Marissa & Doug: Paradise Wedding

Sometimes you met a couple and at that very second you just know they are in complete TOTAL love. 

I am a total sucker for love stories and I just love that this one has two sides! 

How we met: HER Version 

We met online. There is absolutely no other way an advanced practice nurse (dealing daily with things like blood) living/working in Baltimore would meet a computer software engineer living/working in the suburbs. 

As far as our online relationship - It all started with the picture of the purple sweater. That led to discussing musicals, then hockey teams, and eventually actually meeting up & kicking off our surf/turf relationship with Doug getting steak while I got a crab cake (that’s from growing up in MD!). 

Doug was smart enough to quickly realize our relationship was worth it, despite my living in Baltimore (the city of one way streets) & despite my love of most all seafood! 

Since then we have set off to enjoy the adventure of life together- whether simply supporting each other through work stress & deadlines, traveling to other cities to enjoy the shows & food, hiking/exploring through National parks & canyons, visiting families, or even grocery shopping (& the fun of cooking together!). 


How he proposed:

We went ring shopping together & then her wanted me to go with him to pick it up to make sure the sizing was done correctly. We had already announced we were engaged and started planning as travel was involved. So I knew a proposal was coming… someday. We headed off on a trip to explore the Smoky Mountains in TN. After 3 days of hiking through glorious views, the 4th & last day of hiking I was starting to wonder when he would find a place romantic enough for our proposal. After a hike up to a beautiful waterfall, we paused to get one of the few other hikers to take a picture. Instead of just a picture, Doug proposed & I said yes! He stood up to give me the ring & dropped it in the whirling water below the bridge!! Despite a worried countenance, he was still slightly too calm for losing my ring. Thankfully it was just a decoy & he gave me the real ring! 


How we met: HIS Version 

She messaged me first. I don't think I even saw her profile before that, and if I had I would have skipped over it anyway. First of all her profile pic was awful. 95% of the image was a town with a rainbow, and she was this tiny blip in the bottom corner, barely visible. Second she listed she lived in Baltimore, and I was actively filtering out girls that lived in Baltimore/DC because I hate driving into the cities. After she messaged me I thought maybe she lived in a suburb and just listed Baltimore because it's easier. Spoiler: she lived right in downtown. UGH.


We messaged back and forth for a few weeks or so. She seemed very smart, but not at all flirtatious. I asked her out first, and I picked a restaurant that was on her way home from work so she wouldn't have to go out of her way. We had a good time I think. I was so nervious that I didn't really even eat my food. Took nearly all of it home with me. On the way to our cars, I completely forgot to ask for a second date and it was basically like "see ya later", "bye". Later I did in fact message her to ask her out again, and on our second date I wrote on my arm "ASK HER OUT AGAIN" to remind me.


Also, she never called any of our encounters "dates." She referred to it as "meeting up." A very sterile term, devoid of any hint of excitement on her part. 50/50 chance she wasn't interested.



The Proposal

This past summer we went on a 3 week road trip: Smokey Mountains, Kentucky caves, Illinois to see her parents, Michigan for a reunion-ish thing with my family/cousins, and then Ohio to see my parents. I decided to propose on the trip but didn't know when. It had to be before visiting her parents so they could see the ring. I decided on the Smokeys. We were there for about 4 days so plenty of opportunities. Side Note: We had picked out the ring together, so she knew it was coming sometime. To spice things up a bit I bought a replica and my intent was to propose high up somewhere and accidentally drop the ring down the side of the mountain. I decided to propose on the Chimney Tops trail because it was supposed to be one of the more difficult hikes, had a beautiful view and was super high up.


We got up really early to do this one, and we were the first people to the trail. My plan was to get to the top, waste some time until the next person came up, and have them take a photo of us (we took photos at the top of all the trails). And then when Marissa thinks it's just another picture, pull out the fake ring, propose, and drop it down the side of the mountain. We were indeed the first to the top of the trail. However, the last segment of the trail was closed, and where we were there was no drop off. They happened to close the trail at the flattest, most boring place imaginable (there was still a great view though).


Plan B: Mingo Falls. A short hike with a beautiful waterfall. They built a bridge at the bottom of the falls so you can stand over the water to view the falls from below. Similar plan. We got to the bridge/falls, and I asked a woman to take our picture. When I gave her the camera, I had secretly put it on video and told her "It's set on video, I'm going to propose, can you take our video?" She was great - she didn't miss a beat. I walked back to Marissa and we started posing for a picture, and then I got down on one knee with the fake ring. I stumbled getting up and dropped the ring into the water below. She had this look on her face that was a cross between "What just happened!" and "I'm throwing you in after it!" Side note: another hiker there watching happened to be a professional photographer and took a ton of pictures of us (which we still haven't gotten yet!).

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Photographer: Rachel E Ligon

Planner: Kayla  Simply You 

Wedding Dress: Morilee

Hair & Makeup: The Glam Squad

Floral Decor: Love in Bloom

Reception Location: Oceans Edge

Ceremony Officiant: Michael Vernon

Reception Music: Soundwave

Rentals: Eventfully Yours

Wedding Cake: Key West Cakes

Special Dessert: Cupcake Sushi