A Pair of ER Nurses Got Engaged During a Holiday Stroll Down Miracle on South 13th Street
“Why wait? 2020 sucks, and I wanted to kick off the holiday season in the best way possible.”
Despite the pandemic, this is still the biggest time of the year for many couples who decide to make their love official. December is a major month for popping the question, which means proposals are staged among Philly’s many holiday-themed streets and decorations. Such is the case with this duo. These two nurses working on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis got engaged on Miracle on South 13th Street over Thanksgiving weekend — and started their holiday season off right. The couple’s friends, Rachel Esteves and Samantha Jackson, captured their big moment. Take a look at the festive celebration below.
South Philly couple Lindsey Tyrrell, 31, and Lauren Coates, 30, might have attended the same college, lived on the same dorm floor, and attended the same parties, but they didn’t even say hi to one another. That happened later, when they met through mutual pals and also discovered they were both ER nurses (Lindsey still works in the emergency department, while Lauren now works in the electrophysiology lab) and their parents went to the same high school. A friendship developed, and life moved on, but their paths were linked. Lindsey moved to Fairmount with her friends; then, so did Lauren. They worked in the same ER for four years. On a visit to see friends who were travel-nursing, they kissed. “It took a while for us to realize that we wanted to be together, as neither of us had ever dated anyone of the same sex before,” shares Lindsey.
They were together three years before getting engaged. The couple picked out their rings together at Marks Jewelers in September. Jeweler Trish Jann told Lindsey she would call her when they were ready to go. Lauren intercepted the call and picked up the rings with her mom instead. (She didn’t look at hers, she swears.) Lauren also ended up planning the big moment — but it wasn’t always supposed to be that way. They’d had a hard time choosing who was going to be the one to propose, so they decided to each plan a surprise proposal in back-to-back months. Lindsey’s would take place in November, and Lauren’s in December. “We quickly realized that we were more stressed than ever, because we knew the other was planning something as well,” Lauren says.
Lauren’s vision was to propose on their rooftop on New Year’s Eve. “At the time, we were both ER nurses dealing with COVID patients day in and day out, and the rooftop was so nice to come home to and unwind after our tough days,” she explains. But as cases worsened in recent months, she moved the date to the Saturday after Thanksgiving: “Why wait? 2020 sucks, and I wanted to kick off the holiday season in the best way possible.”
Lauren told Lindsey they’d spend the day decorating and take a walk down to 13th Street to see their favorite lights. Lindsey didn’t think anything of it: Not only do they love the Christmas season and Philly’s holiday traditions, but they’ve also spent a lot of time doing outdoor activities throughout the pandemic. So when they strolled through the holiday decor, Lindsey had no idea what was ahead. Lauren, however, was beside herself. “I was a nervous wreck, not just that day, but the whole month of November,” she recalls. “I was adamant about making sure we both stayed healthy until that day. I was not letting COVID get in the way.”
Lauren doesn’t remember much about the Christmas lights, focused as she was on positioning Lindsey in the street so their friends could get the perfect shot. “Before I knew it,” she recalls, “I started talking and whipped out the ring.” Did Lindsey say yes right away? That’s debatable, Lindsey says: “My first reaction was, ‘Wait, where is your ring? Can I have it?’” Because she wanted to propose, too.
The couple turned around and saw both of their families ready to celebrate with them. Says Lauren: “With 2020 being so unpredictable, it was the most perfectly imperfect engagement we could have ever hoped for.”
Lindsey and Lauren hope for a New Year’s Eve wedding — next year, if the pandemic allows. Till then, they only have words of wisdom and gratitude: “We can’t emphasize enough how lucky we are to have the love and support of our families and friends. Without their acceptance and encouragement, we’d still be those two girls in Fairmount wondering if this is really what we wanted or what could have been. If we can encourage even one person to follow their hearts and be their true, authentic self, we are happy to share our story.”
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