myself for setting the standard that sports should be so involved in our relationships. We moved in together in Atlanta after 4 years of dating, then purchased a home together 2 months before he proposed.
how they asked
My company headquarters are in Portland, Oregon and I get to travel there a couple times a year. The second time I ever went to Portland (I was staying there for 3 weeks), Andy got to come with me for the first weekend, which was our very first vacation together. This time, my 5th time to Portland, I had to be there for 4 days for an annual team meeting and I was really missing Andy and reminiscing about all of the great memories we had had during our first trip there together. A few of my co-workers called me into the office to tell me a photo-shoot had come up for one of our Oregon clients and that they wanted me to be in it. I didn’t really think much of this because that’s pretty normal and also I like being in photo-shoots. But there wasn’t a ton of details surrounding it and I felt like something was up. At this point in our 6 year relationship, I thought everything would end with a ring so I would be lying if I didn’t think/hope this was going to be an engagement.
All week I talked myself out of it, thinking it was this or that, and reminding myself not to be such a hopeless romantic like my mom used to warn me about. The night before the photo-shoot, I could barely sleep. What if it wasn’t a photo-shoot? What if it was something bad? What if it was Andy! No, Andy would never fly across the country because we just bought a house and have zero money. We had a long night celebrating our company with an open bar, but I didn’t want to drink much because I had this photo-shoot in the AM and I had to look good for our client’s Instagram account. The next AM I was less nervous and much more convinced that it was truly a photo-shoot. The park the “photo-shoot” was at is called Cathedral Park because it’s under a beautiful bridge with cathedral shaped arches. It was absolutely gorgeous with the so-Portland haze and a bit of rain. Ian (our in-house photographer) told me to walk down these steps and stand at the bottom where he would get the shot.
I felt like I was standing at the bottom for at least 10 minutes. Then Andy walked out from behind a column and I still didn’t quite think it was going to happen (trying to talk myself out of it) until he said “I’m sorry this has taken so long.” and I cried a little bit and then he got down on one knee and then I got nervous and just wanted to hug him and then the rest is a blur.
Except for seeing the ring for the first time and thinking how huge and sparkly and beautiful it was. Oh, and I also asked “Where is Chewy?” (our dog). It turns out Andy had organized the proposal with some of my co-workers after asking the CEO for permission to take me away from the group. Together they organized the location, how they’d surprise me and all of the details so that I would be surprised. They did a great job fooling me and keeping it a secret!