Tonya and Alex

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How We Met

Alex and I met in 2012 while doing our MBA at the Kellogg School of Management, which is just outside of Chicago. Funny enough, we were in an accounting class together during our first quarter at Kellogg but didn’t really interact but knew each other (he volunteered to be the class liaison… who does that for accounting??).

As our time at Kellogg rolled on, our social circles overlapped a ton as some of my closest friends were very close with him as well. The first time we probably really hung out was during a first-year trip to the Kentucky Derby when a bunch of us had lunch. It wasn’t until a group of us were planning on going to Ghana over the holidays during our second year of school that we started becoming friendlier.  At Kellogg I was known to be a good cook and I would invite random groups of friends over for dinner.  One night I invited Alex and two other friends over for dinner.  As the only single person at the table we spent the ENTIRE dinner trying to find someone for me to date. Needless to say, it was awkward.

How He Asked

Over the holidays I was in a wedding (of two of our business school friends who had also met at Kellogg!) that was taking place in Nigeria and in Ghana. Alex was also very close to this couple but he had to go on a family trip for his mother’s 60th birthday that had him travelling to Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. He was going to miss the traditional wedding ceremony in Nigeria, but the plan was for him to meet me in Ghana on January 3rd in time to attend the Welcome Dinner and then the wedding a few days later.

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I was a part of the wedding party and one day the wedding planner came to me and mentioned that on the day of the Rehearsal Dinner (January 2nd) she needed my help to go and pick up a cake and bring it to the dinner. I LOVE having tasks and was super happy to be the “chosen bridesmaid” to help with this task.

The day of the rehearsal dinner I was ALL OVER my special job.  I even texted the planner first thing in the morning to confirm that we were still on.  After the church rehearsal the wedding planner said I had to sneak off and not let the bride know that I was leaving to go pick up this surprise. I thought I was being SUPER sneaky but of course the bride saw me and I had to cover my tracks. We had the driver take the wedding planner and me to the house where all of the bridesmaids were staying to pick up the cake. Along the way I was trying to ask questions about the cake but wasn’t getting many answers.  I mean is it a special cake? What makes it special? Is there a story behind it?  Nothing.

When we arrived at the apartment we had some trouble getting into the house but when I opened the door there was Alex on one knee surrounded by candles in the shape of a heart.

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I of course was super confused since he was a day early and (more) concerned about picking up the cake to really ask too many questions but then he launched into the proposal. It took me awhile to figure out what was happening and when I did, I couldn’t stop giggling. When he finally popped the question my answer was “duh”. My next question was inquiring about the cake and telling him that I had to go to the rehearsal dinner… not realizing that he had gotten all of these people involved along the way to trick me!

After the proposal we went to a really great French restaurant for dinner. Then we went to the hotel that he had booked for the night but were quickly led upstairs to the rooftop where a few of our close friends were waiting to celebrate!  We spent the rest of the night drinking champagne, recounting details of the proposal and watching pre-recorded congratulations messages that he had gotten out of a few of my best friends.  It was great!

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