Whew. This story already makes me want to cry...ALL THE FEELS!
Where to even begin?
Let's rewind to December 2012 when I met Matt. He is full of energy and spunk, knows how to have a good time and can put a smile on your face no matter what's going on. I met Matt through a mutual friend and well, it's easy to say that we've been good friends ever since! He has a radiance about him that I can't quite explain. I've never seen the man in a bad mood and he's always been supportive of his friends and family. I can't speak more highly of him!
Fast forward to a year later, Matt begins to bring his new girlfriend, Ali, around. Everyone loved Ali from the moment we all met her. (Including Matt, duh. He just told me...and I quote "I mean we both laughed at the same stuff from the get go and sense of humor is huge for me.") She is ALSO full of good energy, smiles and has a huge heart. There was no hesitation to love Ali. She was genuine and from what we could all tell, they were falling for each other faster than we had ever imagined. They complimented each other well and it was a no-brainer that Matt would eventually ask Ali to be his wife...It was just a matter of time.
Matt and Ali lived in German Village together for quite some time. Ali had been struggling with her job and wasn't really sure if it was the correct career path for her. She applied for a job with Sony and within months, her and Matt found themselves driving cross country, relocating Ali for work because she GOT THE JOB! (Ali has a tendency to doubt her badass-ness. We all knew she would get the job, but we're our own worst critics, right?! She didn't think her interviews went well, but Sony proved her wrong!) Ali shared with me, upon taking the position with Sony, that this big move was pretty terrifying for her. There were a lot of unknowns, but I assured her that the only thing in life that is constant is CHANGE! Moving to the other end of the country and starting fresh with Matt, of course, was intimidating. Moves like that can be scary and those feelings were very normal.
On Saturday, April 22, 2017, Matt and Ali invited me to our favorite local pub, The Hey Hey, for some drinks and goodbyes. They were headed to So.Cal much faster than anticipated. I had just got off work and decided to go and have a drink with them because I didn't know when I would see them next. I walked in, hugged them both and we chatted a bit about their move. After my one drink (I promised myself only ONE!), I started walking to my car and the next thing I knew, Matt was screaming "Whitney! Wait! Wait up! I have to ask you something really important!" I surprisingly turned around (Matt never chases me out of a building so I figured it would be important...) and he exclaimed "I need you to be at Schiller Park tomorrow at 7:30am PROMPT. I'm proposing to Ali near the umbrella girl and I want you to photograph it. I don't care how much it costs, I just want it documented! Do you want to see the ring?!" (Mind you, Matt has been designing this GORGEOUS ring for what felt like years. I've been lucky enough to watch the progress of the ring and it finally was complete to his liking. I started crying!)
The word "YES!" couldn't come out of my mouth fast enough. I wouldn't miss that for the world. I couldn't wait to go home and sleep so that I could wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready!
Matt tied a tiny note to Wiggins (their youngest pup) that read "turn around" and used him as a aid in asking Ali to be his wife! As they approached the umbrella girl in the park, I hid behind a tree and captured the whole thing! Ali bent down to look at Wiggins and eventually saw the little note that directed her to turn around. When she did, Matt was on one knee with the ring and well, her reaction was PRICELESS! She looked at me as I crept out from the tree (looking like a sketchy homeless person, may I add. I had an onlooker who later mentioned to me that he was going to call the police on me because I looked like I was homeless and on drugs?! Always good to include all the details, right?!) Ali, of course, said yes and we all proceeded to walk around the park so that I could capture their adorable OFFICIAL little family!
I couldn't be more honored to be a part of that special moment and I'll remember it for the rest of my life. Did I ever mention how much I love my job?!
Congrats, Matt and Ali! I wish you a lifetime of happiness and love. I care for you both deeply and will always be here for you. I love you!