Nora and Cory

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Independence Hall, Philadelphia PA

How We Met

Our story began where most great ones do; the basement of a fraternity house. We met at at The Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Main Campus) in August of 2008 in the once glorious Theta Chi basement. However, due to housing conditions that the county deemed unsafe and a change in how the university monitored the on-boarding process for fraternities that house no longer exists. We met at CUSP Week which is scheduled one week before classes start for the incoming freshmen class to get acclimated to student living and college expectations. However, the fraternities see this week as an excuse to showcase their social networking skills and be more philanthropic by donating extra cans that week. Nora was an incoming freshmen and I was on what I like to call my “victory lap”, however most would call it a 5th year senior. I remember seeing Nora at our first party and not interacting much. The beverages were drying up as was the party when Nora and her group of friends were getting ready to leave.

Me being the seasoned veteran made it a point to have extra beverages in my room upstairs to which I invited her group of friends up for a few. She will tell you we dated for the next four months and I will tell you we went on a few dates through December. However, I graduated and left for the “real world” and Nora prepared for the Spring semester of her freshmen year. We didn’t really keep in touch much afterwards until a chance business trip took me to Manhattan where Nora was living at the time. It had probably been four or five years since we really hung out and somehow I was able to convince her to grab dinner with me. After which she took me and a co-worker out for the night where we leveraged her local knowledge to navigate us through NYC. I’d say a year after that encounter we started dating long-distance in July of 2014. I was eventually relocated from Pittsburgh to Boston where Nora ended up joining me not long after. We’ve been living in Boston for the past two years.

Nora and Cory's Engagement in Independence Hall, Philadelphia PA

How He Asked

Nora is originally from South Jersey and the surprise party afterwards was almost as important to her as the actual proposal. Therefore I knew I’d have to plan something in Philadelphia and this was going to be a two phased situation. I love history so immediately starting working on how I could propose inside Independence Hall. I figure what better place to start a marriage than under the same roof from which our founding father’s started the best damn country in the world. There were a lot of moving pieces between the hotels, Park Rangers, getting the invites out, developing a cover story, finding a location for the after-party, finding a photographer, etc. Over the course of two months I was able to finalize the details and with the help of her sister get out the invites to the surprise after party. I came into the city a day early to scout out locations, sign the appropriate paperwork, meet with the Park Rangers, meet with the hotel to ensure they wouldn’t say anything upon our check-in, meet the photographer, and tie up any loose ends. We spent the afternoon walking around the city killing time until our 3 PM tour. The tour is very regimented and restricted access while you’re inside.

Every time I went to scout out making the move another group would come through or that area would get roped off. Eventually we made our way upstairs where the Park Ranger said we could explore and leave at our convenience. I felt this was perfect timing to head downstairs to gain access to either The Assembly Room or Supreme Courtroom, however both were blocked off. Luckily my Best Man was able to flag down a ranger and asked if we could take a quick picture which they allowed only because there were other Park Rangers in the room. After entering the room I had a whole speech on how much I loved Nora, how much I respected her, etc. However, I don’t remember what I actually got out and just did my best to remember the important parts of getting on one knee and asking her to marry me.

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Independence Hall, Philadelphia PA

Where to Propose in Independence Hall, Philadelphia PA

I was eventually able to propose in the Supreme Courtroom and once the Park Rangers knew what was going on they held up the next group from coming in. They let us get our pictures and we left to a round of applause from that other tour group. Once outside we took a few more photos and parted ways with John and Jen…or at least that’s what we needed Nora to think. There was more than one Park Ranger and security guard with tears in their eyes. After the initial shock Nora was able to collect herself and get ready for my Best Man’s birthday dinner.

However, this too was a cover story and we were going to meet up with 80 of our closest friends and family at City Tap in Logan Square. Obviously, Nora was calling everyone without a response because they were all waiting for us at the bar. Nora’s family was able to get to the bar an hour early to decorate the private room and it looked great. This transition was almost as nerve racking as the actual proposal. Eventually we got there where she was completely surprised and spent the rest of the evening celebrating with everyone. After the proposal and after party logistics the next biggest piece was a photographer to capture all the “special” moments of the day. I had met John via an online ad, and hired him after a brief few minute conversation weeks in advance. The plan was to meet that Friday for lunch to touch base on Saturday expectations. A quick lunch turned into a two hour meeting where we shared our lives stories and really meshed well. As a result I felt we both left that meeting super excited for Saturday. John and his girlfriend Jen were on the same tour of us and followed us through out Independence Hall taking candid photos before the actual proposal. I can’t thank them enough for literally capturing everything perfectly. The pictures from the tour, the actual proposal, reactions afterwards, and the after party were amazing. John and Jen were extremely professional and I look forward to working with them for our engagement and wedding. Even the dudes’ no-look selfies were on point.

Keys to Success: Develop a Money Plan Have a Money Best Man to help navigate the day Hire a Money photographer to document the day Accept early on that 50% of the day will not go as planned This day is 100% about her so do anything and everything possible to make it perfect. No matter how much planning you’ve done she’s been thinking about this day long before she even met you.

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Special Thanks

Matt Duval & Brook Partner | 
coverstory and accomplices throughout the day
Devin Isbert
very helpful and great to work with in reserving the private room
John Dunn
Epic photographer