How We Met
We began working at a local software company on the same day, so we were thrown into new hire orientation together. I had been hired full-time and Alex was a summer intern, so I immediately assumed that he was younger than me. Alex decided to strike up conversation with me for the first time by teasing me about my bright red pants. I blushed right away, so my face matched my pants too. In my defense, they were totally cute and stylish, I swear.
From there, we began sitting next to each other every day during our classes and trading jokes. One day, I not so stealthily asked flat out how old he was because I didn’t want to let myself have a crush on someone way younger than me. Surprise of all surprises, not only were we the same age, we were exactly the same age to the day, month and year. Hooray!
how they asked
In October, we met up with a photographer friend over dinner to begin planning a promo video in preparation for the launch of our new event planning company, Lily & Oak Weddings and Events. We came up with some fun ideas and I got down to work planning out the details. We set the date of the shoot for December 6th, and I went into full fledged planner mode making sure that all of the details were ironed out for our promo video and our styled shoot on the 7th. I was so wrapped up in all of the details of the shoot that I was completely blind to any hints that there might be something more going on.
From Alex: Meanwhile, I had been doing some additional preparation of my own, doing my best to still keep months of planning a secret. Little did Whitney know, I had contacted Amber immediately after we met to see if she wanted to be involved in our engagement, to which she enthusiastically replied that she had secretly hoped that I was thinking this was an ideal moment for a proposal as well!
The morning of December 6th, we woke up and made some coffee and talked about what messages we wanted to share in our interview later that day. I have not spent much time in front of the camera, so I was nervous. Like, hands shaking, lump in my throat, sweaty palms nervous. We wanted our video to be an authentic representation of us and our business and instead, as we practiced, I felt like I was coming across as this fake, staged version of myself. Not what we wanted at all!
From Alex: I had ordered the ring months before, had it shipped to my parents house, and then hide it among our belongings when we visited for Thanksgiving. In the days before our video shoot, I spent some free time editing what I wanted to say and practicing in front of a mirror while Whitney was in the other room or downstairs. After all of my secret preparation and thinking about what I wanted to say on camera for the business as well…you could say I was a little nervous too.
Alex, always so calm and level-headed, jumped into “fix-it” mode seeing how nervous I was (oh, he knows me so well). He suggested that we take some time before we really started the interview questions to ask each other some fun personal questions about our own relationship to get comfortable in front of the camera. We even practiced some of these “ice breaker” questions that morning.
From Alex: Whitney knows me well enough to know when I’m up to something (plus I’m really bad about keeping secrets), so I was trying to think of ways to throw her off when the time came. I figured she would know what was happening as soon as I started letting her know why I was about to get down on one knee for her, so I decided the best way to act like this was all normal was by having her ask me a question that could open the window I needed, “why do you love me?”. Once we practiced, she got a taste of what I was going to tell her and expected to hear it…just not the words that would change her life forever I was planning to add at the end.
Embarrassing side note that I feel compelled to share: being the pale people we are, Whitney and I decided to get a spray tan the day before to have a little bit of color in front of the camera. Well, Whitney’s booth malfunctioned and it gave her two coats of the darkest setting they had and it wasn’t long before her skin were unnaturally tan and orange. She spent the morning using home remedies (chemical burns) to remove some of the coloring from her hands while I comforted her, letting her know that no one was going to be directly looking at her hands (all the while I’m screaming in my head OH MY GOD the ONE day EVERYONE will be looking at her hands!!!). Fortunately it wasn’t very noticeable (as I assured her it would be).
We drove over to a pretty field in our hometown of Raleigh and it really did look magical on that unseasonably warm December day. Our goal was to create a comfortable and approachable living room scene outdoors, so we began to drag out our little love seat and an oak barrel side table out into the field to set the scene. Oh, the things we do for shoots!
We sat down, the film started rolling and the butterflies started fluttering around my stomach. I looked over at Alex and he smiled back at me as we started to volley fun questions back and forth to each other as my nerves started to wane.
“If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?”
“What’s your very favorite dessert?”
“Why do you love me?”
“Why do you love me?” Wow, he really went in with a zinger! I do love him for so many reasons and honestly, I could not tell you what reasons I gave him that day. He must have known I would follow up with the same question back to him: “Well, why do you love me?”
Alex took my hand and began to get a little more serious. He can be sappy sometimes, so while I thought that he was being particularly sentimental, I still didn’t know that this was the moment. That is, until he started talking about our future. The future he and I would have together. Because he wanted to spend his life with me!!!
The moment I realized that he was asking to marry me, I started crying. Happy tears are a real thing! In our own modern fairytale moment, Alex got on one knee, placed a beautiful ring on my finger, then swept me up into his arms.
Amber, our photographer, was snapping photos and video through the whole proposal and I am so, so grateful that we have these memories recorded! Partially because I’m pretty sure I blacked out when I realized what was going on, so I’m so thankful that I can go back and look at the photos and video and relive that moment anytime.
We spent a few minutes popping some champagne and being giggly before diving back into our interview. Believe me, all that nervousness was gone and replaced with pure joy!