Ashley and Brad

How We Met

Brad and I both went to the same high school but he was a grade above me. We knew of each other, but we were both in separate relationships of our own at the time. It wasn’t until college when we started hanging out with mutual friends and seeing each other around more often. One night in particular, I remember Brad being interested in me performing the “Cup Song” from Pitch Perfect and he absolutely had to learn it too! (To this day he still remembers how it goes!) From that point on, we bonded over our quirky personalities and love for puns and Buddy the Elf!! Although we didn’t have each other’s numbers at this point, we always tweeted back and forth with Elf quotes and especially Valentine’s Day puns (I was always so giddy getting a tweet from him haha).Fast forward a couple months, and we were both at a Phantoms hockey game for YSU night. He was with his roommates and I was with my sorority sisters. I’m not sure what got in me that night but I just HAD to go sit next to Brad and start up a random conversation, and just start blabbering about anything that came to mind. To this day, we joke about how dumb I sounded and not even knowing the score of the game! I thought the shots on goal was the score and he politely corrected me with some awkward silence and giggles following. (I swear I’m athletically inclined!!!!!). And this is exactly what I DIDN’T want! Brad to think I was dumb when it came to sports! (Hand smack to face).

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Brad's backyard

About 6 months went by between the Cup Song and finally getting his Snapchat (yes, his Snapchat..not phone number. Apparently we were both too passive to even ask for that). And we snapped all day everyday until he finally gave me his number months after. Things quickly fell into place and we began hanging out and talking a lot more, just the two of us instead of in a group. It was difficult though because the major part of us getting to know each other wasn’t spent in person due to the crazy college baseball schedule!! Near the end of the season (at least closer to the home games that is) he asked me to be his girlfriend and I swear I was the happiest girl in the world! (Just wait until you see how happy I was after the proposal!)

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Brad's backyard

How He Asked

Fast forward to the summer of 2017, Brad and I were planning a trip to Disney World with his family! I thought for a while that he was going to propose in the most magical place on earth!!! But Brad knew that I wanted my family to be present with us after he proposed and the logistics of getting everyone’s schedule to match up would have been very difficult in the end. So instead, to sort of “trick me” into not knowing when this proposal would occur, he told me that we would be going on multiple “decoy dates” throughout the summer where we would dress up and go out for a nice dinner (instead of wearing t-shirts and shorts like normal!). Little did I know, that he would propose on the first “decoy” date!

On July 8th, 2017, Brad took us to Aqua Pazzo which has delicious Italian food, paired with a beautiful patio, string lights, and the feeling of actually being in Italy! We ate so much that evening and were stuffed from all of the spaghetti and wine we inhaled!! I mentioned maybe going downtown to the wine festival but we decided we were too full and tired to go.

On the way back to his mom’s house (which is where he was living at the time), I remember joking with him and saying, “That’s one decoy date down and I wore a dress and straightened my hair for nothing!” and he just awkwardly laughed. I still had no idea. We went into the house and I spoke with his mom for a little like I always do, and then he mentioned that he wanted to show me some yard work he’s been doing in the backyard. When Brad was busy, he always told me that he was doing yard work for months and months…no joke! I thought there couldn’t possibly be anything more to work on at one point! But I was wrong.

As we go out into the back yard, he was showing me work he finished and then I saw a trail of rose petals all the way to the back of the shed where he had created the most beautiful and romantic scene with string lights, A&B pillows, a table for two, and bottles of wine! I IMMEDIATELY started sobbing! Like face in my palms, tears everywhere, sobbing. And he didn’t even ask me yet!! (when I get overwhelmed with happiness, I cry!) He grabbed a bottle of wine and poured it into my favorite wine glass from Disney that says “Believe in Magic” and stated “I brought the Disney magic to you!” *tears were still flowing*. He then grabbed a ukulele and began playing a few of our favorite songs which were “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, the Twenty- One Pilots cover, and “La Vie en Rose” from How I Met Your Mother (we are huge Twenty-One Pilots and HIMYM fans, so this was amazing!!) I’m pretty sure at one point I was crying so many happy tears, that I just dropped my head to the table because I couldn’t handle the sobbing anymore hahaha.

Where to Propose in Brad's backyard

Behind me, I saw my brother with his camera starting to take pictures (I knew Brad was ready to ask!! Ahh!) When he was done playing, he got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him (I can’t remember what he said over all the happy tears haha) and I immediately said “YES!!”

Shortly after, my parents, brother, his mom and brother also joined us in the back yard for a celebration!!! I was so happy to have everyone there to enjoy this super special moment for us! We had champagne, hors d’Oeuvres, and so many happy tears and laughter!

After some celebration, I started calling my grandma and friends to tell them the good news! I was so happy and thrilled that evening that I could NOT sleep! And unfortunately, the next morning at 7am, I had my first day shift at the hospital (after working night shift for a year) and I probably got a full 40 minutes of sleep that night haha! Thank goodness I made it through!!

Ashley's Proposal in Brad's backyard

The best part of this entire proposal was the fact that Brad created a video for me throughout the whole process of asking me to marry him! He highlighted the events starting from when he decided he wanted to propose, picking out the ring and paying for it, asking my parents for permission, and the proposal itself! It was woven together so beautifully with our favorite songs and of course I cried when he gave this to me as well. Brad is such a thoughtful, selfless person who knows me better than I know myself half the time and he honestly couldn’t have done anything better! He paid attention to every little detail about me and my personality and it was the most perfect proposal and something that I will cherish forever (and thank goodness I can watch it over and over again!) Wahoo!!! And then, we got to celebrate for an entire week at Disney World!

Special Thanks

Matt Milligan | 
Photographer