Emily and Sean
How We Met
Sean and I met in our small hometown in rural Maryland. Whether we met on the soccer field at age 5, in middle school at age 13, or in high school at age 16 is still up for debate – but we grew up in the same town and attended the same schools our whole lives. We didn’t start dating until 2011/2012 during my senior year of high school and his freshman year of college. One morning during winter break I woke up to a good ole-fashioned Facebook message from none other than Sean Rollman. I remembered him from school (and remembered how good he looked in his baseball uniform!) so of course I messaged him back – and we’ve literally talked to each other every day since.
When he officially asked me to be his girlfriend a month or so later, we were so unsure of what our future held. I had already been accepted to a college six hours away, he was planning on attending a college an hour away (in the opposite direction), and we had no clue what we were jumping into… we just knew that we really, really liked each other! We spent the next three years of our relationship long distance while we were both in college. We took turns driving between our campuses on the weekends spending as much time together as our schedules would allow. Every weekend one of us was always trekking across the state so we could spend 48 hours together in our dorm rooms or dirty college apartments, just soaking in every ounce of ‘together time’ we could create. It. Was. Exhausting. But sooo worth it! We lived for summer breaks when we could each go back to our little hometown and spend every day together for a few months. Over the course of tackling this distance we adopted the phrase “I love you infinitely” because we found that no distance could put a stop to our love for one another.
We did not have a typical college experience, far from it (I even worked my butt off to graduate college a year early so we could put an end to the distance sooner!), but we didn’t care how unorthodox our college years were because we knew it would all be worth it in the end. We eventually graduated after three years of long distance and were finally able to move in together. We’ve been together now for six years and we couldn’t be happier.
Six years, five moves, four colleges, three degrees, two dogs, and one hell of a love story later, we’re still here holding each other’s hand, falling more and more in love every day. He held my hand at my senior prom, my high school graduation, my college graduation, as we moved to new cities, at my first day on the job, as we bought and closed on a house together, on top of an Icelandic waterfall, on the steps of Versailles, on the canals of Amsterdam, and every day in between. He’s always there holding my hand, loving me, supporting me, and being my rock – unconditionally. Now I’ll get to hold his hand as we say our vows on our wedding day, and I couldn’t be more excited! Our hearts are full of love, our heads are full of dreams, and our future is full of promise. Whatever adventure this life takes us on, I’m thankful every day knowing I’ll get to experience that adventure with Sean at my side, holding my hand.
How He Asked
For our anniversary weekend we decided to go on a little getaway to celebrate. We went two hours away and stayed at a darling little bed and breakfast for the weekend. We spent the day winery hopping between our favorite vineyards and just before dinner we decided to drive up to Skyline Drive to watch the sunset. Skyline Drive is this incredible 100+ mile road that hugs the edge of the Blue Ridge mountains and travels the length of Shenandoah National Park. We go driving on Skyline Drive a few times a year because I’m addicted to the sun (seriously, Vitamin D junkie over here!) and I love traveling the road at sunset to take photographs. It’s absolutely beautiful and is easily my favorite place in Virginia. He suggested a sunset trip to Skyline Drive and of course I couldn’t resist the temptation of some stellar sunset pics, so we hopped in the car and took off up the mountains.
Once we got to Skyline Drive we started driving from overlook to overlook searching for the perfect sunset watching perch. After an hour or so we came across a spot that looked perfect. It was almost peak sunset time so I jumped out of the car with my camera to start taking photographs. There was another lady at our overlook who was also photographing the sunset, so we all stood there in the blistering wind (it was 16 degrees WITHOUT wind chill) for a few minutes admiring and photographing the scenic beauty before us.
When my fingers were sufficiently frozen I turned around to get back in the car to warm up and Sean was right behind me, patiently waiting on one knee, basked in golden sunset glow, holding a gorgeous ring. He told me that the past six years have been the best years of his life, that he loves the life we’ve built together, and that he can’t imagine spending the rest of his life without me (he said a bunch of other sweet things but I think I blacked out from excitement). He asked me to marry him; I squealed, screamed “HELL YES!” and jumped on top of him with a bear hug.
In these moments of utter shock and excitement I hadn’t realized that the other photographer at our overlook had started taking pictures of us instead of the sunset. It turns out Sean had hired her to inconspicuously be at this exact overlook at this exact time to photograph his proposal (how he pulled that off without me knowing beats me!). He knows how much I love Skyline Drive and sunsets, so he couldn’t have planned a more perfect proposal!
Sean and I designed my ring in the fall of 2017, so I sort of knew what it was conceptually going to look like but I didn’t see the final product until he was down on one knee. This ring is incredibly special to me because the left side stone is the diamond out of my grandparent’s engagement ring. My grandfather unexpectedly passed away in a plane crash a few months after I was born. My Grammy grieved his loss tremendously but found comfort in chubby baby snuggles (enter baby Emily). She played an integral part in raising me and we’ve always had a special connection because of the circumstances surrounding my first few years of life. Last summer she came to Sean and I and presented us with her engagement ring. She wanted me to have it and hoped we could incorporate her diamond into our wedding sets. I cried, she cried, we all cried, and we graciously accepted her ring. When we took her ring to Jacqueline’s and I started explaining how important my Grammy’s diamond was and how much I wanted it to be incorporated, the owner of Jacqueline’s, Tom Licciardi, took on the challenge and helped us create this masterpiece. This ring is obviously special to me because it’s my engagement ring, but it’s even more special because it’s infused with my grandparents love. Even though my grandfather passed away before I could remember him, I now get to remember him and the love he shared with my Grammy every time I glance down at my ring.