Korey and Graham

How We Met

Graham and I met in middle school, after he moved to my hometown. Our first memory together is being partners in our 7th grade history class with flash cards, reviewing for an upcoming test. We “dated” for a few months that next summer, and sadly I later “broke his heart,” as he says. We remained friends throughout school and during our Junior year of high school we had three classes together. One day, we bonded over a local ice cream stop and decided to go together someday. We ended up grabbing ice cream there before a movie on a Sunday night (in April 2010), which we realized became our first date. Ironically, the title of the movie was “The Date Night.” Our relationship grew quickly during our senior year of high school- highlighting Friday night lights and Prom below.

Korey and Graham's Engagement in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Fast forward quite a few years, and now we’ve been going strong together for seven years. The majority of those years have been long distance, between college and my traveling for work. I just completed a two-year term of the traveling role and we are now beginning a new phase of our relationship moving to a new city together as he begins medical school.

How He Asked

I recently took a two-week trip abroad with three of my closest friends, Rachel, Amanda, and Jen. At the end of the trip, I was supposed to fly back to the states and meet Graham in Boston to celebrate our 7th anniversary. Throughout our gals’ trip, the topic of a possible proposal in Boston came up multiple times, and I agreed but shrugged off the idea. The last city on our European tour was Amsterdam, and we were heading out for dinner and drinks on our last night. Rachel planned our trip, always had her nice camera for photos, and was our navigator through most cities. It didn’t phase us at all when she said she wanted to stop by a pretty bridge for pictures on our way to dinner. Mind you, we had gotten manicures at a rather odd place the day before (now I know why), and I was wearing black jeans and converse shoes- thinking I was in for a casual ladies’ night out. On our way to dinner, we turned a corner and I noticed a photographer with a large camera lens by a bridge, but obviously had no idea what it was for. Then, I heard a familiar whistle and saw Graham emerge at the middle peak of a small bridge. I should explain the whistle- when Graham was growing up, his dad taught him a whistle with a call and response as an easy way to find each other in a crowded space; Graham taught it to me and we use it similarly. I immediately froze in my steps, realizing what was about to happen, and started crying. I remember saying “what do I do?” twice, as if it didn’t make sense to just walk to him. My friends took my wallet and phone and guided me to one side of the bridge so I could meet him. I noticed another photographer, realizing there were two for us, one on each side of the bridge. (I highly recommend this for future proposals if possible because having two perspectives really captured our whole story.) I met Graham on the middle of the bridge, hugged him twice (to confirm he was really there), and said “what are you doing here?!” He gave me a moment to collect myself and proceeded to tell me exactly what he was doing there. Thankfully, he wrote down his proposal speech for me to hear again later, but he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I said yes (again, twice), he placed the ring on my finger, we embraced, and we made our way to my friends to share in the excitement.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Amsterdam, Netherlands

After the proposal, we had time with the photographers to capture engagement photos. During the photoshoot, I got to ask a million questions about how he pulled this off. I learned that he had been scheming with Rachel for around five months. I learned he found the photographers from Germany on Instagram, and he selected the quaint Makelaarsbruggetje bridge (which I am still trying to pronounce) on Google Earth. I learned the beautiful ring I already loved had a diamond that belonged to his grandmother. I also learned that instead of flying to Boston together the next day, we were going to Florence, Italy! He also recorded phone conversations with my mom, dad, and grandparents he had a few hours earlier so I could hear their reactions to him asking for their blessing. I am very sentimental and detail-oriented, so you can tell he prepared this all perfectly just for me!

Later after our photoshoot, we reconvened with my three friends and all five of us had dinner with champagne to celebrate. The next day, we all parted ways as Graham and I headed to Florence for our engagement honeymoon. This proposal was more than I ever dreamed of, and it was so much more magical that he allowed dear friends to join in the moment!

Special Thanks

Jennifer Hejna
Photographer