Ashton and Merrick's Christmas Proposal

How we met: In October 2009 I was working as the assistant stage manager for Apex High School’s production of Antigone. When Merrick came in for his audition he was goofy and lively, and instead of introducing himself the first thing he ever said to me was “Have you seen A Very Potter Musical?” Throughout the rehearsal process we flirted and became friends but thanks to my immaturity (and generally annoying him to death) it took several months for him to decide to ask me out. On April 3rd, 2010 he took me to see a movie called The Ghost Writer. Being the gentleman that he is, he asked me to pick out candy that I wanted, Chocolate covered cookie dough, and when I reached into the box mid-movie I found a small note that said “Prom?” From that moment on we were inseparable.

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How he asked: On November 25th 2014, Merrick and I drove home to Apex from Boone, NC where we currently attend school, for Thanksgiving break. He told me earlier in the week that we were going out to dinner that night, so after changing into some nice clothes we headed out to a restaurant called Little Hen. Dinner was delicious but the whole time I was thinking maybe this was it, so when the check came I was a little shocked but thought “Hey, don’t over think things, he’ll ask when he asks.” When we arrived back at my house Merrick made the comment that he had locked the door when we left so we would have to go around the back to see if the porch door was open. As we walked into the backyard, I was shocked to see the most beautiful Christmas tree covered in roses and candles and wedding bells along with dozens of pictures of us over the years and slips of paper with reasons why he loves me. As we approached the tree music began to play and he reached for a small silver birdcage ornament with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen tied to it.

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Carefully he untied the ring and asked me to be his bride. I immediately started nodding my head and saying yes while trying not to cry as I became aware of the photographer hiding in the background. Suddenly the porch lights behind us came on and all of our family and friends began to cheer and applaud as we kissed and hugged. That night we celebrated with champagne and cake and my dad gave the most wonderful toast. He said, “I’ve never had a son, but if I did I would want him to be just like Merrick. Welcome to the family.”

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Photography by Hartman Outdoor Photography