Sami and Mathew

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How We Met

Mat and I met through a mutual friend of ours at the time back over the beginning of the summer of 2008. We both went to the same high school and he had just finished his sophomore year and I my freshman year. We both had other people of interest at the time so we started out as just acquaintances who occasionally chatted online over instant messaging. Having lingered for too long on another guy who clearly wasn’t interested in me, I had decided I was done with having my heart broken. While I was only 15 (and it’s a little silly to say such a thing at that young an age), I told God that I was over chasing down boys and that I wanted someone to win my heart instead of trying to get someone to want it.

As summer break started, Mat went to Michigan for a month to visit family. I was still in Gainesville, but in our spare time we still talked over IM. Since both of our other interests hadn’t resulted in anything we naturally talked to each other about it and about our lives in general. Our chatting sessions soon became daily occurrences for multiple hours at a time and even into the late hours of the night. The more we talked to each other the more we realized we had a lot in common and it was becoming obvious that he had started to develop some feelings towards me (he definitely wasn’t trying to hide it!). With still having conflicted feelings over the last guy I liked I was unsure of how to feel. I had a guy finally pursuing me and he was seemingly perfect (good looking, loved Harry Potter, dogs, came from a close-knit family like mine and he lived only about 3 blocks away from me) so I had no reason to be so skeptical. After a few pep-talks from my sister, I decided that this was worth a shot if he wanted to take it to the next step. The only hard part was the fact that he was in Michigan for at least another 2 and a 1/2 weeks before coming back so we wouldn’t be able to see each other until then. However, he didn’t let that stop him from asking me out.

I remember it being a Friday night about dinner time and we were talking about what he had done that day. He mentioned that he climbed a really tall tree and so it had sparked a conversation about his bravery and my fear of heights. As the topic came to an end he suddenly mentioned something about when he wanted when he came back. He then was typing for what seemed like 3 minutes (although it was only about 20 seconds). I questioned what he meant but then he finally responded and to my surprise asked me to be his girlfriend!

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Our inseparability from that point had increased substantially. We graduated to phone conversations when we could over the remaining 2 weeks and counted down the days until his return. I remember tearing through my closet to find the right outfit on the night before he got back and him teasing me about it. The day he came home we agreed to meet in the retention pond near my house. He rode his bike over and my nerves were going crazy as I saw him waiting for me by a tree as I walked down the street. We spent the whole day together seeing each other’s houses and meeting each other’s families. He was my first true boyfriend, my first true love and 8 and a 1/2 years later he is still my amazing high school sweetheart. We have seen many ups and downs throughout these years, including 2 of them being long-distance, but through it all we’ve come out stronger with more love each time. Now we are planning our forever and I couldn’t be more excited than to share it all with him! :)

how they asked

To start, Mat and I have been talking about getting engaged and married now for quite some time. With both of my best friends having gotten engaged and married within the last year I was starting to get anxious for it to be our turn. Only recently, though, did conversations start to get more serious between us. We had made a plan that we would be married for our 10 year anniversary and so with that idea I told him that I would need at least a year to plan a wedding giving him till June of 2017 to make something happen! Within the past couple months, he started asking me lots of questions about the ring I wanted and the fact that he had potential ideas for how he was going to do it.

Now I teach 5th grade and he occasionally comes to help out in my classroom on his days off. About a month ago or so I was given a hint by some of my kiddos that something was going to happen over Christmas. Being very interested by this news, but not wanting him to know I knew of this, I brought it up to my sister. She assured me nothing was in the works (for she would have known) and told me to push it off and not get my hopes up. However it eventually got brought up with Mat and he did everything he could to also assure me he had other plans in mind and had just said something to help “keep them quiet” since every time he came to school they would just repeatedly ask him when he was going to propose! After being told this I was a bit disappointed in thinking it was finally going to happen but now all hopes of it had been tossed down the drain. I moved past it, though, and just kept telling myself that it would happen soon.

On December 18th, we were set to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.

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Mat and I had never been, so we got tickets to go with my sister and her boyfriend for a fun evening full of Disney at Christmastime. There had been a few odd things I noticed throughout the morning as we got ready that were a bit strange, but with it being so close to Christmas I just sort of dismissed it as usual week-before-Christmas behavior. Things started to get really suspicious, though, when we finally arrived at the park. My sister disappeared to go talk with the Disney Photography people (unknown to me for I thought she was in the bathroom) and when I expressed going to join her Mat insisted we take photos in front of the giant Christmas tree. After having gone to the bathroom myself and still not finding her, I was told she was on a phone call with a coworker and that she’d be right back. Finally she returned, and we went and grabbed dinner. She disappeared again during dinner to go find a map that would tell us about all the events for the night. She blamed her prolonged absence on fighting through the crowds to get back to the restaurant when really she was getting other things set up and ready for that night, still unknowingly to me.

A while later it was time to go grab seats in the East Plaza Garden for the castle lighting show. We picked a spot on the lawn and got situated for the show. This is when things got really fishy! When we sat down it was clear my sister and Mat were trying to do something without me noticing so I told myself to pay no attention to it. Then a team of Disney photographers showed up and kept looking over at us, so my suspicions kept getting warmer! Again, I dismissed it for the meantime until after the show. Once the show finished the photographers asked to take our pictures. I didn’t think anything of this since they usually pull at people to get their pictures.

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After a bit of confusion on their part with the specific photos that had been previously planned out to be taken, Mat and I were taking our final photo and suddenly he drops to one knee with a ring box in hand! I started jumping and uncontrollably sobbing in excitement and happiness. In the process of trying to calm down, he asked me that if after all this time I would marry him and I of course said, “Yes!”

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Little did I know he had also snuck into the park without my knowledge both our families and my best friend Jackie to take pictures. I turned around after the moment had happened and at the site of them all I collapsed to the floor in surprise! Thus, the sobbing continued!

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My heart was so full to see all of them there. It meant the world that they had all been keeping this secret from me for over a month! It was truly an unforgettably “magical” night! :)

Special Thanks

Disney Photo Pass
 | Photography
Jackie Tight
 | Photography