Christine and T.J.

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Duke Gardens, Durham, N.C.

How We Met

We met the first night of classes of my junior year (his senior year) of college at UNC-Chapel Hill. I had just returned from studying abroad and was trying to get back to normal college life so I decided to go to our neighbor’s house with my housemates. T.J. spotted me from across the room beelined over to me and said “so, tell me about you.” We talked for an hour straight and I was thinking “Wow this is incredible. I hope it turns into something..” We ended up going on our first day on Valentines Day weekend (not on purpose!) and started seeing each other more and more. Flash forward to a few months later when he’s graduating and tells me he’s going to be moving home to Wilmington–which is a 2.5 hour drive from Chapel Hill. I hadn’t ever done long distance but my heart told me that this man was something special, I hoped and prayed a lot during that transition that we would be able to stay together despite the inconvenience. I’m so glad we did because the past two and a half years have honestly been the best of my life. T.J. makes me feel like the most vibrant version of myself and he constantly pushes me to think more deeply about life and be less selfish with my time, energy, and thoughts. He makes me laugh (especially when he sings along to Broadway musicals with me) and I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else.

How He Asked

I had been suspicious for weeks but I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I kept telling myself it was just another Saturday night (even though my heart felt differently). My roommate told me we were going out for a wine night. As we were driving to Durham, I kept repeating to myself not to get excited because we were just going to get a glass of wine. Even when we turned into Duke University’s campus (nowhere near the wine bar), I told myself we were taking a scenic detour. It wasn’t until she pulled up to the gardens and said “this is your stop” that I realized it was really happening. I got out of the car to find our good friend standing at the entrance of the gardens. He told me where to go and I followed the path down to find T.J. standing on the terrace that overlooks the gardens at sunset. We both cried as he asked me to marry him but it was the easiest decision I’ve ever made to say “Yes”. His father passed away when he was in middle school and the diamond in my ring is from his mother’s engagement ring. It makes it so special because it will always hold that memory within it.

Christine's Proposal in Duke Gardens, Durham, N.C.

After I said yes, T.J. knows I’m a total sucker for the bachelor/bachelorette so he (semi-seriously/semi-joking) pulled out a red rose and said “Will you accept this rose?” I cracked up and it made our moment perfect because it epitomized our relationship–sentimental and sweet but with a sense of humor. After the proposal, we went back to his apartment where all of our friends were waiting to celebrate “After the Final Rose”. Many of them had driven hours or flown in to surprise me and celebrate our engagement. and it made for the best day ever. We’re getting married next summer and we’re so excited to spend life together.

Special Thanks

Morgan Smith | 
Photographer