While Matt and Dana went to high school together, they were just friends. After graduation, as most friends do, they headed off to separate colleges and many new friendships.

A few years later, on the Fourth of July in 2015, Matt and Dana “reconnected” at a friend’s house in Rhode Island. From there, they stayed in touch over the next several months, even though they lived miles apart.

Then, Dana moved back to New York City, where Matt lived. That first week back, the two had their first date, dinner and drinks in Manhattan.

After only a few casual dates, Matt and Dana’s relationship felt relaxed and natural. Those first dates were filled with hours talking about the many things they had in common – like skiing, snowboarding, and “nerding out” over Marvel movies and Game of Thrones.

One weekend, while the two were on vacation with Matt’s family in Cape Cod, Matt knew that Dana was the one. “It just clicked one day at the beach, seeing her interact with my family, and I simply knew,” he recalls. “Everything with Dana just came naturally.”

The proposal

Matt and Dana were staying at the Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont one weekend in March. They came in from skiing that Saturday and, before sitting down for lunch, decided to first grab a beer at the bar. As they were chatting, Dana noticed a photographer snapping photos nearby. The photographer approached them and asked if they could kindly pose for some photos on behalf of the ski lodge, and they agreed. Dana figured the lodge was looking for guest photos to update its website.

Little did Dana know that Matt had arranged for the photographer to appear. The couple went outside with the photographer, who shot photos of them in silly poses with the mountain as a backdrop. Matt asked the photographer to take a couple extra photos for the couple, then turned to Dana and got on one knee. Dana thought Matt was playing a practical joke – until she saw the ring in his hand. “Of course I said ‘yes,’ and the rest is history,” Dana says.

The ring

Dana’s engagement ring is a radiant cut diamond with pave stones along a platinum band, and her wedding band is a gorgeous platinum band with alternating sapphire and diamond stones. Matt chose a traditional gold band for himself.

When Matt and Dana visited Braunschweiger Jewelers, they thought they knew the style of wedding bands they wanted, but they saw so many they loved and ended up trying different styles for more than an hour. They worked with Brian and thought he was incredibly patient and accommodating as he helped them decide.

The wedding

Matt and Dana had planned to get married this past November in Beacon, NY, before 200 of their friends and family. But as the pandemic approached its second wave, it became clear that a big wedding was not possible. “We waited anxiously for months to decide whether to have the wedding,” Matt says. “It was so hard to tell 9 months out what the fall would look like.”

So instead, they went back to Stratton Mountain for a more intimate ceremony, exchanging vows before their parents, siblings and grandparents. They also moved the wedding up a month so that they could have an outdoor wedding, at the top of the mountain against a brilliant October sun. “It ended up being an absolutely gorgeous fall day,” Dana recalls, “and we had a lovely and personal ceremony followed by a delicious dinner with our families. While not the wedding we originally planned, it was a special day and a shinning moment during a difficult year.”

To add another special moment to their wedding, Matt and Dana had their “first look” photos taken at a location they stumbled upon while at Stratton in August. It was a bridge in the middle of the woods that seemed to go nowhere – called, fittingly, “The Bridge to Nowhere.”

“It was an absolutely spectacular location, especially surrounded by the beautiful foliage,” Dana remembers. “The shuttle driver who dropped us off there even mentioned that in his 30 years driving for weddings in Stratton, we were the first couple to ever choose this location for their first look!”

The bridge may go nowhere, but for Matt and Dana, it will forever be part of their journey to happiness.