CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mia Paitsel and her fiancé, Marvin Bailey, were riding back to West Virginia from Washington, D.C., Monday evening in awe, using words like "wow," "amazing" and "once in a lifetime."
The Dunbar couple had assumed in November, when they got tickets to President Obama's second inauguration, they'd just be part of the crowd.
But in the months leading up to Monday's events, the couple kept finding out their seats were getting better and better.
"Finally, I realized, we need to change our attire," Bailey, 33, said in a telephone interview.
"Before we left to go to D.C., we were already informed we would have pretty special seats, but we had no idea how close," said Paitsel, 23. "We were right next to people entering -- the president, everyone."
The couple shook hands with the president and first lady Michelle Obama -- as well as, among others, former president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, who were seated on the steps behind where the president spoke.
"We were right there next to Jay-Z and Beyonce," Paitsel said, also listing several other celebrities they sat near.
Bailey said they tried not to be star-struck. "We handled it well," he said with a laugh.