Ashley and Terry
How We Met
Our love story has always been unique, even if how we met wasn’t. We met at a bonfire at a mutual friend’s house. As cheesy as it sounds, the minute we met I saw something different in his eyes. There was something about him I immediately wanted to get to know. After we were introduced, I tried to make small talk about running (we’d both run a half marathon before) but Terry would barely say two words to me. I tried not to take offense and just assumed he was shy. Turns out he was just nervous. He reached out to me the next day on Facebook and one week later we had our first date. It was awesome. We embraced my Chicagoland upbringing and made deep dish pizza from scratch. The dough, the sauce, the vegetables, all of it was homemade! I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I agreed to this date I didn’t realize it would take us 6+ hours.
However, it was during that time spent in the kitchen together we both knew this would be something special. We were immediately so comfortable around each other. Oh, and he had NO problem keeping a conversion that night. I guess he just needed some assurance that I was into him. Also, the pizza was AMAZING. Tasted just like home. I had no idea how we were going to top it, but our second date was even more adventurous than our first. We woke up at 4 AM to climb 1,000 steps and watch the sunrise over the PA mountains. I absolutely loved it! Right away our dates were so fun and unique. I couldn’t wait to figure out what our next adventure was going to be. Needless to say, falling in love was easy for us.
How He Asked
Right now we live in a town that is 9+ hours away from my (very close-knit) family. It has been tough for me to manage a serious relationship without being close to my family, but we do our best to see them often. Every year my family opts out of exchanging gifts for Christmas and instead goes on a ‘family date’. This year we had a full day planned: experience an escape room in the morning, introduce Terry to Chicago for lunch (specifically Giordano’s pizza…remember our first date?), and go to a hockey game with my extended family in the evening. As we searched for Merlin’s spell book to save Camelot in the escape room, I had absolutely no idea that Terry was holding my late grandmother’s engagement ring in his pocket. My family flew through the clues without any real help from me, so I was a little confused when I was asked to read the book and search for the clue. I opened the book and found “Abracadabra!” highlighted. I figured it was the clue, but it didn’t work, the door didn’t open. So I was slowly going through the pages, looking at other ‘spells’ when I saw that the “real” clue was a riddle addressed to me. I thought it was odd, but then remembered that I made the reservation and that was probably why.
As soon as I started to read it everyone that was around me backed up and I was still totally unaware of what was about to happen until I realized that the riddle was a little too personal for an escape room worker to write for me. Then it hit me. Surrounded by my family, I looked up from the page to see Terry down on his knee with the ring in hand. As we both held back tears Terry said: “Ashley, you’re my best friend, and I love you so much. Will you marry me?”. I was in complete shock. I actually held out the wrong hand at first… I didn’t even look at the ring, I just looked into the green eyes I love so much, smiled, and said “Absolutely!” Tears began to flow as I hugged my mom and she told me to whom the ring originally belonged.
After I asked “now how do we escape?” the door opened to let in our song (“Better Together” by Jack Johnson) which was playing in the lobby, my best friend (who lives two hours away), and my little sisters holding a “she said yes” banner. It was such a beautiful day celebrating with the people who mean so much to me! It was too cold to walk around Chicago, but Giordano’s didn’t disappoint, and celebrating at the hockey game with my extended family made the day even more special. It was truly a ‘magical’ day and we are embracing out next adventure as an engaged couple by praising and keeping God at the center of it all!