girlfriend getaways, family reunions

~Shared by J. Ranner

When I was younger, a wise man once told me a bit of advice that has been rocking around in my head ever since. “There are two incredibly important days that are going to be coming up in your life,” he said. “One will be when you meet the woman of your dreams- and the other will be the day you decide to spend the rest of your life with her.” 

The man surely has a point.  There is no bigger decision that any of us make in our lives besides choosing who that “one and only” will be. So of course, when our minds are finally set, many of us attempt to find that special way to ask that all-important question!  Some proposals are very private, low key and informal while others are huge, over-the-top elaborate spectacles that rise to viral video fame.

And then some of them just hit the mark of perfection. 

On Friday, November 28th, 2014 at Woodloch Pines Resort, Matt Rufino of Mahopac, NY and Bethany Deer of Huntington, NY got engaged aboard our first holiday “Festival of Lights” tour of the season. Though temperatures were certainly chilly, the subtly incredible proposal melted everyone’s hearts and illuminated everyone’s night. 

“Her family and their vacation is very important to her- I knew this was a special place and her family would be here all at the same time, and I wanted to capture that,” says Matt.

“We’ve been coming to Woodloch for the past 14 Thanksgivings,” says Beth. “In my family, there has always been an unwritten rule that boyfriends / girlfriends are only invited when they get engaged.” As far as she knew, Matt was still back home and the two were going to be spending the weekend apart. That was all about to change…

“I thought about a New York City Christmas proposal, but I thought it was a little cliche. Once I saw that Woodloch offered the ‘Festival of Lights,’ everything seemed to click.” The stars had aligned, and the fates were pointing him in the right direction. Now all he needed was a flawless execution.

Of course, the element of surprise would be critical in this situation. “I got there Friday, got into my room and basically hid for the day,” says Matt. “I forgot to eat breakfast, arrived just too late for lunch and basically was starving, but I didn’t want to risk her finding me so I stayed in the room.” You know it’s true love when a hungry man forgoes a Woodloch meal! 

On Friday evening, Beth’s family boarded our rides by the Heritage Nightclub- bundled up in blankets and eager to enjoy the musical light ride.  Unbeknownst to her, Matt was already inside the truck next to Mr. Patrick Kiesendahl, crouched like a ninja in full stealth mode. Through 25 cramping minutes, Matt’s anticipation built up as the wagon rolled along the trail.

Finally, after the fireworks of the grand finale, instead of our usual “Auld Lang Syne” New Year’s music, Matt arranged for Patrick to play “their song”- “Close Your Eyes” by Michael Buble. When I found the song,” says Matt, “he sang all the qualities that make Beth so beautiful and why I’m so happy that we have each other. I told Beth about the song and after she listened to it, she said she felt the exact same way.” family reunions, weddings

At that point, Beth suspected something was up, and Matt hopped out of the truck, ring in hand, dropped to one knee and asked the woman he loved to spend the rest of her days with him.  To the joy of all of her family members (and other surprised guests as well!) aboard the ride, she said “YES.” After a round of applause, hugs, kisses, tears of JOY and smiles everywhere ushered the happy news back to the main building, where the tale of the perfect holiday proposal made guests and staff alike simultaneously swoon.

The happy couple has yet to set a date, but they’ve definitely been recommended a certain venue. “So many people have congratulated us and said, ‘you definitely need to have a Woodloch Wedding.’ I’m still just trying to get my mind wrapped around what just happened!”

Warmest of Wishes from Family and Friends!  

“A beautiful evening ride through Woodloch’s Festival of Lights turned into a magical moment that will live forever in our minds and hearts.  Congratulations to Beth & Matt…2 beautiful people who deserve all the happiness in the world!!”

– Jeff Deer


“The look of amazement upon Bethany’s face said it all. They are a perfectly matched couple who are truly in love. Best wishes, love, and happiness to them as they start their new chapter in life together!”

– Kari Deer


“Watching the proposal was like watching a moment in a movie. It was amazing and beautiful and I’m so happy that the family got to witness it. Congratulations to Beth and Matt!”

– Johnny Deer


“I was so pleased with how the whole thing was done – from Matt’s respectful requests of me, to Woodloch’s input and assistance in pulling off the surprise, to the beautiful and festive setting, to Bethany’s precious reaction. It was a most memorable moment that I will treasure forever! There’s no better feeling in the world than seeing your child made happy – thank you, Matt! Congratulations to you both, and may the Lord bless you and foster in you going forward as much joy and elation as was evidenced that evening at the Festival of Lights.”

– John Deer


“Never before have I wished I was somewhere more than on Friday November 28. This was my first Thanksgiving not spent at Woodloch Pines in 16 years. Yes, Florida is beautiful, but this also happened to be the time that my one and only sister became engaged. My heart aches for the opportunity to have been there. My brother sent me the video he took. Driving, I couldn’t fix my eyes to it. However, just by seeing a wonderful glimpse of Bethany’s face, I knew exactly what had transpired. Job well done, Matt. It was great talking to you all on the phone directly after. I love you guys and remember… a couple who prays together, stays together. I’ll be back next year! God bless you guys!”

– Benjamin Deer


“I was so thrilled to be there and be a part of this! It was a very emotional experience for me. All I could picture was Beth’s mom and grandma smiling down from up above. Congratulations!”

– Jack Deer


“First, I have to give credit to Matt for coming up with a great way to surprise Beth. He knows how much family means to her. The staff at Woodloch, especially Tess, worked with him to create the most amazing and memorable way to propose. I am truly thankful that I was fortunate enough to be part of it.”

– Jenn Porter


“My warmest congratulations to you. Matt, welcome aboard to the Woodloch family- you’re in for life now!”

– Joey Ranner, Social Director


“I was so happy to be the person to answer the call when Matt phoned to make arrangements to propose to Beth. I was so lucky to have many more conversations with Matt making sure his betrothed would feel as special as he felt about her. Then it was so exciting to have our unknowing, unrelated guests come to the desk after the hay ride to tell the tale of a love story and how beautiful the moments were. It doesn’t get much better! (Unless you were Matt and Beth I guess!)

 – Tess Murray, Front Desk Manager

By | 2017-03-28T15:51:02+00:00 December 7th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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