On their very own rooftop in Manhattan, New York City, Keely planned her perfect proposal to Christina. And, because family couldn’t be there, she had the entire proposal captured.
Christina is from Georgia but moved to New York City after serving in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, where she lived for four years. She came to NYC for law school and will graduate in May 2021. Keely is from Miami Beach, Florida and moved to New York in 2009 to attend NYU. She’s now been in NYC for 11+ years, where she works in corporate communications for a bank.
Christina is quiet and reserved with sweet southern manners. While Keely is loud and outgoing and loves to make people laugh. Both working a lot, but we love slow dancing to country music in our kitchen while drinking wine and making dinner. We love our friends and our families, playing with our dogs Charlie (French Bulldog Keely brought into the relationship) and Goose (Guatemalan street dog Christina brought into the relationship), listening to the “My Favorite Murder” podcast on road trips, and are equally obsessed with “The Office.”
We met on Hinge and have been together since June 2019. Neither of us was looking for anything serious, but it was game over from our first date. We got drinks and nearly every appetizer on the menu and wound up chatting until the restaurant closed. We followed the stereotypical lesbian timeline, moving in together after only a few months, and getting engaged in April 2020.
K: I originally planned to propose on Christina’s birthday in May on our West Village apartment’s rooftop. With our sisters and moms watching and friends and family waiting for us at a bar down the street. Once we went into lockdown in March, though, I knew I would have to adjust.
Hiring a photographer to capture the moment was the best decision I made since none of our family and friends could be there. She took these stunning photos of the proposal and some shots of us around the quiet city following. We will always be incredibly grateful for those photos because it was such a happy day despite what was going on.
Any stories from the lead up to the proposal?
Oh gosh, since we were in lockdown, Keely had ordered all of the props for her rooftop proposal (including the ring!) to her sister’s house in Connecticut. So, we wound up having to drive out there and load up an Uber XL. With the windows open for proper airflow the whole way even though it was snowing to get all the stuff into the city. At this point, Christina knew what was up but had no idea what was in the various heavy boxes. What the ring looked like, or when the proposal would happen. She did, however, help Keely lug it all up to their fifth-floor walk-up apartment.
Tell us about the proposal! We want all the juicy details!
After a few weeks with our studio apartment stuffed to the gills with all of the proposal props, and lousy weather forcing her to reschedule a few times, Keely suddenly decided to pull the trigger on a Wednesday. She told Christina that that was the day so she would have the chance to make herself presentable for the photographs. A.k.a out of her quarantine uniform of sweatpants and a messy bun. Everything in the city was closed, so Christina went out to get little glue-on nails from the pharmacy in lieu of a manicure. While Christina finished her zoom classes for the day, Keely moved all of the boxes up onto the roof and started setting up.
Even though we both knew what was happening, we were so nervous. And I don’t think either of us ate a thing all day. Keely asked if Christina was ready and asked her to meet her up on the roof in the early evening.
Christina walked up and saw the most beautiful arrangement of dozens of candles, a giant area rug, her favorite flowers (peonies, which were nearly impossible to get at that time of year), and champagne. Keely was there waiting at a little table with an envelope which she gave to Christina. She’d written down her little speech because she knew she would be too nervous to remember what she wanted to say at the moment. Christina read the letter and cried a few happy tears. Then Keely got down on one knee and popped open the box revealing a gorgeous ring with the same diamond they had fallen in love with in November!
Afterward, Keely popped the bubbly, and their fantastic photographer did a fun photoshoot on the roof and around their neighborhood. Because it was peak COVID, the streets and sidewalks were completely empty, and it was the perfect backdrop. She even got photos of them in the middle of Seventh Ave at rush hour! Afterward, they skyped their friends and families to share the happy news.
Tell us about the engagement ring experience.
C: Keely told me she wanted a thin gold band. I tried to get her a special or fancy one, but because it was COVID and everything was closed. All I could do was order one online, and even still, everything was backed up. Thankfully, since I knew the engagement was coming up at some point in the next few months (Keely was not so subtle), I’d already ordered it a month before from the only place that could engrave and ship it to us in time. A few months later, we got what she really wanted rather than a diamond, which was a Rolex.
K: I had Christina share pictures of what she wanted with me and then spent a few months looking for the perfect ring. Christina wanted an Asscher cut. So after visiting a few jewelers in the city, we found the perfect one for her. A 2.15 carat E VS1 Asscher cut ring with a platinum band from Lauren B. There are so many options online, but seeing the diamond rings in person was a real gamechanger. My brother-in-law even drove into the city from Connecticut to help me ring shop and choose the best one. Which I’m confident that we did because it looks incredible on Christina. I’m so happy that she’s happy with it.
What does your engagement mean to you both? Has anything changed?
It feels incredible to be engaged. As a femme lesbian couple, the number of times we’re asked if we’re sisters, twins, or friends when we have already clearly said that we’re “girlfriends” is insane. Now when we tell someone, “she’s my fiancé,” people can’t misinterpret that. We talked about spending our lives together since early in the relationship, but being engaged makes it so real. If we disagree about something, there’s that assurance that neither of us is going anywhere. No matter how tough things get.
How is wedding planning going? What do you hope for your wedding to be like?
Unfortunately, it’s on hold for now. Our original hope was to plan a wedding for December 2021 in Miami. Given the circumstances, that plan has been re-written a million times. From international elopements in Mexico or Italy to a backyard wedding in Georgia. We’re dying to tie the knot already. But we want the experience of celebrating with our friends and family properly and safely.
Even the venues that offer micro-weddings currently don’t allow dancing (understandably), but that’s indispensable as far as we’re concerned. We’re probably going to end up doing a courthouse thing sooner rather than later. And then a proper celebration in 2022. We do plan on grabbing our dresses and wedding bands in the next few weeks so that at least we’ll be ready to pull the trigger whenever the time is right.
Photography by Lucie Bulois