How We Met: Mark and I had known of each other for many years but never met. We lived in the same small town of Eastchester, NY in the suburbs right outside of New York City. I went to the public high school and he went to the Catholic all-boys high school. We lived about 5 minutes from each other (didn’t know it back then) and had many mutual friends. It wasn’t until college when we actually met for the first time—the summer of 2010 to be exact. My best friend and his best friend were dating so we found our group of friends hanging out a lot that summer. At the time, Mark had a girlfriend and I was dating someone on and off through college. Looking back, I don’t think we ever spoke a word to each other! After summer ended, the next time I saw Mark was New Years Eve 2010. We spent it with our friends at the Ritz-Carlton. I ended up leaving 10 minutes after the ball dropped and that was the last time I remember seeing him!
Fast forward 3 years later to the summer of 2013, Mark and I were both finally single! I was done with school and starting my own business and Mark was moving out of our town and into the big apple. Our mutual friends decided it would be a good time AND a good idea to set us up. During those years apart—Mark had asked my friends for my number numerous times. On August 24, 2013, I went out to eat with my two best friends and during dinner, Mark came up in conversation. “He would make a great boyfriend” they said. “He’s cute, athletic and has a good job!” I decided to give him a chance since he had been so persistent through the years and told them to give him my number. They gave him my number and he texted me one second later!
A text message Mark sent my best friend right after I left his apartment the first time we hung out.
We ended up meeting for a few dates. We hit it off but I can’t say I saw sparks fly. I ended up making a ton of excuses the next few times he asked me to hang out. However, we still kept in touch and continued to talk every day. He finally persuaded me to see him again and give it another shot and I am SO glad that I did. The more time we spent together, the more I started to really fall for him.
One Saturday he planned a date for us to go to the Central Park Zoo (perfect date because we both LOVE animals). It was also the same day he asked me to be his girlfriend. I felt overwhelmed and scared that the relationship was going way too fast. I hesitated when he asked me and I told him I would like him to meet my parents first before making it “official”. A few months later, he surprised me with a weekend trip out of NYC to a little place called Stonington, CT. It was such a beautiful and romantic place and we both instantly fell in love with it. While we were there, we felt like the only two people in the world. It was the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and just relax and enjoy each other’s company. We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast and spent most of the weekend at Saltwater Farm Vineyard, a wine vineyard a few minutes away from where we were staying.
We had such a great weekend together and it was then that we both realized we had something very special. On our way back, he dropped me off at my house and met my parents! Both of my parents were extremely excited that I was FINALLY bringing home a guy for them to meet. After he met my parents, we decided to make it “official” and we have been inseparable ever since.
how they asked: A year after our perfect weekend in Stonington, we decided to plan a trip back. Unfortunately, it was around the same time that I lost my amazing, wonderful and loving father. Mark had no problem canceling our trip and was there for my family and I during the most difficult time in our lives. I am so glad my father and Mark were able to spend time together and I know my father loved Mark from the very first day that he met him.
A few months later, we start planning our trip to Stonington again and decide that the best time to go would be for my 25th birthday weekend. It was around this time that he also started to plan the proposal. I remember one day asking him if we could cancel Stonington and plan a trip to see my brother and his fiancé in Florida instead. He said no. Mark was usually an easygoing guy so I joked with him and said “is it because you are proposing to me that weekend?!”. Ever since I made that comment, he made it his main priority to throw me off. Any time I mentioned anything wedding related, he let me know he wasn’t ready and that we would need another year or so. He even told me that he started his ‘engagement ring fund’ but that it wouldn’t be ready for some time. He also told me that we would probably get another puppy before we got engaged (I’ve been wanting a sibling for our 10 month old puppy). While I was still holding on to a slither of hope that it would be happening that weekend and thinking about how perfect a 25th birthday proposal would be, I definitely was not expecting it at all.
The days before leaving for Stonington, everyone around me knew about the proposal. I have to admit— my friends and family did a great job at hiding it from me. I didn’t have the slightest idea. I was purposely keeping an eye out for any type of hint and trying to sense excitement and nervousness but I didn’t get anything from Mark or my family. I had officially given up on the idea that a proposal was happening.
On the ride up to Stonington, Mark was very relaxed and acting like his normal self. He had planned for us to do a wine tasting at Saltwater Farm Vineyard. He said we had to be at the vineyard around 2 PM but I didn’t find it odd at all because the wine tastings are usually by appointment. As soon as we arrived in Stonington, we went to check into the same bed and breakfast that we stayed at last year, showered quickly, got ready and headed for the vineyard. We went inside and we each got a glass of wine to settle in first before doing the tasting. It was a bit chilly out but we decided to go outside anyway and sit on the adirondack chairs facing the vineyard. We sat down for a few minutes and then Mark had to use the bathroom. I waited outside and started taking pictures of the vineyard. I was distracted by taking pictures that I didn’t realize Mark was taking a long time. I later found out that it was at that time that he was inside talking to the photographer that was hired to take pictures and video tape the entire proposal.
When Mark came back from the bathroom, I asked him where the closest one was so that I could go. That was when he started acting weird and said “do you really have to use the bathroom now?”. I was a little thrown off by this. Since when am I not allowed to use the bathroom?! I thought he was just being cranky since we had to wake up early that morning. He then asked me to go for a walk but I had wanted to just sit and relax after a long ride up. I hesitated but he insisted and then we went for a walk towards the vineyards. I wanted to go walk through the vineyards but Mark pulled me back and said that I wasn’t allowed. After several moments, he started to get sentimental. He told me he loved me and a bunch of other things (that I didn’t remember until I watched the video) and then I said “you’re weirding me out!” He laughed and said “I’m weirding myself out!” He was SO nervous. It was adorable. Looking back at the video, I know that all of his yawns and coughs were out of nervousness. He then dropped down on one knee. At this point, everything became an absolute blur.
I was in complete and utter shock that I didn’t even say YES! I couldn’t move or speak! I just cried! The whole moment was surreal.
I couldn’t believe what was happening. I just remember his hands shaking like CRAZY.
After he put the most beautiful and sparkly ring I’ve ever seen on my finger (which was an heirloom from his family that he customized to my taste) he turned me around and said “Look who’s here!” and out came my mom, his mom and his sister.
I was SO surprised. I couldn’t believe they traveled so far to be there. I started crying even more! I was so happy to see them and glad they were able to take part in such a special moment.
After we took a few more pictures (we were both so excited that we didn’t even have the patience to take the pictures) we went to a restaurant close by for a celebratory dinner.
The best part was that it was a restaurant that my father loved back in the day and one that we went to on family vacations when I was a little girl. It’s safe to say that it was the best birthday I ever had and the proposal and ring could not have been any more perfect. It was a moment that I dreamed of my entire life and a moment I will always cherish and treasure. It was sweet and so meaningful.
I am extremely blessed to have met someone like Mark, who has all of my dad’s best qualities. I know my dad is looking down at us and smiling. I know he’s happy.
His little girl is marrying a genuinely kind, patient, thoughtful and wonderful man. What more could any father want for his daughter?
Thank you, Mark, for loving me the way that you do and for all the happiness you bring into my life. I can’t wait to marry you.
Photographer : Summer Wind Wedding Films