Ashleigh and Del

How We Met

“Hey, How’s it going Gladiator?!” That was the creative greeting I tried to come up with to have my message read and not overlooked by a young, tall, dark and handsome man on a popular dating website. In August 2013, I decided to give the new fad of online dating a try. I logged on, created my profile, sifted through numerous others and decided to reach out to a stranger named Del Baxter – after all he was a 98% match to me! After reading his profile, I decided out of all of the overly truthful information he provided, and the lack of details I wrote on my profile, he wasn’t a crazy stalker, and just a nice down to earth guy that I should give a chance to get to know. Our interest in the TV series Scandal was the key that turned us from strangers into good friends. He was a gladiator too! Ever since that moment, numerous messages were exchanged; emails grew to texts, texts grew to video chats, and video chats turned into date nights in Washington D.C. Not to mention, good morning texts were exchanged every single day.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Washington D.C. - National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Washington Monument

How He Asked

On Monday May 22, I came home after a tedious day at work. I saw a heart shaped balloon out of the corner of my eye. Since I live with my Aunt and Uncle, I thought it was their anniversary, or my Uncle just did something nice for my Aunt. Seconds later, my Uncle said, “I am your special delivery man” and presented me with the heart shaped balloon and an edible arrangement with the message “Just because, – Del”. My man of few words. My uncle asked “Did Del do something wrong?” I said “No! Its just because!” At work the next day, when I returned from my daily walk during my lunch break, I received an email from a Secretary on my floor. She said she had a package for me. I was confused. I wasn’t expecting anything. It was a dozen multicolor roses! The card that came with it said, “More just because – with love, Del”. I was happy and surprised to receive more “just because love”! What I didn’t know is that there were more surprises to come. All of my co-workers that came into my office that day asked “Did your boyfriend do something wrong?” I said “No! Its just because!” On Wednesday, both of our schedules were hectic – so hectic I didn’t even take my break at work! When I came home that night, I took my daily walk and checked my email. I received an e-greeting card sent with “pugs and kisses”. The e-greeting had two pugs licking the screen with a message that said “Even more just because-Love Del”. This was super cute because Del doesn’t like dogs, especially the new pug my family recently adopted. This entire time I thought I was just being pampered by my love. I thought “It took him 4 years to appreciate me now?! If so, I’ll still take it!!” After work the next day, I went over his house because we were planning a Memorial Day BBQ to gather our families together to get better acquainted since he lives over an hour away. Since we both work in D.C. we would commute in together on Friday we had plans to go to “Jazz in the Gardens” after work. When I went upstairs to the guest room to put my belongings away, there was a Pandora bag with a pink bow on the bed. I asked “Is this for me?” I opened it and it was a rose gold heart charm. “Just because”. On Friday May 26, he took the day off to get everything set up for the BBQ – or so I thought. In reality, he was getting spruced up for our magical night ahead. During the day, my co-workers asked me what my plans were for the weekend. I told them we were going to Jazz in the Gardens that night with a nice dinner and during the weekend we are having a BBQ with our families. They tried to convince me that Del was going to propose to me! They said “Come on. The gifts! The flowers! The dinner!” I didn’t believe them! I’ve already playfully proposed to Del, over 100 times! He denied me every single time. Later that day, he picked me up from work and told me we were going to the Smithsonian museum first before Jazz in the Gardens. I didn’t think anything of it and just said “What? Okay..” Along the way he said he changed his mind and he wanted to go to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I didn’t think anything of it and tried to go with the flow. I said “What? Okay..” In front of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Washington Monument, he took both of my hands. He said “Ashleigh, I hope you enjoyed all of the little surprises this week and that they meant a lot to you like you do to me.” I said “What? Okay..” He responded “I have one more gift for you.” In the heart of our nation’s capital, he gave me a little white envelope with the words “Just because…” (like the other days), but this time the words that followed were “… I want to make it a lifetime”. At 6:33pm the love of my life unwrapped a Tiffany Blue Box, knelt down on one knee, and proposed “Will you marry me?”

Ashleigh and Del's Engagement in Washington D.C. - National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Washington Monument

Ashleigh's Proposal in Washington D.C. - National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Washington Monument

I remember saying, “Yes” but then I must have blacked out because the moment was so incredible and breathtaking. After I came to, he told me that I said, “YES! Of Course!” Our photographer captured the beautiful moment we both shared. We then went to other monuments within the area for a brief engagement photo shoot. We went to a nice restaurant for dinner and spent the beautiful night together at a hotel in our nations capital – Washington, D.C. My man brought our outfits for the next day and everything!

On Saturday and Sunday we spent time with each other and shared the excitement with our close family members. My love planned everything to a T! I am still on cloud 9 and cant wait to be his Mrs.!

Special Thanks

Ja'Mon Jackson
Photographer