Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak, Love Is Still in the Air. Here’s One Couple’s Engagement Story.

This couple didn't let the pandemic stop their romantic proposal.

Coronavirus 2020

About Coronavirus 2020

Washingtonian is keeping you up to date on the coronavirus around DC.

Editor’s Note: The current situation, and CDC recommendations, are rapidly evolving. We absolutely encourage adjusting all plans (proposal, and otherwise) in the interest of safety.

As the Covid-19 pandemic requires venues to close, restaurants to consider take-out only options, and events postponed, couples in the DMV aren’t letting all of their plans get cancelled. Even with the unsettling news happening at this moment, it seems that people are still following through with one of the biggest moments of their lives: proposing. Yep, that’s right. People are still popping the question in this very questionable time. And honestly, with so many uncertainties caused by the coronavirus outbreak, we’re happy to hear that local couples, such as Taylor Hiden and Eric Zoepfl, are making the most of what they can. For a little pick me up, feel good story, read on. 

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Weeks before the coronavirus took over headlines, Taylor an associate director of a communications consulting firm and Eric, a senior cybersecurity consultant, made plans to go to lunch together and then spend the day visiting the DC-area museums. The couple, who’ve been together for 3.5 years, often spend their time exploring DC. “We like to stay cultured,” laughs Taylor. So, it wasn’t surprising that Taylor didn’t think much of the couple’s planned-out weekend in March. That is, until a few days before, when news broke of the area’s first coronavirus patient. 

As things started to shut down last week, including the Smithsonian, Taylor began to wonder if the date was still a good idea. But Eric was adamant. Instead of the museums, the couple opted for a socially distant walk around the National Mall. “I had a feeling that something was up,” says Taylor. 


At their walk around the monuments,  Taylor could tell Eric was up to something. “He kept stopping to take a picture of us and he would bend down, like Jim Halpert-style, to tie his shoes,” says Taylor. It wasn’t until they got back to Taylor’s studio apartment that her inklings became real.


While they were out, Eric had enlisted his mom and sister to help transform Taylor’s apartment. Rose petals were strewn on the floor leading to a romantic setup of a table and two chairs in the middle of the studio, surrounded by signs, balloons, and a slideshow of photos of the couple. “It was our little sanctuary,” says Taylor. Eric then got down on one knee to ask Taylor if she would spend forever with him. “I immediately started bawling,” she says. 

After the proposal Eric invited a (very) few people over for an afterparty. “It was very fun, but very strange because everyone was elbowing one another instead of hugging.” says Taylor.

Since the engagement, Taylor says that they’ve been telling people the good news through Facetime. They’re both quarantined together now and are trying their best to practice social distancing. “I have lots of video chats scheduled,” says Taylor, adding that her coworkers have already planned a virtual happy hour/impromptu engagement party for her later today. On how the pandemic affected Eric’s proposal plans, Taylor says she thinks they got really lucky. “The only big thing that changed was not being able to go to museums, and that my parents were supposed to come into town this weekend. They can’t right now because of the virus,” she says.

Assistant Editor, Washingtonian Weddings

Jacqueline comes to Washingtonian with close to five years of digital content experience and SEO best practices. She previously was a senior editorial associate at WeddingWire, specializing in wedding fashion, and before that, an assistant at Vow Bride. Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, she now lives in Columbia Heights.