How We Met: Jeff wrote me three times before hearing anything back. We lived in different states, I was three years older, and far too busy for a younger man/summer fling from out of town to distract me from finding Mr. Right. Little did I know, Jeff too, was looking for Mrs. Right-stein. Oh yes, we met on JDate.
Finally, after enough persistent yet witty messaging, I decided that Jeff’s tousled hair, nerdy glasses, and menschy good looks were worth a date. We planned to meet at Shoolbred’s, a bar in the East Village conveniently located around the corner from my apartment in case Jeff was a complete dud.
To our delight, drinks turned into dinner, dinner turned into a movie, and during movie previews I turned to Jeff and gave him a kiss. He was just so cute I couldn’t resist!
What was once thought to be a summer fling, turned into a long term and long distance relationship. I was already pretty settled in New York while Jeff was in Massachusetts finishing up his masters degree in music composition. We managed to keep the love alive with a combination of weekends spent together and FaceTime conversations while apart.
After Jeff finished school, he moved to Brooklyn to further develop his career as a composer. We were thrilled to be able to enjoy and explore the city together without having to worry about end-of-weekend goodbyes. Life was good, and we both knew we had found “the one.”
I’ve never been one to obsess about getting married, or everything that comes with it (the dress, the venue, the flowers, etc.) but I always thought about the guy. The guy who would keep things interesting, would really listen to what I said, and value building a strong connection. Jeff is that and so much more. I thought Jeff would propose in the Summer or Fall 2015, so I was completely shocked when he asked as early as January 2014. But in true Jeff fashion, he always surprises me in the greatest of ways.
how they asked: On a late night last November, Jeff snuck off to my childhood home in Long Island to ask my parents for my hand in marriage. The conversation began with Jeff’s plans for my upcoming 30th birthday, segued into the big question of the night, and ended with a blessing only a father and a mother could give.
The next three months were filled with secrecy, deception, and me desperately wanting to know why Jeff’s phone, computer, and lips were password-protected. What was he planning for my birthday? A trip to somewhere warm, I hoped. Alas, there were many clues that led me to believe nothing quite so grand was in store. I was confused and Jeff was happy to keep me off his trail.
Here’s what was really in the works:
Jeff told me that his parents wanted to take me out to dinner on the Sunday before my birthday. Before heading to the restaurant, Jeff asked if I wanted to grab a drink at Shoolbred’s—the same bar around the corner at which we had our first date. This was totally normal for us; we had been there many times over the two years of our courtship, so I thought nothing of it.
After grabbing a couple drinks, Jeff gave me a wrapped gift which he said would reveal the surprise plans for my birthday. Tearing away the wrapping paper, I found a guide book to Paris. My jaw dropped and eyes teared. I was in awe. Traveling is my favorite thing to do (besides cuddling with Jeff in pajamas). It was a far too extravagant birthday gift, but oh so wonderful.
And that was just the beginning.
After giving Jeff the biggest hug in the world, I heard my name called over the bar’s sound system. “Allison, Allison Hertzberg…this one’s for you.” Jeff then stood up from the booth and started singing along with a song I had never heard, but after a few moments realized it was actually Jeff’s voice on the recording!
He had written and recorded a song just for me, for this exact moment, and it was full of fun clapping, inside jokes, and declarations of everlasting love.
Needless to say, tears were now in both our eyes as Jeff continued to sing. But that’s not all…
Suddenly, a flash mob emerged from the dark corners of the bar. Jeff’s sister, parents, brother, along with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, aunt, and best friend plus fiancé all came into view singing and dancing backup for Jeff. They had all been in on the plan for months.
For the last line of the song, Jeff got down on one knee singing “So darling, will you marry me?” He pulled out the ring he designed which even included diamonds from his grandmother’s wedding band. I screamed, “Yes!” and the rest of the bar full of family, friends, and complete strangers clapped, cried, and cheered.
A few months back, Jeff had considered surprising me with the trip to France and then popping the question once in Paris. In the end, he decided that surrounding ourselves with family and friends within the city where our story began would make the proposal even more meaningful, memorable, and yes, even more romantic than Paris.
Needless to say, we had a wonderful time kissing atop the Eiffel Tower just a few days later.