We can only imagine the scene inside the White House yesterday, as more allegations about President Trump and Russia made their way to the press. Outside those walls, though, a very different kind of scene was taking place: On the White House driveway, Tommy Schultz proposed to his girlfriend, Ashley Harvey.
“I knew for the past couple weeks that we were going on a tour of the White House, so that was a big deal,” Harvey tells Yahoo Style, but she didn’t suspect that Schultz had anything else up his sleeve, even when he made a point to make sure she was dressed up for the occasion and helped choose her outfit.
“One of the first things we did when we moved up to D.C. was have a touristy day, where we just went up to all the monuments and museums, and we both love that kind of stuff,” says Harvey, an account manager at a digital media firm, who moved to the city from Nashville a month ago. “I think I might have said that day was one of my favorite days I’ve had with him.”
Schultz, who moved there earlier this year for his work as national communications director for the American Federation for Children, tells Yahoo Style that he had been trying to come up with the perfect proposal location for months. “So when she said that, I knew I needed to do something in a similar fashion that had a sense of history, and something where she might not get tipped off that I was up to something!”
He arranged for the special tour with a friend who works in the executive office building. “We definitely had to work quite a bit with the Secret Service and White House staff,” he says. “I’m incredibly grateful to them for making everything run smoothly. From getting her parents and friends cleared to be on the White House complex, to not sounding the alarm as I put the engagement ring through the scanners, to picking the spot with the best background, it all worked out perfectly in the end!”
After they went through security on Tuesday evening, the friend asked them to wait in front of the building for a minute.
“Tommy and I were just standing there taking it all in, looking at the White House, and then suddenly, the next thing I know, he’s saying all this really sweet stuff and getting down on one knee,” she shares with Yahoo Style.
“When we walked up to the prearranged spot where I was going to get down on my knee, I about had a heart attack,” Schultz confesses. “Press was everywhere! Reporters and photographers all staring at us. I thought I walked into a press conference! I almost made a split-second [decision] to go to a different spot, but I had no idea how to communicate that with the photographer I had hired.”
Little did he know, news had just broken about James Comey‘s memo documenting Trump’s alleged request to drop his investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Meanwhile, a couple just got engaged here in the WH driveway (and it was actually really sweet). pic.twitter.com/AYoq38N5ws
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) May 16, 2017
“The White House press was cheering and clapping, and I don’t think she heard it at all,” Schultz recalled. “After she said ‘yes,’ and I put the ring on her finger, she said, ‘I’m about to faint!’ I saw her start to buckle a bit, so I scooped her up! It was a completely perfect moment.”
That’s when Harvey’s parents and three best friends arrived to greet the happy couple.
“Afterwards, a couple of [the reporters] came up and asked us questions, and I think I was still kind of blacked out and catching my breath,” Harvey says.
Schultz had been concentrating so much on his own big moment, he hadn’t paid attention to the latest Trump controversy. “Not even sure what happened today,” he told CNN.
Schultz and Harvey aren’t the first couple to get engaged at the president’s home. In 2010, a bride named Katie wrote to TheKnot.com about her fiancé’s proposal on the porch at the end of their tour. “I turned around and Manny was on the ground. I said, ‘What are you doing! You can’t get on the ground at the White House.’ Then he pulled out the box and proposed! Such a shock, the crowds around us all cheered and applauded.”
That reception happens to be where U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Matthew Phelps went on his first date with Ben Schock. Six months later, they became the first same-sex couple to get engaged on White House grounds.
“When we received an invitation from the Military Partners and Families Coalition to attend the White House holiday tour on Dec. 15, the coincidence that it would be the six-month anniversary of our first date — and also to the White House — was too big not to capitalize on,” Phelps told the Huffington Post after his proposal photo went viral.
Another Obama-era proposal happened in April 2016, when U.S. Coast Guard naval engineer Orlando Morel, who was saved by the Coast Guard as a Haitian refugee age 6, proposed to his girlfriend, Shameeka Edwards, on a tour through the Blue Room.
“I cried,” Edwards told ABC News. “I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t say anything. I was just shocked. You think, ‘I’m in the White House!’ It would’ve never crossed my mind. I was definitely grateful, and it was something I will never forget.”
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