Sydney and Michael

How We Met

Michael and I have known each other since the beginning of my freshman year of college, but we were only “hi-bye” friends who ran into each other here and there in the small town of Scranton, PA. During the start of my Speech-Language Pathology graduate program in the summer, we started running into each other more frequently (usually at the bars, where I would be with a cocktail in one hand and study guides in the other- no joke), and on one of these occasions, Michael suggested we go running together sometime (since he knew I was an avid runner). While I gained a new running buddy and we were purely friends to start, our morning runs started to evolve into running and then getting coffee, our afternoon runs turned into hitting the gym so he could teach me how to lift and then grabbing sushi afterward, and our late night runs often ended at the ice cream shop. He was a chef at the time, so he would surprise me with lunches during the week to bring to my internship- which by the time I had left, I would go to class and make my way to the restaurant he worked at, just to sit at the bar and study until he got off.

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Sydney and Michael's Engagement in Philadelphia, PA in Rittenhouse Square

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By the end of the summer we were essentially inseparable, but not in the cheesy, clingy, head-over-heels in love kind of way- we were best friends, and we genuinely loved spending all of our time together. It was easy, effortless, fun, and comfortable. It felt just like home. By the time I was heading back to Philadelphia that winter to finish my last internship at home before graduating, Michael asked me out- and while all of the parts of me wanted to say yes, I just didn’t think he would leave his Scranton hometown, and I knew I needed to go back to my city of brotherly love that I missed terribly. We parted ways, but still keeping in touch and visiting each other, feeling and knowing it wasn’t the end, because it all felt too good to be true. After a few visits, Michael decided to take a leap of faith and followed me to Philly, where we moved in together that summer. If you ask Michael, technically speaking, we never *actually* started dating and are mere roommates (his favorite joke that he always holds over my head). As we started this new chapter together in my favorite city, we also got to fall truly, madly, deeply in love- and for the past 4 and a half (ish) years I have been the luckiest girl to be in love with my best friend- and to think it’s only the beginning is the best part.

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Sydney's Proposal in Philadelphia, PA in Rittenhouse Square

How He Asked

Michael popped the question in Rittenhouse Square in Philly on May 5, 2018, and it could not have been more perfect for us. Michael and I live in Baltimore currently (as we moved almost 2 years ago for Michael’s work), but we visit Philadelphia quite often and are hoping to move back soon! We both miss the energy and the love that we feel when we are there-it will forever be my city. We signed up for the Broad Street race this year, and while we didn’t get in with the lottery system, Michael suggested we run it anyway without bibs (this should have been a sign from the beginning- usually I am the one begging him to run races, not the other way around!) We booked a room at the Ritz Carlton for the weekend and made some plans with our friends, with the intention of running Broad Street on Sunday (despite being super under prepared for it- and with rain in the forecast!)

On Saturday, the 5th, I went to brunch in the morning with some fellow bloggers in the city and made my way to do some boutique shopping at my favorite spots. Afterward, I met Michael at the hotel and we headed to Rittenhouse for a carb-loading dinner with our friends- or so I thought! As we walked over, Michael suggested we walk through Rittenhouse Park before heading to our dinner destination. As we walked through and I was perusing the farmer’s market stands, I realized Michael was no longer with me (very typical, I’m often wandering around aimlessly).

As I turned around to look for him, he was behind me pulling something out of his pocket, with a subtle smile on his face, to which I replied: “What are you doing!?” The last thing I remember him saying was, “Sydney, you know that I really love you…” and then I legitimately blacked out. I barely remember what happened or what was said- and neither does he! I vaguely remember repeating myself saying “Are you sure, are you sure!? I’m crazy!” to which he stated, “I know you are- but you’re the perfect kind of crazy.”

The entire park erupted into applause and cheer, and as I caught my breath and took a minute to look at the most gorgeous, perfectly designed ring of my dreams (designed by my lovely friend, Lauren Priori!) sitting on my finger, I realized I was living my dream in real time, in my favorite place, with my favorite person.

Michael then told me all of this was being captured by a photographer, Alison Dunn, who took some time to capture these special moments during and after the proposal! Afterward, we walked to Audrey Claire a few blocks away from where we were supposed to be meeting a few friends, only to be surprised by around 25 of our closest friends and family. I will never stop re-playing this perfect day filled with the most special moments in my head, over and over again.

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Special Thanks

Alison Dunn
Photographer