BunchesDirect is currently running a contest for the best engagement story we can find. The winner will receive a $1000 Shopping Spree for Wedding Flowers from BunchesDirect!

We’ll be unveiling the entries over the next little while as we receive them. Here’s Aubrey’s entry, a story of long  distance love, several different universities and a happy ending.


Hello.  My name is Aubrey Stover and I am marrying my best friend on November 23, 2013 in Syracuse, New York.  Matthew and I attended Shamokin Area Jr./ Sr. High School together and we both graduated in 2001. While in high school, we did not talk to one another. After high school, Matthew joined the United States Navy as a Corpsman and I attended The Pennsylvania State University. I began dating Matthew after a mutual high school friend invited us to hang out for a weekend when I was home from college. This was in the fall of 2003 after I returned from Baghdad, Iraq where I served as an Intelligence Analyst. Later that week, Matthew called me from the Mojave Desert to ask me out. Matthew and I decided to do something for my 21st birthday in January 2004. Matt took me out on my birthday and we decided to date.

While dating on and off, Matthew was deployed to Iraq for a second time. As I waited for Matthew to return, he began to have his mother, Mary, send me roses for about six months symbolizing how long I would have to wait until he returned. Thankfully, Matthew returned safely though he almost died from a mortar attack while serving in the Middle East. Matthew was then stationed in North Carolina when he returned from overseas. Matthew drove 9 hours one way every weekend from North Carolina to State College, Pennsylvania to visit me at Penn State. Matthew enjoyed Penn State’s Dance Marathon (THON) with me where he held me as I cried during the “family hour” where we watched footage of young children who died of Cancer. As “Better Days” by the Goo Goo Dolls played in the background and he held me, I knew that he would be the man I would marry.

After college, Matthew and I moved in with his brother Keith. Matthew completed his A.A. in Letters, Arts, and Sciences from Penn State while we lived in Shamokin, PA. When Penn State tried to deny Matthew financial aid as a Biology major because they tried to count his military experience as part of his degree plan, he and I discussed moving. Matthew was accepted to both The University of Florida and Syracuse University for a degree in Biology. Because I was completing my M.Ed. in Teaching and Curriculum at Penn State and finishing my thesis, Matthew and I decided it would be easier to drive back and forth from New York to Pennsylvania than from Florida to Pennsylvania. Matthew then transferred to Syracuse University and I moved with him where I began working as a chemical dependency therapist.

After finishing my M.Ed., I was accepted to law school in Ohio. Though Matthew could not follow me to Ohio, he supported my choice to attend school. In my first semester of law school, one of my sorority sisters suddenly passed away. In my second semester of law school, my (maternal) grandmother passed away. While in Ohio, I was lonely as my family lived in Pennsylvania and Matthew lived in New York. Matthew saw how unhappy I was in law school and he supported me when I told him I wanted to return to working as a therapist.

Matthew then decided he would help me move my stuff out of my apartment in Ohio. Prior to leaving for Ohio, Matthew took me to Syracuse University to walk around the campus, sit on the steps of Hendricks Chapel to talk, and then kiss on the “Kissing Bench.” The legend of the “Kissing Bench” at Syracuse University is that the person you kiss on the bench is the person you will marry. Matt and I then left for Ohio. On our way back from cleaning out my apartment in Columbus (OH), Matthew said he wanted to make a stop at Penn State University. Though I thought it was an odd request, I agreed.  Maybe Matthew realized how I just needed to feel like I was “home” and our alma mater always did that for me.   Matthew was adamant about seeing the Nittany Lion Shrine. As I walked around it to humor him, I found Matthew on bended knee. Matthew began to tear up as he told me how much he loved me and how he never wanted to live without me.  Matthew then proposed to me (7/13/10). Matthew acknowledged why he chose to kiss me at Syracuse University and then propose at Penn State as he said education was incredibly important to both of us, though we are both first-generation college graduates who put ourselves through school.  I should mention that he proposed to me after about 6 years of dating because he told me he wanted to make sure he did everything perfectly.  I said “YES” and I couldn’t be happier! We have now been engaged for three years.

Matthew and I have stood behind one another through the years and we serve as one another’s biggest cheerleaders. I finished my second master’s degree at Syracuse University in the spring of 2012 and he finished his master’s degree from The University of Southern California in the winter of 2012. Once again, Matthew has proven to be my cheerleader as he proudly told me he would follow me anywhere when I was accepted to a doctoral program at The University of South Carolina. Matthew is also contemplating returning for his doctorate in the future. Regardless of what happens in the future, I know that I will always have my best friend by my side.

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