Dan & Charlotte

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Dan and I met at Villanova University, and have since then been dating for 5 years. I grew up in Wayne, PA, which is about ten minutes from Villanova. However, Dan and I now live together in Manhattan. Every October, I have family from Paris come to PA to visit. They chose this time of year to visit because there is an annual sale down the street from my parents’ house that is unlike anything else (appointed “Crazy Sale” by my mom), and my cousin’s kids love Halloween so everyone loves it!

Little did I know, this year would be very different and would change my life forever.

Dan and I drove down to PA Thursday night, as we had both taken Friday off. On Friday morning I went with my mom, cousin and aunt to Crazy Sale. I later came to find out that while I was there, Dan was not at the brewery with my dad like he had told me he would be (more on that later). On Saturday morning, I went back to the sale with my family for “Bargain Day” (the best day), so we spent the morning there.

We had an appointment at 3:00 that afternoon for a hayride at Linvilla Orchards because it was something the kids had wanted to do—or so I thought. We rushed home from the sale without a minute to spare, and it was a whirlwind of trying to round up 15 people into cars to go to the orchard. When we get to the orchard, there’s a massive line for the hayrides, but we get led to a ‘fast track’ path and onto our own hayride. The normal line was cramming 30 people onto a hayride, while ours was just my family, but I figured that was just due to the fact that we had booked it ahead of time. We’re riding through the orchard, with the tractor driver announcing all the different fruits that are being grown as we drive along when all of a sudden the tractor comes to a halt. He makes a quick announcement that he has to take care of something, and then jumps off and disappears into the trees. And then Dan asks me if I want to get off and take a couple pictures. I did find this weird since I’m usually the one asking to take pictures, but after a little hesitation, I went along with it. Dan leads me off the back of the trailer, into a clearing, where I can see from the side a bunch of pumpkins set up on hay bales.

In that moment, I knew. When I finally was able to see the words painted on them, “WILL YOU MARRY ME”, with two bottles of champagne propped nicely in the middle, I looked back and he was already on one knee, smiling up at me with a beautiful ring displayed in a black velvet box. Turns out he was at the orchard painting pumpkins with my sister the day before, when he was supposed to be at the brewery with my dad. Of course, I said yes, and moments later my whole family came rushing into the clearing, hugging and kissing (of course they all knew what was about to happen). And about 5 minutes into the celebrating, my sister calls out “Danté, you can come out now!” and that’s when I realized he had hired a photographer, who was very stealthily hiding in the bushes taking pictures of the whole thing!

It was a day I will never forget, and I am so glad he chose to do it with all my family in town.