Cody Botnick and Chris McGinnis fell in love with California after visiting some friends.
“We decided to take another vacation out to California but I had an ulterior motive,” said McGinnis with a laugh.
On Aug. 4, McGinnis, 29, took Botnick, 26, for a hike to the top of Mount Hollywood, where he hired a violinist to play Katy Perry’s song “Unconditionally.” The 2013 song is one of Botnick’s favorites and the couple previously discussed walking down the aisle to the song at their eventual wedding.
“I started shaking and crying because I realized what was happening,” Botnick said. “Then a split second after that, the violin started warming up and I was like ‘Oh my god, the violin is for me’ and then I was like, ‘Oh my god that’s our song too,’ and then the best thing I heard was, ‘Will you marry me?’”
The couple will marry on June 8, 2018, at Herrington on the Bay in North Beach, Md.
Botnick and McGinnis met through Instagram where the two started liking each other’s pictures.
“It’s ‘Instagram Flirting 101,’ I guess,” McGinnis said.
They eventually messaged each other, exchanged phone numbers and arranged a date. However, the arrangement became a humorous story for the couple.
"When I got around to asking him out, I invited Cody out to lunch or dinner. I asked, ‘Lunch or dinner?’ and his first response was, ‘Coffee would be great,’” McGinnis said.
Botnick said he did not realize what he said until later on.
“I can’t believe I actually said that,” Botnick said. “I didn’t mean to do that.”
“He wasn’t quite ready for the commitment of the dinner date,” McGinnis added with a laugh.
They met at Starbucks that afternoon and eventually had a dinner date at Rouge, a restaurant in Rittenhouse Square, where Botnick treated.
“Subconsciously, I was making up for the coffee,” Botnick said.
McGinnis noted that he only said “I love you” a select few times prior to his relationship with Botnick. He ended up telling Botnick that he loved him at a friend’s housewarming party and said the words just “came out.”
“The feeling started rather soon and it was definitely the fastest I have ever actually said that,” McGinnis said.
“I think it was on the tip of both of our tongues and I was just like, ‘I don’t know if it’s too soon’ and at that point when he said it, I knew it felt right. So I said it too,” Botnick said.
Botnick and McGinnis are quick to point out how they enjoy the other’s career-driven and goal-oriented attitudes. Botnick is finishing up his second semester of law school while working full-time as a paralegal and McGinnis is working at the National Constitution Center while pursuing a career as an assistant theater director.
“Seeing everything that he’s doing — just in the short span of time that I’ve known him — to make his dreams come true is an incredible inspiration,” McGinnis said.
In addition to his fiancé’s own career-oriented attitude, Botnick said he is “amazed” by how much McGinnis notices about him. When Botnick said he had never been to New York City, McGinnis gave him a box for his birthday. When Botnick opened it, he found several picture frames in which McGinnis outlined a different activity for when they went to the city: a Broadway show, dinner reservations, hotel and sightseeing opportunities.
“He’ll pick up on the slightest little thing that I want or that I want to go do and before I know it, he has it planned for me,” Botnick said.
When it comes to their upcoming wedding, Botnick and McGinnis said they are both looking forward to bringing their two families together. They said the excitement is building since the couple has attended several weddings in the past year.
“It’s going to be really exciting to get everybody together to celebrate us,” McGinnis said.
Botnick agreed that he’s eager to celebrate their love.
“I’m honestly looking forward to the day being about us.”