It all started with a tweet. Madison O’Neill was supposed to go to a wedding with her brother, but when he found a date, she didn’t want to be a third wheel. She decided to turn to Twitter for a solution, tweeting that someone should hit her up if they wanted to be her date to a wedding the next day. “It was mostly a joke,” O’Neill said in an interview with TIME. “I thought a friend would respond and I’d just have someone to hang out with.” Someone took it seriously, though.
Charlie Dohrmann, who tweets as @ChuckDohrmann, wrote back, “Dude, I’ll be your date to a wedding!” O’Neill knew who Dohrmann was, because they went to the same high school in Des Moines, Iowa. However, they weren’t friends and she wasn’t sure she wanted to go out with him. “I thought he was super annoying,” she tells TIME, laughing.
Despite her reservations, she accepted the date, though it took her “awhile” to come to that decision. “I just wasn’t sure I wanted to bring him!” she says. The two hit it off, to say the least. “We went, we hung out all night,” O’Neill says explaining they caught a movie after the reception. “Then we dated for two years,” says O’Neill.
Much of their relationship has been long distance, because Dohrmann entered boot camp for the U.S. Navy six weeks or so after they started dating. It’s ironic, because O’Neill always said she wouldn’t want to be involved with someone in the military, because she’s “too clingy for that.” Dohrmann must have sensed her apprehensiveness, because he would always “accidentally” leave his sunglasses or his wallet at her house, so that she would be forced to see him again.
Now, Dohrmann is based out of San Diego, while O’Neill is a student at Iowa State University. During a recent trip to visit him before he ships out on deployment, O’Neill got a big surprise—a proposal. “It caught me completely off-guard,” she says. “It took me awhile to say yes, because I thought he was joking!” After she told her real-life friends and family the news, O’Neill shared the story with Twitter, tweeting, “Crazy how things work out.”
The couples’ Twitter following is thrilled, saying that Twitter should pay for the ceremony or asking that the wedding be live-streamed. They haven’t set a wedding date yet, because Dohrmann wants to be involved in the planning and they aren’t sure when he’ll be back from deployment. One thing is for sure, though, they’ll incorporate Twitter into the ceremony in some way. “It is definitely something I will mention in my speech,” O’Neill says.