McKenna and William

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How We Met

Will and I met during our summer public accounting internships at Ernst and Young. Will was a risk advisory intern, and I was a tax intern. After the first day of training, EY hosted a happy hour for the interns to relax a bit and get to know each other. A friend of mine from school had been sitting at Will’s table during training and was talking to him when I walked up. My friend introduced us and we hit it off immediately and ended up talking the whole night. I still have the text that I sent two of my best girlfriends about 4 days after meeting Will that said “I’ve met my husband.” We became almost inseparable and it was clear from very early on to all of our friends and family that we were going to end up together.

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How He Asked

We both just graduated in May- Will from the Citadel and me from the University of Georgia Master in Accountancy program. We had done the long distance for the past year and had been planning a long trip to Europe as our treat at the end of the year. We both started the trip separately with our families, and planned on meeting up in Venice a few weeks into the trip. Will and his dad explored Italy for two weeks, while my parents and I went on a cruise through the Adriatic. At the end of the two weeks, all five of us met up in Venice, Italy where my parents handed me off to Will and took off for the States.

Will and I began a three and a half week journey through Italy, France, Monaco, and Spain. We spent the first week in Italy between Venice, Florence and Rome, staying in hostels and air bnbs and fully embracing the tourist spirit. After we finished our time in Florence, we hopped on a bus to Nice, France which was the city I was looking forward to the most. As part of our graduation present, my parents had helped pay for a nice hotel for us in Nice right off the Promenade des Anglais, and I knew it was going to be a beautiful, relaxing and romantic couple days.

On our first day in Nice, Will and I went for a run down the beach and up Castle Hill. My parents had gone to Nice a few years before our trip and told us that Castle Hill was their favorite part of the city. Located at the end of the long beach in Nice, Castle Hill overlooks the city and has stunning views of the whole coast. Most of the castle that once stood there is gone now, and in its place is a public park with trails for running, play grounds and lots of green space. On our run, Will insisted that we explore every last part of the park and look at all the different views of the city and the beach that it had to offer. Little did I know that he was doing a reconnaissance mission to scope out the best spot in the park to propose only a few days later.

June 6th was going to be our one year anniversary and so we had planned on going out for a nice dinner in Nice to celebrate. Knowing this in advance, I had lugged one fancier outfit with me all through Europe for this one night. We decided to do the dinner on our last night in Nice as a culmination of our time there and a sendoff to Barcelona, our next city. Will had asked if he could make our reservations really late, like around 10pm that night so that we could take our time walking around the park and maybe get some nice pictures while we were dressed up (since most of our pictures in Europe were in the typical backpacking clothes). Usually an early dinner eater, I was very reluctant to agree to such a late dinner and had no idea what we were going to do in the park for that long, but I could tell it was important to Will so I agreed to the plan.

We woke up the morning of June 5th ready to spend our last day in Nice lounging on the beach and enjoying our date night. After about two hours on the beach, the storm clouds started rolling in and Will was visibly upset. I figured it was just because he was losing beach time and that we would just skip the park and go to dinner if it continued raining. Will continued to insist that we go to the park even if it was raining. He claimed it was our last time to go to the park and we couldn’t let a little rain get in the way of that, so after an afternoon of pouring down rain, Will called an Uber to take us to the park. At the time it was still raining off and on so we packed an umbrella and a towel prepared for the worst if it started to pour.

As we climbed to the top of the hill, the rain let up and left behind a fairly empty park for us to enjoy a romantic walk to ourselves. We walked around and took some pictures for about 30 minutes and I started to wonder what on earth we were going to do for three hours until dinner. Finally, Will stopped us at a balcony that overlooked the harbor and had me face outward so that he could get a picture of me looking out over the water with the city in the background. I walked to the balcony and while I was facing outward, Will got down on one knee.

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When I turned back around he asked me to marry him!

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I was so caught off guard that I actually asked if he was kidding before I said yes, to which he responded “Well I’m holding a ring, so I really hope I’m not kidding.” When it finally hit me that it was real, I started crying and said yes!

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It wasn’t until then that I noticed the photographer hiding in the trees capturing it all!

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The photographer, James, was absolutely amazing. He took us through the park and did a whole engagement photo shoot for us on the spot and had our absolutely gorgeous pictures to us within days. He really made the experience that much better. Will had been in contact with him from the States and the entire day of the proposal. James had apparently been very reassuring that a proposal in the rain could be just as pretty, but it turned out that a proposal just after the rain was even better!

Afterwards, at dinner, I made Will tell me the whole story. It took the entire 3 hour dinner for him to explain how he pulled off the surprise of a lifetime. It was absolutely amazing the amount of work that he put into it to plan it from the U.S. and while in school at the Citadel, all without slipping any hints to me at all! He pulled off the most amazing night of my life- one that I will truly never forget! I am so excited to marry him!

Special Thanks

James Pouliot
19 Rivoli Professional Photography