Alicia and Jim

Image 1 of Alicia and Jim

How We Met

It was July of 2012…Jim and I both worked at a bank in Chicago, him as AVP of Risk Management, and me as a part-time teller while going to school. It only took us two months to meet from when I started working there. I had seen him in a training on a new phone system that he was instructing, the week I started in July, but had no idea who he was other than the fact that I thought he was cute. He was saying “for example if I was going to look up myself in the phone, I would put ‘SMI’ as Last and ‘JAM’ for First, and search.”I turned to the guy next to me and said “SMI, for Smith?” He laughed at me and said “no, that’s Jim Smigiel, his dad is our CEO” and I immediately thought I probably should’ve been fired for not knowing that. We then didn’t see each other for another two months, as we worked at different branches. September came around and I wasn’t getting the correct approvals on something, so I was sent to the Main Office (his branch) to train for two weeks with a supervisor. Thank God, because I officially met Jim. I saw him constantly walking from the basement, where his meetings were, to behind the teller line, where his office was, and decided I would try to spark conversation. I had caught him looking at me a handful of times and figured I had nothing to lose. The first conversation we had was in the vault when Jim was talking to the supervisor I was shadowing…they were talking about haunted houses, and since I love haunted houses, I gave my probably unwanted two cents on my recommendation. Later that same day he asked what I had going on that weekend, for small talk. I told him I had a wedding to go to, with a big smile on my face & probably red cheeks. That was the extent of speaking for about a month, as I went back to her normal branch. It was the end of October and I randomly got an email the day before Halloween asking where I had said the best haunted house was that day in the vault. I thinks it’s a ploy to talk to me, since Halloween was the next day and I truly doubted that he was going anywhere in that span of time. We continued to email sparingly, and I continued to “forget my password” so he could reset it on the internal network. This went on back and forth until the Employee Christmas Party. This was the first time we actually had a conversation longer than a Q&A in person. One employee jokingly asked “When’s the wedding for you two love birds?” as we talked all night long. I couldn’t stop thinking about Jim the rest of that weekend since I had such a great time. We exchanged numbers through email that Monday, and he asked me out on our first date to sushi (good choice) exactly a week later. We saw each other at least once a week, and talked every. single. day. all. day. from that point forward…and the rest is history. Little did I know 4.5 years later, we would be engaged!

Image 2 of Alicia and Jim

how they asked

I had been waiting for this day for about a year consistently, before it actually happened. I had bugged Jim daily about when we were going to be engaged, and kept asking him “did you forget to ask me?” It was agonizing, especially when people are CONSTANTLY asking you when you’re going to be engaged….. If anybody knows me, they know that I am a compulsive planner. I had planned throwing Jim a surprise birthday party since before he even turned 29. See where I’m going with the compulsive planner thing? I just wanted to start planning it, so it wasn’t as stressful at the time…so clearly over a year is what I needed, right? No? Okay, maybe it IS just me. Fast forward to December of 2016, and planning is in full gear. Jim is 29 at this point, don’t worry. I sent out the invites in January, planning to have the party the day before his birthday, March 11. I invited people from all over to come celebrate this time with us, mostly Jim’s college friends from IU (Go Hoosiers!) It is the day of the party, and I have Jim’s friend take him out to breakfast and do errands so I can go pick up the balloons and finish setting up the ‘day of’ stuff, like the Bloody Mary Bar, because what’s more important than that? When I finish it is 11:00 and we have to be at “lunch” by 1:15. This place was REALLY hard to get a reservation at, so we have to be on time. He asked me what he should wear and I picked out his clothes. (I really tried to play this whole thing out.) Since the surprise party was at his parent’s house, who only live a few blocks away, I had to make a huge circle and get on the highway to throw him off. We finally arrived, and I had him blindfolded like I always do when going to his birthday dinners. He got out, we walked in and everyone yelled SURPRISE! I thought that I had really done this thing. He seemed so happy and so was I to have it over with! About 2 hours into it, Jim had come up to me at the bar at his parents house and said “I need you” “Why? Do you want to say thank you?” “Yes” “Perfect! Me too, I’ll go up with you.” So Jim and I went up to the front of the room, and I planned on speaking first, but he took the floor and I am so glad that he did! He told everyone that he knew about the surprise ( I was FURIOUS) thanked everyone for being there, and thanked me for “scheduling” (he meant setting up) the whole thing. Stumbling of words, probably my first clue…NOPE I had NO idea AT ALL what was going on. I convinced myself that it wasn’t going to happen for at least another month because we’re so busy every weekend in March. I’m looking around like nothing waiting until my turn to thank people…..I hear him say “I want to flip the script a little bit” (still no idea) until his dad says BLURT IT OUT JIM ! Then my eyes got wide and I knew it was about to happen…immediately started ugly crying, covering my mouth so I didn’t look too hideous and barely got out the word YES (which no one heard because my hands were still on my mouth)! Jim did an AMAZING job and I have never been so dumbfounded and shocked in my LIFE. Which is a big statement, from someone who always has an answer for everything. You always tell yourself that you’ll know when it’s about to happen because he’ll act weird, or do this, or do that, and since I am SO good at finding everything out, I was sure I was going to at least have an inkling. Jokes on me, and I’m still mad that I planned this whole surprise party, thinking how great of a job I did and EVERYONE for the most part, was in on it….but let me tell you, it was worth it. I would plan my own surprise party again any day. Can’t wait to marry this man!

Image 3 of Alicia and Jim

After crying non-stop for 20 minutes, I finally took a picture and looked at my finger.

Image 4 of Alicia and Jim

Our Video