Q: Let’s start at the beginning. How did you two first meet?
A: We met during our freshman/sophomore years of college at William & Mary. If you ask us which dating app it was through, you won’t get a shared response: I say it’s through Her, she says it’s through Tinder. After chatting for a week, I asked her to coffee…and she ghosted me! Turns out, Hannah wasn’t out yet, so the next step of a date was pretty scary. Jump forward a few weeks later, and I, a gym rat, saw her at our campus recreation center every other day, working as a trainer, for the next year and a half. For that time period, I avoided her in the weight room, fearing she thought I was stalking her. Turns out, she totally saw me, liked my lifting form, and thought I was pretty cute. We avoided each other and never spoke to one another. We went through our respective lives all the way until summer of her senior year, my junior year, when she embarked on her cross-country bike trip for charity. I thought–and still think–it’s the single coolest thing anyone has ever done. I was working as a journalist back in Richmond and she really liked my work. When she was in Wisconsin in mid-June, she finally asked me out to coffee two months in advance in preparation for her return to campus. We had our first date at our on-campus coffee shop. The rest truly is history.
Q: What makes your relationship special? Tell us some things that you both value in your time together. (example: pushing each other to new limits, love to travel, huge comic book fans, foodies, etc.) What makes your relationship unique?
A: Hannah and I have both experienced a lot in our short lifetimes. Because of that, we have helped each other grow, heal, learn, and move on more than anyone else has in our lives. We encourage each other to be in touch with our inner child, learn to say no, learn to say yes and, push each other to heal and mend our spirits. We travel SO well together–our first trip to NYC together was a dream. Han and I compliment each other really well thanks to our strengths. Our first trip by flight was to Houston, TX, to visit my older sister and her husband and daughter. Hannah, who is fearful of flying, battled her thoughts and flew marvelously, and that was when she knew we could go anywhere in the world together. There are no limits to our love.I think the other unique thing about our relationship is our polyamory has pushed us to new horizons on our trust and communication. In addition to our strong self-awareness, non-monogamy has pushed us to venture to new heights with our trust and communication. I haven’t felt as close as I do now because of all we have gone through and discovered about ourselves.
Q: How did you know your partner was the one? When did you first know this in your relationship? (these may often be the same moment, but aren’t always)
A: I can’t honestly say it was a specific moment. I distinctly remember the first time I knew I loved her: we were in her college house, and she was doing something SO mundane in the dining room. And I knew, in that moment, I wanted to do every single mundane thing with her for the rest of my life. There was no other word that could capture that except “love.”I think it was after we had been through a lot of transitions and struggles that I think I knew I wanted to be with Hannah for the rest of my life. We encountered a new health diagnosis on Hannah’s part after months of mystery. I lived in London for almost 7 weeks which, at that point, was one of the most difficult things we had experienced as a couple together. Hannah graduated and immediately moved a whole state away, so we battled long distance for over 6 months. And then…a global pandemic! But, thankfully, the pandemic was a blessing in disguise. I got to finish out my senior year in her apartment in North Carolina, and our relationship grew even stronger. We LOVED living together! While many couples faced lockdown fatigue, we were having a ball together living in her loft. After moving to Richmond in the middle of a pandemic, that sealed the deal on whether or not I wanted to ask her to marry me.
Q: Give us all the details about the proposal. How and where did it happen? Was it a surprise? What was the planning process?
A: After several months of back and forth for various years, Hannah and I settled on getting engaged in early 2021. Hannah is, admittedly, anxious when it comes to surprises. And we both are quite particular about our styles and rings. So everything was preplanned together, including the date of the engagement.Well, almost everything was preplanned together. I knew I wanted to give Han an unforgettable engagement. I mean, you only get engaged once one time, right?! I knew I wanted something extravagant and special because Hannah deserves that. I also knew my friend, Mariea Terrell, was close to launching her gourmet, high-end date planning business, Ivey Picnic Co., so I called her up and asked if she had ever planned a proposal. I needed as much help as I could get! Mariea and I spent several hours in long car rides over the phone planning, swapping ideas, going over details of our relationship and Hannah’s particular tastes. Mariea truly took care of every single thing, from the permit to the purchasing to the booking to the setup and breakdown. I could not have asked for a better engagement planner.
Q: We’re all about the bling… Tell us all about that ring!
A: Hannah had been back and forth about a particular ring style, but she’s always been a classic girl. We settled on a bezel set Art Deco emerald cut moissanite ring with a gold band. We found the perfect one off of Etsy, from a jeweler named Ocean Jewels USA. The ethics of jewelry was really important in Hannah’s decision to get moissanite for her stone. Plus, who doesn’t want something that can only be found naturally in outer space?!My ring, on the other hand, had to fit my androgynous style. I am also rather clumsy, so we HAD to get a diamond. I have a simple gold band with a flush small quarter carat diamond from Etsy. Han surprised me, however, by having “I love you” engraved on the inside. That was a lovely touch I was not expecting the day of our engagement!
Q: What are you most excited about when it comes to your wedding planning?
A: At first, Han and I always talked about making it a day about our love. But now that we are engaged and making lists and plans, we are much more in the mindset that this day is about the people in our lives that have helped shape us into who we are today, especially if they have impacted our actual relationship. Making the guest list has been so fun!