Ellen + Billy’s story begins their senior year of high school. “With Billy being from Petoskey and Ellen spending her summers in Northern Michigan at her family cottage, we met through mutual friends our senior year of high school. The following summers were spent playing beach volleyball, having bonfires, and swimming (as friends until 2014) at the same place as we get to say I do!”
What started as a simple summer friendship was bound to become something more. “A year or two prior to us dating, Billy messaged me on Facebook saying he was applying to transfer to Northern Michigan University (where I was in school). I remember telling my friend of his plans, stating, ‘I don’t really want a boyfriend right now’ which might have been a little assumptive at the time, but it only took until the following summer for us to begin dating.”
And then the real adventure began. “After about a year of dating, we both moved out west- but Ellen to Montana with a friend (a promise she had made with her friend) and myself to Lake Tahoe where my sister was living. Both unsure of how things would work through the winter, a couple months in Ellen said she would move to Truckee, California, to join me for the summer, blaming it on the lack of water in Montana. We ended up staying in the Truckee/Tahoe area for four more years, having the time of our lives.”
And it was somewhere in those four years that Billy knew Ellen was the one for him. “I think the moment we knew we were meant for each other was somewhere in those four years… living together, traveling back to Michigan together for holidays, and having an absolute blast as not just boyfriend/girlfriend, but as best friends in everything we did together.”
From friends to committed partners and best friends, it was evident that a proposal was in their future. And that proposal happened on Christmas Eve of 2021. “It was a perfectly normal, cloudy, and windy December 24th in Harbor Springs. When getting dressed to go skiing at Nubs in the morning, Billy sneakily fit the ring box into the chest pocket of his ski coat. Before heading out on the hill, we ran into a friend’s dad and updated him about our new house and plans for the new year, to which his response (including a glance at Billy) was, ‘Are you two engaged yet or what?’ Billy began to sweat a little and responded, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ and told him we had to get on the hill before it got busy. When we got to the bottom of the Southern Comfort run, which has a beautiful view of the Pleasantview Valley, Billy said, “This is probably my favorite run here, we should do that one again.’ As we made our way towards Southern Comfort for another lap, Billy pretended that he needed to secretly use the restroom in the woods at the top of the hill. He clicked out of his ski boots, walked into the woods, transferred the ring from chest pocket to normal side pocket, and walked back up towards me. There was a very slow skier and snowboarder attempting to get themselves to the next run so Billy did his best to stall for a few seconds, but at that point he couldn’t wait any longer. He got on one knee, shared how much he’s enjoyed the journey together and wanted it to continue forever- asking me for my hand in marriage. After I said yes with tears in my eyes (and mumbling… I didn’t think I was going to cry), we skied down the hill, and laughed and cried on the orange chairlift telling stories of the engagement ring process, asking my parents for permission, and how we had to go find our friend’s dad. We decided to call it quits on skiing for the day and made our way to Nubs Pub for a glass of champagne where our friends and family met us to celebrate!”
Ellen + Billy, it is clear that you two truly enjoy each other, and I count it a privilege to capture your love in a place that means so much to you. Congratulations on your engagement!