PEOPLE reports that Eliza's boyfriend, Mark “Struthers” McBride, Jr., popped the question, and Eliza accepted. She told PEOPLE, “This is the happiest I’ve ever been. It’s so crazy, from the moment Struthers and I [started] dating, I knew he was the man I was going to marry. I’m not kidding you when I tell you, there were fireworks going off! And every moment since then, I’ve just fallen more and more in love with him.”
Eliza, who calls Struthers her "best friend, the most selfless man I’ve ever met," explained that the two started officially dating in April 2019, but they have actually known one another for decades, as Eliza's father and grandfather were in the South Carolina legislature, and Struthers' father is the former mayor of Myrtle Beach. But things really took off when Eliza was asked to model for a bridal spread with photographer Anne Rhett. After she called up Struthers and asked him to help out, he told her four days later, “I want you to be mine."
While the two have been together less than a year, they started discussing marriage about a month in to their relationship, so it's been a long time coming. In fact, there were actually two proposals: one in which Struthers proposed in January while Eliza was brushing her teeth, and another — more formal — proposal, this time incorporating the same photographer who was there to photograph their last shoot.
“I was doing a shoot for my jewelry line at Airy Hall, my family’s estate outside of Charleston, and he showed up looking so handsome,” she told PEOPLE. “And now, every single person in my family has gotten proposed to or married at the property’s overlook. But he knows I love the Avenue of the Oaks, the tree-lined path right where you drive in. That’s, like, my heart. And it’s also where they filmed a scene from The Notebook, which is my favorite movie ever. So he took me there, and that’s where he proposed.”
As for when we can expect a wedding, Eliza explained, “He wants to get married yesterday, so it’ll probably be sooner rather than later. But my brother got engaged a month before I did, and my business partner is about to get married, so I just want to enjoy this phase of being engaged for a little bit."
So while she's in no rush, Eliza told PEOPLE, "I really love him. I feel whole when I’m with him. And he’s made me so much more peaceful, he’s made me so much more grounded. He’s changed my whole life, really.”
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