Richel and Cory

How We Met

I met Cory when I was 18 years old (back in 2011) and in my first semester of college. I went to the University of Hawaii at Manoa and even though my family lived on the island, I wanted to experience dorm life. I ended up choosing this little student housing in a pink building that was run by the YMCA. Little did I know that Cory had been volunteering with the YMCA for most of his life and a lot of his close friends worked for the dorm run by the YMCA.

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Seattle, Washington

Over the fall/winter holiday, one of the workers offered Cory to stay at the dorms for the break. By coincidence, the only spare bed in the dorm was shared in the room with one of our mutual friends, Nainoa. I remember walking back to the dorms after class and seeing Cory and Nainoa sitting at a table chatting. I didn’t introduce myself to Cory and proceeded to go about my business as normal. I’d see him around the dorms, or when I’d visit Nainoa in his room to hang out, but I didn’t really talk to him. I noticed Cory would be looking at me or watching what I was doing (ex- cooking lunch in the kitchen… but honestly, I thought he probably was just hungry and didn’t know how to cook for himself haha).

One day, I was lugging down my clothes to the laundry room and out of nowhere, Cory popped up and said hi. His first words he ever said to me were “do you need help with your laundry?” I laughed and declined the help thinking how funny it was that this stranger wanted to help me put my dirty clothes into the washing machine. Cory later told me that he just froze and didn’t know how to break the ice because he had been wanting to talk to me for a while at that point. (To this day we joke about this whenever Cory complains about having to do laundry and I remind him how badly he wanted to help me back then).\

Richel and Cory's Engagement in Seattle, Washington

We spent the next few weeks getting to know each other a bit more, ended up volunteering with some holiday events with the YMCA, and spent a lot of time together. One moment that really stood out to me was I would see him working on his guitar and playing different song choruses on it. He offered to teach me a song and proceeded to use that as an excuse to get closer while teaching me how to play the chorus of “Lean On Me.” We spent hours being silly and playing music together.

Before we knew it, it was New Year’s Eve and we were sitting in his dorm room watching scary movies on VHS, eating popcorn, and cuddling underhung up twinkly lights leftover from Christmas. He and I just looked at each other and laughed as he tried to ask me to be his girlfriend. He credits his great guitar skills as what won over my heart, but since that first day we played “Lean On Me” together, I’ve never seen him pick up that guitar again haha.

Richel's Proposal in Seattle, Washington

How They Asked

I am a small business owner and have a wedding planning company that plans events in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. Each January, I come up to Seattle for work. Cory and I absolutely love Seattle and it’s such a special place to us. His family is originally from Washington and we visit often for both my work and his family.

Where to Propose in Seattle, Washington

We decided that this year, we’d spend New Year’s Eve up in Seattle since I had worked on the 2nd of January and flight prices would be expensive if we left after the New Year. My staff member, Monique, was also traveling up to Seattle to do some work with me and we all had plans to hang out on NYE. Little did I know that Cory had been planning to propose on this trip and had enlisted the help of Monique to help with the logistics.

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Seattle, Washington

There’s this little spot in Seattle called Pioneer Square that I absolutely love. I have always adored the little twinkly lights (I think it brings me back to the start of my relationship with Cory, sitting in a dorm lit up by twinkly lights) and Pioneer Square is famous for its lights. Monique and Cory had arranged for our photographer friend, Chelsea, to reach out to see if we all wanted to grab drinks on NYE after she finished. up a shoot. I didn’t think anything suspicious of this as we are all good friends and Chelsea has taken photos of all of us before.

Proposal Ideas Seattle, Washington

We met up at a cute little bar called the London Plane. I remember that it was a really chilly afternoon and Cory was kind of quiet in the Uber ride to the bar. I asked him if he was okay and he said yes, it was just cold. We all hung out for a bit and then decided to walk around outside because the Pioneer Square Lights had just turned on!

Chelsea offered to take some pics of Monique and her BF. (I later found out they staged this so that way Chelsea could test the lighting on her camera). After Monique and her BF Michael took some pictures, Chelsea told me and Cory to hop in and take a couple. She was posing me and next thing I know, Cory tapped me. I turned around and saw him on one knee. He asked me to marry him and I just felt so much joy and so special. I could hear our friends cheering in the background and he put the ring on my finger- it was absolutely perfect!

We took a few more photos and then our friends walked us over to another restaurant where they had champagne and snacks prepped to celebrate!

New Year’s Eve marked 8 years of us being together and I’m so excited for this next chapter of our lives together!

Special Thanks

Monique Geoghegan
 | Planning
Chelsea Abril
 | Photographer