Kelsey and Tyler's Dog Collar Proposal

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How We Met: It was freshman year of high school and Tyler and I had two classes together. A freshman year English teacher sat Tyler behind me and he annoyed me beyond belief, until one day jokingly asked, “Will you go to prom with me senior year?” I laughed and wrote it down in a letter to our future selves for an English project. One year later, we dated briefly as sophomore couples do and broke up after realizing it probably just wasn’t our time to be together. After I dated someone else for a period of time, Tyler began his mission of getting me back. Four years later, I received the letter to my future self and although we never went to prom together, I knew that the message in my letter to myself meant even more to my current self. It was always meant to be. After maturing and graduating high school, we began dating again prior to start of college. This became a difficult part of our relationship, as I began college in Maryland and Tyler went to college in New Jersey. We saw each other as much as possible and kept our relationship alive throughout four years of a long distance relationship. This time apart made our relationship stronger and allowed us to grow as individuals and as a couple. We have now been together five and a half years and enjoy every moment together! Funny enough, two out of three of my sisters and myself are marrying/married high school sweethearts!

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How He Asked: It was a Tuesday afternoon, Tyler texted me to make sure I would be home the morning after a Christmas party with my graduate school friends. I said “yes, why?” thinking it was weird he was asking if I would be home 5 days in advance but I did not think too much into it. I woke up in North Jersey on the following Saturday morning and texted Tyler to let him know I would be home in an hour if he wanted to get breakfast. He said “yes, but I have to get gas, so I’ll drive.” Once again I thought nothing of it. I arrived at his house (in sweats and boots!) and we headed to get breakfast. His brother called him and said “I’m up at the beach, can you and Kelsey come help me with a photography project for school. I need a couple photo.” Once again I thought nothing of it because his brother is a photography student. All I said was, “Can we do this quickly because I’m so hungry!” We drove up to the beach and walked in the sand (it was freezing out!). I saw his brother, cousin, and dog, Ella. Ella came running toward me and Tyler said, “Kels, look at Ella’s new collar.” Of course I said, “I’ll look at it at later, let’s get this over with.” And he said, “No! Look now.” I looked down and Ella had a customized red heart collar with the words, “Will you marry me?”

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I turned around and saw Tyler on one knee and both of us cannot even remember what he said, but I almost thought he was doing a practice run for the real time! I was so surprised. And of course, I said yes and realized he wasn’t joking.

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Photography by Ian Culley