Kelsey and Dan

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Ramapo Reservation in Mahwah, New Jersey

How We Met

Dan and I have been together for 9 years (yes, you read that right!) We both grew up in northern New Jersey in towns 15 minutes apart, and met through a mutual friend when I was 16 and he was 19. We saw each other frequently at local concerts and almost every Wednesday at a coffee shop that hosted acoustic open mics once a week. My first impression was that he was super cute and a nice guy who was easy to talk to and get along with (he was also known for being one of the best skateboarders in the area, which I thought was pretty cool. :) ) We ended up exchanging phone numbers and started to talk almost every day and got to know each other more. One night, he drove me home from the open mic night and was being super quiet. As we turned onto my street he started talking about how he really liked hanging out with me and ended with saying, “I mean…would you want to be my girlfriend?” to which I replied, “Are you asking me to be your girlfriend??”. 9 years later we still laugh about how he asked me out!

I ended up going to LIM College in New York City and Dan wasn’t far away in New Jersey going to school, so we saw each other almost every weekend throughout my 4 years at school. Right after I graduated, Dan enlisted in the Navy and was away for over 6 months at boot camp and training. We wrote each other letters while he was in boot camp and would FaceTime often while he was in Pensacola, FL for training. When he completed training, Dan came back to NJ for about a month before we found out that he would be stationed in Fort Meade, Maryland for the next three years. At that time we had been together for almost 6 years and decided that our next step would be to move in together. I was able to continue my career in Maryland and we ended up finding a place to live right away, so everything just seemed to fall right into place! We’ve been living in Maryland for almost three years now and adopted a rabbit and a dog together (we’re both huge animal lovers). I love our little family!

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Ramapo Reservation in Mahwah, New Jersey

Proposal Ideas Ramapo Reservation in Mahwah, New Jersey

How He Asked

We had been talking about getting married for a while, and I was constantly sending Dan photos of rings that I loved. Every time I sent a photo or talked about what kind of ring I wanted, Dan would either act like he wasn’t paying attention or say something like, “we can’t afford a ring right now”. Little did I know he had already been in contact with my favorite jewelry designer and was setting up appointments to custom design my dream ring! We traveled up to New Jersey for Labor Day weekend and Dan somehow, without me knowing, snuck away to New York City to design my ring. It took several weeks to create and once the ring was ready he began planning the proposal (with the blessing of my parents, of course!). A couple of weeks after that, my grandfather passed away. I was going through a really rough time after losing someone I was so close to so Dan decided to postpone the proposal until I was feeling a bit better. We were planning to go back up to New Jersey the weekend before Halloween for our friends’ costume party, so he thought that Saturday would be the perfect day to ask me to marry him.

Dan had enlisted the help of some of our best friends to help plan, and together they created the most beautiful and thoughtful proposal I could have ever dreamed of. A couple of days before we drove up to NJ for the party, a few of our friends texted us to see if we wanted to take our dogs for a hike the morning of the party at the Ramapo Reservation. I thought nothing of this as Dan and I had been taking our dogs there since we started dating 9 years ago and it was always one of our favorite spots. That morning, Dan was running late to pick up me and our dog, Mila, for the hike. I was texting him to hurry up, annoyed that we were running late to meet our friends (I later found out that this was strategic!). He also showed up wearing jeans and a button down shirt, which I thought was weird since we were going hiking and I was wearing leggings and little-to-no makeup (he made up an excuse saying that he forgot to bring his hiking clothes up from Maryland).

We arrived at the reservation with our friends and started hiking up to our favorite lake like we always do, and I have to add, the weather was absolutely PERFECT that day and the fall leaves were breathtaking. We were almost up to the lake when I started hearing music. I said out loud, “aww how cute, someone is playing guitar by the lake!”. Little did I know, it was actually one of Dan and I’s favorite songs playing through a speaker. As we got closer, I began to notice a set up of a blanket next to the lake with a picnic basket and pumpkins that said “will you marry me?”. At that moment I thought to myself, “oh my gosh it’s a proposal!”, and a split second later, it clicked in my head that this was all actually for ME.

Dan led me to the blanket and said the sweetest words that I wish I could remember but in the moment I was in complete shock, crying like a baby, and everything was a blur. He got down on one knee, pulled out the most beautiful ring I had ever seen, and said “will you marry me?” I freaked out for a second but was able to blurt out “yes!” After he put the ring on my finger and we kissed, I turned around to see a crowd of people watching the whole thing go down which included 10 of my best friends who had hiked up before us and were waiting! We spent the next hour celebrating with champagne next to the lake and it was the most amazing day ever. Better yet, our friend Justin just happens to be a professional photographer and captured the whole thing!

Scroll down to see our video! (Please excuse our dog crying in the background, she has separation anxiety and was just as emotional as we were!)

Our Video

Watch more proposal videos & follow @HowHeAsked on Instagram for more stories!

Special Thanks

Justin Grasso
Proposal Photos
Courtney Krup, Ashley Oberc, Ben Meyer, Paulina & Justin Grasso | 
Helping Dan plan & put together this amazing proposal! We are forever grateful.
Melanie Cashman
Engagement Photos