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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – In the spirit of the Kentucky Derby, special moments often take center stage at Churchill Downs.
For one couple, who visited Old Forester’s “Talk Derby to Me” booth at the track, it was definitely a Derby Day to remember. Old Forester is the official Mint Julep drink, as well as the official Thurby sponsor.
Brittany Angelini and Noah Walsh are both from Manhattan in New York City. It was their first time attending the Kentucky Derby, but it quickly became a perfect backdrop for a proposal.
"I didn't actually have a plan for where I was going to do it, it was pretty spontaneous," Walsh said.
Angelini said she inadvertently picked the spot for her proposal. She wanted to get a cute photo and noticed Old Forester's photo wall. She loved the backdrop, so the two waited in line. She may have just wanted a fun photo, but ended up with a fiance!
"It happening there was like a complete shock," she said.
Walsh's boss had a horse, Vekoma, running in the big race and a group decided to attend the Kentucky Derby. That's when Walsh said he decided to propose there.
"I wasn't nervous until I started talking, and then I think I blacked out. I don't even remember what I said," Walsh said.
Surrounded by friends recording videos and taking pictures, as well as a cheering crowd of strangers, their big moment was a whirlwind. But, it's not unlike their whirlwind of a romance.
The pair went to high school together but didn't start dating until they reconnected many years later. The two ran into each other at a bar, and then made contact through social media.
From their first date watching football, until Saturday's engagement, the couple dated for about one year and three months. They each said they knew pretty quickly the other was "the one."
"It was the second date we ever went on," Walsh said. "I remember just sitting there and listening to you (Brittany) vent for about an hour and a half and I remember just staring at you and thinking how beautiful you were. It was really crazy because we had only started dating the week before and I remember thinking I could totally marry this person at some point."
Angelini agreed and said "it sounds cliche, but it really is. When you know who you're supposed to be with, it is so, so clear."
The couple's special moment was memorialized and shared with the world when Old Forester posted a few pictures to its Instagram page. The company said it was searching for the mystery engaged couple because they wanted to offer a gift of congratulations. That's when Louisville's eyes all turned to the beautiful engagement.
"We were like oh we wonder if they posted that picture and so we looked it up and we were like 'oh my god it's us, and they're looking for us!'" Angelini said, describing the moment they found out about Old Forester's Instagram.
Old Forester was able to make contact with the couple, even offering its distillery as their wedding venue. If that doesn't happen to be the couple's choice, the company is still sending the pair an engraved bottle.
"I'm delighted they chose to do it at our wall," Old Forester President Campbell Brown.
Brown said the company decided to create a photo wall for this year's big day and didn't realize how much of a success it would be. He said moments like the couple's engagement, are something Old Forester hoped could happen.
"For Brittany and Noah to do something as intimate and personal and special as getting engaged in front of that, to me that's the ultimate instagrammable moment, that's something that they will always have," Brown said.
Brown said the company has since learned there were multiple engagements at the photo wall throughout the races Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Old Forester is searching for the other couples to congratulate them as well.
Brittany and Noah thought the magical moment would come in Central Park. Angelini said she typically likes to have things planned out, so a proposal at the Kentucky Derby was something she didn't expect. Although, she said it is much more unique and something they have been able to share with lots of people.
"Outpouring from all different places has been really, really incredible," she said.
Walsh echoed her sentiments and said the two will someday make it back to the Derby again.
It all stems from a photo that put the new fiances front and center, one that will last them a lifetime.